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Agnes B. Laidlaw diary, 1896

1 volume

Agnes B. Laidlaw described her daily activities in New York City from February 11, 1896, to June 20, 1896, in her diary. She frequently discussed her love of painting, social life, and thoughts about romantic love.

In her diary (125 pages), Agnes B. Laidlaw described her daily activities in New York City from February 11, 1896, to June 20, 1896. She composed daily entries between February 11 and June 7, and one additional entry on June 20. Laidlaw lived in Manhattan's Upper West Side, where she attended dinner parties, dances, and other events. She commented on her acquaintances, which included both men and women, and recorded her thoughts about romantic relationships and love (such as her discomfort with second marriages, June 6, 1896, pp. 121-122). On March 9, she recalled meeting a man on a streetcar, to whom she found herself instantly attracted (pp. 30-31). Laidlaw wrote about her fondness for painting and her attendance at French classes. Her social activities included visits to restaurants, concerts, and other performances. On one occasion, she hosted a dinner party, and her diary includes a diagram of attendees' positions at a table (May 14, pp. 87-89). The first 2 pages contain reminiscences about Laidlaw's childhood.


Ann M. Van Wart journals, 1832-1837 (majority within 1832-1835)

2 volumes

Ann M. Van Wart kept these 2 journals about her life in New York City in the early 1830s. She wrote about attending Episcopal church services, teaching Sunday School, and taking trips to northern New York and surrounding states.

Ann M. Van Wart kept these 2 journals about her life in New York City from August 11, 1832-January 31, 1834 (Volume 1, 144 pages), and February 2, 1834-March 13, 1837 (Volume 2, 117 pages). Each volume contains some regular daily entries, though she wrote less frequently over time; most entries are dated between 1832 and 1835.

Van Wart began her journal in Orange, New Jersey, where she and her parents were living in an attempt to evade the New York cholera epidemic. She returned to New York on August 28, 1832. In later entries, Van Wart, who traveled with her parents by stagecoach and steamboat, described visits to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New Haven, Connecticut; Orange, New Jersey; and towns in northern New York such as Albany and West Point. While in Philadelphia, she described the Fairmount Water Works, and one trip to northern New York included a visit to Mount Lebanon Shaker Village.

Van Wart noted her attendance at religious services, particularly at Christ Church in New York City, where she heard and reflected on sermons by Thomas Lyell and Aldert Smedes, and, on at least one occasion, Bishop Benjamin T. Onderdonk. Van Wart also wrote about her experiences teaching Sunday School, sometimes commenting on visits to pupils' houses. Her other social activities included visiting friends and family members and taking French and music lessons; in her entry of December 31, 1832, her twenty-first birthday, she mentioned having rejected a potential suitor.


Berdan family papers, 1819-1857

61 items

The Berdan family papers contain the journal of David Berdan, Sr. describing his travels through Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois in 1819-1820 on behalf of the New York Emigration Society, and the correspondence of David Berdan, Jr., while working as law clerk in New York City and on a trip to Europe in the 1820s.

The Berdan family papers contain the journal of David Berdan, Sr. describing his travels through Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois in 1819-1820 on behalf of the New York Emigration Society, and the correspondence of David Berdan, Jr., while working as law clerk in New York City and on a trip to Europe. The collection also contains correspondence and humorous writings of James Berdan and other miscellaneous material. The collection is arranged into four series by author: David Berdan Sr.'s journal, the correspondence of David Berdan Jr, correspondence and manuscripts of James Berdan, and additional material from other authors.

The journal of David Berdan, Sr., is a detailed account of an Odyssean journey through New York, Pennsylvania, and the frontier towns and wilderness of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, mostly on horseback. The travelers endured winter blizzards, mud, ice, swollen rivers, and lame horses, all faithfully recorded in Berdan's journal. There were some dramatic moments on the journey, of near-starvation, near-freezing, and near-drowning, all related in Berdan's phlegmatic style.

Because of the nature of the mission, Berdan made diligent notes on topography, soil conditions, timber, and access to waterways of all potential settlement sites. He provides physical descriptions of the towns visited en route, including St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Erie. In Cincinnati, he stopped long enough to meet with General (later President) William Henry Harrison, who advised him on the route ahead and provided him with a passport, addressed to his Native American acquaintances, to provide safe passage for Berdan's party.

