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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 551

Papers of the Wallace family, 1895-2006 (inclusive), 1923-1973 (bulk)


Collection consists of family correspondence, particularly among three generations of women: diaries of Marguerite Cutler Crowell Wallace during her Radcliffe College years (1925-1927), as well as courtship letters and professional correspondence; letters from her daughters, Sylvia and Zara during their Radcliffe years (1954-1960); letters from her son, George during his Yale University years (1960-1964); correspondence and business records of her parents George and Emma Cushing Cutler Crowell.


  • Creation: 1895-2006
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1923-1973

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted, except that #4.9 is closed until January 1, 2013, and #28.4 is closed until January 1, 2047.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by the Wallace Family 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.


11.89 linear feet ((28 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 2 photograph folders)

This collection documents the personal and professional lives of Marguerite Crowell and her husband, Alva Dayle Wallace. The bulk consists of correspondence to and from various family members, including their three children, Marguerite's parents, and three of Marguerite's aunts. Much of the correspondence was written during the Depression and World War II, and discusses growing and canning their own produce. For many summers, Marguerite was left at home with the children while Dayle, a college professor (first at the Municipal University of Omaha and then at Wayne State University) moved to New Haven to edit the Horace Walpole papers at Yale. Their letters offer a poignant look at family life under difficult circumstances. Also included are professional correspondence and records from George Crowell, and the professional correspondence of Arthur Crowell (George's brother), a superintendent of public schools in Massachusetts until he was forced to retire. For a more complete list of family members, see the family tree in #1.7.

Series I, EMMA CUTLER AND GEORGE MARCUS CROWELL, 1895-2006 (#1.1-1.18), is arranged in three subseries.

Subseries A, Biographical and personal, 1895-2006 (#1.1-1.7), includes diary of births and deaths attended by George Crowell in 1919, physician's narcotic register, account and expense book, and cremation permit. Also included is a family tree by Sylvia Crowell Wallace Holton Peterson.

Subseries B, Emma Cutler Crowell family correspondence, 1897-1967 (#1.8-1.15), includes correspondence from Emma's brother, sisters, mother, and sister-in-law. Letters to Marguerite and Dayle are found in Series II, Subseries C. It is arranged by generation, with Emma's mother first.

Subseries C, Professional and personal correspondence, 1897-1963 (#1.16-1.18), includes letters to George Crowell from his collection agency.

Series II, MARGUERITE CROWELL AND ALVA DAYLE WALLACE, 1907-1997 (#1.19-28.9), is arranged in five subseries, each arranged alphabetically.

Subseries A, Marguerite Crowell Wallace: biographical and personal, 1920-1996 (#1.19-4.6), includes diaries, school reports and exams, Radcliffe College material, theater programs, and visiting cards.

Subseries B, Alva Dayle Wallace: biographical and personal, 1907-1976 (#4.7-4.16), includes diaries and expense books, lesson plans, magic book, letters from the military, and obituary.

Subseries C, Family correspondence, 1912-1997 (#4.17-18.10), contains correspondence with Marguerite's parents, and Marguerite and Dayle's three children, as well as letters from Dayle's mother and cousins, Marguerite's aunts, uncles and cousins, and three of Marguerite and Dayle's grandchildren. Many of Emma's (Marguerite's mother) letters contain enclosed letters from her sisters Henrietta and Ethel. The correspondence is arranged by generation, with Marguerite's grandmother and great-aunt first, followed by parents, aunts and uncles, spouse, sibling, cousins, children and families, and other family member; there are some out-going letters, as well.

Subseries D, Friends correspondence, 1920-1996 (#18.11-27.5), contains letters from friends of Marguerite and Dayle, including Zara Jones Powers (head of manuscripts at Yale University's Sterling Library and namesake of Zara Wallace). Also included are former girlfriends of Dayle and boyfriends of Marguerite.

Subseries E, Professional correspondence, 1927-1971 (#27.6-28.9), contains letters from colleagues and students of Dayle, and former colleagues of Marguerite regarding the Municipal University of Omaha's library recataloging project.

Series III, SYLVIA CROWELL WALLACE HOLTON PETERSON, ZARA HENRIETTA WALLACE, AND GEORGE JOHN WALLACE, 1936-1971 (#28.10-29.2), is arranged in three subseries, each arranged chronologically.

Subseries A, Biographical and personal, 1959-1964 (#28.10-28.12), includes the wedding invitation of Sylvia and Milne Horton, an article featuring George John Wallace, and printed material from Experiment in International Living.

