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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 259: M-59

Papers of Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague, 1854-1916


Diaries, scrapbooks, etc., of Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague, mother and diarist.


  • Creation: 1854-1916

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Originals closed; use microfilm (M-59, reels 988-992, no. M26).

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague is held by Margaret Stewart (Coit) Coolidge. Upon her death, copyright transfers to her daughter, Elizabeth Coolidge Winship. 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.


4.17 linear feet (10 file boxes)

These papers consist of diary/scrapbooks kept by Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague and a photocopy of memoirs of her childhood, Pleasant Memories of My Life. The diaries contain comments on the weather, social events, trips and family information; Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague rarely recorded her thoughts or emotions. The volumes also include numerous enclosures, particularly clippings and programs of the social events and organizations of Chicago and many letters. The bulk of the letters are from Elizabeth Penn Sprague Coolidge and Albert Sprague Coolidge. The diaries start in 1854 and end in 1916 with Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague' final illness.


Nancy Ann Atwood was born September 3, 1837 in Barnard, Vermont. She was the seventh of twelve children, with five older brothers, one older sister, four younger brothers, and one younger sister. Until her marriage to Albert Arnold Sprague (born May 19, 1835), she lived in the small towns of Barnard and Royalton, Vermont. Following her marriage on September 29, 1862, she and Albert Arnold Sprague moved to Chicago, where he was to become a prominent businessman. They spent many of their summers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The Spragues had three daughters, two of whom died in childhood. Elizabeth Penn Sprague (born October 30, 1864), the eldest and sole surviving child, married Frederic Shurtleff Coolidge in 1891; they had one son, Albert Sprague Coolidge, born on January 23, 1894. Elizabeth Penn Sprague Coolidge was notable for her financial support of musical performance, especially at the Library of Congress.

Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague's Family:

  1. Father: Ebenezer Atwood -1870
  2. Mother: Elvira (Tucker) Atwood -1871
  3. Brother: Joseph Foster, c.1825-1895
  4. Brother: Thomas, 1827-1872
  5. Sister: Elizabeth, 1830-1861; married Zerah B. Stetson in 1860
  6. Brother: Charles, c.1834-1880; married Helen Beebe
  7. Brother: George and one other older brother (No dates)
  8. Brother: Oliver, c.1839-?
  9. Brother: Ebenezer, Jr.(killed in Civil War), c.1842-c.1863
  10. Brother: Irving (killed in Civil War), c.1844-c.1862
  11. Brother: Myron, c.1847-?
  12. Sister: Lucia Elvira, c.1854-1901; married Otho S.A. Sprague in 1871
  13. Niece (daughter of Lucia Elvira (Atwood) Sprague and Otho S.A. Sprague): Mary Amelia, 1872-?; married Adolf Casper Miller in 1895
  14. Nephew (son of Lucia Elvira (Atwood) Sprague and Otho S.A. Sprague): Albert Arnold Sprague II, 1874-1946; married Frances Dibble in 1901
  15. Niece (daughter of Lucia Elvira (Atwood) Sprague and Otho S.A. Sprague): Nancy Atwood, 1876-?; suffered from mental illness
  16. Niece (daughter of Lucia Elvira (Atwood) Sprague and Otho S.A. Sprague): Lucy, 1878-1967; married Wesley Clair Mitchell in 1912
  17. Nephew (son of Lucia Elvira (Atwood) Sprague and Otho S.A. Sprague): 2 boys die young (No dates)

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 77-M88, 77-M118, 77-M143

The papers of Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague were given to the Schlesinger Library in June and September 1977 by Margaret Stewart (Coit) Coolidge (Mrs. Albert Sprague Coolidge).

Container List

  1. Box 1: 1v-2v
  2. Box 2: 3v-5v
  3. Box 3: 6v-7v
  4. Box 4: 8v-9v
  5. Box 5: 10v-11v
  6. Box 6: 12v-13v
  7. Box 7: 14v-15v
  8. Box 8: 16v, 23v, 24v
  9. Box 9: 1a, 2a, 3a, 5a, 6a, 7a, 8a, 11a, 16a, 17v, 18v
  10. Box 10: 19v-22v, 24a-26

Processing Information

Processed: January and October 1978

By: Nancy M. Robertson, Joseph A. Interrante

Sprague, Nancy Ann Atwood, 1837-1916. Papers of Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague, 1854-1916: 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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