Papers of Harriet Burton Laidlaw, 1851-1958
Correspondence, diary, articles, speeches, etc., of H. B. (Harriet Burton) Laidlaw, teacher and writer.
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Access. Closed; use microfilm, M-133 or digital images.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Harriet Burton Laidlaw as well as 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.
Extent4.17 linear feet ((10 file boxes) plus 4 folio folders, 1 folio+ folder, 2 oversize folders, 1 object)
The papers have been divided into seven series: Personal and family, General correspondence, Writings and speeches by Harriet Burton Laidlaw, White slavery, Suffrage and other U.S. issues, World War I, and International organizations and issues.
The papers provide information about Laidlaw's youth, education, family, friends, her involvement in woman suffrage campaigns, social and civic reform movements, her dedication to peace and international understanding, and the organizations with which she worked. There is little information about her social life.
There is correspondence in every series, and individuals and issues overlap. Colleagues and associates were also personal friends. Researchers should refer to the Index of Selected Correspondents.
Series I, Personal and family, is divided into three sections. The first, Biographical, includes photographs, clippings, a diary, school and college papers, calling cards, and a guest book. The second section consists of papers pertaining to James Lees Laidlaw (James Lees Laidlaw), and the third, Family, mainly correspondence, is further sub-divided by writer and recipient.
Series II, General correspondence, is divided into two sections. The first consists of letters from a large number of people; they are arranged chronologically, with undated letters at the end. In the second section letters are grouped by writer and arranged chronologically within each group; three of the men represented here were probably suitors of Harriet Burton. Not all enclosures referred to in the letters are extant.
Series III, Writings and speeches by Laidlaw, is divided into five subject sections, four being the same subjects as those covered in series IV-VII, with miscellaneous subjects in the fifth. The arrangement within each section is chronological, and the series includes works in manuscript, typescript, and print.
Series IV, White slavery, mainly documents Laidlaw's and James Lees Laidlaw's support of Rose Livingston, a prostitute turned social reformer, and consists of correspondence (with Rose Livingston and others), photographs, reports, and writings and speeches by others. There is also a typescript of "My Story: The history of a prostitute's life in San Francisco," by Margaret von Staden. The overall arrangement is chronological, with undated and miscellaneous material at the end.
Series V, Suffrage and other United States issues, is divided into the following sections: National American Woman Suffrage Association, Men's League for Woman Suffrage, New York State suffrage campaign, Other suffrage organizations, Other suffrage correspondence, Anti-suffrage material, Labor, League of Women Voters, and Prohibition. The last three subjects are included here because Laidlaw's suffrage activities led naturally to her involvement in related issues. The series consists of correspondence, photographs, minutes, financial records, press releases, bulletins, printed material, lists, reports, speeches, fliers, programs, valentines. The letters from Anna Howard Shaw to Laidlaw discuss personalities and disagreements in the suffrage movement. Each section is arranged chronologically. Much of the correspondence related to the Men's League for Woman Suffrage is with James Lees Laidlaw.
Series VI, World War I, includes correspondence, certificates, and printed material re: Laidlaw's activities during 1917-1919. There is also information concerning the status of Army and Navy nurses. The arrangement is chronological.
Series VII, International organizations and issues, includes correspondence, reports, minutes, printed matter, press releases, lists, programs, and statements of purpose. The bulk of the material relates to the League of Nations and organizations supporting it; the remainder is about other international groups with which Laidlaw was affiliated. The arrangement is chronological.
Laidlaw subscribed to a clipping service; these and other clippings were scattered throughout the collection; most were discarded after microfilming.
Harriet Burton Laidlaw, suffragist, social and civic reformer, and internationalist, was born on December 16, 1873, in Albany, New York, the daughter of Alice Davenport (Wright) and George Davidson Burton. Laidlaw attended public school in Albany, and earned both Bachelor (1895) and Master (1896) of Pedagogy degrees from Albany Normal College. After graduation she moved to New York City, taught in the public schools, and in 1902 earned degrees from Barnard College (A.B.) and Illinois Wesleyan University (Ph.B.). During this time she also took summer courses at Harvard (1900), the University of Chicago (1901), and Oxford University (1903). She continued to teach and started graduate school at Columbia University, but stopped both when she married James Lees Laidlaw in 1905. A concern with women's rights now blossomed into a remarkably active involvement in a variety of causes and organizations. This life of public service is reflected in the following chronology.
