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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1169

Family collection of Alan Summersby Emmet, 1858-1984


Correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, photographs and other materials documenting the lives of several generations of women in Alan Summersby Emmet's family.


  • Creation: 1858-1984


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by members of the Emmet, Ingersoll, Ladd, and Summersby families held by Alan Summersby Emmet has been transferred to 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.


3.25 linear feet ((5+1/2 file boxes, 1 folio box) plus 1 folio folder, 7 photograph folders, 1 folio photograph folder)

The family papers of Alan Summersby Emmet contain correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, and other materials documenting the lives of Emmet's maternal grandparents, Jean Frances MacLaren Ingersoll (1852-1935) and George Edmund Ingersoll (1854-1924), her maternal great-aunt, Anna Josephine Ingersoll (1852-1945), her paternal grandmother, Emily Kirkwood Summersby (1855-1931), and her paternal aunts Edna Emily Summersby (1884-1902) and Elizabeth Summersby (1891-1973), as well as Emmet's husband, Richard's grandmother, Caroline Ames Ladd Pratt (1861-1946) and sister, Jane Erin Emmet Drake (1923-1969). Materials include Caroline Ames Ladd Pratt's diaries and correspondence detailing her travels abroad, and scrapbooks containing fabric samples from dresses and telegrams she received; Emily Kirkwood Summersby's correspondence and mementos from a trip to France as part of the Gold Star Mothers Pilgrimage to visit the grave of her son, Kenneth J. Pratt, who was killed in World War I; Edna Emily Summersby's diaries and correspondence, written while she was working as a schoolteacher in Kansas, and clippings and correspondence related to her death in a train accident; Jean Frances MacLaren and George Edmund Ingersoll's courtship correspondence; and letters from Jane Erin Emmet Drake to her family while she was a student at Radcliffe College. Also included is a "tea book" summarizing teas given by Alan Summersby Emmet and her classmates Charlotte Andrews and Charlotte Fitzpatrick in Cabot Hall at Radcliffe College. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online. Folders are arranged alphabetically.


Author Alan Summersby Emmet, daughter of Jean and John J. Summersby, Jr., was born August 8, 1927, in St. Paul, Minnesota. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1950 and completed the Radcliffe Seminars Landscape Design Program in 1987. In 1948, she married Richard S. Emmet (1924-2007); they had three children Caroline, Henry, and William. Emmet worked for the Harvard Graduate School of Design and completed historic landscape reports from several organizations including a report on the Massachusetts State House for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a report on the Daniel Chester French home and gardens for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and a report for The Mount, Edith Wharton's Home. She consulted with Historic New England on several projects. A prolific writer, Emmet's articles appeared in publications including House and Garden, Garden Design, and Architectural Digest. She was also the author of So Fine a Prospect: Historic New England Gardens (1996), The Mr. and Mrs. Club (2001), and Our Side of the River (2015). Emmet died of pancreatic cancer October 9, 2021.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 91-M50, 2001-M105, 2021-M197

The family collection of Alan Summersby Emmet was given to the Schlesinger Library by Alan Summersby Emmet in 1991 and 2001, and by her daughter, Caroline Emmet Heald, in 2021.

Processing Information

Processed: February 2022

By: Johanna Carll

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.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Alice Jeannette Ward 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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