Additional papers of the Alger family, ca.1850-1980 (inclusive), 1918-1980 (bulk)
- Majority of material found within 1918-1980
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
2.5 linear feet ((6 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder and 1 photograph folder)
Alger maintained a regular correspondence with Elizabeth Cummings Qualey (sister of ee cummings) until her death. Much of the correspondence in this collection is from Elizabeth Cummings Qualey as well as Marion Cummings (wife of ee cummings), and ee cummings himself. This correspondence includes details about their everyday lives, their families, and their opinions on local political issues such as the firing of Northfield Minnesota's chief of police and the inequality in salaries of male and female teachers in Minnesota. Alger was very active in the community and worked with several organizations including the Warren Center, the FUND, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and the American Friends Service Committee. The collection includes newsletters, meeting minutes, internal communication, reports, operating expenses, budgets, by-laws, and official publications from these organizations. Publications include "Structure and Functions of Advisory Councils," "An abbreviated summary of House 5700 & H. 2990", and "A Day with M.C.A.D." by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination; and "Italy Program Report" by the American Friends Service Committee.
Included in the collection are a number of essays written by Alger while she was a student at Radcliffe College, including her honors thesis. Alger wrote her honors thesis about the works of English novelist William Beckford (1760-1844). She focused on Beckford's novel Vathek, discussing its plot, influences, origins, and impact. She goes on to compare Beckford's work to the work of others, including Voltaire. Further writing of Alger's included in the collection are notes for a speech she gave at the 25th reunion of the Radcliffe class of 1922. Other materials of Alger included in the collection are her account books (1937-1970) and correspondence, photographs, and clippings regarding the Taylor Cup Award from 1953-1967. The Taylor Cup Award was named for Alger's uncle, Admiral Montgomery M. Taylor, and was an annual award given by the Navy to a patient who has exhibited exceptional spirit, fortitude, courage, and determination in overcoming their physical disability. Winners received a silver trophy and a personal letter of congratulations from Alger. Alger received correspondence from several Navy officials detailing who the recipients were every year and the reasoning behind their selection. Also included in the collection are correspondence from several Taylor Cup award winners, press releases about the award, photographs of the award ceremonies, and articles about the winners.
Also included in the collection are the papers of one of Alger's friends, Sarah (Sally) Sprague. Materials in Sprague's papers include clippings, articles, pamphlets, correspondence, reports, etc. The bulk of the papers consists of correspondence, the bulk of which is incoming, with fewer draft and other letters that Sprague sent to friends, family, and others. Correspondence in the papers documents Sprague's work with the South End Music School, Vietnam Summer National Office in Cambridge, and the American Friends Service Committee. A large portion of the correspondence is from members of Sprague's family detailing their daily lives and sharing news of family events. Another portion of the correspondence documents Sprague's efforts to assist her former South End Music School student, Ronald Cyr, during his seven-year prison sentence for robbery. During Cyr's incarceration, Sprague made efforts to improve his situation and expedite his release. Sprague corresponded regularly with the Parole Board, Cyr, and several other individuals she thought could help. Sprague also wrote to several organizations and Congressmen, such as Senator Edward W. Brooke and the Committee of Responsibility, about her views on the Vietnam War and other issues. Other materials in Sprague's papers include clippings, magazine articles, and pamphlets about the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, and nuclear policy; a report from the American Friends Service Committee; South End Music Center internal correspondence and publications such as the organization's bylaws, newsletters, list of committees and committee members, reports, etc.; and notes for a speech Sprague gave to the Unitarian Universalist Women's Alliance. Other materials in the collection consists of three diaries, two commonplace books, and a collection of recipes. The first diary (1897) contains short descriptions of the weather and lists of expenditures. The diary's owner is unidentified. The second diary (1902-1907) likely belonged to a relative of Sally Sprague. The entries describe the writer's daily life, including taking care of Sally when she was ill, making dresses for her, buying items for her, visiting with others, going to church, writing letters, going on vacation, etc. The owner of the third diary (1953-1956) is also unidentified. It also describes the weather and the author's daily life, including doctor visits, writing letters, gardening, visits from guests, and dinners, lunches, and other excursions with Louisa R. Alger. The commonplace books and recipes were owned by Abby Langdon Alger (ca.1850). The commonplace books include poetry, word puzzles, riddles, and jokes. The collection of recipes includes a handwritten recipes, notes, and recipe clippings for various desserts, main dishes, and vegetable dishes. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These papers of the Alger family were given to the Schlesinger Library between August 1969 and May 1979 by Louisa R. Alger.
- Box 1: Folders 1-4d
- Box 2: Folders 5-14
- Box 3: Folders 15-18
- Box 4: Folders 18a-18f
- Box 5: Folders 19-36
- Box 6: Folders 37-40
Updated: July 2015
By: Meghan Pipp, with assistance from Mark Vassar.
- Account books
- Aging--United States
- Cambridge (Mass.)--Social life and customs--20th century
- Child mental health--United States
- Civil rights--United States
- Commonplace books
- Mathematics teachers--United States
- Mental health--United States
- Quakers--United States
- United States--Politics and government--20th century
- Alger family. Additional papers of the Alger family, ca.1850-1980 (inclusive), 1918-1980 (bulk): A Finding Aid
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- EAD ID
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