About this project

Here we post descriptions of collections that show the workings of gendered memory practices as described by various memory keepers.


Teresa Vielé Scrapbooks

MSS 288 Teresa Vielé scrapbooks, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware

1870-1871 ; 2 volumes (circa 260 pages)

The Teresa Vielé collection consists of two volumes of scrapbooks, each approximately 130 pages in length, created between June 1870 to October 1871. Teresa Griffin Vielé‚ lived in New York City and she was married to General Egbert L. Vielé‚ with whom she had five children. Around the year 1870, Teresa and Egbert Vielé‚ sued each other for divorce on almost identical grounds: adultery, insanity, and cruelty. Mrs. Vielé‚ was accused of having an affair with General W.W. Averill, and Gen. Vielé ‚ with Miss Julia Dana. The suits also involved a custody battle for their five children. Because of the couple’s high social standing and the relative rarity of divorce the 19th century, the case was widely publicized in the New York papers.

The content of the scrapbooks centers on the scandalous divorce. Such material includes letters, newspaper clippings, and telegrams from attorneys and detectives. The scrapbooks also contain calling cards from prominent members of New York society; invitations to balls, charities, or weddings; programs for concerts and church services; and announcements for lectures or events. Material relating to Vielé’s personal business consists of notes and receipts from banks, insurance companies, antique furniture dealers, hotels, and renters. Other items found in the collection are a newspaper clipping of a poem, “To My Child,” published by Teresa Vielé in The Home Journal, a transcription of a piece called “The Rights of Woman,” and a page on which Vielé glued fern specimens from the Pacific Coast.

The Vielé scrapbooks provide insight into the social conventions of 19th-century upper-middle class women, such as writing letters and calling on friends or becoming involved with charities. The material also documents public reaction to divorce and issues of child custody, notably in a case where the woman sought separation as well as the husband.

View finding aid here.

Source:  http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/findaids/viele.htm

Submitted by Rebecca Johnson Melvin, University of Delaware

John Hill Martin Family Papers

MSS 097, Item 148, John Hill Martin family papers, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware

1618-1899 (bulk dates 1872-1899) ; 1 volume (circa 400 pages)

The single bound volume of family papers in this collection was originally created by Philadelphia native John Hill Martin in 1872. As noted in the volume, he had the “book rebound, St. Martin’s Day, November 11, 1894.” The original title page is transcribed:

Family Papers consisting of copies of Wills, and other important papers, or memoranda thereof; extracts from Family Bibles. Short sketches of personal history, and other interesting matters, relative to the families of Martin of Chester, and Philadelphia, and of the Crosbys of Ridley, in Delaware County in Pennsylvania, and their relatives and connections there and elsewhere. Written and collected and copied by J. Hill Martin. Of the Philadelphia Bar. Member of the Moravian and Pennsylvania Historical Societies. Apl. 10th- 1872.

Author, editor, genealogist, illustrator, lawyer, and publisher John Hill Martin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1823. Martin, who remained single, became well known in Pennsylvania for his writings about genealogy, history, and marine insurance.  Most of this volume—a combination of memoir, record book, and scrapbook—is handwritten by Martin, and includes many of his pen-and-ink drawings of family crests and homes. “Written, collected, and copied” items are letters, obituaries, Bible records, wills, leases, deeds, diplomas, surveys, listings of births, marriages and deaths, family crests, inventories of family holdings, poems, personal documents, and the lyrics to “Martin, the Man at Arms” by Bellamy. Also in original form are advertisements, announcements, a business card, financial receipts, newspaper clippings, two portraits, and printed illustrations. The book is a compilation of miscellaneous family information, and has no logical arrangement. Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century documents are interspersed among nineteenth-century ones, though the bulk of the volume consists of earlier documents copied or anecdotes written by Martin in 1872.  This collection demonstrates Martin’s dedication to recording his family’s lineage and finding its place in American and regional history, which was the subject of much of Martin’s published writing.

View finding aid here.

Source:  http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/findaids/martinjh.htm

Submitted by Rebecca Johnson Melvin, University of Delaware

The Truxton Boyce Genealogical Research and Family Papers

MSS 0583, Truxton W. Boyce genealogical research and family papers, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware

1792-1999 (bulk dates 1850s-1980s) ; 7.6 linear feet (10 boxes)

The Truxton W. Boyce genealogical research and family papers contains twenty-six three-ring notebooks and nine folders of genealogical research notes, family photographs, correspondence, and other ephemera related to nineteenth- and twentieth-century generations of Boyce’s family lines from Delaware and Virginia. The extensive material in these notebooks was compiled by Truxton W. Boyce and includes work on the Boyce, Justis, Morrow, Shreve, Wright, Brownley, Lawrence, Sebree, Adams, and Tuley families, as well as the family lines of his wife, Doris Jolls Boyce (including the Jolls, McColgan, Colge, Wise, Lutz, and Lorenz families). The genealogical emphasis began in 1961 when Truxton W. Boyce started creating an ancestral study of his mother, Elizabeth Armstrong Morrow, and continued researching both his and his wife’s ancestral past over the next fifty years.

In addition to the genealogical focus of the collection, nine autobiographical scrapbooks document the family life of Truxton W. Boyce and his wife, Doris Jolls Boyce, who began their married life in 1942 in Newark, Delaware. The Boyce family scrapbooks thus represent one family’s post-war, suburban, upwardly-mobile, growing and thriving American experience.

The Boyce collection of personal family histories, overall, is an important historical source for a wide variety of researchers. Genealogists as well as researchers interested in local history, photography, architecture and historic preservation, post-World War II family life, and other topics will find original documents in this extensive collection. As a repository for generations of original family documentation and ephemera, this collection includes, for example, images produced via many of the different photographic processes used over the span of more than one hundred years. The collection includes everything from mid-twentieth-century Polaroids and colorized portraits mounted on plywood to early nineteenth-century tintypes.

Though each of the twenty-six notebooks is unique, the overall style, content, and structure of the notebooks are similar. Typically, each notebook opens with research notes on the family and several pages of handwritten genealogical charts. (Many of these charts have been compiled and reproduced in this finding aid in order to provide a roadmap for the collection.) Following the notes, Boyce has preserved correspondence, brochures, and maps, and any additional period items such as photographs and other ephemera related to the family line. Boyce gathered and documented the lives, marriages, burials, land holdings, family homes, relocations, important possessions, and occupations of generations of his ancestors.  His notes often include family memories and anecdotes about individual ancestors and remarks about the current location of family heirlooms. Altogether, this collection provides rich documentation for several family lines through nearly four centuries of life in America.


View the collection finding aid here.

Source: http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/findaids/html/mss0583.html

Submitted by Rebecca Johnson Melvin, University of Delaware


This is a project that asks Who Keeps the Past and What are the Complexities Presented in Viewing Gender in Pastkeeping?  How have women and men figured differently in the process of keeping private and public papers?  How does gender influence the type of record created, the type of history available and accessible? Do women or men predominate among institutional and family memory keepers?  These are some of the questions we would like you to help us answer.  This blog, at first, should show examples, provide statistics, and allow us to read how gender in the archives is being explored today.