Berdan's journal records his experience when taken to meet Captain Anderson, chief of the Delaware Nations. Anderson had recently sold the Delaware lands to the United States government as part of a treaty agreement, and planed to leave, with his tribe, for the Arkansas Territory. Anderson says to Berdan that the whites "would sometimes bring whiskey among them of which they were very fond and when intoxicated would be very troublesome and revengeful. He had warned his countrymen when hunting to keep on their own grounds and not molest the whites." (p. 62) In St. Louis, Berdan observes a local custom in which a party of townsfolk -- made up of men and boys armed with cow and sheep bells, conch shells, horns, and pots and pans -- proceeds to the residence of a newlywed couple. Making noise until the groom appears, the crowd demands either a "grand ball" or money enough to treat the entire company. Despite having failed in his primary mission, Berdan's account remains as a depiction of the western wilderness of 1819-1820, its nascent settlements, and the harsh realities of early travel.

The correspondence of David Berdan, Jr., to his friend and fellow Union graduate James Marshall, provides a glimpse into the life of an educated, sensitive young man of limited means struggling to find his way in New York City in the 1820s. His letters describe his life of work and study in New York City, with keen observations of the progress (and foibles) of fellow Union graduates. He himself gradually matures from the fond reminiscence of his dissipated days at Union to a growing repudiation of the drinking and gambling lifestyle -- the results of which he observes at first hand.

Another subject in the correspondence is Berdan's experiences (or lack thereof) with women. He fondly remembers female acquaintances at Union, presses James Marshall for descriptions of women he encounters, and relates several instances of his own brief social contacts. David gradually accepts that his pecuniary existence and limited prospects will afford him no opportunity to associate with suitable women, much less to entertain the prospect of marriage in the near future.

"Let me be coldly indifferent or stupidly unconscious of the fascination of refinement in society and I shall spend a few more years in quiet study and in the indulgence of those delicious reveries attendant upon solitude. The pleasures I shall receive from such habits will be less substantial and less productive of excitement but they will be purer and better adapted to my situation. Adieu then to the airy hopes I have in my happier moments encouraged -- my way is plain before me. The road is strewn with thorns that will tear me in my eagerness to advance but philosophy shall cover me as with a garment and protect me from impediments that will be thrown in my path. Henceforward Literature shall be my mistress and in her embraces and in still stronger attachment to my friends I shall be prepared to endure the contention of the world and to commence and continue the arduous work of building up my fortune and my fame." (David Berdan, Jr. to James Marshall, 11, 18 February 1823).

David's letters also describe his time as a teacher at a boarding school. He finds little satisfaction in the work, but paints a colorful and entertaining picture of the working class family with whom he boards, predicaments brought about by the promiscuous behavior of the eldest daughter, and his struggles to resist his attraction to her younger sister.

David's letters reflect his enthusiasm for a trip to Europe suggested by his friend. The prospect of the journey helps him to forget his occasional bouts of "melancholy" and dissatisfaction with his current career, and inspires an almost spiritual longing. He views it "as a light sent down from heaven to illumine the darkness of the path which fate has spread before me...". (David Berdan, Jr. to James Marshall, 25 July 1824). He mentions his illness only in passing, hoping that it does not fasten upon him until after the completion of his journey. He begins his travels with a trip back to Union College, through New York and Ohio to Virginia, and then sails for Gibraltar. Only two letters from Europe are included in the collection. In them David describes the richness of its history and strangeness of the sights. "The Moors are bare legged, wear long grizzled beards and are wrapped in winding sheets so they contrive to look as grim and ghastly as ever Lazarus did." (David Berdan, Jr. to James Marshall, 10 November 1825) He doesn't neglect to report on the charms of the Spanish women at the theater: "But the dancing -- Lord preserve a poor fellow who has been out of sight of women for forty days. The female dancer seemed to exult in the complete exposure of a very handsome pair of legs." David died on the voyage home and was buried at sea. He was 24 years old.

Also included in the collection are 15 satirical pieces, unsigned, but possibly written by David's brother, James Berdan. These sketches, with titles such as "Manifesto of the Ugly Club" and "The Society for the Diffusion of Gumption," parody cultural events of the time -- social clubs, lecture series, and debating societies. Eight letters from James Berdan are also in the collection including three to his future wife Jane Simms.