Subseries B, Family correspondence, 1937-1971 (#28.13-28.31), includes letters from their great-grandmother Estella Mead Cutler, grandmother Emma Cutler Crowell, several aunts and uncles, and letters to each other. Letters to Marguerite and Dayle are found in Series II, Subseries C. It is arranged by generation, with their great-grandmother first, great-aunts and uncles, siblings, and cousins.

Subseries C, Friends correspondence, 1936-1968 (#28.32-29.2), contains letters from various friends.

Series IV, OTHER FAMILY PAPERS: ARTHUR AND MYRA CROWELL, 1897-1963 (#29.3-29.8), includes articles on education, personal and professional letters, and Arthur's will. Letters to Marguerite and Dayle are found in Series II, Subseries C.

Series V, PHOTOGRAPHS, ca.1925-1990 (#PD.1-PD.2), contains photographs of family members, friends, and an automobile belonging to Marguerite and Dayle Wallace.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].


Estella Augusta Mead (1851-1942) and David Cushing Cutler (1845-1922) were married on December 25, 1871, in Acton, Massachusetts. They had four daughters and a son: Henrietta Cushing Cutler (1871-1963), Ethel Mead Cutler (1873-1959), Emma Cushing Cutler (1877-1973), David Adelbert Cutler (1879-1943), and Zelia Almira Cutler (1882-1908). David Cushing Cutler managed an orange grove in Florida for his father-in-law, Adelbert Mead, while his wife and children lived with her parents in West Acton, Massachusetts. In 1897 Henrietta married Raymond Dodge (1871-1942), a professor of psychology at Wesleyan and Yale Universities. Ethel married Edward Reed (1865-1943), an employee of Hartwell and Reed, a stone cutting company. David Adelbert Cutler and his first wife, Charlotte Mary Tehrune had one child, Adelbert Cushing Cutler (known as Cushing or "Cush") (born 1906). Adelbert Cushing Cutler and his wife, Eleanor Sybil Leslie (1906-2005), Radcliffe College Class of 1928, had two daughters, Jean (1936-) and Deborah (1940-). With his second wife, Blanche Mildred Williams (born 1887), David Adelbert Cutler had three children: David Roy Cutler (born 1910), Helen Mildred Cutler (b.1912), and Elizabeth Zelia Cutler (known as "Betty"). David Roy married twice: first to Patience, and later to Elizabeth (known as "Betsy"). Helen married Lyman Appleton, and Elizabeth ("Betty") married Archibald Lewis.

Emma Cushing Cutler and George Marcus Crowell (1872-1936) had two daughters: Sylvia Cutler Crowell (1903-1904), who died before her first birthday, and Marguerite Cutler Crowell (1906-2005). George graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1899 and became a family doctor in New Hampshire. Following his death in 1936, Emma worked as a housemother at a number of institutions including Drake University, the Cummington School (Massachusetts), Massachusetts General Hospital, New Haven Country Home for Children (Connecticut), Westover School (Middlebury, Connecticut), Cornell University, and Syracuse University. She died in November 1973.

Marguerite Cutler Crowell graduated from Radcliffe College in 1927, and, in 1930, traveled to Europe with her aunt and uncle, Henrietta and Raymond Dodge. Later she took graduate classes at Yale University. In January 1933 she married Alva Dayle Wallace (1908-1973), and they had three children: Sylvia Crowell Wallace Holton Peterson (1936- ), Zara Henrietta Wallace (1938- ), and George John Wallace (1942- ). She was a cataloger for the Everett Public Library (1927-1928), the Yale University Library (1928-1935), and the Municipal University of Omaha (1937-1938), where she began a recataloging project. She also cataloged the Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis print collection (1952-1967) in Farmington, Connecticut, at what became the Lewis Walpole Library, and was an editor at Wayne State University Press (1968-1976).

Alva Dayle Wallace (known as Dayle), son of John Watson Wallace (1871-1940) and Maggie Florence Wallace (1874-1940), was born in Mount Calm, Texas. He had two brothers, John Doyle (1898-1949) and Clayton Lavon, and a sister, Zelda Lurline (1901-1996). John married Inez Shilling. Zelda married Theron Pickens Fincher and had three children: Lynette, Barbara Jean, and Earnest. Clayton married Amanda Marie Wilkerson. After receiving his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Texas Technological College (Lubbock, Texas), Dayle earned his Ph.D. in English from Yale University (1933). An English professor at the Municipal University of Omaha and Wayne State University, he was also one of the editors for the Horace Walpole Correspondence, published by the Yale University Press. He died in November 1973; his wife Marguerite survived him by 32 years, dying in April 2005.

