PAPERS, 1809-18, 1857, 1885-1987
BULK DATES: 1917-25, 1942-85
The papers of William Edwards Stevenson (1900-85) and his wife Eleanor Bumstead Stevenson (1902-87) document the joint public service careers of the Stevensons over a forty-five year period. Correspondence with their families (1917-25) and with each other (1924-25), as well as genealogical records such as diaries, wills, and marriage certificates, bring to light the privileged New England childhoods and family relationships which fostered their social ideals. The arrangement of the Stevensons' papers into two subgroups--the papers of William E. Stevenson and the papers of Eleanor B. Stevenson--does not diminish the collaborative nature of the couple's work. Correspondence addressed to "Bill and Bumpy" (1926-85) has been retained with William Stevenson's papers; records of their travels together have not been disturbed; and the bulk of the photographs, clippings, and printed materials relate to both Stevensons. At the same time, separating Eleanor Stevenson's professional correspondence, honors, and writings from the larger body of her husband's papers allows her achievement to be better assessed.
The Stevenson Papers consist of correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, writings, tape recordings, oral history transcripts, printed materials, honorary medals, plaques, and gifts collected or created by the Stevensons during their youth (1917-25) and during their service in England, North Africa and Italy with the American Red Cross (1942-45); at Oberlin College, where Stevenson was President (1946-59); in the Philippines, where he served as American Ambassador (1961-64); at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Study, where he moderated the Executive Seminar and served as President (1967-70); in government service on various committees; and in retirement in Colorado and Florida (1970-87).
The collection has been divided into two subgroups: I. The William Edwards Stevenson Papers, and II. The Eleanor B. Stevenson Papers. Within subgroups, the papers have been divided into series alphabetically arranged. Subgroup I includes the following series: 1. Correspondence; 2. Genealogical Records and Family History; 3. Honors, Awards, and Gifts; 4. Miscellaneous Professional Papers; 5. Oral History Interviews and Tape Recordings; 6. Photographs; 7. Scrapbooks and Guestbooks; 8. Travel Files; and 9. Writings of William E. Stevenson. Subgroup II includes the following series: 1. Correspondence; 2. Diaries and Early Writings; 3. Genealogical Records; 4. Honors and Miscellaneous Personal Papers; 5. Writings of Eleanor B. Stevenson, and 6. Photographs. Within each series, materials are typically arranged alphabetically or chronologically.
The phases of William Stevenson's career least well documented by the papers are his legal career in New York (1925-42, 1945-46) and his work as leader of the Executive Seminar at the Aspen Institute (1967-70) and as the institute's President (1969-70). Little documentation exists of Stevenson's work as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (1925-27), his employment with the firm of Davis Polk (1927-31), and his fourteen years with the firm he co-founded, Debevoise Stevenson (1931-42, 1945-46). Papers from this period (1925-42, 1945-46) include Stevenson's 1925 letter of appointment as Assistant U.S. Attorney; his 1927 certificate of admission to practice in the courts of New York as an Attorney and Counsellor; a series of briefs (1925, 1928-30, 1941, 1945-46); an unbound scrapbook of clippings (1926-27) relating to the cases Stevenson prosecuted under U.S. Attorney Emory Buckner; and three volumes of hearing transcripts (1946). These records are housed in Series 4, Miscellaneous Professional Papers. Papers relating to Stevenson's work for the Aspen Institute include photographs and thank-you letters from business leaders who attended the Executive Seminar.
Most valuable for the study of the history of the American Red Cross or of relief operations in the Second World War is William Stevenson's professional correspondence (1942-45) as Red Cross Delegate to North Africa and Italy. Letters from Stevenson in London, Algiers, Palermo, and Naples to Richard F. Allen, Vice-Chairman of the American Red Cross, describe administrative problems and successes in establishing Red Cross clubmobiles and relief centers along the fighting fronts of the American Fifth Army as it launched and carried out the Invasion of Italy. Letters discuss personnel, staffing needs, morale, supplies requests, and Red Cross regulations. Incoming correspondence from the generals running the war, including Commanding General of the American Fifth Army, Mark Clark, Lieutenant General George S. Patton (1885-1945) (one letter), and other military personnel, discuss the needs of troops, deployment of the Red Cross clubmobiles, and generally commend Stevenson's effective work. The correspondence includes the secret communiques from British officials ordering Stevenson's transfer from London to Algiers in December 1942 and subsequent transfers to Sicily and Naples in 1943.