Additional material consists of various letters and papers related to the Berdan family including the resolution of the New York Emigration Society authorizing David Berdan Sr.'s eplorator trip, a letter describing the death of Margaret Irving and a letter describing David Berdan Jr.'s death.

Also with the additional material is a handwritten manuscript of the eulogy for David Berdan, written by William H. Seward and presented to the Adelphic Society of Union College on July 21, 1828. It contains an account of David Berdan's personal history, excerpts from his letters, and much praise of his character and academic prowess, all in high oratorical style: "...he never spurned from him aught but dishonor, he despised nothing but what was low, he knew not in his own bosom the existence of envy, and affectation never dwelt in a heart so humble as his." (p. 10)


B. Robert Winthrop letters, 1824-1829 (majority within 1824-1825)

11 items

This collection contains 9 letters that B. Robert Winthrop, a native of New York City, wrote to his sister Mag while he lived and worked in "Angostura" between 1824 and 1825. He described his life abroad and commented on the local culture. The collection also contains a letter that Winthrop wrote to Mag after returning to New York City, as well as a manuscript poem.

This collection contains 9 letters that B. Robert Winthrop wrote to his sister Mag while he lived and worked in "Angostura" between December 8, 1824, and December 20, 1825, as well as one letter that he wrote after returning to his home in New York City and a poem copied by C. Winthrop.

B. Robert Winthrop moved to "Angostura" in late 1824, and remained until at least early 1826. While abroad, he corresponded with his sister, Mag C. Winthrop, who remained with their family in New York City. In his first letter, written on December 8, 1824, he described the local population and his experiences as foreigner living abroad (such as his lack of familiarity with the local vernacular). Winthrop often referred to his desire to return home and remarked on social news from New York City. In late 1825, he began to describe his efforts to return to the United States, as well as his disappointment when his plans did not come to fruition.

In his final letter from overseas, dated December 20, 1825, he relayed a request from the "Governors Daughter," who wished for a set of "curls" from New York. He also wrote Mag from New York City on January 2, 1829, after the rest of the Winthrop family had moved to Clarendon County, South Carolina, responding in detail to her request for news of New York's latest fashions and expressing his pleasure with a general's recent success in the "Western States." The final item is a manuscript copy of "The Mariner's Dream," a poem by William Dimond; this copy is attributed to "Miss C. Winthrop."


Charlotte Pettibone Winslow papers, 1834-1910 (majority within 1834-1851)

1 linear foot

This collection contains correspondence that Charlotte Henrietta Winslow (née Pettibone) received in the mid-1800s. She corresponded with several potential suitors in the latter half of the 1840s, including her future husband, Horace Winslow. Other correspondence includes personal letters she received from family and friends, as well as letters addressed to her sister-in-law, Philinda Winslow. Other items include poems and religious notes.

This collection (1 linear foot) contains over 500 letters related to Charlotte Henrietta Winslow (née Pettibone), as well as poetry, religious notes, and other items. In the mid-1800s, Charlotte Pettibone Winslow received letters from potential suitors, family members, and friends. The collection also contains letters written and received by her husband, Horace Winslow, as well as letters received by her sister-in-law, Philinda Winslow. Most of the correspondence concerns social life in New York City and Connecticut in the early 19th century.

The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence that Charlotte Pettibone Winslow received both before and after her marriage to Presbyterian and Congregational pastor Horace Winslow. She received 3 letters from Delia Bacon between 1844 and 1845 related to her desire to study under Bacon, as well as letters from friends and family members describing their social lives in New York City and in Connecticut towns such as Norfolk and Hartford. Many of the letters discuss courtship and marriage; multiple correspondents also mentioned their acquaintances' visits to Niagara Falls.

Charlotte Pettibone corresponded with several potential suitors in the mid- to late-1840s, and the collection contains many letters she received from suitors, as well as her responses, which include both original items and contemporary copies that Pettibone transcribed herself. Two letters are apologies to potential suitors with whom she did not wish to engage in correspondence and courtship (February 18, 1843 and January 1, 1848). The collection contains 3 letters that Sanford Horton wrote to Pettibone between 1845 and 1846, regarding the possibility of correspondence and the potential for mutual affections, as well as her responses. She also received 4 similar letters from William Long, to whom she responded 3 times. The letters between Pettibone and Long often relate to religious views and to Charlotte's religious studies; the final 2, written in December 1846, discuss the discontinuation of their correspondence.

