Language of Materials
55.13 linear feet ((128 file boxes, 1 card file box, 1 folio+ box) plus 4 folio folders, 23 folio+ folders, 13 oversize folders, 4 supersize folders, 46 photograph folders, 2 folio photograph folders, 4 negative boxes, 1 audiocassette)
Series I, Samuel Blackwell (1790-1838) and Hannah (Lane) Blackwell, 1831-1966 (inclusive), 1831-1870 (bulk) (#4-15v), consists of letters between husband and wife; Hannah Lane Blackwell's advice and moral precepts to children; Samuel Blackwell's business records relating to his United States sugar-refining business; and his observations on the Irish dating from a visit prior to his emigration.
Series II, Children of Samuel and Hannah (Lane) Blackwell, 1833-1981 (#16-640), is arranged by birth order. There are also correspondence and papers of English cousins: Kenyon Blackwell and Marie Blackwell, later Mme. Droussart, and Samuel H. Blackwell, and correspondence and papers of relatives of Emma Stone (Lawrence) Blackwell.
Subseries A, Anna Blackwell (1816-1900), 1833-1899 (#16-31). Letters from Anna Blackwell in France to family include sisterly advice to George on, interalia, whom to marry and what qualities to look for in a wife, and business and investment concerns; other letters describe life in Paris, including the aftermath of the siege (1870), hardships, work prospects, and ill health. There are also her writings, letters from Napoleon III, Camille Flammarion, and Prince Orlov, possibly collected by Anna Blackwell, her will, and papers about her estate.
Subseries B, Marian Blackwell (1818-1897), 1838-1896 (#32-44): letters to family about teaching in New York, news of family in France and England, and papers about her will and estate.
Subseries C, Elizabeth Blackwell, MD (1821-1910), 1836-1979 (inclusive), 1850-1907 (bulk) (#45-89v). Letters to Emily describe schoolteaching in North Carolina, experiences during medical training, and medical practice in Europe. Letters to George contain sisterly advice and discussions of business investments and profits from her New York practice. Other correspondents include Emily Davies, English feminist, Sophia Jex-Blake, and Florence Nightingale. There are miscellaneous writings on medical matters by Elizabeth Blackwell and others, clippings about Elizabeth Blackwell, and the prospectus of the Blackwell school, 1838-1840.
Subseries D, Samuel Charles Blackwell (1823-1901), 1837-1901 (#90-108), sent detailed news of all the family, including his wife Antoinette (Brown) Blackwell to brother George. His business papers include correspondence with Salomon Alofsen and with his English cousin Samuel H. Blackwell; also his will, and estate papers.
Subseries E. Antoinette (Brown) Blackwell (1825-1921), 1873-1975 (inclusive), 1873-1913 (bulk) (#109-114af+): letters to George and Emma and other family, clippings about Antoinette Brown Blackwell, and miscellaneous letters to her.
Subseries F, Henry Browne Blackwell (1825-1909), 1844-1915 (#115-147). Letters to George concern investments, the family's wealth and prospects, and lecture profits of his wife, Lucy Stone; also health and arrangements for mother's care; and the final illness, death, and cremation of Lucy Stone. There are also miscellaneous writings of Henry Browne Blackwell, business correspondence, draft of marriage vows, materials about Henry Browne Blackwell, and one letter from Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Subseries G, Lucy Stone (1818-1893), 1837-1981 (inclusive), 1845-1944 (bulk) (#148-162), includes letters to brother Frank Stone about Oberlin and anti-slavery; letter to Emily about Henry's relationship with Mrs. Patton; notes to Emma and George about family visits, etc.; a letter from Susan B. Anthony about the effect of Lucy's motherhood on the suffrage campaign, and equal pay for equal work; miscellaneous printed writings on anti-slavery and suffrage; estate papers; and clippings about Lucy Stone.
