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COLLECTION Identifier: A-63

Papers of Harriet Burton Laidlaw, 1851-1958

Correspondence, diary, articles, speeches, etc., of H. B. (Harriet Burton) Laidlaw, teacher and writer.

Dates

  • 1851-1958

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Closed; use microfilm, M-133.

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.

Extent

4.17 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.

BIOGRAPHY

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.
  1. 1893: First suffrage speech, Albany
  2. 1906: Daughter, Louise Burton, born
  3. 1908-1909: Secretary, College Equal Suffrage League
  4. ca.1909-1916: Chairman, Borough of Manhattan, Woman Suffrage Party
  5. 1911, 1914: Speaks on suffrage in western states
  6. 1911-1920: Officer of National American Woman Suffrage Association
  7. 1912-1923: Writes articles about white slave trade
  8. 1914: Helps establish League for Civil Service
  9. ca.1915-1918: Officer of New York State Woman Suffrage Association/Party
  10. 1918: Chairman, Volunteer College Workers, New York State and City, United States Food Administration
  11. 1918-1919: Chairman, New York State League of Women Voters
  12. 1919- : Member, Women's Non-Partisan Committee for the League of Nations
  13. 1919-1920: Lobbies with Republican women in Albany for welfare legislation
  14. 1920- : Boards of directors, American Social Hygiene Association, Florence Crittenton League
  15. 1921-1922: Officer, Women's Pro-League Council
  16. 1923: A founder of League of Nations Non-Partisan Association
  17. 1925, 1927: Trips to Europe with James Lees Laidlaw and Louise
  18. 1929: Louise graduates from Barnard College
  19. 1930: Honorary LL.D., Rollins College, Florida
  20. 1930s: Supports New Deal, Spanish Loyalists
  21. 1932: James Lees Laidlaw dies; Elected to board of directors, Standard and Poor's Corporation
  22. 1933: Louise marries Dana Converse Backus
  23. 1934: Joins Carrie Chapman Catt and other women in appeal to allow victims of Nazi persecution into United States
  24. 1937: Member of executive committee, New York City Fusion Party; Attends coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
  25. 1939: Chairman, American Committee, League of Nations Pavilion, New York World's Fair
  26. 1946-1949: Board of directors and executive committee, American Association for the United Nations
  27. 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.

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged in seven series:
  1. Series I. Personal and family (#1-35)
  2. Series II. General correspondence (#36-76)
  3. Series III. Writings and speeches by Harriet Burton Laidlaw (#77-88)
  4. Series IV. White slavery (#89-110)
  5. Series V. Suffrage and other United States issues (#111-169)
  6. Series VI. World War I (#170-174)
  7. Series VII. International organizations and issues (#175-205f+)

Physical Location

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.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Harriet Burton Laidlaw Papers, 1910-1911 (A/L185).

The Schlesinger Library holds a privately published memorial to James Lees Laidlaw (324.3/L18l), and the papers of Louise Laidlaw Backus, Harriet B. Laidlaw's daughter (73-184--73-185). Although all papers pertaining to Laidlaw have been removed from the Backus papers, they document Backus' work for international organizations, an interest evidently passed on by her mother.

Louise Laidlaw Backus gave a collection of scrapbooks, clippings, periodicals and pamphlets relating to her parents' interest in suffrage, white slavery, amateur theater, etc. to the New-York Historical Society. These have been microfilmed by the Society.

