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COLLECTION Identifier: A-20.

Papers of Jane Gay Dodge, 1882-1951


Mainly two volumes of photographs and letters compiled by E. Jane Gay, who was official photographer on a 1889-1893 expedition to appartian tribal lands among the Winnebagos of Nebraska and the Nez Perces of Idaho.


  • Creation: 1882-1951

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Access. Originals closed; use digital images. Volumes 1o-2o are also available on microfilm M-69.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Jane Gay Dodge is held by 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.


.21 linear feet ((1/2 file box) plus 2 oversize volumes, 1 reel microfilm M-69)

The collection is divided into 2 parts: the first part deals primarily with E. Jane Gay's life while the second part consists of letters to Dorothea Lynde Dix. The first part of the collection contains biographical sketches by Jane Gay Dodge, of E. Jane Gay, and Alice Cunningham Fletcher. The most interesting and informative items in this section are the 2 hand-bound volumes of photographs and copies of letters written by E. Jane Gay and Alice Cunningham Fletcher re: their trip to the Nez Perce Indian territory, where Alice Cunningham Fletcher apportioned land to the Indians. The rest of the collection contains correspondence from Francis La Flesche, the "adopted" son of Alice Cunningham Fletcher, to Jane Gay Dodge and Emma Jane Gay, Jane Gay Dodge's cousin, and letters to Dorothea Lynde Dix from various people.


The bulk of this collection concerns E. Jane Gay, Jane Gay Dodge's aunt. The daughter of Ziba Gay (1796-1864), and Mary (Kennedy) Gay (1798-1873), Gay was born in 1830 in Nashua, New Hampshire. She was educated in New York, where she was a classmate of Alice Cunningham Fletcher (1838-1923). She left New York in the 1850s and, with Catherin Melville, opened a school for young ladies in Macon, Georgia, in 1856. When the school closed in 1860, Gay moved to Washington, D.C., where she and Catherin Melville administered a school for young children. From 1861 until the end of the Civil War, Gay worked with Dorothea Lynde Dix (1802-1887); as a result, she came into possession of some of Dix's correspondence, which was eventually passed on to Dodge and is included in this collection. After the Civil War, E. Jane Gay was a tutor to President Andrew Johnson's grandchildren and then worked as a clerk in a deadletter office (1866-1883). Sometime before 1888, Gay renewed her friendship with Alice Cunningham Fletcher and in 1889 accompanied Fletcher when she was made a special agent for the U.S. Department of the Interior to apportion tribal lands among the Winnebagos of Nebraska and the Nez Perces of Idaho. Gay mastered the techniques of photography in the summer of 1888 and consequently was able to serve as official photographer for the expedition (1889-1893). Gay then lived in Washington until 1906, when she and another niece, Emma Jane Gay (1859-1924), visited Europe. During their stay in England, Gay and Emma Jane Gay produced Choup-nit-ki, With the Nez Perce, 2 hand-bound volumes of photographs and letters describing Gay's and Fletcher's work among the Indians and social conditions on the frontier in the late 19th century. Gay decided to remain in Winscombe, Somerset, England, with her friend, Dr. Caroline Sturge, and died there in 1919. For further information about Alice Cunningham Fletcher, see the article in Notable American Women, volume I (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 51-74

This collection was given to the Schlesinger Library by Jane Gay Dodge in 1951.

Processing Information

Re-processed: January 1983

By: Christine C. Marshall

Dodge, Jane Gay, 1881-1963. Papers of Jane Gay Dodge, 1861-1951: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women
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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