Other suitors included Harvey Loomis (23 letters and 12 responses, 1847-1848); Nat B. Stevens (7 letters and 2 responses, 1846-1847); and J. H. W. Wing (2 letters and 6 responses, 1848). Horace Winslow wrote 3 letters to Charlotte during their courtship, and 13 during the first two years of their marriage, expressing his affections and providing news of his health and activities.

Charlotte Pettibone Winslow also received letters from her mother, Fanny Pettibone, who provided news from Norfolk, Connecticut, and from her extended family. Fanny Pettibone received several letters from Jeffrey O. Phelps between 1876 and 1877, most of which concern finances. Charlotte Pettibone Winslow received 4 letters from her niece, Molly P. Phelps, about her studies at Amherst College between 1838 and 1840. Winslow also wrote to her sister-in-law, Philinda Winslow, after 1850, and wrote to other friends and family members throughout the early 1800s.

Philinda Winslow received social letters from friends and family members, including 19 from her brother Horace. Friends, cousins, and other correspondents discussed social news; her most frequent correspondent, Corinna A. Fisher, wrote 50 letters between 1845 and 1853, most from Lansingburg, New York. On April 17, 1862, Corinna A. Shearer responded to news of Horace Winslow's appointment as chaplain to the 5th Connecticut Volunteer Regiment, and wrote of the sacrifice of lives for the preservation of the Union. Two other items relate to Horace Winslow's Civil War service, including a paper listing his name and regiment and an undated printed form for declaring "Arrears of Pay."

The collection also contains a letter written to Timothy Stanley from a woman's rights convention held in Connecicut in 1854, in which the author claimed that women possessed superior qualities to men, advocated that women retain their surnames after marriage, and discussed women's civil rights.

Additional materials include a colored picture of a flower, miscellaneous fragments and notes, and a document respecting Charlotte Pettibone's performance at Miss Hillyer's School. The collection also contains 12 poems and poetic fragments, 13 sets of notes on sermons and Bible verses, a receipt, a printed letter that Horace Winslow addressed "For the Freedmen," a program for the Fourth Annual New England Conference of Christian Workers, and an advertisement for religious tracts.


Cole family papers, 1799-1959 (majority within 1821-1931)

2.75 linear feet

This collection is made up of correspondence, legal documents, financial records, maps, and ephemera related to the descendants and extended family of Dr. Joseph Cole of Sharon, Connecticut; Auburn, New York; and Albion, New York. Among many represented subjects are the educational and social lives of women in New York during the early 1800s, legal aspects of land ownership and estate administration, and land along Long Pond in Rome, Maine.

This collection is made up of correspondence, legal documents, financial records, maps, and ephemera related to the descendants and extended family of Dr. Joseph Cole of Sharon, Connecticut; Auburn, New York; and Albion, New York.

The collection's correspondence includes letters from the children and other descendants of Dr. Joseph Cole of Sharon, Connecticut, and Auburn, New York, between 1817 and 1942. Most of the early letters in the collection are addressed to sisters Laura Altie and Mary Parsons Cole from female friends in New York. Several correspondents, including Mary Ann Kellogg and Chloe Hyde, were students at Troy Female Seminary in Troy, New York, in the 1820s and 1830s. Kellogg provided a detailed description of the school before its main building was constructed (June 24, 1821), and Chloe Hyde later shared information about her coursework and the lives of fellow students. Other acquaintances told the sisters of their religious and social lives in different areas of New York, including Lanesborough, Buffalo, and Albany.