The professional correspondence of Eleanor Stevenson from the same period (1942-45) supplies details concerning field operations that are missing from Stevenson's mainly administrative correspondence. Letters from American G.I.s to Eleanor Stevenson serving with clubmobile units and hospitals on the Salerno and Anzio beachheads contain offers of friendship, poetry composed between battles, and an occasional letter of complaint over doughnut shortages. Correspondence with editors at the Saturday Evening Post relates to the publication of a series of articles by Eleanor Stevenson, I Knew Your Soldier (1944), which became the basis of the popular book of the same name. Materials relating to the book's publication, including publicity and galley fragments, are housed in Series 5, Writings of Eleanor Bumstead Stevenson. Also filed here are drafts of Eleanor Stevenson's speeches and the scripts for radio broadcasts in which she describes her Red Cross experience. The Stevenson's Red Cross service is further documented by memorabilia, honorary certificates and medals, photographs, and newspaper clippings.
The years of Stevenson's presidency of Oberlin College (1946-59) are best documented by his presidential papers, Record Group 2/8, in the Oberlin College Archives. In the papers here described, which were received after Stevenson's death, files relating to the Stevenson presidency include correspondence with Oberlin trustees Erwin N. Griswold, Brooks Emeny, and Louis Peirce (d. 1972); newspaper clippings; and numerous photographs of gatherings at the Stevenson residence, commencement celebrations, the Mock Convention of 1952, and distinguished visitors to Oberlin such as Gov. Adlai Stevenson (1900-65) in 1952 and General Mark W. Clark in 1947. Also of interest is an album of candid photographs taken at the Board of Trustees farewell dinner in the Stevensons' honor (1960). Stevenson's writings include Oberlin chapel talks, commencement speeches, and several policy statements.
Eleanor Stevenson's papers include two notebooks containing observations on Oberlin titled, "Oberliniana." Her professional correspondence includes letters from friends, such as Justice John Marshall Harlan (1899- ) and Robert Maynard Hutchins, and from visitors to her home, including actor Edward Everett Horton (1886-1970) in 1953, and letters from individuals or groups to whom she spoke of her Red Cross experiences.
Records documenting Stevenson's tour as American Ambassador to the Philippines (1961-64) include professional correspondence with American and Philippine officials of a diplomatic nature (1961-64). Correspondents include John A. Lacey, Acting Principal Officer, Consulate General of the United States; William P. Bundy, Assistant Secretary of State; and Carlos Pena Romulo, Philippine author and hero of Bataan (1899-1985); memorabilia, including invitations and travel itineraries; a transcript of an oral history interview (1969) conducted with Stevenson for the John F. Kennedy Library regarding his service in Manila; three tape-recordings of addresses presented by Stevenson as Ambassador, including his remarks at the memorial rites for slain President John F. Kennedy (1963); numerous photographs and some slides; printed reports on Philippine culture and economy (1962-67); an unbound scrapbook of newspaper clippings (1961-64); and drafts of speeches (1961-64). Eleanor Bumstead's professional correspondence includes thank-you notes from Philippine and American visitors to Manila, including Virginia Romulo, Marie Harriman, and Maureen Mansfield; her memorabilia files include notes on Philippine language and culture.
Subgroup I. William Edwards Stevenson Papers, 1885-1985 15.6 l.f.
The correspondence series is divided into three subseries:Stevenson Family Correspondence, Personal Correspondence of William E. Stevenson, and Professional Correspondence of William E. Stevenson. Within subseries, correspondence is chronologically arranged.
Includes letters between Stevenson's parents, the Rev. and Mrs. J. Ross Stevenson; letters received by them from family and friends (1900-22, 1927); and letters from William's twin brothers, Donald and Theodore Stevenson (b. 1903).
