1805-1996; bulk: 1870-1930
Guide to the Collection
Support provided by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
This collection consists of the personal and professional papers of Robert G. Valentine of Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., as well as those of his wife, Sophie French Valentine, and of the related French, Light, and Palmer families. Included are family and personal correspondence; personal papers; writings; diaries; professional papers; and printed material.
Below are brief biographical sketches of Robert Valentine and members of his extended family, highlighting the individual members represented most prominently within the collection.
Robert Grosvenor Valentine (1872-1916) was the son of Charles Theodore Valentine (born 1846) and Charlotte Grosvenor Light Valentine (1845-1898). Born in West Newton, Mass., he spent his early years in Holliston with his invalid mother and her aunts after his father left the family. He attended public schools in Holliston and John Hopkinson's School in Boston before graduating from Harvard University in 1896. He taught English at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1896 to 1902, and in the summer months worked as an assistant to James Stillman, president of the National City Bank of New York and director of the Union Pacific Railroad. From 1903 to 1904, RGV worked for the Farmer's Loan and Trust Company of New York, also under Stillman's direction. In 1905, RGV moved to Washington, D.C. and became a private secretary to Francis E. Leupp, U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs. As an inspector he traveled widely through the western states, becoming supervisor of Indian Schools and assistant commissioner in December 1908. Upon Leupp's retirement he was appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs by President William H. Taft, serving from 1909 to 1912. RGV's home on 19th St. in Washington, D.C., known as the "House of Truth," became a gathering place for young progressives in 1911 and 1912.
In September 1912, RGV resigned from Taft's administration and returned to New England to join the Progressive Party. After the 1912 elections proved unsuccessful, RGV worked with labor and management groups to develop the field of industrial counseling, negotiating labor problems, conducting "industrial audits," and serving as an advisor for government agencies and corporations. In 1913 he served as the chairman of the first wage board under the Massachusetts Minimum Wage Law, and became an advisor to Boston telephone operators during a threatened strike. He became the chairman of the Massachusetts Committee on Unemployment in 1914, served as the acting director of the Board of Control for the Dress and Waist Industry of New York City in 1916, and was an advisor to Mayor John Mitchel in the settlement of the 1916 streetcar strike in New York City.
In December 1904 RGV married Sophie French Valentine, daughter of Asa and Sophia Palmer French of Braintree, and the couple had a daughter, Sophia French Valentine (renamed Charlotte Grosvenor Valentine in 1919), in July 1910. He died of a heart attack in New York City in November 1916 at the age of 43.
Asa French (1775-1851) was the son of Moses and Elizabeth Hobart French. Known as "Squire" French for the vast amount of land he held in Braintree, Asa was a civil engineer by profession and served as Braintree's postmaster and justice of the peace. He married Mehitable Hollis in 1799 and the couple had four children: Elizabeth; Jonathan; Mehitable Ann; and Lucinda.
Asa French (1829-1903) was the son of Jonathan French (1802-1882) and Sarah Brackett Hayward French, and the grandson of Asa French (1775-1851). He attended Leicester Academy in Leicester, Massachusetts, graduating from Yale University in 1851 and Harvard Law School in 1853. He represented Braintree in the state legislature in 1866 and served as district attorney for the southeastern district of Massachusetts from 1870 to 1882. Asa turned down a seat on the Massachusetts Superior Court in 1882 when President Chester Arthur appointed him a judge of the Court of Commissioners of Alabama Claims to handle ongoing Civil War claims. He served as president of the board of trustees of Thayer Academy and of the Thayer Public Library in Braintree, and in 1883 was appointed to the Board of Visitors of West Point Academy by President Arthur. Asa married first Ellen Clizbe (d. 1855) in 1855 and second, Sophia B. Palmer (d. 1891) in 1858. His children were: Asa Palmer French; Emelyn Louise (Sewall); Sarah Hayward; Harriett C. (Mixter); and Mary Sophia (Valentine). After Asa's health declined in 1899, his daughters Emma and Sophie cared for him in their Braintree home until his death in 1903.
Caroline L. W. French (circa 1836-1914) was the daughter of merchant Jonathan French (1803-1901) and Hannah Weld Williams French (1801-1878). Born in Roxbury, she moved with her family to 42 Commonwealth Ave. in Boston, where she lived most of her adult life. Caroline attended Miss Haines School in Gramercy Park, New York, and spent several years (circa 1872-1875) at Clifton Springs Sanitarium in New York. Unmarried, she also owned a summer residence in Nantucket and was a major benefactor to the island, purchasing Nantucket Windmill for the Nantucket Historical Society in 1897, and underwriting construction of St. Paul's Episcopal Church as a memorial to her father in 1901. A second cousin to Asa French, Caroline left her property in Bar Harbor, Maine to Asa's daughter Emelyn French Sewall, and a large bequest to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Edward Palmer Light (1839-1864) was the son of George W. Light and Elizabeth Caldwell Palmer, and the brother of Elizabeth Light Stevens. He worked at the store of Homer Caswell and Co. in Boston before joining the Union Army in 1861. Edward served in the First Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry, where he was appointed clerk of Company B. In May 1862 he was appointed the private secretary to Col. Robert Williams, and in March 1863 he was awarded the rank of sergeant major. He was at the Battle of Antietam; Snicker's Ferry; Gettysburg; and Todd's Tavern, and was gravely wounded on 7 May 1864 in the Battle of the Wilderness. After his foot was amputated, his brother George brought him by steamer to a New York hospital, where he died in July 1864 at age 24.
George Ezra Light (1838-1872) was the son of George W. Light and Elizabeth Caldwell Palmer, and the brother of Elizabeth Light Stevens. He graduated from Cambridge High School in 1854, began working at Houghton Union Glass Works in Somerville in 1857, then took over Union Glass's office in New York in 1860. He later worked as a lighting merchant in New York, forming Light and Clarke in 1864, New England Glass Company in East Cambridge, Mass. in 1868, and Petroleum Lamp and Flint Glass Warehouse in New York, where he died unmarried in 1872 at age 34.
George Washington Light (1809-1868) was the son of John and Nancy Light of Portland, Maine. He was a publisher and bookseller in Boston as well as an agent for anti-slavery and temperance periodicals. In 1836 he was elected to the Boston School Committee, and also served on the Free Soil State Central Committee. He was also a published poet. George married Elizabeth Caldwell Palmer (1810-1852), and their children were George Ezra Light; Edward Palmer Light; Elizabeth Caldwell Light (Stevens); Charlotte Grosvenor Light (Valentine); and Mary Foster Light. In 1853, George married second Mary Ann Dexter Valentine, the widow of Nathaniel Rogers and mother of George A. Rogers.
Mary Foster Light (1847-1926) was the youngest child of George W. Light and Elizabeth Caldwell Palmer Light. She attended Bowdoin Grammar School and Somerville Grammar School, then Girls High School (1862-1865), graduating from Miss Stickney's School in July 1866. She taught school at Hudson Street Primary and Winthrop Grammar School in Boston. Never married, she traveled to Europe with her aunts Martha and Caroline Palmer in the summer of 1887.
Harriet C. French Mixter (born circa 1866) was the daughter of Asa French and Sophia Palmer, and the sister of Sophie French Valentine. She attended Thayer Academy in Braintree and in 1890 married Charles Whitney Mixter, an economist who taught scientific management at the University of Vermont. The couple lived in Burlington, Vermont, and had no children.
Caroline Palmer (circa 1820-1916) and Martha Palmer (circa 1825-circa 1921) were the daughters of Ezra Palmer and Elizabeth Caldwell, and the sisters of Elizabeth Caldwell Palmer Light, Robert Valentine's grandmother. Unmarried, Caroline and Martha lived most of their adult lives on Mt. Vernon Street in Boston. They traveled to Europe with their niece Mary Foster Light in the summer of 1887, and Martha returned to Europe with other family members in 1895. In their later years, the sisters were cared for by their nieces Mary Light and Elizabeth Light Stevens.
Emelyn "Emma" French Sewall (circa 1862-1938) was the daughter of Asa French and Sophia Briggs Palmer, and the older sister of Sophie French Valentine. She attended Thayer Academy in Braintree from 1877-1881. Emma married 83-year-old Jotham Bradbury Sewall (1825-1913), in July 1909 in England when she was about 47. Sewall was a Congregational minister (1865-1877), a professor of Greek at Bowdoin College (1877-1896), and the headmaster at Thayer Academy in Braintree from 1877 to 1892. He and Emma lived in Brookline and had been married for only four years when he died in 1913. Sophie French Valentine and her daughter, Charlotte, lived with Emma in Brookline for several years after the death of RGV. Upon her death in 1938, Emma bequeathed most of her personal property to Sophie and her home and property in Bar Harbor, Maine to her niece, Charlotte.