Subseries H, Emily Blackwell, MD (1826-1910), 1842-1975 (inclusive), 1845-1910 (bulk) (#163-192). Letters to Elizabeth discuss medical training for women, patients, and medical practice in the United States and Europe, and give detailed news and frank opinions about the family especially the rift between Henry and Lucy. Letters to George give advice and discuss travel and business. Emily received letters from Dr. Elizabeth Custrier, Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi, and others. Miscellaneous writings and clippings about Emily Blackwell and the New York Infirmary for Women and Children are also included.
Subseries I, Sarah Ellen Blackwell (1828-1901), 1846-1911 (#193-233). Letters to George and Emma, correspondence with publishers and others about her life of Anna Ella Carroll, and material about the anti-vivisection movement.
Subseries J. John Howard Blackwell (1831-1866), 1846-1867 (#234-235): letters to family and estate papers.
Subseries K. George Washington Blackwell (1832-1912), 1837-1935 (#236-468v). In addition to courtship letters, letters to his wife, Emma Lawrence, son, and other family contain business and moral advice. George Washington Blackwell also wrote notes about family health, diet, and travel. There are records of George Washington Blackwell's legal practice and financial records, deeds, and other agreements relating to land sales and real estate interests in Iowa, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, 1850s-1910.
Subseries L. Emma Stone (Lawrence) Blackwell (1851-1920), 1849-1923 (#469-573). Letters to family include humorous descriptions of the horrors of teaching in Washington, DC (1870s). In addition to courtship, later family letters discuss children's behavior, health, and diet, and give evidence of a close mother-son relationship. Emma kept records of the Orange (New Jersey) Woman's Club, and of New Jersey and Massachusetts suffrage associations, and notes on household management and social calls in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Subseries M. Miscellaneous compositions associated with second generation Blackwells, 1844-1908 (#574-595o). Family Christmas Annuals and other writings.
Subseries N. Other Blackwells and others, 1849-1901 (#596-599). Correspondence of other Blackwells, and one letter from Catherine Beecher.
Subseries O. Stone family relatives including Barlow, Beeman, and Lawrence families, 1845-1918 (#600-640). Correspondence of Emma Lawrence Blackwell's parents, Henry and Sarah (Stone) Lawrence, of cousins Phoebe (Stone) Beeman, Clara Barlow.
Series III. Third generation Blackwells, 1870-1965 (#641-996) is arranged into nine subseries by family.
Subseries A. Katharine (Kitty) Barry Blackwell (1849-1938), 1870-1936 (#641-650): correspondence with family, and reminiscences of her adoptive mother, Elizabeth Blackwell ("Doctor").
Subseries B. Children of Samuel Charles and Antoinette (Brown) Blackwell, 1870-1946 (#651-658): Ethel (Blackwell) Robinson, Agnes (Blackwell) Jones, Grace, Edith, Florence (Blackwell) Mayhew. Letters to Emma and Howard Blackwell, and insurance policies.
Subseries C. Alice Stone Blackwell (1857-1950), 1871-1951 (#659-712): letters to family, principally George and Emma, Howard and Helen; records about closing The Woman's Journal, ca.1917; clippings about Alice Stone Blackwell; and miscellaneous writings and translations.
Subseries D. Adopted children of Emily and Sarah Ellen Blackwell, 1880-1937 (#713-715): letters to family.
Subseries E. Howard Lane Blackwell (1877-1972), 1883-1964 (#716-900f). Howard Lane Blackwell's letters to his parents and wife record childhood, courtship, and married life; Harvard memorabilia document his experience as an undergraduate, graduate student, and administrator. Advertisements and business correspondence document his real estate interests.
Subseries F. Helen Electa (Thomas) Blackwell (b. 1880), 1895-1965 (#901-#951). Courtship and other letters to her husband (Howard Lane Blackwell) and family are followed by miscellaneous writings and translations, business correspondence, flyers, recipes, songs, and music illustrating middle class life and social customs in Cambridge, Massachusetts; also letters and papers of the Thomas family, Helen Thomas Blackwell's relatives.