Almeron and Dan Cole received letters from friends, family, and business acquaintances, including their brother-in-law, Hiram Foote Mather. These include 7 letters by Frances M. Elliott, who wrote Dan, her future husband, in 1835 and 1836 about her life in Scottsville, New York, and her anticipation of their upcoming marriage. Letters from the 1840s to mid-1860s are most frequently addressed to the Cole brothers and to their brother-in-law, Hiram Foote Mather, about business affairs. Many regard legal matters in Niles and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

After the mid-1860s, much of the correspondence is composed of personal and business letters between David Hyde Mather, his brother-in-law George McClure Welles, and his brothers Joseph and John Mather, who moved out West in the late 1800s. Mather also received many personal letters from his niece, Harriet Prentiss Welles, during her time as postmistress of Great Bend, Kansas, who discussed her personal finances and loans. The papers also contain some of Daniel H. Cole's business correspondence. Other correspondence from this period includes letters between George McClure Welles and Lewis Hunt about Harriet Prentiss Welles's share of Almeron Cole's estate, and personal correspondence addressed to Mary Jane Cole of Albion, New York. She received letters from many female acquaintances and a series from her cousin, D. Williams Patterson, tracing the genealogy of the Hyde family to the mid-18th century.

A selection of letters from the 20th century relate to Marston Taylor Bogert, Morrison McMath, and Lizette Harrison. Between 1912 and the 1920s, Bogert corresponded with several people in Maine, regarding property along Long Pond near Rome, Maine. Other letters relate to the family of Morrison H. McMath, a lawyer from Rochester, New York. A late series of letters by Elizabeth ("Lizette") P. Harrison of Portland, Oregon, to Ada Howe Kent of California, reflects her financial troubles and emotional state during the early years of the Great Depression.

Legal documents include papers relating to the Newton and North Hempstead Plank Road Company; New York Supreme Court Cases heard between 1848 and 1894; estate administration papers; and financial documents and records. The Cole family papers contain documents concerning taxes paid on land holdings in Rome, Maine, in the early 20th century, including property held by Edward F. Bragg in Belgrade, Maine.

Materials relating to education include six checks from the 1860s made out to Phipps' U. Seminary, a 1906 report card for a student at the United States Naval Academy, and an undated "Report Book" containing two essays. An assortment of ephemeral items and manuscript maps of Marston T. Bogert's property along Long Pond in Rome, Maine, also appear in the collection.

The Cole family papers also contain essays, notes, and poetry. Items of note include an 1850s manuscript response of the County of Orleans, New York, to recent actions of slaveholding states, calling for attendance at a Republican Party convention in Syracuse; a 1925 essay entitled "The Beginnings of Modern Spiritualism in and Near Rochester," by Adelbert Cronised; a lengthy typed travelogue of India; and an essay on the history of the Isthmus of Panama and the Panama Canal.


Daniel H. B. Davis letter books, 1871-1884 (majority within 1871-1875, 1879-1884)

3 volumes

This collection is comprised of 3 letter books containing copies of business and personal letters written by Daniel H. B. Davis, who owned a shipping firm that conducted business in New York City and in Lima, Peru. Davis wrote to his brother James and to his acquaintance B. H. Kaufmann, and discussed business matters and contemporary politics in Lima during the War of the Pacific.

This collection is comprised of 3 letter books containing copies of business and personal letters written by Daniel H. B. Davis, who owned a shipping firm that conducted business in New York City and in Lima, Peru. Davis's private correspondence relates to business affairs and, particularly in the later volumes, the politics of Peru, Bolivia, and Chile during the War of the Pacific.

Davis wrote the earliest letters in Volume 1 (January 10, 1871-May 10, 1875, 482 pages) from Lima, Peru, regarding the local affairs of Davis Brothers. After his return to New York, Davis wrote about his social life and commented on business. Volume 2 (June 9, 1879-April 19, 1881, 301 pages) also relates to business affairs, and contains letters to James B. Davis and to B. H. Kaufmann ("Harry"), a business associate in Lima. Davis discussed South American politics as conflicts between Peru, Chile, and Bolivia escalated into the War of the Pacific. This volume also contains several letters inserted between its front cover and first page, which were written by James B. Davis and B. H. Kaufmann between 1880 and 1881 and concentrate on South American politics. Davis lived in Lima, Peru, while composing Volume 3 (May 25, 1881-April 2, 1884, 493 pages) and continued to discuss politics and business; he occasionally described other aspects of life in Peru and commented on news from New York.


Ebenezer Hazard letters, 1785-1794

12 items

This collection contains letters concerning Ebenezer Hazard during his posts as surveyor general of the Continental Post Office through his involvement with the Insurance Company of North America in Philadelphia. These letters offer insight into Hazard's personal and business dealings and reveal the political climate in which he worked.