Elizabeth Caldwell Light Stevens (1841-1928) was the daughter of George W. Light and Elizabeth Caldwell Palmer, and the sister of Charlotte Light Valentine, RGV's mother. She was known in her youth as "Lizzie Light" and by RGV as "Auntie Beth." After her mother died and her father remarried in 1853, she lived much of the time with her maternal grandfather, Ezra Palmer. She graduated from Bowdoin Grammar School in July 1857, then attended Girls High School and Normal School in Boston, graduating from the school's Advanced Class in 1862. In September 1886 she married William Burdick Stevens, president of the Globe National Bank in Boston. After her husband died in February 1892, Elizabeth remained in Boston while RGV attended Harvard University, then moved to the French family homestead in Braintree, and later to several residences on Beacon Hill in Boston. Although she had no children of her own, Elizabeth helped to raise RGV when her sister Charlotte became an invalid and later died, and she was a surrogate grandmother to RGV's daughter.
Charlotte Valentine Taylor (1910-1998) was the daughter of Robert G. Valentine and Sophie French. Named Sophia French Valentine at birth, she was renamed Charlotte Grosvenor Valentine (after RGV's mother) in April 1919, several years after the death of her father. Charlotte graduated from Radcliffe College in 1938, and received a Bachelor of Arts at Harvard Extension School in 1969. She married Thomas Taylor in October 1936, and the couple had three children: Thomas Heywood Taylor; Robert G. Valentine Taylor; and Anne French Taylor (Berry).
Charlotte Grosvenor Light Valentine (1845-1898) was the daughter of George W. Light and Elizabeth Caldwell Palmer, the sister of Elizabeth Light Stevens, and the mother of Robert G. Valentine. Known as "Lottie" in her youth, she attended Bowdoin School in Boston (1857-1858), Franklin School (1859), Girls High School (1860-1863), and Miss Haines School for Young Ladies in Gramercy Park, New York (1864-1865.) An invalid for much of her adult life, suffering from rheumatism and heart disease, she lived in West Newton under the care of a nurse from 1868 to 1871. In February 1872, Charlotte married Charles Theodore Valentine (born 1846), the youngest child of Charles Valentine and Isanna Chamberlain, and the couple had one child, Robert Grosvenor Valentine, on 29 Nov. 1872. After Charlotte and Charles separated in 1876, Charlotte moved to Holliston where she and Robert were cared for by family until her death in 1898.
Sophie French Valentine (1867-circa 1953) was the youngest daughter of Asa French and Sophia Palmer of Braintree. Sophie cared for her ailing father during his later years at their home in Braintree until his death in 1903. She married her cousin, Robert Grosvenor Valentine, in December 1904, and the couple had one daughter, Sophia French Valentine (later Charlotte Grosvenor Valentine), born in 1910. Although frequently living apart from her husband - he worked in Washington, D.C. and she lived in Boston and Braintree - Sophie played an active role in her husband's careers in the Office of Indian Affairs and as an industrial counselor. After RGV's death in Nov. 1916, she and her daughter lived in Brookline with sister her Emelyn, briefly in California with friends, and in Boston with Elizabeth Light Stevens. She inherited Steven's home in 1928 and continued to live in Boston until 1948, later residing in a series of retirement homes in the greater Boston area.
Letters and papers were largely collected by Valentine's aunt, Elizabeth Light Stevens, as well as his wife, Sophie. They were later arranged by Valentine's daughter, Charlotte Taylor, who added photocopies of her father's correspondence housed at other repositories. A selection of Valentine's correspondence was further arranged and transcribed by Dorothy Koval, niece of Charlotte Taylor, in preparation for an uncompleted documentary edition of Robert Valentine's papers. Photocopies of papers not held by MHS have been integrated into the correspondence and the location of the original has been noted. Transcriptions later added by Koval are included in the Transcriptions series and cross-referenced within the finding aid.
The Robert G. Valentine family papers consist of 24 cartons, 4 boxes, and 1 oversize box of manuscripts and printed material. They are arranged into nine series that contain Valentine's family and personal correspondence, personal papers, writings, and professional papers; the papers of Valentine's wife, Sophie French Valentine; his daughter, Charlotte Valentine Taylor; his mother and her siblings; his grandparents; and various members of the Light, Palmer, and French families.
RGV's many letters to his wife, aunts, and other family members chronicle his wide-ranging careers as an English instructor, banker, commissioner of the Office of Indian Affairs, and a founder of the field of industrial relations. Valentine's warm correspondence with poet Amy Lowell, an enthusiastic reviewer of his poetry, includes her ca. 1900 letter stating, "in fact, if it hadn't been for the example of you and Mr. [John Gorham] Palfrey, I should never have attempted to write poetry myself." Also of interest are RGV's letters and professional papers from 1906-1912 that illustrate his rise at the Office of Indian Affairs from a personal assistant to commissioner, describing his travels to reservations across the United States, his mediations with Native American representatives, the development of Indian schools, and his frustration with Washington bureaucracy. 1911-1912 letters, particularly correspondence with New Hampshire governor Robert Bass, discuss his views and participation in Progressive Party politics. Personal and professional papers, 1912-1916, including correspondence with Felix Frankfurter, illustrate his effort to develop the field of industrial relations into a scientific profession, and to create a career for himself conducting "industrial audits" representing both labor and management.
Within the correspondence of both Robert and Sophie Valentine are references to the "House of Truth," the name Valentine and his friends lovingly gave to his home at 1727 19th St. in Washington, D.C. Beginning in 1911, this collegial salon for Washington's brightest progressives hosted a revolving cast of roommates and guests, including Felix Frankfurter, Winfred Denison, Loring Christie, Eustace Percy, Walter Lippman, and Louis Brandeis. Their extensive correspondence with Robert and Sophie is of particular significance within the collection. Denison's correspondence also contains colorful descriptions of his work and travel from 1914 to 1916 as Secretary of the Interior for the Philippine Islands.
Family papers include the correspondence and personal papers of George W. Light and his children George E. Light, Edward P. Light, Elizabeth Light Stevens, Charlotte Light Valentine, and Mary F. Light; papers of the French family including Judge Asa French of Braintree and his daughter Emelyn French Sewall; and the correspondence and diaries of Carolyn and Martha Palmer. Highlights include the Civil War letters of Edward P. Light, which describe his service in the First Massachusetts Cavalry and aboard the U.S.S. Onondaga, a two-turreted ironclad ship at "Aiken's Landing" in James River, Virginia. Letters of George E. Light, a New York merchant, vividly discuss his observations of the aftermath of the war while traveling in Georgia in 1866. Other material in the collection includes the correspondence, photocopies, and notes compiled by Charlotte Valentine Taylor as she researched the work of her father; transcriptions of selected correspondence and writings of RGV; and printed material related to RGV and his extended family.
Gift of Dorothy Koval, 2004-2010.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Robert G. Valentine papers, 1875-1991
This series contains RGV's family correspondence, primarily with his mother, Charlotte Grosvenor Valentine, and his aunt, Elizabeth Light Stevens; correspondence with his wife, Sophie French Valentine; personal correspondence, including that with Robert Bass, Amy Lowell, Winfred Denison, Felix Frankfurter, Learned Hand, and Walter Lippman; personal papers; writings; and journals. Also in this series are RGV's professional papers, including papers related to his instructorship in English at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his banking and railroad work, his work with the Office of Indian Affairs, and his work as an industrial counselor. Obituary notices and biographical material is also included here.
For selected transcriptions of RGV's correspondence and writings, see Series VIII, Transcriptions.
A. Family correspondence, 1875-1916
Early family correspondence is between RGV and his mother's sisters, Elizabeth Light Stevens and Mary Light. Elizabeth in particular helps to care for RGV and their letters contain details about clothing, school, and expenses. RGV's correspondence with his mother, Charlotte Grosvenor Valentine, begins in 1891 when he moves to Boston to attend preparatory school and later, Harvard University. RGV's 1896 letters from Europe to his mother and aunts contain detailed descriptions of his travels in Naples, Gibraltar, Rome, Milan, and Florence. Additional family correspondence discusses the death of RGV's mother in January 1898 and his work with the banking and railroad businesses in 1901 and 1902. 1904 correspondence centers around RGV's engagement and wedding. In 1905, RGV begins to write to his aunts about his political and legislative work, and his 1906 letters describe his work with the Office of Indian Affairs. 1908 correspondence also mentions the presidential election and RGV's impressions of Taft's administration, and 1909 letters discuss his political appointment as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, congratulations for the appointment, and details of his new job. Throughout the family correspondence, there is much discussion about the health of both RGV and Sophie, who suffered from appendicitis, diphtheria, and tonsillitis.