- 1893: First suffrage speech, Albany
- 1906: Daughter, Louise Burton, born
- 1908-1909: Secretary, College Equal Suffrage League
- ca.1909-1916: Chairman, Borough of Manhattan, Woman Suffrage Party
- 1911, 1914: Speaks on suffrage in western states
- 1911-1920: Officer of National American Woman Suffrage Association
- 1912-1923: Writes articles about white slave trade
- 1914: Helps establish League for Civil Service
- ca.1915-1918: Officer of New York State Woman Suffrage Association/Party
- 1918: Chairman, Volunteer College Workers, New York State and City, United States Food Administration
- 1918-1919: Chairman, New York State League of Women Voters
- 1919- : Member, Women's Non-Partisan Committee for the League of Nations
- 1919-1920: Lobbies with Republican women in Albany for welfare legislation
- 1920- : Boards of directors, American Social Hygiene Association, Florence Crittenton League
- 1921-1922: Officer, Women's Pro-League Council
- 1923: A founder of League of Nations Non-Partisan Association
- 1925, 1927: Trips to Europe with James Lees Laidlaw and Louise
- 1929: Louise graduates from Barnard College
- 1930: Honorary LL.D., Rollins College, Florida
- 1930s: Supports New Deal, Spanish Loyalists
- 1932: James Lees Laidlaw dies; Elected to board of directors, Standard and Poor's Corporation
- 1933: Louise marries Dana Converse Backus
- 1934: Joins Carrie Chapman Catt and other women in appeal to allow victims of Nazi persecution into United States
- 1937: Member of executive committee, New York City Fusion Party; Attends coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
- 1939: Chairman, American Committee, League of Nations Pavilion, New York World's Fair
- 1946-1949: Board of directors and executive committee, American Association for the United Nations
- 1949: Dies January 25, New York City
Laidlaw was also active in the English Speaking Union, the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, Americans United for World Organization, the Citizens' Union of New York City, the Women's Union League, American Association of University Women, Children's Aid Society, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, the New York Philharmonic Society, and other political and cultural organizations.
The collection is arranged in seven series:
- Series I. Personal and family (#1-35)
- Series II. General correspondence (#36-76)
- Series III. Writings and speeches by Harriet Burton Laidlaw (#77-88)
- Series IV. White slavery (#89-110)
- Series V. Suffrage and other United States issues (#111-169)
- Series VI. World War I (#170-174)
- Series VII. International organizations and issues (#175-205f+)
Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession numbers: 55-46, 73-185
The bulk of the Harriet Burton Laidlaw papers was given to the Schlesinger Library in 1955 by her daughter, Louise Laidlaw Backus. The papers of Louise Laidlaw Backus, given by her daughter, Harriet Backus Todd, in 1973 contained some Harriet Burton Laidlaw material, which was transferred to this collection.
MICROFILM OF COLLECTION
Collection is available to researchers on microfilm. Request as M-133.
Dates and/or other information have been written on some items by a number of people. In organizing the material, the processor accepted dates added by others and left undated material that was grouped with dated items where it was. All dates and other information added by the processor are in square brackets.
The pages of some items were numbered to aid the microfilmer, the proofreaders, and researchers. These numbers are in square brackets.
The film was proofread by University Publications of America.
Some loose clippings were mounted by the processor.
Some of the material in the collection was difficult to film due to such problems as flimsy paper with text showing through, faded or smudged writing, faint pencil notations, creased and brittle paper, or faded or blurred carbon copies on flimsy paper. The film was carefully produced to insure that these items are as legible as possible.
Letters of one or more pages with either the salutation or the signature missing, as well as portions of letters, have been marked as fragments.
In some cases, magazines, membership directories, and other multiple-paged publications were not filmed in their entirety, but only the pertinent page(s), with the title page where necessary to establish name and date of publication.
All photographs were microfilmed with the collection. They are also available on the microfilm of the Schlesinger Library photograph collection (M-54).
In many cases, the enclosures referred to in letters are missing.
- Box 1: 1-15
- Box 2: 16-36
- Box 3: 37-67
- Box 4: 69-83
- Box 5: 84-102
- Box 6: 103-121
- Box 7: 122-144
- Box 8: 145-166
- Box 9: 167-181
- Box 10: 182-196
- Box 11: 197-204
INDEX OF SELECTED CORRESPONDENTS
This index includes the names of selected writers (including organizations) and recipients. Information about persons and subjects is not indexed.
Key: No symbol = Writer
* = Writer and recipient
( = Recipient
The numbers refer to folders.
