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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 849

Papers of the Baltzley-Potter-Etz family, 1853-2014 (inclusive), 1853-1956 (bulk)


Correspondence of Ann Elizabeth Baltzley Hartshorn Potter, an artist; her daughter, Pearl Potter Etz, granddaughter Constance Etz Ferdon, and other members of the extended Baltzley, Potter, Etz, and Ferdon families.


  • Creation: 1853-2014
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1853-1956

Language of Materials

Materials in English, French, or Spanish.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by the Baltzley-Potter-Etz family is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


4.8 linear feet ((11 + ½ file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ folder, 1 oversize folder)

The correspondence of Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter and her daughter Pearl (Potter) Etz make up the bulk of this collection; also included are business papers and correspondence of Henry Green Potter, photocopies of documents pertaining to Henry Green Potter's military service, and biographical and genealogical information about the Baltzley and Potter families. There is little concerning Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter's work as an artist. Included in Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter's correspondence are letters from a young man at Illinois State University in Springfield, detailing the life of a college student; letters from Union soldiers, most in the Army of the Potomac, describing field conditions, battles, and military life; love letters from a number of admirers; letters from Edward B. Hartshorn and Henry Green Potter written both before and during their marriages to Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter; letters from friends and relatives describing social life in Washington, DC; and correspondence among Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter, Henry Green Potter, and their daughter Pearl (Potter) Etz. Letters to Pearl (Potter) Etz are from her husband both before and during their marriage, and from friends and relatives; one friend in particular, Beatrice Peters, describes the theater scene and life in London, England, during the 1930s.

Material added in February 2016 (accession number 2007-M13) consists of correspondence and several journals of Constance (Etz) Ferdon. Early letters (1931-1935) are letters Ferdon wrote to her parents while a student at Marietta College and after leaving the college in 1933. It documents her educational and social life while at the school and includes many descriptions of friends and classmates. Other correspondence is between Ferdon and her husband while he was on an archaeological expedition with Thor Heyerdahl on Easter Island in 1955-1956. This correspondence includes descriptions of the archaeological dig and interactions with colleagues and locals as well as including updates on the Ferdon children and news of colleagues at the Museum of New Mexico where Ferdon's husband was employed. Journals kept by Constance Ferdon document the time she spent with her husband on an anthropological expedition to Ecuador soon after their marriage. It includes detailed descriptions of the local people, their culinary practices, various weaving techniques, the local landscape, etc. This material is located in #50-58v.

Additional material (accession number 2021-M4) was added to the collection in 2021. This material consists primarily of letters to Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter and Eve (Potter) Etz, including correspondence between the two women. Letters to both women from Henry Green Potter are also included, as are letters to Henry Green Potter himself and some letters to Pearl (Potter) Etz from men serving in World War I. Also included are letters to Pearl from Edwin Henry Etz, before and after their marriage. Topics discussed in the correspondence include Pearl's upcoming marriage, the birth of her daughter Constance, and the death of Henry Green Potter. Also included are poems; the Potters' marriage certificate; mortgages and other legal documents; a handwritten admission ticket to the trial of President James Garfield's assassin; and family histories, including a brief outline of Henry Green Potter's career. In addition, the collection includes a letter to Ann (Baltzley) Hartsorn Potter, thanking her for the gift of a copy of Eneas Africanus by Harry Stillwell Edwards. This book, first published in 1919, is one of the most popular pro-slavery books written in the post Civil War era. Several editions were published and as the recipient refers to it as "your little book," it is possible that this version was illustrated by Potter.

The material in accession 2021-M4 was organized by Lola Ferdon with correspondence housed in several folders, with occasionally overlapping date ranges. The archivist maintained this arrangement. The material is located in #59-107f+. Folders are listed intellectually, not numerically.


Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter was born to David Baltzley and Susan Howe Baltzley in New Philadelphia, Ohio, in 1838, and moved with her family to Pana, Illinois. There, in about 1860, she met Edward B. Hartshorn, headmaster of the Hillside Family School in Amherst, New Hampshire, who was visiting the area to recruit students. Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter and her younger sister Mary attended the school, and Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter traveled extensively in an effort to raise money for it. After the school collapsed from lack of funds, Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter and Edward B. Hartshorn left for Manchester, New Hampshire, to be married (1862). Some time later they moved to Washington, DC, and took government positions, Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter with Internal Revenue. Edward B. Hartshorn became paralyzed and died in the late 1860s. Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter supported herself by painting portraits of many prominent Washingtonians, including members of Abraham Lincoln's Cabinet.

Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter met her second husband, Henry Green Potter, at her boarding house in Washington; they were married in 1872 at the home of her parents in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Henry Green Potter was born in Warsaw, Indiana, in 1844, and at the age of 17 enlisted in the infantry. He lost a leg in August 1864 at the battle of Jonesboro, Georgia, but he remained in service until the end of the Civil War and was mustered out as sergeant of his company. After the war he moved to Washington and secured a position at the Land Office through his uncle, E.H. Moore. A lawyer, Henry Green Potter eventually became chief of the Mineral Division, Department of the Interior. Following their marriage, Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter and Henry Green Potter remained in Washington, DC, where their only child, Pearl, was born in 1875. Henry Green Potter died in Washington in 1911, Ann (Baltzley) Hartshorn Potter in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1929. Their daughter Pearl married Edwin Henry Etz, an optometrist, in 1909; they had one child, Constance Potter Etz. Pearl wrote two one-act plays, The Present and In Ellen's Kitchen, both copyrighted in 1934. She died in 1963; Edwin Henry Etz died in 1937.

Constance Etz was born in Washington, DC, in 1912. She attended Western High School graduating in 1931. She attended Marietta College from 1931 to 1933 where she met Edwin N. Ferdon. They both left Marietta College in 1933; Ferdon to complete a BA in anthropology and geology at the University of New Mexico and Etz to complete a BA at Rollins College. They married in 1939 and immediately left for an anthropological study in Ecuador. The couple had three children, Richard, Julie, and Derre. Constance (Etz) Ferdon died in New Mexico in 1969. In 1972 Edwin Ferdon married Lola V. Ferdon. He died from prostate cancer in 2002.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 88-M27, 89-M143. Accession number 2007-M13 was added to the collection in February 2016. Accession number: 2021-M4 was added to the collection in May 2021.

The papers of the Baltzley-Potter-Etz family were given to the Schlesinger Library by Lola V. Ferdon in February 1988, July 1989, and January 2007, and by Derre Ferdon in January 2021.


  1. Box 1: Folders 1-10
  2. Box 2: Folders 11-24
  3. Box 3: Folders 25-38
  4. Box 4: Folders 39-48
  5. Box 5: Folders 49-57v
  6. Box 6: Folders 58v-59
  7. Box 7: Folders 60-66
  8. Box 8: Folders 67-74
  9. Box 9: Folders 75-82
  10. Box 10: Folders 83-89
  11. Box 11: Folders 90-97
  12. Box 12: Folders 98-105

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory: December 1989

By: Kim Shively and Anne Engelhart

Updated and additional materials added: February 2016

By: Mark Vassar

Updated and additional material added: May 2021

By: Susan Earle

Baltzley family. Papers of the Baltzley-Potter-Etz family, 1853-2014 (inclusive), 1853-1956 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible in part by the Carl & Lily Pforzheimer Fund, Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library, Sybil Shainwald Fund at the Schlesinger Library, and Class of 1955 Manuscript Processing Fund.

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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