CONTAINER LIST

  1. Box 1: 1-15
  2. Box 2: 16-36
  3. Box 3: 37-67
  4. Box 4: 69-83
  5. Box 5: 84-102
  6. Box 6: 103-121
  7. Box 7: 122-144
  8. Box 8: 145-166
  9. Box 9: 167-181
  10. Box 10: 182-196
  11. 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.
INDEX OF SELECTED CORRESPONDENTS
  1. Addams, Jane 112, 188(
  2. Allen, Florence E. 51
  3. American Peace Award/American Foundation 181-187
  4. American Social Hygiene Association 9, 81, 97, 106, 178
  5. Americans United for World Organization, Inc. 203
  6. Anthony, Katharine S. 91
  7. Anthony, Lucy Elmina 67, 161, 175
  8. Backus, Dana Converse 202
  9. Backus, Louise Laidlaw 12*, 26(-28(, 29-30, 32(-33(
  10. Beard, Mary R. 67, 91(-92(, 112
  11. Belmont, Alva E. 97
  12. Blackwell, Alice Stone 106*, 112, 114(, 115-116, 175
  13. Blake, Katherine Devereux 62, 138
  14. Blatch, Harriot Stanton 114
  15. Boeckel, Florence Brewer 177, 182
  16. Booth, Evangeline Cory 39
  17. Boyer, Ida Porter 155
  18. Brown, Gertrude Foster 9, 12, 39, 62, 67, 99
  19. Burnett, Frances Hodgson 38, 45
  20. Burns, Lucy 113
  21. Butler, Nicholas Murray 5, 186(, 187-188
  22. Catt, Carrie Chapman 94(, 114*, 115, 116(, 124(, 138-139, 162-163o, 175*, 176(, 184
  23. Citizens Union of the City of New York 12, 39, 42, 45-46
  24. College Equal Suffrage League 154*
  25. Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies 201
  26. Coolidge, Calvin 177(, 182(, 184(
  27. Coolidge, Grace 180*
  28. Costigan, Daniel E. 38, 42, 54, 92
  29. Creel, George 12, 39, 66, 123*-124*, 125(-126(, 129(, 130*, 131(, 139(
  30. Crowdy, Rachel E. 46, 49-50, 56, 58, 60, 62-64, 175, 178*
  31. Damrosch, Margaret 168(
  32. Damrosch, Walter 41-43, 58, 61
  33. Deering, Mabel 122, 154, 159
  34. Dennett, Mary Ware 67, 111, 112*-114*
  35. De Reszke, Edouard 36(, 38
  36. Dickerman, Marion 40, 179
  37. Dreier, Ethel E. 45, 142
  38. Du Bois, W.E. Burghardt 125
  39. Dyer, Rowland S.H. 69
  40. Empire State Campaign Committee, New York 98, 124, 126, 128-130, 132, 138*
  41. English Speaking Union 47, 175, 184, 204*
  42. Federation of Women's Clubs 177, 178*, 179-180, 183, 185
  43. Finch, Stanley W. 95
  44. Gardener, Helen H. 39, 41-42, 113
  45. Gaynor, William Jay 91, 92(, 95(
  46. Gildersleeve, Virginia C. 5, 43, 57
  47. Glasgow, Ellen 67
  48. Gordon, Jean & Kate 115*
  49. Hale, Beatrice Forbes-Robertson 38, 41, 45-46, 58-61, 64, 67, 143, 186
  50. Hall, Florence Marion Howe 138
  51. Hay, Mary Garrett 41, 128, 132, 138(, 140(, 159
  52. Hepburn, Katharine Houghton 114*
  53. Holt, Hamilton 9, 12, 46, 50, 178
  54. Hoover, Herbert 41, 171, 188(
  55. Howe, Julia Ward 36
  56. Howe, Marie Jenney 67, 142
  57. Hudson, Manley O. 45-46, 178*, 183, 185
  58. Huffcut, Lillian 132*
  59. Hughes, Charles Evans 177(, 182(
  60. Hull, Cordell 57, 61(
  61. Hurst, Fannie 57
  62. International Language Association 199
  63. Jacobs, Pattie Ruffner 114
  64. James, Ada Lois 159
  65. Kelley, Florence 114, 133(
  66. La Follette, Belle C. 112
  67. Laidlaw, James Lees 15(, 17*, 21-23, 24(-25(, 92*-93*, 94(-101(, 115(, 122*, 123(, 124*-125*, 126(, 127*-132*, 134
  68. Lamont, Margaret 12, 188(
  69. League of Nations Association 187, 188*, 189-191
  70. League of Nations Non-Partisan Association 179-182, 183*, 184-185, 186*, 190
  71. League of Women Voters 12, 167, 176*-178*, 181, 182*, 187
  72. Lehman, Herbert H. 58
  73. Livingston, Rose 91(-96(, 97*, 98(, 99*, 100(, 101
  74. Lowell, Abbott Lawrence 175, 179
  75. McCormick, Katharine Dexter 159, 183