1910-11 correspondence centers around Sophie's pregnancy and the birth of their daughter, and later the health and activities of the baby. Although RGV only briefly mentions controversies within the Indian Office and his resignation in September 1912, he does write about joining the Progressive Party and his work with Robert Bass. There are very few family letters from 1913 to 1916, although letters to Elizabeth discuss his new business as industrial counselor, often enclosing letters and articles for her to read. Correspondence to Mabel Valentine Swinney and her mother Gertrude Valentine in 1915 relate to the estate settlement of RGV's grandfather and father. A few 1916 postcards were written by RGV to his daughter.
B. Correspondence with Sophie French Valentine, 1898-1916
Early letters between Robert Valentine and Sophie French reflect the change of their relationship from cousins to romantic partners. Almost all letters from 1900 to 1904 are purely courtship letters, containing elaborate discussions of emotion, efforts to be together, health concerns, and poetic musings. In 1903 RGV mentions his travels through New England towns while he works for Farmer's Loan and Trust, and his political activities in New York, working against Tammany Hall. December 1904 correspondence discusses upcoming wedding plans and RGV's efforts to find work in Washington D.C. He mentions his first meeting with Theodore Roosevelt in an 8 Dec. 1904 letter.
Throughout their almost twelve year marriage, Robert and Sophie maintained a robust correspondence because they were often apart for health reasons and for Robert's work. The bulk of these letters, sometimes written three or four times a day, discuss the couple's mental and physical health, daily activities, family matters, and after July 1910, the health and activities of their daughter. Highlights include Robert's letters to Sophie as he traveled to the western United States as part of his work with the Office of Indian Affairs from 1906 to 1908, which are filled with descriptive details of Indian reservations, schools, Native American life, living conditions, landscapes, and towns, as well as his views of government bureaucracy. A 16 July 1906 letter is especially descriptive of schools and problems with the reservation system.
Also of interest are RGV's 1912 letters in which he discusses entertaining at his home at 1727 19th St. in Washington, D.C., his worries about expenses, and his efforts to buy the home. There are few letters between 1913 and 1915, when Robert and Sophie live together in Braintree. 1916 letters discuss RGV's growing labor business and the idea of moving to New York City.
C. Personal correspondence, 1888-1927
This subseries contains RGV's correspondence with school friends Eliot Norris Jones, John Gorham Palfrey, Haven Emerson, Elliott Goodwin, Willis Munro, Henry G. Pearson, Edwin G. Merrill, Wirt Howe, and James Sturgis. 1898 letters from Charles E. Norton discuss RGV's poetry and its potential for publication. Personal correspondence with C. C. Stillman, the son of RGV's employer, James Stillman of National City Bank, as well as personal correspondence with Indian Commissioner Francis Leupp and his wife, Ida, are also included. Correspondence with Dr. James Mumford, who RGV revered as a father figure, frequently refers to the health of both Robert and Sophie. An 18 June 1912 letter to Dr. Mumford discusses RGV's politics and his views of Theodore Roosevelt.
Correspondence also includes letters from Theodore Roosevelt to RGV on 8 September 1911 and 27 September 1912, as well as a letter from Acting Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt on 25 July 1913. Correspondence with Robert Bass, Amy Lowell, Winfred Denison, Felix Frankfurter, Learned Hand, and Walter Lippman is organized chronologically in individual subseries.
Major topics include the death of RGV's mother in 1898, engagement and wedding congratulations in 1904, congratulations on RGV's appointment as Commissioner of Indian Affairs in 1909 (see also RGV's professional papers for the bulk of congratulatory letters), and congratulations on the birth of his daughter in 1910. Also included are discussions about RGV's views on Progressive politics and the Indian Affairs Bureau. 1913 correspondence includes reactions from friends about RGV's prospectus for his industrial counseling business. Politics and industrial relations are discussed in 1914 letters from Loring Christie and Eustace Percy, as well as in 1916 correspondence with Harold Laski.
i. General correspondence, 1888-1916
Arranged chronologically. Undated correspondence is filed alphabetically be correspondent.
ii. Robert Bass correspondence and papers, 1895-1912
Correspondence with RGV's school friend Robert Bass discusses ideas for employment and political involvement in 1895, the 1899 death of Bass's father, RGV's engagement and marriage in 1904, and frequent plans to vacation together. Beginning in 1908, photocopies of letters to Bass from RGV (the originals of which are housed at Dartmouth College Library) are included here. Letters discuss progressive politics and controversies in the Office of Indian Affairs. Also included is an invitation to Bass's inauguration as governor of New Hampshire in 1911, a letter announcing Bass's engagement to Edith Bird, and a series of letters in July-September 1912 in which Bass attempts to persuade RGV to leave the Indian Office and join the Progressive Party. Later 1912 correspondence discusses RGV's political work and the aftermath of the election.
iii. Amy Lowell correspondence, 1900-1907
Lowell's early letters mention visits with RGV and her attempts to write poetry, critiques of RGV's poetry, and suggestions for his work. Later letters discuss dinner parties, social engagements, congratulations on RGV's engagement, her attendance at RGV's wedding, and her trip to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. After 1904, many letters are addressed to both Robert and Sophie, discussing plans for visits and trips together. Several letters from Lowell's companion Bessie Seccombe to Robert and Sophie are also in this subseries.
See also Sophie French Valentine's correspondence with Amy Lowell.
iv. Winfred Denison correspondence and papers, ca. 1901-1919
Arranged chronologically and by subject.
RGV's correspondence with Winfred Denison discusses work and social activities, mutual friends, the illness of Denison's mother, travels to Wyoming, congratulations on the birth of RGV's daughter, and details of housekeeping and finances when Denison lived with RGV in Washington, D.C. Also discussed are suggestions for RGV's January 1913 prospectus on industrial counseling and Denison's decision to accept a political position as Secretary of the Interior for the U.S. Philippine Islands. Denison's letters to Robert and Sophie contain detailed descriptions of Manila and the Philippines, and include copies of letters to his grandmother, "Na," that chronicle his travels, work, and health as well as Filipino customs and society. The bulk of their 1913 correspondence discusses RGV's new industrial relations career.
A series of papers relate to 2106 R St., a Washington, D.C. house jointly purchased by Denison and RGV in November 1913. Letters discuss the house, efforts to sell the property, repairs and improvements, taxes, rental agreements, tenants, and property managers. Some correspondence continues with Sophie after RGV's death.
Also included in Denison's papers is third party correspondence, including correspondence between Bass and Denison regarding RGV, letters related to a 1912 controversy about Denison's speeches as Assistant U. S. Attorney General, writings about his time in the Philippines, copies of official Philippine correspondence, and copies of 1914-1915 letters from Theodore Roosevelt to Denison regarding Philippine policies and independence.
See also Sophie French Valentine's correspondence with Winfred Denison.
v. Felix Frankfurter correspondence and papers, 1912-1927
The bulk of correspondence between Felix Frankfurter and RGV dates from 1912 to 1913, with warm and witty banter and frequent mention of their plans for "the Universe." Letters discuss household finances, RGV's resignation as commissioner of Indian Affairs, the Progressive Party campaign of 1912, including a "Tentative Social Program submitted by Felix Frankfurter and Robert G. Valentine," and suggestions for RGV's prospectus for his industrial counseling business. Frankfurter's letters mention opinions about RGV's work from Theodore Roosevelt, Louis Brandeis, and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Frankfurter's papers also contain third party correspondence that he presumably sent to RGV or SFV, including letters of Charles Sumner Bird, Ellery Sedgwick, Learned Hand, Eustace Percy, Ordway Tead, and Richard B. Gregg. Also here is Frankfurter's ca. 1913 paper discussing his plans for his career, his paper, "The Election of 1916," sympathy notes written to him on the death of RGV in November 1916, letters related to RGV's memorial service at Faneuil Hall in January 1917, and his memorial of RGV in the Harvard Bulletin. Papers after 1917 primarily relate to labor relations or RGV's career.
