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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 273

Papers of Lillian Schoedler, 1890-1963


Diaries, correspondence, travel notes, etc., of Lillian Schoedler, executive secretary and world traveler.


  • Creation: 1890-1963

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Lillian Schoedler as well as 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.


4.59 linear feet ((11 file boxes) plus 3 oversize items)

The Lillian Schoedler papers consist of her letters to family and friends, most of them written while traveling, travel notes and reports, diaries (1912-1963), and professional and financial papers. There are magazine articles by and about Schoedler, and many newsclippings about her athletic accomplishments, professional activities, and travels. The professional papers are incomplete: the Filene material deals mainly with parties and Schoedler's responsibilities to his estate after his death; there is little information about her work at the United Nations. The travel materials are extensive, rich in description of scenery, people, and travel conditions, but lacking in political observation.


Lillian Schoedler, business executive and world traveler, was born in New York City on September 6, 1891, the oldest of Ulrich and Paula (Franko) Schoedler's five daughters. She attended public school and high school in New York and received her bachelor's degree in economics from Barnard College in 1911. She spent a year as editorial assistant at the Pictorial Review magazine in New York, then rose from first secretary to assistant manager of the Intercollegiate Bureau of Occupations (December 1912-April 1915). After recovering from a nervous breakdown, Schoedler became private secretary to Mr. and Mrs. V. Everit Macy (July 1916-December 1917), leaving to work for six months as executive secretary of the Women's Division of the War Savings Stamn Campaign for Greater New York. After the war Schoedler worked as private secretary to Mrs. Emmons Blaine of Chicago for three years (September 1918-December 1921). In November 1923 Schoedler was appointed executive secretary to the Women's Division of the National Amateur Athletic Federation and remained there until August 1926, when she refused a position with Lou Henry (Mrs. Herbert) Hoover in order to travel. While abroad Schoedler found employment as secretary to the Regional Director of the Far East Division of General Motors Export Division (1926-1928). After returning to the United States Schoedler accepted a position as assistant to Edward A. Filene of Boston; she was responsible for overseeing his charitable work and literary activities, and acted as his hostess (1931-1937). Schoedler was a delegate to the International Chamber of Commerce meeting in Berlin in 1937, and assistant director of the International Business Conference in 1944. She was assistant to Dr. James Shotwell at the United Nations Conference in San Francisco in 1945 as executive secretary of the Committee of Atomic Energy of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In 1945 Schoedler retired and devoted herself permanently to "vagabonding." Between 1922 and 1963 she traveled to every continent except Antarctica, often settling down for months or years in a favorite place. She preferred to avoid cities and concentrated on native peoples and customs and exotic scenery. She died in a car accident at the age of 72 in August 1963 while touring the American West Coast.


  1. Series I. BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1980's-1963. 1-13v.
  2. Series II. DIARIES, 1912-1963. 14v-67v.
  3. Series III. CORRESPONDENCE, 1898-1963. 68-96.
  4. Series IV. TRAVEL NOTES AND REPORTS, 1922-1963. 97-116.
  5. Series V. PROFESSIONAL PAPERS, 1911-1948. 117-127.
  6. Series VI. PUBLICATIONS, 1911-1963. 128-134.
  7. Series VII. FINANCIAL, 1914-1963. 135-146.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 70-85, 71-13 71-99, 73-32

The papers of Lillian Schoedler were given to the Schlesinger Library by her friend, Lura Beam, in July 1970, January and August 1971, and March 1973. They were processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (RC-24669-76-987).


  1. Box 1: Folders 1-22v
  2. Box 2: Folders 23v-40v
  3. Box 3: Folders 41-57v
  4. Box 4: Folders 58-67v
  5. Box 5: Folders 68-76
  6. Box 6: Folders 77-88
  7. Box 7: Folders 89-105
  8. Box 8: Folders 106-115
  9. Box 9: Folders 116-126
  10. Box 10: Folders 127-138
  11. Box 11: Folders 139-146

Processing Information

Processed: September 1978

By: Donna Webber

Schoedler, Lillian, 1891-1963. Papers of Lillian Schoedler, 1890-1963: 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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