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COLLECTION Identifier: A-47

Papers of Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson, 1860s-1993


Correspondence, journals, legal and financial documents, etc., of Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson, author, feminist, and world traveler, and committeewoman.


  • Creation: 1860s-1993


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson 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.


9.72 linear feet ((20 file boxes, 1 folio+ box) plus 1 folio folder, 5 folio+ folders, 2 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 33 photograph folders, 3 folio photograph folders, 2 folio+ photograph folders, 1 supersize photograph folder, and 24 objects)

This collection contains personal and professional correspondence, two journals, financial, legal, and estate documents, notes for and drafts of writings, clippings re: Seton-Thompson and her work, organizational material, and photographs. Only #20 and 178-184 were microfilmed as part of the Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project.

Materials received by the Schlesinger Library in 1991 and 1994 were added to the collection in June 2014 and are represented in #231-323m. All other files remain in the same order. Folders are listed in intellectual, not numeric, order.

Series I, Family and personal, 1860s-1993 (#1-90v, 231-275), includes biographical information; family correspondence, especially between Seton-Thompson and her husband and daughter; photographs of family and friends; condolence letters to Anya (Seton) Chase on the death of Seton-Thompson; correspondence concerning taxes, investments, and Seton's divorce from Ernest Thompson Seton; other business and financial documents; and poems, meeting notes, readings, and photographs, etc., pertaining to mysticism.

Series II, Travel, 1912-1943, undated (#91v-115, 276), contains two journals of Seton-Thompson's trips to Egypt and the American West in 1912; journal entries, notes, and drafts of manuscripts re: her trips to the Philippines, China, and other places in the Far East; correspondence about her travel arrangements; and photographs, primarily of France during World War I, and the Far East, 1929-1930.

Series III, Correspondence and writings, 1894-1961, 1989, undated (#116-177, 277-295), includes correspondence with friends, often about social and organizational activities; letters from unidentified lovers; correspondence with publishers; and articles by and about Seton-Thompson and her work.

Series IV, Organizations, 1910-1959, undated (#178-230, 297-302+), includes correspondence, programs, reports, and minutes of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association; correspondence and reports of the National Council of Women of the United States, including questionnaires used to compile the Biblioteca Femina and its catalog; and publications and correspondence of, and clippings about, the National League of American Pen Women, the Society of Woman Geographers, and other organizations. Country files related to the Biblioteca Femina include questionnaires, lists, and correspondence. Material related to the National League of American Pen Women includes correspondence, publications, and clippings.

Series V, Memorabilia, 1896, 1911-1952 (#303m-328m), includes medals awarded to Seton-Thompson for her service during World War I, pins representing her memberships in organizations, a game, and a Japanese fan.


Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson was born on January 28, 1879, in Sacramento, California, the youngest of three children of Albert and Clemenzie (Rhodes) Gallatin. Her parents were divorced in 1881, and Seton-Thompson subsequently moved with her mother to New York City, where she graduated from the Packer Collegiate Institute in 1892.

During a trip to Europe in 1894, she met Ernest Thompson Seton, a naturalist and writer. They married in 1896 and had one child, a daughter Ann, nicknamed Anya, who became a well-known writer. Seton-Thompson frequently accompanied her husband on camping trips, and in 1900 published her first book, A Woman Tenderfoot, describing her trip on horseback through the Rockies. She was instrumental in organizing a woman's motor unit in France during World War I, bringing food and other aid to soldiers. By the late 1920s, Seton had separated from her husband; they were divorced in 1935.

An active committeewoman and ardent suffragist, Seton-Thompson served as vice-president and later president of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association (1910-1920). She was president of the National League of American Pen Women (1926-1928 and 1930-1932), doubling the number of branches of that organization. As chair of letters of the National Council of Women (1933-1938), she established the Biblioteca Femina, a collection of 2,000 volumes by women from all over the world. The collection was later donated to the Northwestern University Library. She also belonged to the Women's National Republican Club, Pen and Brush, the Society of Woman Geographers, and other organizations.