- Addams, Jane 112, 188(
- Allen, Florence E. 51
- American Peace Award/American Foundation 181-187
- American Social Hygiene Association 9, 81, 97, 106, 178
- Americans United for World Organization, Inc. 203
- Anthony, Katharine S. 91
- Anthony, Lucy Elmina 67, 161, 175
- Backus, Dana Converse 202
- Backus, Louise Laidlaw 12*, 26(-28(, 29-30, 32(-33(
- Beard, Mary R. 67, 91(-92(, 112
- Belmont, Alva E. 97
- Blackwell, Alice Stone 106*, 112, 114(, 115-116, 175
- Blake, Katherine Devereux 62, 138
- Blatch, Harriot Stanton 114
- Boeckel, Florence Brewer 177, 182
- Booth, Evangeline Cory 39
- Boyer, Ida Porter 155
- Brown, Gertrude Foster 9, 12, 39, 62, 67, 99
- Burnett, Frances Hodgson 38, 45
- Burns, Lucy 113
- Butler, Nicholas Murray 5, 186(, 187-188
- Catt, Carrie Chapman 94(, 114*, 115, 116(, 124(, 138-139, 162-163o, 175*, 176(, 184
- Citizens Union of the City of New York 12, 39, 42, 45-46
- College Equal Suffrage League 154*
- Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies 201
- Coolidge, Calvin 177(, 182(, 184(
- Coolidge, Grace 180*
- Costigan, Daniel E. 38, 42, 54, 92
- Creel, George 12, 39, 66, 123*-124*, 125(-126(, 129(, 130*, 131(, 139(
- Crowdy, Rachel E. 46, 49-50, 56, 58, 60, 62-64, 175, 178*
- Damrosch, Margaret 168(
- Damrosch, Walter 41-43, 58, 61
- Deering, Mabel 122, 154, 159
- Dennett, Mary Ware 67, 111, 112*-114*
- De Reszke, Edouard 36(, 38
- Dickerman, Marion 40, 179
- Dreier, Ethel E. 45, 142
- Du Bois, W.E. Burghardt 125
- Dyer, Rowland S.H. 69
- Empire State Campaign Committee, New York 98, 124, 126, 128-130, 132, 138*
- English Speaking Union 47, 175, 184, 204*
- Federation of Women's Clubs 177, 178*, 179-180, 183, 185
- Finch, Stanley W. 95
- Gardener, Helen H. 39, 41-42, 113
- Gaynor, William Jay 91, 92(, 95(
- Gildersleeve, Virginia C. 5, 43, 57
- Glasgow, Ellen 67
- Gordon, Jean & Kate 115*
- Hale, Beatrice Forbes-Robertson 38, 41, 45-46, 58-61, 64, 67, 143, 186
- Hall, Florence Marion Howe 138
- Hay, Mary Garrett 41, 128, 132, 138(, 140(, 159
- Hepburn, Katharine Houghton 114*
- Holt, Hamilton 9, 12, 46, 50, 178
- Hoover, Herbert 41, 171, 188(
- Howe, Julia Ward 36
- Howe, Marie Jenney 67, 142
- Hudson, Manley O. 45-46, 178*, 183, 185
- Huffcut, Lillian 132*
- Hughes, Charles Evans 177(, 182(
- Hull, Cordell 57, 61(
- Hurst, Fannie 57
- International Language Association 199
- Jacobs, Pattie Ruffner 114
- James, Ada Lois 159
- Kelley, Florence 114, 133(
- La Follette, Belle C. 112
- Laidlaw, James Lees 15(, 17*, 21-23, 24(-25(, 92*-93*, 94(-101(, 115(, 122*, 123(, 124*-125*, 126(, 127*-132*, 134
- Lamont, Margaret 12, 188(
- League of Nations Association 187, 188*, 189-191
- League of Nations Non-Partisan Association 179-182, 183*, 184-185, 186*, 190
- League of Women Voters 12, 167, 176*-178*, 181, 182*, 187
- Lehman, Herbert H. 58
- Livingston, Rose 91(-96(, 97*, 98(, 99*, 100(, 101
- Lowell, Abbott Lawrence 175, 179
- McCormick, Katharine Dexter 159, 183
- McCormick, Ruth 141
- McIntosh, Millicent C. 12
- Martin, Anne Henrietta 113
- Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association 98
- Men's League for Woman Suffrage 122*-134*, 137
- Mills, Harriet May 123, 138
- National American Woman Suffrage Association 111-115, 175
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 125, 133*
- New York State Woman Suffrage Association/Party 124, 129, 138-141
- Ohio Equal Franchise Association 94-95
- Ohio Woman Suffrage Association 93, 96-97, 155
