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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 322

Papers of Annie Ware Winsor Allen, 1818-1993


Correspondence, diaries, photographs, scrapbooks, etc., of Annie Ware Winsor Allen, educator and founder of the Roger Ascham School in White Plains, New York.


  • 1818-1993


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Annie Ware Winsor Allen 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.


26.69 linear feet ((63 file boxes, 2 half file boxes) plus 2 folio+ folders, 2 oversize folders, 1 supersize folder, 49 photograph folders, 1 folio photograph folder, 1 folio+ photograph folder)

When received by the Schlesinger Library, the papers of Annie Ware Winsor Allen were in no particular order. Four series were created: I. Personal, II. Professional, III. Family, and IV. Photographs. Series III constitutes the bulk of the collection, consisting of correspondence among Ware and Winsor family members; the strength of the collection lies here. Parent and sibling relationships in a New England family over a century are documented in letters, journals, and diaries. While three of these family members were founders and directors of secondary schools, only Allen's career as headmistress of the Roger Ascham School (RAS) is fully documented (Series II). Because the correspondence is so voluminous, letters have been sorted by year but not by month or day.

Personal and family correspondence and papers concerning the Roger Ascham School dated 1928 or later are closed until 1996 except with the written permission of the donor.

Materials received in 2011 and 2019 were added to the collection in June 2019 and can be found in folders #725-757.

Series I, Personal, 1843-1960, consists of biographical material, diaries, journals, personal writings and scrapbooks, school papers, records of social activities, household and other financial papers, and personal correspondence of Allen.

A. Biographical papers, diaries, etc., 1874-1956. The diaries and journals span the years 1883-1944 but are not a complete run; most were written between 1883 and 1898 and concern travel, college life, romantic attachments, and club, social and daily activities. The notes, personal writings, and poetry, 1895-1958, offer insight into Allen's thoughts on family, education, philosophy, and religion, some of which were later developed for publication. Of particular interest are her writings on old age, written between the ages of 74 and 90 and reflecting her frustration with unnecessarily prolonged life and increasing incapacitation.

The scrapbooks contain clippings, programs, and other printed material documenting her college career and years as an instructor at the Brearley School. Early school compositions are followed by student papers from the Harvard Annex, which reflect Allen's college activities and her views on Harvard professors.

Papers concerning her involvement with the Social Reform Club and the People's Choral Union, ca.1885-1905, consist mainly of printed announcements, Social Reform Club records also including minutes of meetings and correspondence with officers. The financial papers include detailed household task lists, presumably for the domestic staff or possibly for the Allen children. Of special interest is a group of letters from applicants for a domestic position in the household.

B. Personal correspondence, 1878-1960, n.d., includes letters from LeBaron R. Briggs, Leonora O'Reilly, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Topics include family, social and club activities. Much of the 1890s correspondence concerns the Social Reform Club and other reform activities in New York City; later correspondence concerns Allen's views on education and child-rearing.

Series II, Professional, 1887-1953, covers Allen's professional activities from the late 1880s to the last years of her retirement in the 1950s. A small portion of the Roger Ascham School papers is closed until 1996, except with the written permission of the donor. The professional papers are divided into five sub-series.

A. Brearley School. This is an incomplete record of Allen's eleven years as a teacher at a private girls' school in New York City. Although she retired from the school before her marriage in 1900, there is some later correspondence discussing her continuing ties to the school.

Not long after she left the Brearley School Allen became involved with the New York State Training School for Girls. The single folder of records from this school (#166) contains copies of material about various students; the names have been removed and the originals are closed to research.

B. Roger Ascham School. Allen founded the Roger Ascham School in 1907 and directed it until it closed in 1933. All papers pertaining to the school and dated 1928 or later are closed until 1996, except with the permission of the donor. These are not the official records of the school but Allen's personal records, reflecting her perceptions of the school's goals and development, and her major areas of interest and concern during the years the school existed. The administrative and financial records are incomplete but do reveal some of the problems Allen encountered in trying to run a high-quality progressive school with no endowment and low tuition, problems that eventually forced the closing of the school. Allen's concern for the quality of education at Roger Ascham School is revealed through extensive instructions to teachers and students; the school's fine reputation is clear from the many grateful and admiring letters from staff, parents, students, and parents of prospective students. An interesting aspect of school history, Allen's insistence on a less restrictive admissions policy than that of many contemporary private schools, is found in #174 and #256, which include papers on the school's Jewish student quota. Also of interest is the comparison of the salaries of male and female teachers in #198. Folder #235a for which original restrictions have expired was added to the collection in November 2009.

