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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 626

Additional papers of Grace Ellery Channing, 1884-1976


Letters to author Grace Ellery Channing Stetson, her husband, Charles Walter Stetson, and her stepdaughter, Katharine Beecher Stetson Chamberlin.


  • Creation: 1884-1976

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted, with the exception of folders #4.12-4.13, which are closed.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Grace Ellery Channing 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.


1.67 linear feet ((4 file boxes) plus 1 photograph folder)

The collection contains letters to Grace Ellery Channing, her husband, Charles Walter Stetson, her stepdaughter, Katharine Beecher (Stetson) Chamberlin, and other members of the Channing family. Also included are a small number of financial records, address books, and photographs. Letters include news of friends and family; discussion of politics, including Channing's dislike of Franklin D. Roosevelt; financial matters, including the administration of the estates of Mary Channing Wood and Charlotte Perkins Gilman; etc. Letters also document Channing's attempts to gain recognition for Stetson's painting and Chamberlin's role as steward of her mother's literary estate. Folders are arranged alphabetically within the following groupings: Grace Ellery Channing, Charles Walter Stetson, Katharine Beecher Stetson Chamberlin, and other members of the Channing family. The collection contains a letter and two poems by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (#3.6), one letter to her (#4.14), and two fragile editions of Gilman's In This Our World: Poems by Charlotte Perkins Stetson (#4.12-4.13).


Author Grace Ellery Channing (also known as Grace Ellery Channing Stetson), was born on December 27, 1862, in Providence, Rhode Island, the daughter of William Francis Channing and Mary (Tarr) Channing. Her grandfather was William Ellery Channing, the founder of the American Unitarian Church, and her father was an inventor who patented a portable electro-magnetic telegraph, an electric fire alarm, a ship railway, and other inventions. She had a sister, Mary (Channing) Wood (1860-1934), and a brother, Harold Channing (1869-1946). She was educated in private schools and taught in the free kindergarten on Fountain Street in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1885, Channing became ill with what was suspected to be tuberculosis, and moved with her family to Pasadena, California.

Channing began her career as a writer by editing her grandfather's memoirs, Dr. Channing's Notebook (1887). Her earliest essays were published in the periodical Land of Sunshine (later Outwest). Following a visit to Italy from 1890 to 1893, Channing wrote articles including, "What lessons Rome can teach us" and "Florence of the English poets," which described Italy for the American audience. Many of her stories appeared in Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Saturday Evening Post. She published two collections of short stories, The Sister of a Saint (1895) and The Fortune of a Day (1900), as well as a collection of poems, Sea Drift, (1899).

Channing was a close friend of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and wrote and produced several successful plays with her. In June 1894, Channing married Gilman's ex-husband, Charles Walter Stetson, a painter, and together the couple raised Stetson and Gilman's daughter, Katharine Beecher Stetson Chamberlin. The family lived in Pasadena, California, and Boston, Massachusetts, before moving to Rome, Italy, in 1902. Stetson died on July 20, 1911, on the eve of his return to the United States for a major exhibition, from complications after intestinal surgery. Channing returned to the United States in 1912 and organized an extended touring exhibition of Stetson's paintings that was shown in Boston, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and Toledo, Ohio.

In 1916, Channing was accredited as a war correspondent and traveled to France and the Italian front. From 1918 to 1937 she lived in New York, and became increasingly concerned about debts, low income, and her poor health. She died on April 3, l937.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 83-M113, 89-M54, 2010-M15

These additional papers of Grace Ellery Channing were acquired by the Schlesinger Library from Walter, Dorothy, and Linda Chamberlin between May 1983 and January 2010.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Grace Ellery Channing papers, 1806-1973 (83-M201), Charlotte Perkins Gilman papers, 1846-1961 (177), and Charlotte Perkins Gilman papers, 1846-ca.1975 (MC 588).

Processing Information

Processed: February 2010

By: Johanna Carll

Channing, Grace Ellery, 1862-1937. Additional papers of Grace Ellery Channing, 1884-1976: 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 a gift from the Radcliffe College Class of 1955.

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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