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Archives & Manuscripts

Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG5-123

Scope and Contents

The collection contains chiefly personal and professional papers of Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon (1890-1979), including correspondence, diaries, papers relating to her activities as student and teacher, publications and research reports, reminiscences, financial records, and notes relating to her activities as suffragette and involvement with National League of Women Voters, educator and political activist in Virginia (1920-1928), and work (1928-1956) as research economist for U.S. Women's Bureau; together with correspondence, diaries, legal and financial papers, genealogies, albums, essays, poetry, pictures, and other papers of the Pidgeon, Williams, and allied families.

During the Civil War, the Unionist sympathies of the Quakers aroused suspicion among their Virginia neighbors, leading to William Williams's arrest in 1863. The collection also includes letters and related documents of Samule Lukens Pidgeon (1817-1902), Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon's grandfather, from the Civil War years. Quaker education was an enduring concern of these families, evident from numerous letters written from Quaker schools, especially George School and Swarthmore College, and including Alexandria Boarding School (Alexandria, Va.), and Taylor Academy, (Wilmington, Del.) The family correspondence is the most significant, especially the many letters received by Susan Talbott Williams Pidgeon (1860-1942, daughter of William Williams) from her daughters Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon and Dorothy Everett Pidgeon Berry, and Hanna Conrow Williams Tomlinson, who was raised by her after being orphaned at a young age. The collection also include genealogies, memorials, journals, essays, poetry, legal and financial papers, albums, and pictures. The family papers describe through letters, journals, and religious writings a family network of devoted Quaker women. Researchers should note that additional Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon papers which originally were part of the same collection were given to Radcliffe College in 1982 by the same donor who gave the Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon Family Papers to Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. This smaller collection which also contains personal and professional papers of Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon was transferred to Friends Historical Library in 1984 on indefinite loan, designated as the Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon Schlesinger Library Papers, RG 5/124. The collections are administered as two separate collections, but are cross indexed.

Dates

  • 1769-1979[bulk 1905-1979]

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Biographical / Historical

Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon (1890-1979) was born into an extended Quaker family who lived for generations in Clarke and Loudon counties, Virginia. She moved beyond the Virginia Quaker community to a career in the women's movement, first as a campaigner for women's suffrage, 1917-1920, then as an educator and political activist in Virginia, 1920-1928, and finally as a research economist for the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, 1928-1956. During her retirement years, Pidgeon became active in Quaker affairs.

Although this collection contains mainly the personal papers of Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon (1890-1979), there are also significant family papers of the Pidgeon, Williams, and related families, Quakers from Clarke and Loudon Counties in northern Virginia. They were mostly farmers and small businessmen, as well as leaders in Quaker affairs. Most prominent was William Williams (1816-1893), Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon's maternal grandfather, who for many years was a minister of Fairfax Monthly Meeting and President of the Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Loudon County. Many generations of the Pidgeon family were active in Hopewell Monthly Meeting.

During the Civil War, the Unionist sympathies of the Quakers aroused suspicion among their Virginia neighbors, leading to William Williams's arrest in 1863. The collection also includes letters and related documents of Samuel Lukens Pidgeon (1817-1902), Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon's grandfather, from the Civil War years. Quaker education was an enduring concern of these families, evident from numerous letters written from Quaker schools, especially George School and Swarthmore College, and including Alexandria Boarding School (Alexandria, Va.), and Taylor Academy, (Wilmington, Del.) The family correspondence is the most significant, especially the many letters received by Susan Talbott Williams Pidgeon (1860-1942, daughter of William Williams) from her daughters Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon and Dorothy Everett Pidgeon Berry, and Hanna Conrow Williams Tomlinson, who was raised by her after being orphaned at a young age. The collection also include genealogies, memorials, journals, essays, poetry, legal and financial papers, albums, and pictures. Above all these papers describe through letters, journals, and religious writings, a family network of devoted Quaker women.

Extent

22.5 Linear Feet (45 boxes)

Language

English

Overview

Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon (1890-1979) was born into an extended Quaker family who lived for generations in Clarke and Loudon counties, Virginia. She moved beyond the Virginia Quaker community to a career in the women's movement, first as a campaigner for women's suffrage (1917-1920), then as an educator and political activist in Virginia (1920-1928) and finally as a research economist for the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor (1928-1956). During her retirement years, Pidgeon became active in Quaker affairs. The collection contains chiefly personal and professional papers of Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon (1890-1979), including correspondence, diaries, papers relating to her activities as student and teacher, publications and research reports, reminiscences, financial records, and notes relating to her activities as suffragette and involvement with National League of Women Voters, educator and political activist in Virginia (1920-1928), and work (1928-1956) as research economist for U.S. Women's Bureau; together with correspondence, diaries, legal and financial papers, genealogies, albums, essays, poetry, pictures, and other papers of the Pidgeon, Williams, and allied families. Topics include family life, the Civil War, Hopewell Monthly Meeting, and education of family members at Alexandria Boarding School (Alexandria, Va.), Earlham College (Richmond, In.), George School (Bucks County, Pa.), Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, Pa.), and Taylor Academy (Wilmington, Del.) Persons represented include Pidgeon's grandfathers, William Williams (1816-1893) and Samuel Lukens Pidgeon (1817-1902), her mother, Susan Talbott Williams Pidgeon (1860-1942), her sister, Dorothy Everett Pidgeon Berry, and Hanna Conrow Williams Tomlinson.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in twenty-two series, series 1-7 contain family papers and series 8-22 contain the personal and professional papers of Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon (designated MEP). Checklist cross-references topics to related material in the Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon Schlesinger Library Papers, RG 5/124.

The series are:
  1. Biographical and genealogical, Pidgeon and allied families
  2. Journals (1795-1930)
  3. Family correspondence, arranged by correspondent and then chronologically
  4. Manuscript writings
  5. Legal and financial papers
  6. Albums
  7. Family miscellaneous
  8. MEP biographical, including reminiscences
  9. MEP diaries and day-books (1926-1979)
  10. MEP correspondence
  11. MEP publications
  12. MEP manuscript writings
  13. MEP University of Chicago papers
  14. MEP Campaign for Woman Suffrage
  15. MEP University of Virginia papers
  16. MEP political and civic activities
  17. MEP Women's Bureau, U.S. Depart. of Labor
  18. MEP finances
  19. MEP conference attended
  20. MEP notes
  21. MEP travel notes
  22. MEP pictures

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor: Mary-Susan Robare, 1983

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was given by Mary-Susan Robare, niece of Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon. Other related papers in the same collection were given to Radcliffe College and are presently on loan in Friends Historical Library, designated the Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon Schlesinger Library Papers. RG 5/124.

Related Materials

See also:
  1. Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon Schlesinger Library Papers, RG 5/124
Title
Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon Family Papers, 1769-1979 [bulk 1905-1979]
Author
FHL staff
Date
1983
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

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