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COLLECTION Identifier: 93-M80--95-M156

Papers of the Lindsay family, 1855-1993 (inclusive), 1855-1941 (bulk).


Correspondence, photographs, diaries, etc., of Catharine Frazee and Vachel Thomas Lindsay, their daughters, Olive Lindsay Wakefield and Joy Lindsay Blair, and other members of the Lindsay family.


  • Creation: 1855-1993
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1855-1941

Language of Materials

Materials in English.


Access. Unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. The donor transfers her copyright in the papers to Radcliffe 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.


3.21 linear feet ((3 cartons, 1/2 file box) plus 1 folio folder, 2 folio+ folders, 2 games)

This collection was organized and described by the donor, who was careful to provide extensive notes concerning the context and content of the papers (see #3). The Vachel Lindsay portion of the family papers was given to Houghton Library, Harvard University.

The collection centers around Catharine Frazee Lindsay and includes family photographs, school essays and speeches (including two valedictory addresses); programs, catalogs, and grades from her school days; an autograph book; diaries; notebooks from her travels, including trips to the Chicago World's Fair (1893) and the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh (1910); letters from Catharine Frazee Lindsay to Vachel Thomas Lindsay, 1876-1910, and to Olive Lindsay Wakefield, 1882-1922, the bulk of them written while Olive Lindsay Wakefield and family were living in China; and speeches, essays, and debates, many written for or delivered to organizations in which Catharine Frazee Lindsay was active. Notes by the donor indicate where Catharine Frazee Lindsay wrote on the verso of another's letter or enclosed a letter from someone else; these notes generally indicate that the letter in question is filed elsewhere.

Vachel Thomas Lindsay is represented by a diary and notebooks, 1875-1876, 1904-1910; accounts of his life and his father's life; and a copy of his will. Also included is a substantial number of letters from Joy (Lindsay) Blair to Catharine Frazee Lindsay and others, 1898-1941.


The eldest of twelve children of Reverend Ephraim Samuel and Frances Elizabeth (Austen) Frazee, Esther Catharine (Frazee) Lindsay was born in Fayette County, Indiana, on February 20, 1848. After attending Fayetteville Academy (1857-1861), Catharine Frazee Lindsay graduated in 1869 as valedictorian from Glendale (Ohio) Female College, and taught there and at Hocker Female College in Lexington, Kentucky. In June 1875, accompanied by Eudora Lindsay, a friend and fellow teacher at Hocker College, and her brother, Vachel Thomas Lindsay, a physician from Springfield, Illinois, Catharine Frazee Lindsay left for a year of travel and study in Europe.

Vachel Thomas Lindsay was born in Napoleon, Kentucky, on August 31, 1843, the son of Martha (Cave) and Nicholas Lindsay, an architect and builder. Educated in public schools in Kentucky, he taught for a time before graduating in 1869 from Miami Medical College in Cincinnati, Ohio. He practiced medicine in Sangamon County, Illinois, and in 1871 married Olive W. Crouch; she died the same year.

Upon their return from Europe, Catharine Frazee Lindsay and Vachel Thomas Lindsay were married on Thanksgiving Day, 1876. They had six children: Olive Catharine (1877-1957), Nicholas Vachel (1879-1931), Isabel (1881-1888), Esther (1883-1888), Eudora (1885-1888), and Joy (1889-1942). Olive married Dr. Paul Wakefield. They had four children, Vachel, Mary, Catharine (the donor of these papers), and Martha, and spent many years in China as missionaries. Nicholas Vachel, known as Vachel Lindsay, was an internationally known poet and author of General William Booth Enters into Heaven and Other Poems, among others; he married Elizabeth Connor and had two children, Susan and Nicholas. Joy married Cleveland businessman Benjamin Blair and had six children: Vachel, Benita, Catharine, Alexander, Francis, and Harrison. The other three Lindsay girls, Isabel, Esther, and Eudora, died of scarlet fever in 1888.

Catharine Frazee Lindsay and Vachel Thomas Lindsay lived their entire married life in Springfield, Illinois, where Catharine Frazee Lindsay came to be a leading figure in the religious, literary, and intellectual life of the city. A member of the First Christian Church, she taught the adult Bible class for 43 years, and was president of the Woman's Missionary Society and a founder and president of the Woman's Missionary Social Union, an organization uniting the efforts of evangelical missionary societies throughout the city. After their marriage, she and Vachel Thomas Lindsay traveled widely, to Europe in 1904, 1906, 1908, and 1910, and to China and Japan in 1914. Catharine Frazee Lindsay served as a delegate to the Ecumenical Missionary Congress of the World held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1910, and wrote for religious papers, including Missionary Tidings, The Christian Century, and The Christian Evangelist. Vachel Thomas Lindsay died in Springfield on September 20, 1918.

Her wide-ranging interests are evident in her essays and speeches on such varied topics as the equal education of men and women, woman's right to preach publicly, Jews in the United States, the development of American literature, and the sculpture of Michelangelo. She gave some of the speeches to the Authors' Club or the Springfield Woman's Club. In 1920 Catharine Frazee Lindsay and her son Vachel traveled to England, where they met John Masefield, Robert Graves, and many other literary figures. She died in Springfield on February 1, 1922.


The collection is arranged in two series:

  1. Series I. Catharine Frazee Lindsay
  2. Series II. Other family members

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 93-M80, 95-M121, 95-M156

These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by Catharine (Wakefield) Ward in May 1993 and in August and October 1995.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Lindsay family Additional papers, 1839-1994 ( MC 744).

Additional related material is located at Houghton Library: Lindsay-Wakefield family papers, 1879-1982 (b MS Am 2064) and Lindsay-Wakefield family additional papers, 1909-1995 (b MS Am 2064.1).

Container List

  1. Carton 1: 3-5, 9-14, 16-40
  2. Carton 2: 41-81
  3. Carton 3: 82-102, 104-114
  4. Box 4: 115-120

Processing Information

Processed: January 1998

By: Anne Engelhart

Lindsay family. Papers of the Lindsay family, 1855-1993 (inclusive), 1855-1941 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

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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