Subseries G. Thomas family (relatives of Helen Thomas Blackwell), 1900-1954 (#952-965). Correspondence with husband Charles Belden and other family concerns courtship and student life at Smith College, 1904-1905.
Subseries H. Anna (Blackwell) Belden, 1890-1963 (#966-989), adopted daughter of George and Emma Blackwell: letters to family and school notebooks.
Subseries I. Frances Millette, 1891-1937 (#990-996).
Series IV. Fourth generation Blackwells, 1900-1981 (#997-1008). Correspondence of the children of Howard Lane and Helen (Thomas) Blackwell and of Charles and Anna (Blackwell) Belden includes letters among family members and about the Blackwell family papers.
Series V, Photographs and Memorabilia (#1009f-1066m). Photographs, glass plate and other negatives (mainly by Howard Lane Blackwell) depict family members, their houses, and travels. Memorabilia belonged to Elizabeth Blackwell, Lucy Stone, and Alice Stone Blackwell.
There is no folder #1043.
After Samuel Blackwell's death in 1838, Hannah, her sister-in-law Mary Blackwell, and daughters opened a school for boys and girls to support the family and pay for the education of the boys. Each child should be self-supporting: the girls by teaching at home or further afield and the boys in business. The family was bound together in a tight and supportive network even when geographically scattered from Wisconsin to India. Letters circulated constantly among family members: "I find nothing too small to write about," wrote Marian Blackwell (March 10, 1850). Sisters entrusted their savings to their brothers for investment in land; children stayed for months or years with aunts and uncles; and from 1868 on, there were annual summer reunions in Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard.
None of the five sisters married. Anna Blackwell (1816-1900) was a poet, translator, and journalist, taught school, was a member of the Brook Farm community in 1845 and settled in France thereafter. She translated the works of the French socialist Fourier and the novels of Georges Sand. She was a contributing correspondent for as many as eleven newspapers (in the United States, India, Australia, South Africa, and Canada), writing a weekly column under the pseudonym "Fidelitas" on whatever the editors wished: "either purely gossip, purely political or mixed according to the need of their papers." Towards the end of her life, she lived at Triel, France, and wasted her assets in a fruitless search for the lost treasure of King James II of England.
Marian Blackwell (1818-1897), a semi-invalid, was briefly a schoolteacher, kept house for her sister Elizabeth in New York, and then looked after her mother in Roseville, New Jersey, until the latter's death in 1872. She lived in Europe thereafter, often with Anna, and for the last years of her life lived with Anna in Hastings, England, near their sister Elizabeth.
Both Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) and Emily Blackwell (1826-1910) were pioneering physicians; their biographies may be found in Notable American Women.
Ellen Blackwell (1828-1901) taught school in Cincinnati, studied and taught art in New York, studied design in Paris, and took classes with John Ruskin in London. Unlike her older siblings, Ellen returned to the United States. She first kept house for Emily and then settled in a house in Lawrence, New York, where she raised her three adopted children, Neenie (Cornelia), Paul Stedwell, and Susie, and often looked after Nannie (Anna), Emily's adopted daughter. These children, Elizabeth's adopted daughter Katherine (Kitty) Barry, and Frances Millette, adopted daughter of Emma and George Blackwell, were raised partly as servants and partly as members of the family. In 1885 Ellen took up the cause of Anna Ella Carroll, allegedly a military strategist during the Civil War; Ellen wrote her biography and lobbied for her federal pension. She was an avid supporter of the anti-vivisection movement.
Samuel Charles Blackwell (1823-1901), was a bookkeeper and dabbled in real estate, but was never a business success. He and his wife, Antoinette (Brown) Blackwell, lived in Somerville, N.J., with their five daughters. Antoinette (Nettie) was the first to be an ordained minister in the Congregationalist church and a well-known reformer (see Notable American Women for a brief biography).