The Ebenezer Hazard letters consist of 11 letters and 1 legal document of Ebenezer Hazard during his posts as surveyor general of the Continental Post Office through his involvement with the Insurance Company of North America in Philadelphia. These letters offer insight into Hazard's personal and business dealings and reveal the political climate in which he worked.

The first item is an unsigned copied letter to Hazard discussing business matters, likely from Samuel Breese of Shrewsbury, New Jersey (1785). The next 9 letters are from Hazard to Samuel Breese as well as one item addressed to Elizabeth Anderson Breese (1743-1832), the half-sister of Abigail Arthur, Hazard's wife. Hazard's letters are from New York (1785-1788) and Philadelphia (1791-1794). These letters contain detailed descriptions of business and financial dealings, property sales and rentals, and congressional politics. The letters typically conclude with discussion of family health and activities.

Hazard mentioned the challenges of drafting the new Constitution in his letter of August 14, 1788. He wrote, "I wish the new Constitution was set to work. It is said North Carolina has rejected it 176 against 76: -if they have it is the worst Day’s work they ever did." The letter dated December 7, 1788, discusses a conflict at Hazard’s Presbyterian Church in New York, where two factions of the congregation struggled to settle on a minister. Hazard sent the unsuccessful candidate, Jedidiah Morse, to visit Samuel Breese. Morse later married Breese's daughter, Elizabeth Ann. In the letter to Elizabeth Breese, Hazard announced the birth of a son, Ebenezer Gordon Hazard, who died just one month later (September 29, 1792).

The collection contains one legal document, which is a transfer of land from Hazard to Samuel Breese (September 29, 1792).


Elizabeth White letters, 1845-1847

3 items

Elizabeth White of New York City wrote 3 letters to Jane Curtis, a friend in Stratford, Connecticut, in 1845 and 1847. She discussed courtship and relationships between men and women, social news, upcoming marriages, and other topics.

Elizabeth White of New York City wrote 3 three-page letters to Jane Curtis, a friend in Stratford, Connecticut, on March 17, 1845; November 1, 1845; and November 14, 1847. She often discussed her social activities, including calls made and received, a trip to Long Island with a group of other young adults, and engagements such as balls and parties. In each of her letters, White commented on relationships between men and women, differences between the length and intent of men's and women's social calls, and gender roles before and during the marriage. After hearing that Curtis had found a potential suitor, White encouraged her friend to be cautious, sharing the story of a friend who had married only to discover that her new husband already had a wife who lived nearby. Her final letter, which largely pertains to the women's upcoming weddings, includes a description of her wedding dress.


Elsie F. Weil collection, 1897-1926 (majority within 1913-1926)

1.5 linear feet

This collection contains incoming correspondence and other items related to Elsie F. Weil of Chicago, Illinois, and New York City, including many passionate letters from Weil's close friend Gertrude Emerson, who wrote about her foreign travels, life in New York City, and her deep bond with Elsie. Other friends and, to a lesser extent, family members, wrote to Elsie about their daily and social lives in New York City, Chicago, and Boston. Additional materials include two of Elsie's diaries, articles written by Elsie F. Weil and Gertrude Emerson, and ephemera.

This collection (1.5 linear feet) contains incoming correspondence and other items related to Elsie F. Weil of Chicago, Illinois, and New York City, including many letters from Weil's close friend and fellow writer Gertrude Emerson. Other friends and family members wrote to Elsie about their daily and social lives in New York City, Chicago, and Boston. Additional materials include two of Elsie's diaries, articles written by Elsie F. Weil and Gertrude Emerson, and ephemera.

The bulk of the collection is comprised of Elsie F. Weil's incoming correspondence. The first group of items consists of letters that Elsie's father Jacob, brother Leo, and mother Pauline sent to her from 1897-1907. Jacob and Leo Weil offered advice, and Pauline Weil provided family news from Chicago while Elsie lived in Lafayette, Indiana, around 1904. In 1913, Elsie received letters about her career as a writer, often mentioning specific articles. Additional professional correspondence appears throughout the collection.