See also Sophie French Valentine's correspondence with Felix Frankfurter.
vi. Learned Hand correspondence, 1912-1915
This subseries contains copies of correspondence between RGV and Learned Hand now housed at Harvard Law Library, related to Hand's opinion of RGV's labor relations prospectus and his ideas for the business. It includes only a few original letters.
vii. Walter Lippmann correspondence, 1914-1916
This subseries contains copies of correspondence between RGV and Lippman, the originals of which are at Yale University Library. Letters discuss The Republic and the "Indian question," Theodore Roosevelt, industrial relations, and Lippmann's social activities with Robert and Sophie.
See also Sophie French Valentine's correspondence with Walter Lippmann.
D. Personal papers, 1892-1917
Arranged chronologically and by record type.
RGV's personal papers contain notes and papers from his classes at Harvard University, and typed and handwritten manuscript copies of Charles D. Horner's "Diary of a Trip in Arizona," which chronicles his trip with Robert and Sophie through northern Arizona in July 1907. Miscellaneous papers include notes, sketches, quotations, high school report cards, records of RGV's Harvard preliminary exams, a 1903 election day Watcher's Certificate from the Citizen's Union of New York City, a list of addresses for wedding invitees, and undated schedules, lists of books, and calling cards.
E. Writings, circa 1890-1916
The bulk of RGV's writings are drafts of poems written from 1898 to 1904. Other writings include essays, story fragments, and copies of inspirational quotations.
i. Essays, circa 1890-circa 1903
Included here are school essays, a circa 1903 draft of a book of essays entitled "Work and Poetry," and various undated essays.
ii. Poetry, 1894-1916
Titled poetry, largely undated, is arranged alphabetically. Untitled poetry is arranged by date when known.
Most of RGV's poetry was written from 1894 to 1904, during college and his courtship of SFV, and consists of romantic verse. A few political and patriotic poems date from 1912 to 1916. Poems with several versions or drafts are housed together, and often include RGV's annotations. Also here are photocopies of a set of poems sent to Eliot Jones, returned to RGV's daughter after Jones's death.
See also Robert G. Valentine - Amy Lowell correspondence for critiques of RGV's poetry.
iii. Miscellaneous writings, circa 1902
Included here are story fragments, reminiscences, descriptions, some notes on English composition, and lists of principles and ideas.
iv. Copies of poems and quotations, undated
This subseries includes copies of quotes and verse by authors other than RGV, presumably used as background or inspiration for his writing.
F. Notebooks and journals, 1886-1910
RGV's 1886 journals chronicle a family trip to Washington, D.C. and Virginia. His 1892 "commonplace book" includes quotes, a few diary entries, designs for a stable, notes on horses, sketches of ships and rigging, and lists of books to read for Harvard classes. His 1899 "commonplace book" contains quotations, newspaper clippings, poetry, some correspondence, and a few diary entries.
RGV often refers to his "green-leaved books" in his letters to SFV. They contain journal entries, poetry drafts, and quotations. RGV's journal pages have been torn from volumes written in Holliston and Braintree (1901), and in Washington, D.C. (1910).
G. Professional papers, 1898-1917
This series contains RGV's papers related to his work as an English instructor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his work in the banking and railroad industries under James Stillman, his service at the Office of Indian Affairs, and his work in the field of industrial relations.
i. MIT papers, 1898-1904
RGV taught in the English department of Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1896 to 1902, developing an innovative writing program to help engineering students learn to write reflective essays and effective peer-review comments on scientific papers. This subseries includes letters to parents of students, letters to department head Arlo Bates about RGV's employment, and Bates's letter of recommendation. Other papers include RGV's lecture notes for his English composition classes and a book draft based on his lectures.
ii. Banking papers, 1899-1904
Papers include correspondence with RGV's employers James Stillman and Edwin Marston, RGV's research on the railroad system, notes of introduction, a request for a leave of absence because of his heath, and his 1904 resignation.
iii. Office of Indian Affairs papers, 1906-1914
Arranged chronologically and by record type.
Papers include reports to Commissioner Francis Leupp about reservations in Minnesota and South Dakota (1906); correspondence between RGV and Leupp regarding issues within the Indian office, a 1908 draft article about the reorganization of the Indian Office; retained copies of official correspondence; congratulatory correspondence upon his appointment to the office of commissioner in June 1909 and retained copies of his replies; correspondence related to the Mohonk Conference; RSVPs to the Presidential Reception hosted by RGV; and correspondence with the 1912 Senate Appropriations Committee and the Committee on Indian Affairs. Papers related to the issuance of Circular 601, which forbid employees of Indian schools to wear religious garb, include a report defending the circular, background information, and recommendations for the policy. Also included is correspondence related to RGV's resignation; his statement to the Associated Press; correspondence with Secretary of the Interior Walter Fisher; and correspondence with potential successors.
Separately filed within this subseries are photocopied documents, the originals of which are not held by MHS. These photocopies, collected in the early 1990s by RGV's daughter, Charlotte Taylor, include records from Harvard University, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, and the Library of Congress. Included are orders and memos signed by RGV and correspondence related to the Office of Indian Affairs during RGV's tenure.
See Charlotte Valentine Taylor papers related to RGV research.
iv. Industrial counseling papers, 1913-1917
Papers related to RGV's industrial counseling business include correspondence, administrative records, industrial audits and reports, speeches, articles, and datebooks. Correspondence includes a few letters from Frederick W. Taylor, considered to be the father of scientific management; Ethel Best, who researched New York labor unions for RGV; employers; and labor leaders. 1916-1917 correspondence includes that of his consulting firm after his death, including a January 1917 letter from Robert Bass to Felix Frankfurter as the two tried to continue RGV's work. Administrative records include a January 1913 prospectus for RGV's industrial counseling business, marketing and advertising material, industrial audit cards, checklists, and a job analyst's instruction card. Also included are Valentine, Tead, and Gregg records including the firm's May 1916 contract and a variety of marketing material.
Drafts of speeches and articles include technical reports on wage boards, community efficiency, wage and price studies, and uniform labor standards, as well as introductions to the field of industrial counseling written for the general public. Included in RGV's industrial counseling work product are reports and papers related to industrial audits at the Lewis Manufacturing Co, the Plimpton Press, Dennison Manufacturing Co., Aero Waist Co., and the Boott Mill in Lowell, Mass. Also in this subseries is a work analysis for the waist and shirt industry, papers related to the Massachusetts Committee on Unemployment, and reports on various union disputes and strikes. RGV's 1914 and 1916 datebooks contain appointments, addresses, and telephone numbers.
H. Memorials and biographical material, 1916-1991
Included in this series is the wallet RGV carried at the time of his death and its contents, including a photo of Sophie, poetry fragments, several notes in SFV's hand, as well as grief-filled letters from Sophie dated 16 November 1916 and 30 December 1917 which she inserted after RGV's death.
Also included are papers related to RGV's funeral and his 7 January 1917 memorial service at Faneuil Hall; and unpublished drafts of a book of memorial essays edited by Henry Kendall and Felix Frankfurter. Memorials by Frankfurter, Elizabeth Stevens, and Eliot Jones, as well as later published biographies, are also included here.
II. Sophie French Valentine papers, 1883-circa 1953
The papers of Sophie French Valentine, the wife of Robert G. Valentine, contain: family correspondence; personal correspondence, including letters from Winfred Denison, Amy Lowell, and Felix Frankfurter; personal papers; financial and legal records; papers related to Thayer Academy in Braintree; papers related to a school in Peterborough, New Hampshire that Charlotte attended from 1917-1920; and other notes and memos. Also in her papers are a series of diaries that chronicle her courtship with RGV, the birth and infancy of her daughter; and her social life in Washington, D.C. when her husband served as Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
For selected transcriptions of SFV's correspondence and diaries, see Series VIII, Transcriptions.
A. Family correspondence, 1892-circa 1950
Arranged chronologically, with undated correspondence arranged alphabetically by correspondent.
This subseries consists primarily of correspondence between Sophie and her sisters, Harriett French Mixter and Emelyn French Sewall; her cousin and aunt-by-marriage Elizabeth Light Stevens; and her daughter Charlotte Valentine. There is no correspondence between Sophie and her mother, Sophia Palmer French, who died in 1891, and very little with her father, Asa French, or her brother, Asa Palmer French. Letters from her sister Harriet, who serves as Sophie's confidant throughout their lives, are both addressed to and signed as "Ursula," or to "My U" from "Your U." Their correspondence is full of family news and gossip; reports of their health and the health of family and friends; and the activities of daily life.