Henry Blackwell (1825-1909), editor, journalist, and businessman; as the last he was involved successively in hardware, sugar refining (developing processes using sorghum and sugar beet instead of sugar cane which was grown with slave labor), and the book trade. With his famous suffragist wife, Lucy Stone (see Notable American Women), he founded The Woman's Journal.
Howard Blackwell (ca. 1830-1866) worked in England with his English cousin Samuel H. Blackwell in iron manufacturing and then joined the East India Company. His early death was a sad loss particularly for his eldest sister Anna.
George Washington Blackwell (1832-1912), was the youngest and the recipient of much advice from his older siblings. He went west to Wisconsin as a wheat trader and land agent in the 1850s, then studied law in New York City, and eventually took up real estate. In 1872 Henry estimated that George was worth $250,000 and that he and his wife Lucy Stone were each worth $50,000. George married Emma Stone Lawrence, niece of Lucy Stone, who before her marriage had been a schoolteacher and assistant on The Woman's Journal. She remained active in the New Jersey and Massachusetts suffrage movements and the Woman's Club of Orange, New Jersey. Among her correspondents were her mother, Sarah (Stone) Lawrence, who taught school in Gardner, Massachusetts, and Cohoes, New York, Clara Barlow, also a school-teacher, and Phoebe (Stone) Beeman, member of the first class of women at Wesleyan University (1876).
In addition to the adopted children (who proved loyal companions to their foster parents), the third U.S. generation consisted of three principal family groups. Alice Stone Blackwell, daughter of Henry Blackwell and Lucy Stone, maintained the reform traditions of her parents (see Notable American Women: The Modern Period). Sam and Nettie had five daughters: Ethel Blackwell Robinson (who married Alfred Brokos Robinson) and Edith were physicians; Grace Blackwell was an invalid who never married; Agnes, an artist and professor of art, married lawyer Tom Jones; and Florence married Elliot Mayhew. Howard, son of George Washington and Emma Blackwell, earned three degrees from Harvard: A.B. 1899, A.M. 1900, and Ph.D. (in physics) 1905. He was comptroller of Harvard from 1906 to 1910, a lecturer in physics in 1918, and organizer of the Memorial Hall Dining Association. Later he carried on his father's real estate interests. He and his wife Helen (Thomas) had three sons: George, John, and Lane, and were long-time Cambridge residents. Howard's sister Anna attended Smith College for one year (1904-1905) and married Charles Belden, librarian of the Massachusetts State Library, in 1908. They had four children: Elizabeth, Lane, Charles, and Allison.
For further information about the Blackwell family, see Elinor Rice Hays, Those Extraordinary Blackwells (1967).
- Series I. Samuel Blackwell (1790-1838) and Hannah (Lane) Blackwell, 1831-1966 (inclusive), 1831-1870 (bulk) (#4-15v)
- Series II. Children of Samuel and Hannah (Lane) Blackwell, 1833-1981 (#16-640)
- ___Subseries A. Anna Blackwell (1816-1900), 1833-1899 (#16-31)
- ___Subseries B. Marian Blackwell (1818-1897), 1838-1896 (#32-44)
- ___Subseries C. Elizabeth Blackwell, MD (1821-1910), 1836-1979 (inclusive), 1850-1907 (bulk) (#45-89v)
- ___Subseries D. Samuel Charles Blackwell (1823-1901), 1837-1901 (#90-108)
