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SUB-SERIES Identifier: MC 553

Subseries C. Correspondence and related

Scope and Contents

Subseries C, Correspondence and related, 1887-1951 (#14.13-26.6), contains letters and miscellaneous items between Cornelia and her family and friends. For more than forty years, on an almost daily basis, she chronicled her life and reactions to national and local events. This subseries is arranged with loose, mostly handwritten letters, from Cornelia found at the beginning, followed by her letterbooks, and ending with miscellaneous loose correspondence with Walter, Cornelia's sister-in-laws, the Cannon children, friends, etc. Letterbooks are arranged chronologically; the "Newport Letters" (1887-1899), written mainly by Cornelia, recount daily life and include a play, "The Mirror." A majority of the letterbooks are compilations of typed carbon copies of outgoing letters to her five children and their families. They also include interleaved responses from recipients; photographs; clippings; stories; poems; plays; and sketches by her children. Her correspondence contains a wealth of information on subjects such as life as a Radcliffe College student; a Harvard professor's family living in Cambridge, Massachusetts; births of children and their upbringing; traveling around the United States and abroad; etc. The correspondence between Cornelia and her husband, written while he served as a military doctor in France during World War I, are exceptional. They describe a family separated by war, from Walter's experiences working in a military field hospital, to Cornelia and the children dealing with the effects of war at home, including rationing; planting victory gardens; the influenza epidemic; growing antagonism toward Germans living in Cambridge; etc. Letters written in 1944 and part of 1946 were not bound, but appear to be part of the letterbook sequence.

Additional material concerning Walter, his sisters, the Cannon children, and friends, include letters from Bradford Cannon to his parents and aunts (1912-1938) re: his childhood and college experiences, as well as letters from their daughters Wilma, Helen, and Linda. Related material includes sheet music written for Marian (Cannon) Schlesinger as a child and possible class notes for a Russian play class at Radcliffe College; announcement for Wilma (Cannon) Fairbanks winning the DAR essay contest; and a flyer for an upcoming talk given by Wilma's husband, John Fairbanks. Correspondence with friends and others follows the family correspondence, and is in rough chronological order. Duplication is widespread. For typescripts of travel stories based on letters from this series, see Series II, Subseries B.


  • Creation: 1887-1980
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1917-1945

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.


11.05 linear feet ((26+12 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 7 photograph folders)

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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