Correspondence with Elizabeth Light Stevens begins regularly in 1905 and discusses health and daily life, as well as the personal and professional activities of RGV. After 1910, letters center around the birth, upbringing, health, and education of Robert and Sophie's daughter. Sophie's letters from her sister Emelyn ("Emma") are usually addressed "to S " and signed "from E." There are few letters from Emma until 1922, when she corresponds regularly during her month-long trip to Europe and the Near East. In 1933, Sophie and Emma again correspond regularly regarding the declining mental health of their brother, Asa P. French, and necessary arrangements for his care.
Sophie's correspondence with her daughter Charlotte (named Sophia until 1919) begins in 1918 when her daughter is away for long periods of time at school, at camp, or living with Elizabeth Stevens while Sophie is in California. From 1922-1924 Charlotte writes frequently from Sea Pines in Brewster about her school work and daily activities. In 1935, Charlotte visited Europe and corresponds with her mother about her travels and sightseeing. A few circa 1949-1950 letters reveal a strained relationship between mother and daughter as Sophie resists Charlotte's efforts to help her in later years.
Other frequent correspondents include Sophie's cousins Cornelia Anne French of Boston; Mary French Bond, who addresses her letters to "Sonia" and signs them "Marie;" Harry French from Little Compton, Rhode Island; and Elizabeth French Cole of Providence.
For correspondence between SFV and RGV, see Robert G. Valentine's papers.
B. Personal correspondence, 1892-circa 1953
i. General correspondence, 1892-circa 1953
Sophie's personal correspondence includes letters from Emma D. Thompson; Anna Boynton Thompson, a history and English teacher at Thayer Academy; Dr. James Mumford, RGV's doctor and family friend; Ida Leupp, the wife of Indian Commissioner Francis Leupp; and Theodora Jones, the wife of RGV's friend Eliot Norton Jones.
Many of her 1904 letters are from RGV's friends concerning her engagement and subsequent marriage. Later correspondence includes Washington social invitations; letters of congratulations on RGV's promotions; advice and recommendations on medical issues; and congratulations on her pregnancy and birth of her daughter. There are many letters from RGV's friends and co-workers after his death in November 1916, including handwritten notes from Louis Brandeis (15 Nov. 1916) and Theodore Roosevelt (16 Nov. 1916). After 1916, the majority of letters relate to RGV's death and his legacy, including a large amount of correspondence from Harold Laski, Walter Lippman, and RGV's business partner Ordway Tead. 1920s correspondence relates to Sophie's move to Brookline with her sister Emma, her move to Pasadena and Santa Barbara in 1924 at the suggestion of Ida Leupp and her family, and the sale of 1727 19th St. (the "House of Truth") in 1925. Letters from the 1930s primarily relate to Charlotte's health and schooling, including correspondence with Frank W. Grinnell. The series contains very few letters dated after 1940.
ii. Correspondence with Winfred Denison, 1904-1919
Correspondence between Sophie and Winfred Denison begins with 1904 letters regarding Sophie's engagement and marriage to RGV and continues until Denison's suicide in 1919. Early correspondence includes notes related to gifts, visits, and Denison's friendship with RGV. A large number of letters date from 1913 when Denison lived in Washington, D.C. at the "House of Truth" and in 1914 when he lived in Manila in his position as Secretary of the Interior of the Philippine Islands. 1917 letters relate to the immediate aftermath of RGV's death and Denison's concern for Sophie and her daughter who was also Denison's god-child. Letters also refer to the R St. house in Washington, D.C. that Denison co-owned with Sophie, as well as to Denison's growing depression.
See also Robert G. Valentine-Winfred Denison correspondence and papers.
iii. Correspondence with Amy Lowell, 1904-1924
Correspondence includes congratulatory letters for Sophie's 1904 engagement and wedding, letters concerning past and future visits, an unsent letter to Lowell about her friend Bessie Seccombe, and several letters from Bessie Seccombe to Sophie. Correspondence dates from 1904 to 1909, with one 1924 letter draft from Sophie to Lowell expressing her regret that they had lost touch after RGV's death.
See also Robert G. Valentine - Amy Lowell correspondence
iv. Correspondence with Felix Frankfurter, 1911-1936
Early correspondence between Sophie and Felix Frankfurter relates to RGV's work, activities, and health when Sophie is in Braintree and Felix and RGV are in Washington, D.C. Letters immediately after RGV's death discuss carrying on his mission, the well-being of Sophie and her daughter, and their mutual grief. Also included here are photocopies of Sophie's letters to Frankfurter from the Felix Frankfurter papers at Harvard Law School Library. Much correspondence dates from the two years after RGV's death, in which Frankfurter discusses his own career, reminisces about RGV and the labor field, and helps Sophie with business advice. Frankfurter wrote many letters from 1727 19th St. and frequently mentions memories of better times at the "House of Truth." There are only a few letters dated after 1919, usually containing enclosures related to RGV as well as a 1936 letter congratulating Sophie on her daughter's marriage.
See also Robert G. Valentine - Felix Frankfurter correspondence and papers.
v. Calling cards, undated
Included are visitors' calling cards that Sophie saved, primarily from Boston and Washington, D.C.
C. Personal papers, 1883-1950
General papers, 1902-1950
Papers include writings, notes on philosophy and literature, extracts from readings, a copy of a poem Sophie discovered in her father's desk soon after his death, financial notes and receipts, address lists of friends and RGV's co-workers in Washington in about 1909, lists of potential baby names, biographical notes on RGV written for the Encyclopedia of Biography about 1917, a 1917 list of books in RGV's Boston office, a few papers related to RGV's estate settlement, insurance papers, papers related to the estate and finances of her sister, Emelyn Sewell, and undated genealogical notes.
ii. Papers related to Thayer Academy, 1883-circa 1930
Judge Asa French was chairman of the Board of Trustees of Thayer Academy, and many Light and French family members attended the Braintree school. This subseries includes Sophie's reminiscences of Mary Light during her years at Thayer Academy, discussing headmaster J. B. Sewall, teacher Anna Boynton Thompson, and Mary's friendship with Sophie's sister, Harriet. Also included is a circa 1930 letter from Sophie to the headmaster of Thayer Academy about 1930 that contains a biographical sketch of Gen. Sylvanus Thayer.
iii. Papers related to Peterborough, New Hampshire school, 1916-1921
From 1917 to 1920, Sophie's daughter attended a summer school in Peterborough, New Hampshire run by Joan Bird Shaw, Robert Bass's sister-in-law, Edith Bird Bass. Sophie rented a home for the summer near the school, and recruited potential students to board with her and her daughter. Papers in this subseries include newspaper articles about the school; correspondence, the bulk from parents of potential boarding students; advertisements and circulars for the school; a few photographs; and a 1920 report on her daughter's academic progress.
iv. Inventory of books at 1727 19th St., 1925
Sophie compiled this list of books in preparation for the sale of the Washington, D.C. house known as the "House of Truth."
v. Notes and memos, undated
Notes include biographical material about RGV, poems, lists, notes on readings, address lists, some financial accounts, and a few sketches.
D. Volumes, 1903-1936
Sophie's 1903 diary contains almost daily entries from January through May, with few entries thereafter. Written in Braintree, subjects include her courtship with RGV, weather, daily activities, her health, and the health of RGV and her family.
This volume is entitled, "Being the account of the Daily Expenses of B[ig] and L[ittle] Dee 1905." The entries span June through August.
Sophie's 1910 diary primarily relates to the birth and infancy of her daughter in Boston and Washington, D.C.
This diary chronicles Sophie's social life and daily activities in Washington, D.C. during several of the years in which RGV served as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Entries are sparse.
This volume contains only several entries consisting of appointments and addresses.
Written on the verso of a book of printed receipts, this volume contains word definitions, quotations, and other memos.
Written in part of one of RGV's small notebooks, this volume contains several pages of garden notes in Sophie's hand.
III. Light family papers, 1831-1927
This series contains the papers of Boston publisher George W. Light and his children George E. Light; Edward P. Light; Elizabeth Light Stevens; Charlotte Light Valentine, the mother of RGV; and Mary F. Light. The bulk of papers are those of Elizabeth Light Stevens, who served as a surrogate mother to RGV after Charlotte's death in 1898, and a grandmother to RGV's daughter. Included are family and personal correspondence, school essays and papers, poetry, writings, diaries, and memo books.