- ___Subseries E. Antoinette (Brown) Blackwell (1825-1921), 1873-1975 (inclusive), 1873-1913 (bulk) (#109-114af+)
- ___Subseries F. Henry Browne Blackwell (1825-1909), 1844-1915 (#115-147)
- ___Subseries G. Lucy Stone (1818-1893), 1837-1981 (inclusive), 1845-1944 (bulk) (#148-162)
- ___Subseries H. Emily Blackwell, MD (1826-1910), 1842-1975 (inclusive), 1845-1910 (bulk) (#163-192)
- ___Subseries I. Sarah Ellen Blackwell (1828-1901), 1846-1911 (#193-233)
- ___Subseries J. John Howard Blackwell (1831-1866), 1846-1867 (#234-235)
- ___Subseries K. George Washington Blackwell (1832-1912), 1837-1935 (#236-468v)
- ___Subseries L. Emma Stone (Lawrence) Blackwell (1851-1920), 1849-1923 (#469-573)
- ___Subseries M. Miscellaneous compositions associated with second generation Blackwells, 1844-1908 (#574-595o)
- ___Subseries N. Other Blackwells and others, 1849-1901 (#596-599)
- ___Subseries O. Stone family relatives including Barlow, Beeman, and Lawrence families, 1845-1918 (#600-640)
- Series III. Third generation Blackwells, 1870-1965 (#641-996)
- ___Subseries A. Katharine (Kitty) Barry Blackwell (1849-1938), 1870-1936 (#641-650)
- ___Subseries B. Children of Samuel Charles and Antoinette (Brown) Blackwell, 1870-1946 (#651-658)
- ___Subseries C. Alice Stone Blackwell (1857-1950), 1871-1951 (#659-712)
- ___Subseries D. Adopted children of Emily and Sarah Ellen Blackwell, 1880-1937 (#713-715)
- ___Subseries E. Howard Lane Blackwell (1877-1972), 1883-1964 (#716-900f)
- ___Subseries F. Helen Electa (Thomas) Blackwell (b. 1880), 1895-1965 (#901-#951)
- ___Subseries G. Thomas family (relatives of Helen Thomas Blackwell), 1900-1954 (#952-965)
- ___Subseries H. Anna (Blackwell) Belden, 1890-1963 (#966-989)
- ___Subseries I. Frances Millette, 1891-1937 (#990-996)
- Series IV. Fourth generation Blackwells, 1900-1981 (#997-1008)
- ___Subseries A. George Howard Blackwell, 1912-1961 (#997-999)
- ___Subseries B. Howard Lane Blackwell, 1922-1975 (#1000-1001)
- ___Subseries C. John Thomas Blackwell, 1921-1981 (#1002-1005)
- ___Subseries D. Others, 1900-1950 (#1006-1008)
- Series V. Photographs and memorabilia, 1887-1962 (#1009f-1066m-6)
- ___Subseries A. Photographs, 1887-1962, n.d. (#1009f-1058)
- ___Subseries B. Memorabilia, 1906, n.d. (#1059m-1066m-6)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers of the Blackwell Family were given to the Schlesinger Library by Bernard Aspinwall in 1976, and by John Blackwell between 1980 and 1983. Additional papers were purchased from Charles Apfelbaum in 1990.
- Box 1: Folders 2-5, 7-14
- Box 2: Folders 15v-20
- Box 3: Folders 21-28
- Box 4: Folders 29-37
- Box 5: Folders 38-46
- Box 6: Folders 47-52
- Box 7: Folders 53-58
- Box 8: Folders 59-68
- Box 9: Folders 69-84
- Box 10: Folders 85at-92
- Box 11: Folders 93-100
- Box 12: Folders 101-111
- Box 13: Folders 112-126
- Box 14: Folders 127-133
- Box 15: Folders 134-143
- Box 16: Folders 144-155
- Box 17: Folders 156-168
- Box 18: Folders 169-174
- Box 19: Folders 175-180
- Box 20: Folders 181-192
- Box 21: Folders 193-198
- Box 22: Folders 199-205
- Box 23: Folders 206-213
- Box 24: Folders 214-222
- Box 25: Folders 223-232
- Box 26: Folders 233-240
- Box 27: Folders 241-246
- Box 28: Folders 247-256
- Box 29: Folders 257-266
- Box 30: Folders 267-272
- Box 31: Folders 273-282
- Box 32: Folders 284-286
- Box 33: Folders 287-292