Gertrude Emerson began writing to Elsie Weil in January 1914, and remained Weil's primary correspondent through the early 1920s. Her early letters pertain to her life in Winnetka, Illinois, where she taught at the Girton School. Emerson encouraged Weil to pursue a career in writing, discussed her own work, and shared news of her family. In the spring of 1914, she described a trip to New York City. During their periods of separation, Emerson expressed her desire to reunite with Weil and proposed plans for their shared future. Her letters include passionate declarations of her love for Weil and her devotion to their friendship, and she often referred to her desire to hold Weil, offering a birthday kiss in her letter postmarked April 26, 1915. She also spoke of her wish to travel around the world, though her mother prohibited transatlantic travel in 1915 on account of the growing threat from German submarines ([May 7, 1915]).

Weil and Emerson traveled together to Korea, Japan, and China in 1915 and 1916, and the collection includes a series of typed letters that Weil addressed to an unspecified group in early 1916. She described their travels between locations, shared observations about local cultures, and reported on their daily activities. A newspaper article about their trip, printed in Japanese, is filed in with the correspondence (December 15, 1915, 3 copies). Weil later received letters and postcards from acquaintances in Asia, particularly in late 1916. Gino Merchiorri, a soldier, wrote two letters to Weil about his experiences in the United States Army during World War I.

Gertrude Emerson moved to New York City in late 1916 after being hired by Asia magazine, and often wrote to Weil, who remained in Chicago, about her life there. She commented on her social life and her friends, who included the writer Ernestine Evans and the naturalist William Beebe. In 1919, she traveled to British Guiana (present-day Guyana), stopping shortly, mid-voyage in the Virgin Islands and Barbados. Before her arrival in South America, she described her sea travel and the Caribbean cities and islands she visited. While in Guyana, Emerson described the scenery and everyday life, particularly with regard to Indian "coolie" workers and their culture. After her return to New York City that fall, she discussed her social life, Elsie's articles for Asia, and their shared New York apartment.

Emerson wrote another series of travel letters while visiting Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and India in 1920 and Mexico in 1924. While in India, she met with Mohandas Gandhi and commented on Indian politics. Though she consistently voiced her love for Weil throughout her correspondence, other topics came to dominate her correspondence. By the mid-1920s, Emerson had fallen in love with a man named Kim, whom she considered marrying. Some of her later letters, including several undated items, are written on long sheets of thin, illustrated paper. Other illustrated items include a brief typed essay with a watercolor depiction of a Flemish portrait (enclosed with her letter of February 9, 1914) and a sketch of the view outside of her window in Winnetka (undated).

Elsie Weil received smaller groups of letters from other friends from the mid-1910s to mid-1920s, including Rose Wilder Lane, who described her life in Mansfield, Missouri, in the late summer and early fall of 1919. She shared her fondness for the scenery of the Ozarks, discussed her career as a writer, and told anecdotes about her experiences. She later wrote about travels in Europe and her life in Paris, France, where she briefly described international relations between the Allied powers just after World War I. She also commented on female involvement in political issues. Blix Leonard of Boston, Massachusetts, and Elmer Stanley Hader of New York City frequently illustrated their letters; some of their sketches and drawings are humorous and cartoonish. Weil also corresponded with Kenneth Durant and Ernestine Evans. Some of Weil's New York correspondents expressed their support for the Bolshevik Revolution in 1919.

The collection includes 3 diaries. The first, which has the title "My Trip Abroad" and "Elsie F. Weil" stamped in gold on its front cover, was intended for use during a trip abroad; Weil used it only to record the name of her ship, the SS Manchuria, and the date of her departure, September 19, 1922. The other two diaries contain brief entries respecting Weil's daily activities for 1920 and 1925, with some significant gaps between entries. These diaries often refer to Weil's social acquaintances, including Gertrude Emerson, "Rose," and others.

The collection's 6 photographic prints include 3 views of Gertrude Emerson on horseback and 1 of Emerson posing outdoors. The other pictures show an unidentified man posing outdoors in a suit and a Buddha statue in a Tokyo temple.

Additional items include magazine and newspaper articles by Gertrude Emerson, Elsie F. Weil, and Ernestine Evans, largely concerning travel to Asia; instructions related to creating flower arrangements; and unused bookplates belonging to Elsie F. Weil, bearing an Asian-style illustration of boats on water. Other visual materials include picture postcards from East Asian countries and a series of postcards from Wisconsin. The final items are a Christmas card and an advertisement once inserted in a newspaper.