C. Writings consists of books and articles, both published and unpublished, that Allen wrote during a period of fifty years. Some of the writings by Marion Sprague (#309-311), Allen's pseudonym, may be partly or wholly autobiographical. The unpublished articles are especially revealing. #315-318 contain Allen's painstaking analysis of the nature of family and intimate relationships, with emphasis on adolescent sexual behavior. #321 is essentially a complement to Allen's published work; some of its contents may be notes for her books. Also notable is #319, in which Allen ruminates at length on the character of anti-Semitism in the 1920s. This subseries contains excellent documentation of Allen's wide-ranging interests and of her efforts to apply a scientific attitude to such varied subjects as contemporary politics, the nature of the soul, Freudian psychology, and male and female roles.

D. Correspondence. Part of this subseries concerns Allen's relationship with various publishers and her efforts to get her books published; the rest gives some idea of her professional contacts in the education field and in other areas. Notable correspondents include Sigmund Freud, William James, and Marion Park (see index).

E. Speeches. These further elaborate Allen's interests as described in IIC. Writings.

Series III, Family Papers, 1818-1993, is divided into five subseries, A-C arranged by family members in order of birth. Most letters are to Allen. Letters to other family members are interfiled by correspondent.

A. Ware-Winsor Family Papers, 1818-1957, consist of biographical and other papers concerning, and correspondence among, members of these two families, the bulk being letters to Allen from the Winsor family. Several mother/daughter and sister relationships are well documented, particularly those between Allen and her sisters, Mary Pickard Winsor and Elizabeth Ware (Winsor) Pearson ("Diddie"), and with her mother, Ann Bent Ware (subsections 1 and 2). Included are early nineteenth century letters from Kingsley and Lovell family members.

Papers of the children of Mary Lovell Pickard Ware and Henry Ware, Jr., include journals, writings and correspondence of Ann Bent Ware Winsor; letters from her sister and from her brother, William R. Ware; the almost weekly correspondence (1890-1907) between Ann Bent Winsor and Allen; and letters from Harriet Ware to Ann Bent Winsor discussing the former's position as a teacher of freed slaves in South Carolina following the Civil War.

Papers of the children of Ann Bent Ware Winsor and Frederick Winsor, Sr., 1869-1955, consist mainly of letters from (and between) three of the Winsor daughters: Mary Pickard Winsor, Allen, and Elizabeth Ware Winsor Pearson. These letters concern daily and social activities as well as the teaching and school-directing careers of Allen and Elizabeth Ware Winsor Pearson. Of particular interest are World War I letters, 1917-1918, from nephews Philip Winsor and Robert Winsor.

B. Allen Family Papers, 1847-1960, are mainly letters from Eugenia Sophie Teulon Allen to her daughter-in-law, Allen, and the personal and professional papers and family correspondence of her son, Joseph Allen, Sr. Included in his papers is correspondence concerning the development of the Allen's Maine property and about his role in the American Association of University Professors.

C. Children of Annie Ware Winsor Allen and Joseph Allen, Sr., 1901-1993, consists of school papers and personal and family correspondence of Dorothea Teulon Allen Treadway, Annie Winsor Allen ("Nancy") and Joseph Allen, Jr. ("Jay"). Nancy Allen's correspondence discusses her career as director of the Girls' Latin School in Chicago. The correspondence of all three children reveals the close, lifelong ties between them and their parents.

D. General family correspondence, 1881-1956, n.d., includes letters to and from Allen, and a few to her and Joseph Allen, from cousins and more distant relatives, most on the Ware/Winsor side. In some cases the recipient is unnamed and has been assumed to be a relative.

E. Clippings, 1895-1955, are mainly about family members, with some about others and a few letters to the editor, etc. by family members.

Series IV, Photographs, 1861-1956, n.d., is arranged in the same order as comparable papers in Series I-III. Allen and her siblings are well documented photographically. Later photographs, of Allen and Joseph Allen's children and their families, are mostly snapshots.


Annie Ware Winsor Allen, educator and founder of the Roger Ascham School in White Plains, New York, was born in Winchester, Massachusetts, on May 26, 1865. She was the fourth of seven children born to Frederick Winsor (1829-1889) and Ann Bent Ware Winsor (1830-1907).

Allen's mother, Ann Bent Ware Winsor, was the second oldest daughter of Henry Ware, Jr. and his second wife, Mary Lovell (Pickard) Ware. Of her three brothers and three sisters (two other children died in infancy), she remained particularly close to two sisters: Harriet Ware (1834-1920) and Emma Forbes Ware (1838-1898). One brother, William R. Ware (1832-1915), was an architect; his papers are at the Institute Archives, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1857 Ann Bent Ware married Frederick Winsor, a physician; they settled in Winchester, Massachusetts. Three of the Winsor children, including Allen, founded private secondary schools. Frederick Winsor, Jr. (1872-1940) founded and was headmaster (1901-1938) of the Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, and Mary Pickard Winsor (1860-1950) founded and was principal (1886-1922) of the Winsor School for Girls in Brookline, Massachusetts. Another daughter, Elizabeth Ware (Winsor) Pearson, co-founded the Nursery Training School in Boston (later the Eliot-Pearson School at Tufts University) with Abigail Eliot, whose papers are also at the Schlesinger Library. The daughters of the family corresponded regularly for most of their lives, the sons less frequently.