- Box 34: Folders 293-299
- Box 35: Folders 300-303, 305-309
- Box 36: Folders 310-318
- Box 37: Folders 319-323
- Box 38: Folders 324-333
- Box 39: Folders 334-338
- Box 40: Folders 339-342
- Box 41: Folders 343-348
- Box 42: Folders 349-355
- Box 43: Folders 356-362
- Box 44: Folders 363-369
- Box 45: Folders 370-377
- Box 46: Folders 378-382
- Box 47: Folders 383-391
- Box 48: Folders 392-401
- Box 49: Folders 402-408
- Box 50: Folders 409-416
- Box 51: Folders 417-424
- Box 52: Folders 425-430
- Box 53: Folders 431v-437v
- Box 54: Folders 438v-446v
- Box 55: Christmas card index file, ca. 1920s
- Box 56: Folders 447v-457v
- Box 57: Folders 458v-467v
- Box 58: Folders 468v-477
- Box 59: Folders 478-484
- Box 60: Folders 485-490
- Box 61: Folders 491-498
- Box 62: Folders 499-506
- Box 63: Folders 507-513
- Box 64: Folders 514-522
- Box 65: Folders 523-531
- Box 66: Folders 532-538
- Box 67: Folders 539-543
- Box 68: Folders 544-551
- Box 69: Folders 552-559
- Box 70: Folders 560v-562
- Box 71: Folders 563-566
- Box 72: Folders 567-573
- Box 73: Folders 574-586
- Box 74: Folders 587-593
- Box 75: Folders 594, 596-605
- Box 76: Folders 606-619
- Box 77: Folders 620-627
- Box 78: Folders 628-633
- Box 79: Folders 634-643
- Box 80: Folders 644-648
- Box 81: Folders 649-653
- Box 82: Folders 654-662
- Box 83: Folders 663-675
- Box 84: Folders 676-685
- Box 85: Folders 686-696
- Box 86: Folders 697-701, 703v-707
- Box 87: Folders 708-717
- Box 88: Folders 718-726
- Box 89: Folders 727-735
- Box 90: Folders 736-743
- Box 91: Folders 744-751
- Box 92: Folders 752-760
- Box 93: Folders 761-767
- Box 94: Folders 768-774
- Box 95: Folders 775-781
- Box 96: Folders 782-788
- Box 97: Folders 789-795
- Box 98: Folders 796-803
- Box 99: Folders 804-807
- Box 100: Folders 808a-808j
- Box 101: Folders 809-817
- Box 102: Folders 818-824
- Box 103: Folders 825-837
- Box 104: Folders 838-847
- Box 105: Folders 848-857
- Box 106: Folders 858-868
- Box 107: Folders 869-876
- Box 108: Folders 877-881
- Box 109: Folders 882-885
- Box 110: Folders 886-890
- Box 111: Folders 891-894
- Box 112: Folders 895-899
- Box 113: Folders 901-905
- Box 114: Folders 906-913
- Box 115: Folders 914-919
- Box 116: Folders 920-928
- Box 117: Folders 929-935
- Box 118: Folders 936-941
- Box 119: Folders 942-946
- Box 120: Folders 947, 950-956
- Box 121: Folders 957-960
- Box 122: Folders 961-965
- Box 123: Folders 966-973
- Box 124: Folders 974-979
- Box 125: Folders 980-986
- Box 126: Folders 987-994
- Box 127: Folders 995-1000
- Box 128: Folders 1001-1008
- Folio+ Box 129: Folders 1059m-1066m-6
By: Jane S. Knowles
- Account books
- Antislavery movements
- Cambridge (Mass.)--Social life and customs
- Home economics.
- Ireland--Social life and customs--19th century
- Orange (N.J.)--Social life and customs
- Real estate business--Massachusetts
- Real estate business--New Jersey
- Real estate business--Wisconsin
- Women in medicine
- Women in science
- Women physicians
- Women--Societies and clubs
- Blackwell family. Papers of the Blackwell family, 1831-1981: A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Digitization of this collection in 2015 was made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Record Commission.
- EAD ID
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.
3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA