Records of the Mohonk Mountain House, 1902-1916
Letters of inquiry from singers, lecturers, and women in other professions hoping for summer employment at the Mohonk Mountain House. Letters declining their services are also included.
Access. Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Mohonk Mountain House as well as 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.
Extent.63 linear feet (1 + ½ file boxes)
Collection consists of correspondence between prospective (and subsequently rejected) women entertainers and the Mohonk Mountain House's management, organized by category: solo vocalists and instrumentalists, musical groups, dance instruction, readers and monologuists, lecturers, missionary work, exhibits (mostly needlework) for sale, social hostesses, and massage/hair treatment/manicure. Promotional and testimonial material (from guests of the resort) is sometimes included, as are letters from management declining the women's services. Some of the proposed acts involve acts of cultural appropriation, such as impersonation by white women of other ethnicities, and the use of what is described as "negro dialect." The first folder of the collection includes a list of the rejected applicants, organized by category, and a description of Mohonk Mountain House and the type of entertainment it provided. This information was provided by the dealer AGatherin'.
The Mohonk Mountain House apparently maintains an archive which includes letters from women whose applications were accepted.
Mohonk Mountain House was a resort in the Hudson River Valley north of New York City, established in 1869 by Albert K. Smiley, a Quaker interested in a number of social reforms. Catering to the upper middle class, the resort did not serve alcoholic beverages, nor were automobiles or Sunday arrivals or departures allowed. The only dancing permitted was the occasional square dance; couples dancing was not allowed. Entertainment commonly took the form of lectures, music, and presentations by missionaries. Since its founding, the resort has been managed by members of the Smiley family. More information about the resort can be found on its website.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession number: 2005-M175
The records of Mohonk Mountain House were acquired by the Schlesinger Library from AGatherin' in 2005.
Processed: August 2021
By: Susan Earle, with assistance from Amber Moore and Kelcy Shepherd
The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit. Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
- Amusements--United States
- Beauty operators--United States
- Businesswomen--United States
- Cultural appropriation
- Entertainers--United States
- Mohonk Lake (N.Y.)--Social life and customs--20th century
- Needleworkers--United States
- Recreation--United States
- Resorts--United States
- Self-employed women--United States
- Women entertainers--United States
- Women missionaries--United States
- Women musicians--United States
- Women--Employment--United States
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- Processing of this collection was made possible by Carl & Lily Pforzheimer Fund, Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library, Sybil Shainwald Fund at the Schlesinger Library, and Class of 1955 Manuscript Processing Fund.
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
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