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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 950

Papers of Olive B. Floyd, 1860s-1983


Scrapbooks, travel diaries, writings, photographs, etc., of world traveler and writer Olive B. Floyd, lifelong resident of Lincoln, Massachusetts


  • Creation: 1860s-1983

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Olive B. Floyd 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.


4.96 linear feet ((5 file boxes, 3 folio boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder, 1 supersize folder, 8 photograph folders, 2 folio+ photograph volumes)

The collection includes a baby book; scrapbooks detailing her travels, concerts and theater attended, and other social engagements; travel diaries; lists of books read; photographs of Floyd and her family as well as her travels; published articles, typescripts of lectures and writings; correspondence and research material concerning her books; postcards; and some genealogical information. Folder headings in quotation marks are those of the donor.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Writer and world traveler Olive Beatrice Floyd was born in Lincoln, Massachusetts, on February 14, 1901, the daughter of Alice Downing Hart (1875-1928) and Andress Small Floyd (d. 1933). Her father was a senior partner in a brokerage firm, Floyd, Crawford & Company, which was a flourishing business with branch offices in sixty cities before being suspended from the Consolidated Stock Exchange in Union, New Jersey, in 1904. He went bankrupt and later founded an establishment in Union to teach trades to homeless men known as Floyd's Self-Master Colony. He and his wife seemed to have divorced. Olive B. Floyd graduated from Bryn Mawr (BA 1922) and Radcliffe College (AM 1932); she also studied at the University of Paris (1932-1933), Columbia University (1935-1936), and at the New York School of Interior Design. From 1923 to 1925 she taught English and Italian at the Westover School in Middlebury, Connecticut. She began a career as a lecturer, speaking on literature, notable women, and her travels, but soon found she did not enjoy it. On one trip to Wyoming she met writer Mary Roberts Rinehart who encouraged her to write. Floyd was the author of Doctora in Mexico: The Life of Dr. Katherine Neel Dale (1944), Partners in Africa (1946), Early American Decorated Tinware (1957), and a number of books about her ancestors in the Thorne family.

Olive B. Floyd lived a well-to-do life in Lincoln, Massachusetts. She traveled widely, beginning as a young girl until the 1970s; as an adult, she seemed to have often traveled alone, by railroad, car, plane, and on horseback. She was also very interested in local history and in tracing the lives and accomplishments of some of her forebears. Floyd died in Waltham, Massachusetts, in June 1985.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 478, 1250, 71-1, 72-22, 73-3, 77-M110, 77-M133, 82-M235, 85-M275, 86-M20

These papers of Olive B. Floyd were given to the Schlesinger Library by Olive B. Floyd between September 1962 and February 1986.

Processing Information

Processed: June 2018

By: Anne Engelhart

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

General processing procedures in place at the Library include the following:  books (when not heavily annotated) by and about the collection's creator and on subjects which fall within the Library's collecting area are removed and cataloged separately with information about their provenance; other books and serials are not retained.  Other material not normally retained include:  clippings that are not by or about the collection's creator; research files; financial documents such as checkbooks, cancelled checks, bank statements, etc. (when there is financial documentation at a higher level); invoices, receipts, orders, airline tickets, etc.; and envelopes (when they do not contain additional information).

When samples of weeded documents are retained, it is indicated in the finding aid.

Floyd, Olive B. (Olive Beatrice), 1901-1985. Papers of Olive B. Floyd, 1860s-1983: 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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