Subseries 2. Personal Correspondence, 1905-42, 1962-83, n.d.
Includes letters (1905-35) written by William E. Stevenson to his family mainly during his student years at Phillips Academy, Princeton University, and Balliol College, Oxford. Also housed here are Stevenson's letters of courtship (1924-25) to Eleanor Bumstead. Later correspondence includes letters written by Stevenson to his daughter, Helen Stevenson Meyner.
Subseries 3. Professional Correspondence, 1925, 1942-86, n.d.
Stevenson's professional correspondence (1942-45) documents his work as American Red Cross Delegate in England, North Africa, and Italy, coordinating the establishment of relief operations in Sicily and on the Italian beachheads to serve the advancing American Fifth Army (1943-44). Correspondence also covers his term as President of Oberlin College (1946-59); his tour as Ambassador to the Philippines (1961-64); his leadership of the Executive Seminar at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Study (1967-70); and his activities in retirement (1970-85). Correspondents include Richard F. Allen, Vice Chairman of the American Red Cross; Mark W. Clark, Commanding General, U.S. Fifth Army; Lieutenant General George S. Patton; Erwin N. Griswold, Walter K. Bailey, and Louis Peirce, trustees of Oberlin College; William P. Bundy, Assistant Secretary of State; Adlai E. Stevenson; Averell Harriman (b. 1891); and Robert Maynard Hutchins, Director of the Fund for the Republic.
This series contains legal documents and correspondence relating to Stevenson's maternal and paternal ancestors, the Day, Huntington, Edwards, and Stevenson families. Included as well are drafts of sermons (1890) by Stevenson's grandfather, Dr. Ross Stevenson, and by his father, the Rev. J. Ross Stevenson. Also housed here is the pocket diary for 1900 in which Florence Day Stevenson recorded the birth of her first child, William Edwards. Various personal records of William Stevenson include his Life Diary (ca. 1905-15), and student papers.
Series 3. Honors, Awards, and Gifts, 1916, 1918-19, 1921-84 3.6 l.f.
Includes texts of honorary degree presentations, diplomas, certificates of achievement, medals of honor, athletic ribbons, plaques, and gifts presented to Stevenson throughout his career. Gifts include two printed silk scarves, a wooden crest titled, "Weapons of Moroland," with miniature Philippine knives in wood and aluminum attached, and an oil portrait of Ambassador Stevenson in period military dress, presented to him by the Marines of the American Embassy, Manila. The decorations, pins, medals, and medallions are housed together in one box. Oversized materials are stored flat in Box 2 and Box 5.
Series 4. Miscellaneous Professional Papers, 1896, 1900-85 1.2 l.f.
This series is divided into five subseries: Legal Career;Red Cross Service Records; Oberlin College Presidency; Tour as Ambassador to the Philippines; and Service on Government and Other Committees. Within each subseries, materials are alphabetically arranged by type.
Includes materials relating to Stevenson's legal work in New York as Assistant U.S. Attorney (1925-27) and as a founding partner in the firm Debevoise Stevenson Plimpton and Page (1931-42, 1945-46). Files are arranged alphabetically by type of material.
Subseries 2. Red Cross Service Records, 1942-58
These files consist of xeroxes of clippings (1942-45) from various civilian papers and the armed forces paper, The Stars and Stripes, describing the fighting of the war in Europe and the Stevensons' Red Cross service. Other materials include cloth patches worn by Red Cross personnel associated with the U.S. Fifth Army; identity cards issued by the Red Cross and the U.S. War Department; poetry written by American G.I.s; a map of the city of Naples; V-Mail Christmas cards; Red Cross postcards and other ephemera. Printed materials include two illustrated pamphlets authored by American soldier-journalists, Sicily Sketch Book (1943) and Blood on the Olives (ca. 1945). Files are arranged alphabetically by type of material.
Subseries 3. Oberlin College Presidency, 1946-84
Includes clippings, printed programs, brochures, and press releases relating to Stevenson's appointment and tenure as President of Oberlin College. Materials are arranged alphabetically by type of material.