Seton-Thompson traveled widely during the 1920s and 1930s, visiting Japan, China, Egypt, India, South America, and Indochina, frequenting areas where "all normalcy and security is gone." She wrote five books about her adventures, including A Woman Tenderfoot in Egypt (1923) and Poison Arrows (1938). Captivated by mysticism and eastern religions, she published The Singing Traveller (1947), a collection of poems expressing these beliefs. Seton-Thompson died in Palm Beach, Florida, in 1959. For further biographical information, see Notable American Women: The Modern Period (1980).


The collection is arranged in five series:

  1. I. Family and personal, 1860s-1993 (#1-90v, 231-275)
  2. II. Travel, 1912-1943, undated (#91v-115, 276)
  3. III. Correspondence and writings, 1894-1961, 1989, undated (#116-177, 277-295)
  4. IV. Organizations, 1910-1959, undated (#178-230, 297-302+)
  5. V. Memorabilia, 1896, 1911-1952 (#303m-328m)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 53-29, 89-M51, 89-M94, 91-M94, 94-M66

A small portion of these papers was given to the Schlesinger Library by Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson in May 1953 and processed as A-47. Addenda were received from her daughter, Anya Seton, in March and May 1989, and from her granddaughter, Clemency Coggins, between 1991 and 1994. Biographical and suffrage material (#20, 178-184) was prepared for microfilming by Kim Brookes in November 1990. It was microfilmed as part of a Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project. Accession numbers 91-M94 and 94-M66 were added to the collection in June 2014.


The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to the book division of the Schlesinger Library:

  1. A Book of Scents and Dishes by Dorothy Allhusen
  2. Women into the Unknown by Marion Tinling
  3. Poison Arrows by Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson
  4. Magic Waters by Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson, annotated by E. Wyllys Andrews IV and donated by Joanne Andrews
  5. The Singing Traveller by Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

The following items have been removed from the collection and donated to the American Museum of Natural History, December 1989:

  1. Photographs of geese; parts (bass, trumpet, cornet, piano) to Overture to the Opera Il Guarny by A. Carlos Gomez.


  1. Box 1: 20-34
  2. Box 2: 35v-45
  3. Box 3: 46-51, 53-57
  4. Box 4: 58-70
  5. Box 5: 71v-78v
  6. Box 6: 79v-84
  7. Box 7: 85-86. 88-93v, 96-97
  8. Box 8: 98-106, 108-110
  9. Box 9: 111-112, 114-128
  10. Box 10: 129-142
  11. Box 11: 143-153
  12. Box 12: 154-170
  13. Box 13: 171-172, 175-178, 180-183, 185-187v
  14. Box 14: 188-199, 201-215
  15. Box 15: 216-228
  16. Box 16: 229-230, 241-248
  17. Box 17: 249-262
  18. Box 18: 263-267, 269-274, 276-274
  19. Box 19: 276-287
  20. Folio+ Box 20: 303m-328m
  21. Box 21: 288, 290-295, 297-298, 300


This index includes the names of selected writers and recipients of letters. Information about persons and subjects is not indexed.

Key: No symbol = Writer

* = Writer and recipient

** = Recipient

  1. Bacon, Josephine D., 47, 158*
  2. Bjorkman, Frances Maule see Maule, Frances
  3. Brown, Gertrude F., 125, 178
  4. Catt, Carrie Chapman, 212**
  5. Cronkhite, Bernice Brown, 159
  6. Dillon, Mary Earhart, 188
  7. Edwards, George Wharton, 1 41, 149
  8. Ellis, Havelock, 125
  9. Gale, Zona, 126*
  10. Gillmore, Inez Haynes Irwin, 135
  11. Haynes, Inez see Gillmore, Inez Haynes Irwin
  12. Hepburn, Katharine Houghton, 182, 183
  13. Hoover, Herbert, 97
  14. Hurst, Fannie, 137
  15. Irwin, Inez Haynes see Gillmore, Inez Haynes Irwin
  16. Lewisohn, Adolph, 116, 125, 126-128, 138
  17. Maule, Frances, 182, 183
  18. Phillips, Lena Madesin, 185
  19. Porritt, Annie G., 182, 183
  20. Upton, Harriet Taylor, 183

Processing Information

Processed: November 1989

By: Anne Engelhart

Updated: June 2014

By: Anne Engelhart

Seton-Thompson, Grace Gallatin. Papers of Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson, 1860s-1993: 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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