- Owens, Helen Brewster 124
- Park, Maud Wood 115, 182
- Paul, Alice 113
- Paul, Helen 94
- Peabody, George Foster 75-76, 123, 127(, 143
- Peck, Mary Gray 63, 97
- Perkins, Frances 32, 64
- Rankin, Jeannette 39*, 40
- Reid, Helen Rogers 17, 45, 63*, 139(, 140, 142, 189
- Reilly, Caroline I. 115
- Reinhardt, Aurelia 40, 44
- Rembaugh, Bertha 91
- Rockefeller, Abby A. 67
- Rockefeller, John D., Jr. 12, 39, 56, 59, 202
- Rohde, Ruth Bryan Owen 64
- Roosevelt, Eleanor 12, 46, 52, 56, 59, 61-64, 167(, 190
- Roosevelt, Franklin Delano 53, 61(, 184, 188(, 190(
- Root, Elihu 143*
- Ryan, Agnes E. 112*
- Sanderson, Edward F. 96(, 99
- Sanderson, Ethel Eames 93*, 95
- Schain, Josephine 177
- Schieffelin, William Jay 12, 39, 45-46
- Schneiderman, Rose 12, 199
- Scott, Loa Ermina 93-94
- Sedman, Harriet Rankin 39
- Shaw, Anna Howard 111, 112*, 113-114, 160
- Simkhovitch, Mary K. 12, 179(, 199
- Smith, Alfred E. 44, 141
- Smyth, Nathan A. 91*-92*
- Spencer, Anna Garlin 142
- Spensley, John W. 74
- Sporborg, Constance A. 9, 175, 183, 185, 187
- Stanton, Harriet Elliot 95
- Stowe, Lyman Beecher 125
- Thomas, M. Carey 68
- Thomas, Norman 188
- Thompson, Dorothy 60, 67, 106
- Toscanini, Arturo 57(
- Trask, Katrina 75
- Tuttle, Florence Guertin 43, 46, 175, 177, 178*, 179(, 180-181, 184-186, 188
- Underwood, John Curtis 70-73
- United Nations Association 202*
- United States Food Administration 171-172
- Untermeyer, Samuel 129(, 132*
- Unwin, Raymond 175
- Upton, Harriet Taylor 93, 97, 155*
- Villard, Oswald Garrison 123, 129(
- Vorce, Ethel R. 93-94, 96-98, 155
- Wald, Lillian D. 32, 38, 40, 56, 142
- Wambaugh, Sarah 12, 45-46, 185, 187(
- Welles, Sumner 66, 202
- Wells, Marguerite M. 62*
- White, William Allen 123, 129(
- Whitehouse, Vira Boarman 32, 41, 46*, 67, 139*-140*, 142(, 143, 185
- Whitney, Charlotte Anita 154*
- Wilson, Florence 46, 49, 185
- Wilson, Woodrow 114(
- Wise, Stephen Samuel 51, 129(
- Woman Suffrage Party 92-95, 98, 124, 127, 128*, 130, 132, 138*, 139
- Women's Non-Partisan Committee for the League of Nations 175, 190
- Women's Political Union 123, 128-130
- Women's Pro-League Council 175, 177*, 178, 180, 183, 190
Reprocessed: August 1989
By: Bert Hartry
- Addams, Jane, 1860-1935
- Amateur theater--New York (State)--New York
- Beard, Mary Ritter, 1876-1958
- Blatch, Harriot Stanton, 1856-1940
- Civic improvement--New York (State)--New York
- Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933
- Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964
- Howe, Julia Ward, 1819-1910
- International cooperation
- Lowell, A. Lawrence (Abbott Lawrence), 1856-1943
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
- New York World's Fair (1939-1940)
- Non-governmental organizations
- Prostitution--United States
- Reid, Helen Rogers, 1882-1970
- Shaw, Anna Howard, 1847-1919
- Social work with prostitutes--New York (State)--New York
- Women and peace
- Women--Societies and clubs
- Women--Suffrage--New York (State)
- Women--Suffrage--New York (State)--New York
- Women--Suffrage--Soviet Union
- World War, 1914-1918--War work
- Laidlaw, H. B. (Harriet Burton), 1874-1949. Papers of Harriet Burton Laidlaw, 1851-1958: A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- The collection was reprocessed and microfilmed as part of a Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project.
- EAD ID
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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