A. Family correspondence, circa 1855-1925
Early family correspondence is primarily between the three Light sisters, Elizabeth ("Lizzie"), Charlotte ("Lottie") and Mary, largely written by Elizabeth. After their father remarried in 1853, the children lived with relatives and were often away at boarding schools, and they wrote about school issues, family activities, and daily life.
Also in this subseries are the Civil War letters of Edward P. Light, who served in the First Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry. Included are letters of July 1863 from Snicker's Gap, Virginia, and May 1864 on the U.S.S. Onondaga, a two-turreted ironclad ship at "Aiken's Landing" in James River, Virginia.
New York lighting merchant George E. Light's letters to his sister Mary include observations and reflections about the Civil War as well as descriptions of life in New York City in the 1860s and 1870s. His 15 July 1863 letter contains a description of soldiers preparing to depart New York City for the war, and his 5 May 1865 letter discusses Lincoln's assassination and the displays of mourning in New York City. In 1866, he sends descriptive letters from Georgia describing the aftermath of the war.
Some of Elizabeth's letters in 1876 and 1877 discuss the relationship of Charlotte and her husband, Charles Valentine, the parents of RGV. Several in July and August of 1876 from Charlotte to Charles concern their separation and financial affairs. Later family correspondence is largely between Elizabeth and Mary, discussing daily events, family activities, their health, and the health of their aunts, Caroline and Martha Palmer. A small amount of correspondence with other Light family relatives is also in this series.
B. George W. Light papers, 1831-1856
This subseries includes an 1831 printed editor's note from the first issue of The Essayist, a monthly magazine printed and edited by Light, with a handwritten draft of a poem on the verso. Also included are receipts for publications, Light's 1836 certificate of election to the Boston School Committee, handwritten advertisements for publication, and several undated manuscript drafts of poems.
See also Printed Material-George W. Light for published versions of his poetry.
C. George E. Light papers, 1851-1867
Arranged chronologically and by record type.
This subseries contains George's compositions from Cambridge High School, primarily historical essays, biographical sketches, and copies of speeches. Family reminiscences include his October 1852 "About Mother" discussing his mother's illness and death from breast cancer, and his vivid 1867 "Recollections of Brother Edward," about his brother's injury at the Battle of the Wilderness, his hospitalization, and death in July 1864.
See also Printed Material-George E. Light for circulars and advertisements related to his New York lighting business.
D. Elizabeth Light Stevens papers, 1858-1927
The papers of Elizabeth Stevens consist of personal correspondence, school notes and compositions, poems, and diaries. Many of the records in this subseries were part of a group that Elizabeth labeled "a few schoolgirl compositions, also old letters - which may be, anytime, destroyed but which I do not, now, feel like destroying."
For Elizabeth's correspondence with Robert and Sophie Valentine, see Robert G. Valentine - Family correspondence and Sophie French Valentine - Family correspondence. For her correspondence with Robert and Sophie's daughter, Charlotte, see Charlotte Valentine Taylor - Family correspondence.
i. Correspondence, 1871-1925
Arranged chronologically and by correspondent.
Elizabeth's correspondence includes letters from her childhood friend Susan P. Battelle ("Susie") as she tours Italy, France, Germany and Great Britain in 1898 and again in 1905-1906. Mattie Perley, wife of Lieut. Col. Harry O. Perley, writes to Elizabeth from the Pacific Islands in 1907-1908, in the Philippine Islands in 1908, and from Levinworth, Kansas in 1912, where her husband was stationed in the U. S Army as chief surgeon.
Also included are an 1886 letter from Phillips Brooks agreeing to officiate her wedding, and letters from Elizabeth's sister-in-law Carrie and Carrie's daughter, Isabel Wesson. Other correspondents include Endora Atkinson, Mattie Bowen Guy, Grace Treadwell, Clara Ramsom, Wallace Mather, step-brother George A. Rogers, John D. Eliot, Dr. James Mumford, and Emily Dexter. Correspondents also include several of RGV's friends, including John Gorham Palfrey, Alfred Borden, and Willis Munro.
Many of the letters retained by Elizabeth Stevens specifically mention RGV and his work, and may have been saved for this reason. This includes numerous letters from November and December 1916 related to RGV's death.
A large portion of correspondence consists of the letters of Martha ("Mattie") Parker Winkley Suter, the wife of Gen. Charles Russell Suter. Writing from Roxbury, New York and New York City, her letters discuss her health and the health of Elizabeth and their families, mutual acquaintances, daily activities, plans to visit, her travels, current events, and literature.
ii. Personal papers, 1858-1927
Arranged chronologically and by subject.
Papers include school compositions about science, history, education, and language from Girls High School (1858-1861); 1903 and 1911 financial inventories; a membership certificate to the Port Royal Club; and undated riddles, "tea tests," poems, quotations, and genealogical notes. The poems of Charles Sprague, a friend of Elizabeth's husband, William B. Stevens, were kept together and labeled as such in an envelope. Also in the subseries are Elizabeth's notes from the 1902-1903 composition class taught by RGV at MIT, as well as poems and letters related to the death of RGV copied by Elizabeth from the originals in 1916-1920.
iii. Volumes, circa 1860-1920
Volumes include a poetry copybook and two diaries. Elizabeth's 1886 diary covers 20 February to 4 July and chronicles her courtship with William B. Stevens as well as daily activities, quotations, observations on readings and art, and trips to Holliston to visit her sister Charlotte and nephew Robert (RGV). Her 1916-1920 diary is a five-year, line-a-day diary that notes daily activities, visitors, activities of family members, and correspondence. It also mentions the death of RGV and its aftermath in Nov. 1916.
See also Transcriptions - Elizabeth Light Stevens diaries, the originals of which are now housed at Schlesinger Library, Harvard University.
E. Charlotte Light Valentine papers, 1858-1897
The papers of Charlotte Light Valentine, the mother of RGV, include personal correspondence; school essays, study notes, and notebooks; her 1872 wedding certificate; and memo books.
For Charlotte's correspondence with her son, see Robert G. Valentine-Family correspondence.
i. Correspondence, 1863-1897
Included is correspondence with school friends (1863-1866), Mattie Bowen Guy (1882-1884), and friends of her son, including Willis Munro, Eliot Norris Jones, Theodore Abbott, and Herbert Vaughan Abbott.
ii. Personal papers, 1858-1889
The bulk of personal papers are school essays and study notes from Bowdoin School in Boston (1858), Franklin School (1859), Girls High School of Boston (1860-1863), and Miss Haines School in Gramercy Park, New York (1864-1865). Also included is Charlotte's 1872 wedding certificate and a few other miscellaneous papers.
iii. Volumes, 1861-1889
Volumes include a notebook of French and poetry studies compiled at Girls High School and a series of school notebooks from Miss Haines School, including notes on lectures, poetry, composition, and English history. Several of the copybooks contain passages recorded after her graduation. Charlotte's miniature memo books contain poems, receipts, birthdays, and addresses.
F. Mary Foster Light papers, 1879-1922
Included in Mary's papers are letters from Susan Battelle and other friends, as well as genealogical correspondence. Papers from the English composition class taught by RGV at MIT contain both her extensive handwritten notes and the handouts created by RGV. Mary's diary contains line-a-day entries for the years 1907, 1908, 1914, 1915, and 1916, in which she describes daily activities, her health, the health of her sister Elizabeth and her aunts Caroline and Martha, and in later years, the weather. She also discusses the sudden death of RGV.
IV. French family papers, 1805-1938
This series contains the papers of Asa French, the great-grandfather of Sophie French Valentine; SFV's father, Judge Asa French; and her sister Emelyn French Sewall. Also here are a few papers of Sophie's cousins Jonathan French and Caroline L. W. French, as well as those of her siblings Harriet French Mixter and Asa Palmer French. Included is family and personal correspondence; personal papers; deeds, wills, and other legal documents; financial records; and genealogical papers.
A. Family correspondence, 1844-1936
This subseries includes letters from Sarah Hayward French of Braintree to her son Asa French (1829-1903) while he was at Leicester Academy and at Yale University from 1844 to 1851, discussing his studies, daily life in Braintree, family news, and building the railroad in 1847. A few letters were written by Asa to his parents and grandfather. Also included are three 1855 letters from Asa's cousin Jonathan French to his daughter Caroline L. W. French when she attended Miss Haines School in Gramercy Park, New York; three letters (1870-1871) from Asa to his wife, Sophia Palmer French; several 1873 letters from Jonathan French to Caroline at Clifton Springs Sanitarium in Ontario Co., New York; and a large series of descriptive letters (1909-1910) from Emma French Sewall to Caroline describing her honeymoon trip to England, France, Italy, and Egypt.
