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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Am 2835

Roosevelt-Derby-Williams papers,

Papers concerning three generations of the Theodore Roosevelt family. Chiefly contains correspondence, of Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt, her daughter, Ethel Roosevelt Derby, and Ethel's daughter, Edith Roosevelt Derby Williams. Includes sizable correspondence of Emily Tyler Carow, Theodore Roosevelt, Quentin Roosevelt, and Richard Derby, as well, and numerous photographs.


  • 1863-1977

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English, French, and one item in German

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Conditions Governing Use

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned or held by the Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Harvard College Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires permission. Please contact the collection curator.


1 collection (22.5 linear feet (70 boxes, 17 volumes, 1 folio volume))

The papers consist of material from three generations of Roosevelt women--Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt, Ethel Roosevelt Derby, and Edith Roosevelt Derby Williams--and material of others that came into the possession of one or another of the women, including material of Theodore Roosevelt, Emily Tyler Carow, Quentin Roosevelt, Richard Derby, and others. The papers are chiefly letters, telegrams, and postcards, also include photographs, compositions, documents, and printed ephemera. The bulk of the correspondence is among mother, daughter, and granddaughter, with other letters to and from friends of the Roosevelt family, political figures, literary figures, and others, including Flora Whitney Miller, Robert Harry Munro Ferguson, Hector Munro-Ferguson, Archibald B. Roosevelt, Corinne Roosevelt Robinson, Anna Roosevelt Cowles, Bertha Benkard Rose, and Olivia Cutting. The papers also include a sizeable amount of material concerning Quentin Roosevelt and his service and death in France in World War One, as well as other materials concerning family service both in the war and domestically.

Many of the letters included enclosures, such as letters received by the letter-writer, the correspondence of others, photographs, and clippings. These were kept with the letters in which they were enclosed and described in notes. Even letters to or from family members that have their own correspondence sections in the collection were maintained as enclosures. For a complete sense of the letters included, a name search is suggested. Many of the letters also had the envelopes in which they were sent. Sometimes the dates for letters were taken from the postmark on the letters.

The papers are arranged by recipients of the letters and aligning papers for those recipients. They are listed in a generational hierarchy. The major correspondents have sections of letters written to them and some sections written from them. Letters were first sorted by who they were written to so letters to an individual will appear in their letters to section, even when they are from individual who have correspondence sections.

Biographical / Historical

Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt (1861-1948) was the wife of Theodore Roosevelt. Her daughter, Ethel Roosevelt Derby (1891-1977), married Richard Derby in 1913. Ethel was active with the Red Cross in World War One. She had four children, the oldest, Richard Derby, Jr., died in 1922 at the age of eight. The second oldest, Edith Roosevelt Derby Williams (1917-2008), named after her grandmother, married Andrew Murray ("Mike") Williams in 1941. Quentin Roosevelt (1897-1918), the youngest son of Edith and Theodore Roosevelt, brother to Ethel, died in action in World War One. Flora Whitney Miller was his fiancée before his death.


Organized into the following series and subseries:
  1. I. Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt series
  2. ___A. Letters to Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt
  3. ___B. Letters from Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt
  4. ___C. Diaries of Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt
  5. ___D. Other materials of Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt
  6. II. Theodore Roosevelt series
  7. ___A. Letters to Theodore Roosevelt
  8. ___B. Letters from Theodore Roosevelt
  9. ___C. Other materials of Theodore Roosevelt
  10. III. Emily Tyler Carow series
  11. ___A. Correspondence of Emily Tyler Carow
  12. ___B. Diaries of Emily Tyler Carow
  13. IV. Quentin Roosevelt series
  14. ___A. Correspondence of Quentin Roosevelt
  15. ___B. Compositions of Quentin Roosevelt
  16. ___C. Other materials of Quentin Roosevelt
  17. V. Ethel Roosevelt Derby series
  18. ___A. Letters to Ethel Roosevelt Derby
  19. ___B. Letters from Ethel Roosevelt Derby
  20. ___C. Diaries of Ethel Roosevelt Derby
  21. ___D. Other materials of Ethel Roosevelt Derby
  22. VI. Richard Derby series
  23. ___A. Letters to Richard Derby
  24. ___B. Letters from Richard Derby
  25. ___C. Diaries of Richard Derby
  26. VII. Edith Roosevelt Derby Williams series
  27. ___A. Letters to Edith Roosevelt Derby Williams
  28. ___B. Other materials of Edith Roosevelt Derby Williams
  29. VIII. Correspondence of others
  30. IX. Photographs
  31. X. Other material
  32. ___A. Manuscript and typescript material
  33. ___B. Printed ephemera

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

87M-100 and 87M-101. Deposit of Sarah Derby Gannett and Edith Roosevelt Derby Williams; received: 1985; gift: 1986 March 14.

95M-30 and 95M-32. Gift of Sarah Derby Gannett and Edith Roosevelt Derby Williams; received: 1994.

95M-31. Gift of Theodore Roosevelt Association; received: 1994 April 15.

2004M-103. Gift of Edith Roosevelt Derby Williams;received: 1983 November 1.

2004M-127. Quentin Roosevelt World War One Memorabilia removed from the Theodore Roosevelt Collection subject files.

Unless otherwise noted, the material listed below comes from the 87M-100 accession.

Processing Information

Processed by: Susan Wyssen

Preliminary work on accession 95M-30 completed by Katherine Mika.
Link to catalog
Roosevelt-Derby-Williams papers, 1863-1977: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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