  76. McCormick, Ruth 141
  77. McIntosh, Millicent C. 12
  78. Martin, Anne Henrietta 113
  79. Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association 98
  80. Men's League for Woman Suffrage 122*-134*, 137
  81. Mills, Harriet May 123, 138
  82. National American Woman Suffrage Association 111-115, 175
  83. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 125, 133*
  84. New York State Woman Suffrage Association/Party 124, 129, 138-141
  85. Ohio Equal Franchise Association 94-95
  86. Ohio Woman Suffrage Association 93, 96-97, 155
  87. Owens, Helen Brewster 124
  88. Park, Maud Wood 115, 182
  89. Paul, Alice 113
  90. Paul, Helen 94
  91. Peabody, George Foster 75-76, 123, 127(, 143
  92. Peck, Mary Gray 63, 97
  93. Perkins, Frances 32, 64
  94. Rankin, Jeannette 39*, 40
  95. Reid, Helen Rogers 17, 45, 63*, 139(, 140, 142, 189
  96. Reilly, Caroline I. 115
  97. Reinhardt, Aurelia 40, 44
  98. Rembaugh, Bertha 91
  99. Rockefeller, Abby A. 67
  100. Rockefeller, John D., Jr. 12, 39, 56, 59, 202
  101. Rohde, Ruth Bryan Owen 64
  102. Roosevelt, Eleanor 12, 46, 52, 56, 59, 61-64, 167(, 190
  103. Roosevelt, Franklin Delano 53, 61(, 184, 188(, 190(
  104. Root, Elihu 143*
  105. Ryan, Agnes E. 112*
  106. Sanderson, Edward F. 96(, 99
  107. Sanderson, Ethel Eames 93*, 95
  108. Schain, Josephine 177
  109. Schieffelin, William Jay 12, 39, 45-46
  110. Schneiderman, Rose 12, 199
  111. Scott, Loa Ermina 93-94
  112. Sedman, Harriet Rankin 39
  113. Shaw, Anna Howard 111, 112*, 113-114, 160
  114. Simkhovitch, Mary K. 12, 179(, 199
  115. Smith, Alfred E. 44, 141
  116. Smyth, Nathan A. 91*-92*
  117. Spencer, Anna Garlin 142
  118. Spensley, John W. 74
  119. Sporborg, Constance A. 9, 175, 183, 185, 187
  120. Stanton, Harriet Elliot 95
  121. Stowe, Lyman Beecher 125
  122. Thomas, M. Carey 68
  123. Thomas, Norman 188
  124. Thompson, Dorothy 60, 67, 106
  125. Toscanini, Arturo 57(
  126. Trask, Katrina 75
  127. Tuttle, Florence Guertin 43, 46, 175, 177, 178*, 179(, 180-181, 184-186, 188
  128. Underwood, John Curtis 70-73
  129. United Nations Association 202*
  130. United States Food Administration 171-172
  131. Untermeyer, Samuel 129(, 132*
  132. Unwin, Raymond 175
  133. Upton, Harriet Taylor 93, 97, 155*
  134. Villard, Oswald Garrison 123, 129(
  135. Vorce, Ethel R. 93-94, 96-98, 155
  136. Wald, Lillian D. 32, 38, 40, 56, 142
  137. Wambaugh, Sarah 12, 45-46, 185, 187(
  138. Welles, Sumner 66, 202
  139. Wells, Marguerite M. 62*
  140. White, William Allen 123, 129(
  141. Whitehouse, Vira Boarman 32, 41, 46*, 67, 139*-140*, 142(, 143, 185
  142. Whitney, Charlotte Anita 154*
  143. Wilson, Florence 46, 49, 185
  144. Wilson, Woodrow 114(
  145. Wise, Stephen Samuel 51, 129(
  146. Woman Suffrage Party 92-95, 98, 124, 127, 128*, 130, 132, 138*, 139
  147. Women's Non-Partisan Committee for the League of Nations 175, 190
  148. Women's Political Union 123, 128-130
  149. Women's Pro-League Council 175, 177*, 178, 180, 183, 190

Processing Information

Reprocessed: August 1989

By: Bert Hartry
Link to catalog
Title
Laidlaw, H. B. (Harriet Burton), 1874-1949. Papers of Harriet Burton Laidlaw, 1851-1958: A Finding Aid
Author
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Sponsor
The collection was reprocessed and microfilmed as part of a Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project.
EAD ID
sch00682

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

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