Allen was graduated from Winchester High School in 1881 and taught in Winchester until 1883. Later that year she entered Radcliffe College (then the Harvard Annex) and remained for two years until lack of funds necessitated her return to teaching. From 1886 to 1889 she again attended Radcliffe. She was active in College clubs and between 1887 and 1889 also taught College classes. Though her academic record was later reviewed several times at her request, she never received a degree from Radcliffe because she had not met the official entrance and/or graduation requirements.

From 1889 to 1900 she taught at the Brearley School, a private girls' school in New York City. During this time she became active in several social reform organizations, notably the People's Choral Union of New York, which sponsored People's Singing Classes and concerts and of which she was a member at least between 1897 and 1905; and the Social Reform Club of New York. The latter was organized to advocate "such practical measures for the improvement of the industrial and social condition in the city of New York as can be undertaken in the immediate future with fair hope of success." It sponsored strike benefits, labor legislation, and regular lectures and discussions. Allen served as its secretary for eight years, and through the Club became a tutor for Leonora O'Reilly, an early organizer of the New York Women's Trade Union League.

During this period, Allen lived in a boardinghouse with her uncle, William R. Ware. In 1897 they rented a house and invited Allen's distant cousin, Joseph Allen (1870-1946) to live with them, one of eight children of Eugenia Sophia Teulon Allen (1836-1926) and Edward Augustus Holyoke Allen (1828-1898). Joseph Allen had earned both his A.B. and A.M. in mathematics from Harvard in 1892 and continued with his graduate work until 1894, when he left Harvard to take a teaching position at Cornell University. From 1897 to 1940 he taught mathematics at the City College of New York. Joseph Allen also joined the Social Reform Club.

Allen was 34 years old and Joseph Allen 29 when they announced their engagement in 1899. Prior to her marriage, Allen had written intense and often romantic letters to various friends. It is not clear whether any of these letters were actually sent; those to "Roy," probably an imaginary suitor, almost surely were not. She attempted to publish some of these letters as well as diary entries and poetry under the pseudonym Marion Sprague.

Allen and Jospeh Allen were married in June of 1900; they continued to live in New York City, and by 1905 had three children: Dorothea Teulon later Treadway, (1901-1994), Annie (Nancy) Winsor (1902-1993), and Joseph ("Jay"), Jr. (1905-1975). A fourth child, David, died after one week in 1906. Between 1901 and 1955 the Allen family, later including the grandchildren, spent nearly every summer at Grayrock, their summer home in Seal Harbor, Maine. There they became friendly with a neighbor, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and his family.

Although Allen did not work outside the home for the first several years of her marriage, she maintained her interest in education and for fifteen years served as a manager and member of the board of the State Training School for Girls in Hudson, New York. For seven of those years she was also its president.

In 1906 the Allens moved to White Plains, New York. Allen, dissatisfied with the local school, began teaching her children at home, and soon neighboring children as well. In 1907 she founded the Roger Ascham School, a progressive, coeducational institution that eventually included all the grades from first through high school, and from which the three Allen children were graduated. The school moved to Scarsdale, then returned to White Plains; a branch was also opened for a time in New York City. Allen served as headmistress until the school closed in 1933, and for many years Joseph Allen was a trustee. During this period Allen helped found the Head Mistresses' Association of the East.

Allen drew upon her teaching experience in writing articles about education and adolescent behavior for the Ladies Home Journal and other magazines; she also wrote a column of advice to parents for the Ladies Home Journal and several articles under the pseudonym Marion Sprague. She further expounded on schooling and child-raising in two books: Home, School and Vacation (1907) and Psyche's Primer (1935). Her lifelong interest in philosophy, religion, and psychology was reflected in two later books, All of Us (1942) and Without and Within (1952). During and after her years at Roger Ascham School, Allen was often in demand as a speaker on children and education for various women's and church groups.

In 1945 Joseph Allen and Allen retired to Des Moines, Iowa, where they lived with their daughter Dorothea, her husband, Clay Treadway, and their four children, Allen, Ann, Ray and Roy. Joseph Allen died in 1946 and for the next seven years Allen divided her time between the Treadways and her younger daughter, Annie Winsor Allen, who was then principal of the Girls' Latin School in Chicago. In 1954, when Annie Winsor Allen moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to become Dean of Women at Fisk University, Allen moved with her and remained in Nashville until her death in December 1955.