B. Asa French (1775-1851) papers, 1805-1836
The bulk of Asa French's papers are deeds and land surveys related to land that he owned, or papers that he acquired in his capacity as justice of the peace. Also here is an 1831 pew deed for First Parish Church in Braintree.
C. Asa French (1829-1903) papers, circa 1842-1902
The papers of Asa French, father of Sophie French Valentine, contain personal correspondence, school essays, personal papers, a draft of an 1864 political speech, papers related to the construction of the Thayer Library in Braintree, and professional papers including his 1880-1882 district attorney docket.
See also Printed Material-Asa French.
i. Correspondence, 1845-1902
Correspondence includes letters written to Asa when he attended Leicester Academy (1845); correspondence with historian George W. Cullum about General Sylvanus Thayer's career at West Point; some genealogical correspondence; letters from J. B. Sewall, Anna Boynton Thompson, and others affiliated with Thayer Academy; and letters from legal colleagues.
ii. Personal papers, circa 1842-1902
Arranged chronologically and by subject.
Papers include topical essays and copies of speeches and plays written at Leicester Academy (1842-1846) and an 1864 speech to a Republican political assembly which French refers to as the "People's Convention." Also in this subseries are papers related to Asa's role as chair of the committee to construct a public library in Braintree with the donation of General Sylvanus Thayer in 1870. It contains a copy of the Braintree town meeting warrant establishing the library; correspondence and a contract between Thayer and the town; and letters between French and Thayer regarding Thayer's donation. Other papers include various deeds and estate settlements from French's legal practice and a letter from the U.S. State Department acknowledging that French will hold copies of the 152 volumes of Alabama Claims Commission requests for public use.
iii. District attorney docket, February 1880-June 1882
This private docket for Plymouth County Superior Court contains records of legal cases that French tried, listed by month and docket number including the name of the defendant, offense, plea, result, and sentence. Many cases are related to liquor, assault, adultery, or larceny.
D. Emelyn French Sewall papers, 1897-1938
The papers of Emelyn ("Emma") French Sewall, the sister of SFV, contain personal correspondence; papers related to the Bar Harbor property she inherited from her cousin Caroline French; papers related to the care of her brother, Asa P. French; copies of her will and power of attorney; financial records; and a diary.
i. Correspondence, 1903-1928
Included are letters from Anna Boynton Thompson; James Dole, the nephew of Emma's husband J. B. Sewall; and other friends and acquaintances.
ii. Personal papers, 1897-1938
Arranged chronologically by subject.
Included are Bar Harbor property papers, which relate to the house and property in Maine that Emma inherited from her second cousin Caroline L. W. French. Emma bequeathed the property to her niece, Charlotte Valentine Taylor. Papers include a set of 1897-1898 deeds to Caroline French and receipts for home improvements, insurance, and taxes.
Legal documents include copies of Emma's will (1924, 1934, and 1936), a power of attorney, a 1937 handwritten codicil and a July 1938 estate probate record. Financial records include lists of securities, receipts, and correspondence related to Emma's finances. Her line-a-day diary lists daily activities, expenses, and visitors.
In 1933 Emma's brother, Asa Palmer French, a former U. S. District Attorney and president of Thayer Academy, became mentally incapacitated. Emma and Asa's son Jonathan assumed responsibility for his care until a legal guardian was appointed for him. Papers related to Asa P. French include correspondence related to his financial support, including donations from his former legal colleagues, and receipts and expenses for his care at Wiswell Sanitarium in Wellesley.
E. Genealogical papers, 1883-circa 1940
Papers include a handwritten bound volume compiled by Caroline L. W. French containing genealogical records of John French of Dorchester (d. 1692) and his descendants, with copies of records from the Braintree town clerk's office that mention the family. The volume also contains biographical essays about her father, Jonathan French; mother, Hannah Weld Williams; and brother, Aaron Davis Weld French (1835-1896), who traveled to Japan and China in the 1860s, established a Boston Commission House as an agent of the Chinese, and served in several diplomatic capacities for the Japanese government. Other genealogical papers include a history of the French family and their homestead in Braintree, and a genealogical chart.
F. Miscellaneous papers, 1843-1932
Included in this subseries are poems written in 1874 in celebration of the 50th wedding anniversary of Jonathan French and Susan Hayward French, the parents of Asa French. Also included is correspondence related to the death of an unknown relative; Caroline French's poetry copybook; a 1908 letter to Asa Palmer French from Theodore Roosevelt thanking him for his support; and the 1917 and 1932 wills of Harriett French Mixter.
V. Palmer family papers, 1824-1941
The Palmer family papers are largely the papers of sisters Carolyn and Martha Palmer. They are related to both the French and Light family through marriage - their sister Sophia Palmer married Asa French and their sister Elizabeth Caldwell Palmer married George W. Light - and are known by RGV and Elizabeth Light Stevens as "the Aunties." Their papers include family and personal correspondence, diaries, deeds, and genealogical records of the Palmer and Caldwell families.
A. Family correspondence, 1887-1895
The bulk of correspondence was written by Martha Palmer to her sister Caroline when she was traveling in Europe in 1895.
See also Martha Palmer's 1880-1895 diary which chronicles the same trip.
For correspondence between Caroline and Martha Palmer and their great-nephew RGV, see Robert G. Valentine-Family correspondence.
B. Martha Palmer papers, 1875-1918
Arranged chronologically and by record type.
Correspondence includes an 1887 letter from Phillips Brooks, letters from friends and acquaintances, and a series of 1887 letters from Martha to Edith Pope describing her trip to England, Germany, Switzerland, and France. Martha's 1887 diary includes a description of the same trip, which she took with her sister Caroline and Mary Light, as well as her activities during the rest of the year. Her 1880-1895 diary contains chronicles of two European trips, one from December 1880 to May 1881, in which she visited England, France, Italy, and Switzerland; and a visit to England and Germany from April to November of 1895.
C. Caroline Palmer papers, 1891-1908
Arranged chronologically and by record type.
Caroline Palmer's papers include an 1891 letter from Phillips Brooks thanking her for her congratulations on his elevation to the bishopric. A five year, line-a-day diary contains observations on the weather, daily activities, Caroline's health and the health of her family, and letters and visitors received.
D. Miscellaneous papers, 1824-1941
This subseries contains Ezra Palmer's 1872 Master Mason certificate. Also here are some deeds and genealogical information about the related Caldwell family. Genealogical papers include the will and probate record of Thomas Caldwell (1751-1824), the grandfather of Caroline and Martha Palmer; a volume of genealogical charts; correspondence; and other genealogical notes.
VI. Charlotte Taylor Valentine papers, 1848-1996
This series contains the papers of Charlotte Valentine Taylor, the daughter of Robert and Sophie Valentine. Born Sophia French Valentine, her mother changed her name in 1919 to Charlotte Grosvenor Valentine in honor of RGV's mother. Charlotte's papers contain large gaps. Early papers date from 1910 to 1936 and include family correspondence, personal correspondence, schoolwork, drawings, and poetry. Papers related to her research into her father's work date from 1976 to 1996, and include correspondence with authors, historians, universities, and archival repositories. Several genealogical records are also included in this subseries.
A. Family correspondence, 1921-1933
The bulk of family correspondence consists of letters to Charlotte from her great-aunt, Elizabeth Light Stevens, from 1924 to 1926 when Charlotte and her mother lived in California. The subseries also includes Charlotte's letters to her aunt and uncle, Harriett and Charles Mixter, and other relatives.
For letters between SFV and her daughter, Charlotte, see Sophie French Valentine- Family correspondence.
B. Personal correspondence, 1910-1936
This subseries contains several 1916-1917 telegrams from "Mr. Fix" (Felix Frankfurter), childhood and young adult correspondence with friends including Elizabeth Anderson, Leslie Grinnell, and Evan James, and a series of 1929 debut cards, originally attached to flowers. Also here is a letter awarding Charlotte the Ann-Radcliffe scholarship in 1935.
C. Personal papers, 1918-1934
Included are childhood poems, drawings, compositions, and schoolwork, 1918-1923, and a 1934 college philosophy essay.
D. Valentine family genealogical papers, 1848-1956
This subseries includes a copy of the 1848 will of Charles Valentine, grandfather of RGV, a 1956 letter concerning the Valentine coat of arms, and other genealogical notes.
E. Papers related to RGV research, 1976-1996
Arranged chronologically and alphabetically by correspondent.