Sylvia Crowell Wallace Holton Peterson (1936-) graduated from Radcliffe College in 1958, received her master's degree from Wayne State University (1959), and her Ph.D. in English from Yale University (1963). She taught at Hood College, the University of Maryland (College Park), George Mason University, and the University of the District of Columbia. She also wrote numerous books and articles. In 1964 she married William Milne Holton (known as Milne), who died in January 2000. Married to William Peterson in 2002, they worked on a joint project to compile a census of all known copies of the Kelmscott Press Chaucer.

Zara Henrietta Wallace (1938-) graduated from Radcliffe College in 1960 and received her master's degree in English from the University of Rochester in 1965. She taught at Connecticut College and was an associate dean of arts and sciences at Oberlin College. In 1970 she became involved with the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and later the New York Radical Feminists. In 1977, she moved to California and became an editor for Nyingma Institute's Dharma Publishing. She married Roger Wilkenfeld in July 1961; they were divorced in 1974. Her second marriage to Benjamin Aquilina in 1980 also ended in divorce (1987).

George John Wallace (1942-) graduated from Yale University in 1963 and received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1966. He taught at Tulane University, the University of Iowa, the University of Virginia, Stanford University, and Rutgers University Law School. After retiring in 2002, he founded the Center for Statistical Research (Alexandria, Virginia). He was married to Patricia Boyle in 1967, and they had two sons, Matthew (1972) and Christopher (1974). They were divorced in 1980. He married Anne Geary in 1981. They had two daughters, Claire (1984) and Suzanne (1987), and were divorced in 1999. In 2003 he married Gianne Conard.


The collection is arranged in five series:

  1. Series I. Emma Cutler and George Marcus Crowell, 1895-2006 (#1.1-1.18)
  2. ___Subseries A. Biographical and personal, 1895-2006 (#1.1-1.7)
  3. ___Subseries B. Emma Cutler Crowell family correspondence, 1897-1967 (#1.8-1.15)
  4. ___Subseries C. Professional and personal correspondence, 1897-1963 (#1.16-1.18)
  5. Series II. Marguerite Crowell and Alva Dayle Wallace, 1907-1997 (#1.19-28.9)
  6. ___Subseries A. Marguerite Crowell Wallace: biographical and personal, 1920-1996 (#1.19-4.6)
  7. ___Subseries B. Alva Dayle Wallace: biographical and personal, 1907-1976 (#4.7-4.16)
  8. ___Subseries C. Family correspondence, 1912-1997 (#4.17-18.10)
  9. ___Subseries D. Friends correspondence, 1920-1996 (#18.11-27.5)
  10. ___Subseries E. Professional correspondence, 1927-1971 (#27.6-28.9)
  11. Series III. Sylvia Crowell Wallace Holton Peterson, Zara Henrietta Wallace, and George John Wallace, 1936-1971 (#28.10-29.2)
  12. ___Subseries A. Biographical and personal, 1959-1964 (#28.10-28.12)
  13. ___Subseries B. Family correspondence, 1937-1971 (#28.13-28.31)
  14. ___Subseries C. Friends correspondence, 1936-1968 (#28.32-29.2)
  15. Series IV. Other Family Papers: Arthur and Myra Crowell, 1921-1955 (#29.3-29.8)
  16. Series V. Photographs, ca.1925-1990 (#PD.1-PD.2)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2006-M76

The papers of the Wallace Family were given to the Schlesinger Library by Sylvia Crowell Wallace Holton Peterson in March 2006.


Donors: Sylvia Crowell Wallace Holton Peterson

Accession number: 2006-M76

Processed by: Cat Lea Holbrook

The following items duplicated holdings in the Library and have been removed from the collection:

  1. Radcliffe College printed material.
  2. The Reflection of William Godwin's Political Philosophy in the English Novel, Alva Dayle Wallace, a dissertation presented to the faculty of the Graduate School of Yale University, in candidacy for the degree of doctor of philosophy 1933. [returned]

Processing Information

Processed: October 2007

By: Cat Lea Holbrook

Wallace family. Papers of the Wallace family, 1895-2006 (inclusive), 1923-1973 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Radcliffe College Class of 1956.

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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