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 76-346, 77-M137, 78-M191, 78-M229, 79-M60, 79-M132, 79-M161, 82-M138, 84-M95, 89-M101, 2011-M87, 2019-M97

The papers of Annie Ware Winsor Allen were given to the Schlesinger Library by Annie Winsor Allen between October 1976 and June 1984. Additional papers were given by Jean Jacobson Strong in May 1989, Mary P. Winsor in May 2011, and Peter Winsor Pruyn in June 2019.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Annie Ware Winsor Allen Papers, 1884-1950 (SC 35) and Annie Winsor Allen Papers, 1920-1958 (SC 36).

Container List

  1. Box 1: 1, 3-15
  2. Box 2: 20, 23, 25v-27v
  3. Box 3: 28-34
  4. Box 4: 35-36, 38-42, 44-45, 47-53
  5. Box 5: 54-65
  6. Box 6: 66-72
  7. Box 7: 73-80
  8. Box 8: 81-88
  9. Box 9: 89-95
  10. Box 10: 96-102
  11. Box 11: 103-109
  12. Box 12: 110-123
  13. Box 13: 162v-170, 174, 176, 179, 181, 183, 188, 190-191, 193
  14. Box 14: 195-197, 199, 201, 203, 206-207, 209-212, 214, 216, 218, 220, 222, 224-225
  15. Box 15: 227, 230-233, 235-236, 238, 240-242, 244, 249, 251, 254, 256, 259-262, 264-265
  16. Box 16: 266-276, 286-290
  17. Box 17: 291-299
  18. Box 18: 300v-313
  19. Box 19: 314-326
  20. Box 20: 327-341
  21. Box 21: 342-354
  22. Box 22: 355-356, 359-365
  23. Box 23: 366-381
  24. Box 24: 382-393
  25. Box 25: 394-402
  26. Box 26: 403-410
  27. Box 27: 411-420
  28. Box 28: 421-425, 427-433
  29. Box 29: 434-439
  30. Box 30: 447, 449-450, 452-457, 465, 468
  31. Box 31: 469-473, 481-483, 485-488
  32. Box 32: 490-502
  33. Box 33: 503-511, 516
  34. Box 34: 518-521, 523-526, 528, 530-533
  35. Box 35: 534-540, 542-546
  36. Box 36: 547-555, 557-561
  37. Box 37: 562-570
  38. Box 38: 598, 600-603, 607-612
  39. Box 39: 627-630, 640v-641, 646-649
  40. Box 40: 662, 665, 667, 669-670
  41. Box 41: 2, 16-19, 21-22, 24, 37, 43, 46
  42. Box 42: 124-136
  43. Box: 43: 137-151
  44. Box 44: 152-161, 171-172
  45. Box 45: 173, 175, 177-178, 180, 182, 184-187, 189, 192, 194v, 198, 200, 202, 204-205, 208, 213, 215, 217, 219, 221, 223, 226
  46. Box 46: 228-229, 234, 237, 239, 243, 245-248, 250, 252-253, 255, 257-258, 163, 277-278
  47. Box 47: 279-285, 357-358, 426
  48. Box 48: 440-445
  49. Box 49: 446a-446e, 448, 451, 458-459
  50. Box 50: 460-464c
  51. Box 51: 466-467, 474-480, 484, 489, 512
  52. Box 52: 513-515, 517, 522, 527, 529
  53. Box 53: 541, 571-577
  54. Box 54: 578-586
  55. Box 55: 587-594
  56. Box 56: 595-597, 599, 604-606, 613-615
  57. Box 57: 616-622
  58. Box 58: 623-626, 631-634
  59. Box 59: 635-639, 642-645, 650
  60. Box 60: 651-656
  61. Box 61: 657-661, 663-664, 666, 668
  62. Box 62: 235a
  63. Box 63: 725-734
  64. Box 64: 735-743
  65. Box 65: 745-757


  1. Comstock, Ada Louise - 562
  2. Freud, Sigmund - 335
  3. James, William - 332
  4. O'Reilly, Leonora - 61, 81, 83, 84, 86, 87, 88, 91, 92, 95, 96, 98, 100, 106, 107, 117, 156
  5. Park, Marion (Edwards) - 334
  6. Rockefeller, Abby (Greene) - 114, 134, 135, 136
  7. Rockefeller, David - 140
  8. Rockefeller, John Davison, Jr. - 115, 138, 139, 147, 148, 151, 152, 153, 154, 536
  9. Roosevelt, Franklin Delano - 335
  10. Russell, Bertrand - 103

Processing Information

Processed by: Kathleen Marquis, Donna Webber

Date: August 1981

Additional materials added by: Johanna Carll

Date: June 2019

Allen, Annie Winsor, 1865-1955. Papers of Annie Ware Winsor Allen, 1818-1993: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (RC-0051-79-1260).

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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