Papers include 1976-1977 correspondence with Diane Putney of Marquette University about RGV's position as Commissioner of Indian Affairs; 1981-1983 correspondence with Frederick Allis about writing a biography of RGV; and 1990-1991 correspondence with Charles D. Wrege of Rutgers University and Historian and Archivist of the Academy of Management, who researched and wrote about RGV's role in labor relations.
Charlotte herself gathered many Indian and labor papers in 1990-1992, and corresponded with universities, the Library of Congress, and historical societies that held RGV correspondence. Included is Charlotte's correspondence with the institutions, her notes, and lists of the papers held by them. Charlotte's niece Dorothy Koval transcribed, organized, and gathered background material about the collection in order to create a documentary edition of RGV's papers. She corresponded with Charlotte about the project from 1991 to 1996.
VII. Unrelated or unidentified papers, 1816-1921
Arranged chronologically and by author.
This series includes an 1816 estate settlement of Philip Lord of Ipswich, and various writings and memos of unidentified twentieth century individuals.
Also included are the 1849-1850 letters from "Fanny" in Morganton, N.C. to her mother and sister in Lewiston, Maine. They discuss daily life in the south from a northerner's perspective, including food, schooling, entertainment, and observations of slaves and plantation life. These may be the letters of the first wife of Jotham B. Sewell, who later married Emelyn French, sister of Sophie French Valentine.
VIII. Transcriptions, 1893-1931
Selections of RGV's correspondence and writings were transcribed from 1991 to 1996 by Charlotte Valentine Taylor's niece Dorothy Koval as part of her work on a documentary edition of RGV papers. While some transcriptions are in draft form, many contain additional notes and annotations. Dates are occasionally supplied based on circumstantial evidence. Transcriptions also include some correspondence that is not within this collection, such as correspondence written by or concerning RGV that is held by other repositories. In instances where the location of the original has not been identified, transcriptions have been filed separately.
The bulk of the transcriptions consist of RGV's family correspondence, including his correspondence with Sophie French Valentine (largely during their courtship years) and his aunt Elizabeth Light Stevens. A small amount of personal and professional correspondence has also been transcribed, as have some of RGV's writings and poetry, a few of Sophie French Valentine's letters and diary excerpts, and excerpts from Elizabeth Light Stevens's diaries and "memorandum of life events," the originals of which are held by the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University.
Originals at Schlesinger Library.
Original at Schlesinger Library.
IX. Printed material, 1836-1984
This series contains printed material that is related to the personal and professional life of Robert G. Valentine, and well as material related to other members of the Valentine, Light, French, and Palmer families that are part of this collection. Material includes programs, tickets, invitations, playbills, advertising, and other ephemera; scrapbooks; newspaper clippings; printed speeches; journal articles; and government reports.
A. Material related to Robert G. Valentine, 1876-1984
Printed material related to RGV includes scrapbooks and ephemera; speeches and writings written by RGV; printed material related to RGV's careers at the Office of Indian Affairs and the field of industrial counseling; and printed obituaries, memorials, and biographical material.
i. Personal material, 1876-1916
Arranged chronologically and by record type.
Included are Harvard Class Day invitations and programs, Harvard course materials, playbills, musical programs, articles written by and about friends, an anonymous political essay written about 1912, a 1913 receiving card for 1727 19th Street, materials related to the Gridiron Club and the Atlantic Tuna Club and miscellaneous news clippings related to RGV's personal interests and the activities of his friends, particularly Winfred Denison.
Compiled for RGV by his aunt, Elizabeth Light Stevens, this volume contains engravings and magazine illustrations of mythological scenes, children, animals, and foreign views.
This volume consists primarily of play and concert programs, as well as programs and tickets from athletic events from RGV's high school and college years.
This scrapbook contains general interest newspaper clippings, with an index compiled by RGV. A folder of loose material includes a subject index compiled by Charlotte Valentine Taylor.
ii. Speeches and writings, 1894-1917
Arranged chronologically and by record type.
This subseries includes newspaper articles that contain copies of RGV's speeches and writings; printed speeches; journal articles; government and corporate reports; and marketing material written by RGV. The bulk of material is related to RGV's career at the Office of Indian Affairs (1907-1912), but additional material relates to his work at MIT (1899-1902) and his work with industrial counseling (1913-1917).
iii. Material related to the Office of Indian Affairs, 1897-1921
Printed material in this subseries consists primarily of congressional reports about hearings and investigations of the Office of Indian Affairs related to expenditures, appropriations, the White Earth Reservation, and Circular 601, which forbid Indian School staff from wearing religious garb. Other material includes the commissioner's annual reports, histories and sociological reports of Indian tribes and reservations, and various newspaper clippings.
iv. Material related to industrial counseling, 1911-1926
Printed material in this subseries consists primarily of journal articles, congressional and committee reports, and newspaper clippings. After RGV's death in 1916, some material was collected by his widow, Sophie French Valentine, and his aunt Elizabeth Light Stevens.
v. Printed obituaries and biographical material, 1916-1984
Arranged chronologically and by record type.
This subseries includes newspaper and magazine obituaries; newspaper clippings and journal articles discussing RGV's work as an industrial counselor and his legacy to the field; memorials written by Walter Lippmann and Felix Frankfurter; and excerpts from monographs discussing RGV's work as Commissioner of Indian Affairs and as a founder of the field of industrial relations.
See also Robert G. Valentine-Memorials and biographical material.
This is a copy of Putney's doctoral dissertation, in which she discusses Valentine and his predecessor, Francis Leupp. See also Putney's correspondence with Charlotte Valentine Taylor in 1979.
B. Material related to other family members, 1836-1942
Arranged in the same order as the papers of individual family members within this collection guide.
i. Sophie French Valentine printed material, 1917-1942
Included here are newspaper clippings and ephemera such as concert programs and playbills.
ii. George W. Light printed material, 1836-1865
Printed material consists of business cards, advertisements, and publication lists for the firm of "Light and Stearns, Printers, Publishers, and Booksellers" (1830s); later business cards of "George W. Light, Publisher and Bookseller" (1840s); as well as printed copies of Light's poems and reviews of his poetry.
iii. George E. Light printed material, 1864-1866
Included are circulars and advertisements for Light's glass ware and petroleum lamp business in New York City, including Union Glass Co., Light and Clarke, and later G. E. Light and Co.
iv. Edward P. Light printed material, 1864
This subseries consists of a pocket version of the Gospel of St. John which Light carried during his service in the Civil War.
v. Elizabeth Light Stevens printed material, 1880-1925
Loose material consists of newsclippings of "Dr. Dexter's Letters from Europe, 1880-1881," an 1895 guide to Stratford-on-Avon, a 1904 Bible-Searching Almanac, and a series of scenic postcards.
Scrapbooks contain general interest newspaper clippings. Volume 7 is titled "Concerning schools, especially Girls High School" but also contains clippings about other subjects.
vi. Asa French (1829-1903) printed material, 1858-1904
Material consists of calling cards, book plates, newspaper clippings mentioning the Alabama Claims Court cases, a clipping discussing Judge French's reminiscences of Braintree, as well as his obituary and memorial.
vii. Asa Palmer French printed material, 1880-1917
Included is a Harvard playbill, newsclippings of various court cases, and a 1917 speech before the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention in opposition to the resolution establishing the popular vote.
viii. French family genealogy, 1855
Included is a single 1855 newsclipping related to the French family and the history of Braintree.
ix. Ezra Palmer printed material, 1870-circa 1878
Material consists of copies of the O. K. Club hymns for 1870 and 1871, and obituary notices.
x. Caldwell family genealogy, 1899-1900
This subseries contains excerpts from The Caldwell Chronicle, a genealogical publication.
xi. Valentine family printed material, 1874-1936
Included is a copy of The Valentines in America 1644-1874 by T. W. Valentine, a copy of "The Name and Family of Valentine" by the Media Research Bureau, and a copy of the Valentine coat-of-arms.
xii. Miscellaneous printed material, 1917-1942
This subseries contains material not associated with a particular individual within the collection.
Included here are an 1871 sermon of Rev. Morgan Dix of Trinity Church, New York; an 1893 memorial of Phillips Brooks; a 1910 calendar; concert programs; advertisements; poems, and greeting cards.
This scrapbook contains clippings related to the career of Madame Adelaide Ristori (1822-1906), an Italian tragedienne. The compiler is unknown.
This scrapbook contains some articles related to the labor movement, although most are of general interest. The compiler is unknown.
Robert G. Valentine family papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.