Subseries 4. Service on Government and other Committees, 1931, 1950, 1956, 1961
Includes reports produced by delegations or committees on which Stevenson served. Most committees were created to investigate problems in higher education. Files are arranged alphabetically by committee.
Subseries 5. Tour as Ambassador to the Philippines, 1960-76
Files include official communications from the U.S. State Department such as travel itineraries, policy statements, memoranda, invitations, appointment schedules, and press releases. Printed materials include excerpts from Philippine and American publications and newspaper clippings. Records are arranged alphabetically by type of material.
Includes transcripts of two interviews given by Stevenson:a 1969 interview for the John F. Kennedy Library recounting his tour as Ambassador to the Philippines, and a 1981 interview for Columbia University's Oral History Research Office recounting his career (1925-42, 1945-46) with New York law firm Debevoise Stevenson. The transcript and tape recording of a 1979 interview with Stevenson conducted by Oberlin Professor of History, Geoffrey Blodgett are housed in Oberlin College Archives Record Group 43, Oral History, 1979-84. Tape recordings housed in this series contain addresses given in the Philippines by Ambassador Stevenson and are arranged by reel number, 1 through 3.
Series 6. Photographs, 1916-25, 1942-80 5.2 l.f.
The photographs are divided into three subseries: Prints, Slides, and Negatives With Accompanying Prints and Slides. Within subseries, images are arranged chronologically by the phase of activity they depict, from Stevenson's youth to his retirement years. Most prints bear some notation on the verso--whether date, place, or subject--which has been supplied by the Stevensons or by the processing archivist where possible. No attempt has been made to identify fully individual prints. Albums are housed separately.
Series 7. Scrapbooks and Guestbooks, 1918-27, 1938-79 2 l.f.
Includes a set of four scrapbooks assembled by Stevenson containing clippings relating to his track competitions in the United States and in England (1918-25). Guestbooks initiated by William and Eleanor Stevenson in their Connecticut home (1938-62) and after leaving Oberlin (1962-79) contain signatures of family and friends, notes, and photographs pasted in. Materials are arranged according to type, with scrapbooks preceding guestbooks.
Series 8. Travel Files, 1939-76 .4 l.f.
These files contain travel journals, clippings, correspondence, itineraries, and printed material created or collected by William and Eleanor Stevenson during their professional and private trips together. These files have been maintained as they were found; thus, letters from Eleanor written aboard ship to her daughters are housed here along with related, contextual materials. Files are arranged chronologically.
Series 9. Writings of William E. Stevenson, 1915, 1935, 1944-74 .4 l.f.
Contains articles, book reviews, legal briefs, poetry, speeches, and hearing transcripts (1946) containing testimony by Stevenson. Materials are arranged alphabetically.
This series is divided into three subseries: Bumstead Family Correspondence, Personal Correspondence of Eleanor Bumstead, and Professional Correspondence of Eleanor Bumstead. Within each series, correspondence is chronologically arranged.
Includes letters to and from Samuel A. Bumstead, courtship letters from George Wingate to Eleanor Bumstead's mother, Luetta Ullrich (1888-92), and letters from Eleanor's father, Henry A. Bumstead, to her mother, Luetta Ullrich Bumstead, in the year of Eleanor's birth, 1902.
Subseries 2. Personal Correspondence of Eleanor Bumstead, 1917-25, 1942, 1962, n.d.
Includes letters written by Eleanor Bumstead to her mother and father from Rosemary Hall boarding school in Greenwich, Connecticut (1917-20) and from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts (1920-23, n.d.). Also filed here are Eleanor's letters to William Stevenson.
Subseries 3. Professional Correspondence of Eleanor B. Stevenson 1939, 1942-86, n.d.
The bulk of Eleanor Stevenson's professional correspondence consists of letters received during her service with the American Red Cross in England, Algiers, and Italy (1942-45). Correspondents include official Red Cross personnel and American G.I.'s of the American Fifth Army in Italy. Letters of the post-war period relate to Mrs. Stevenson's numerous speaking engagements and the publication of her book, I Knew Your Soldier (1944 Nov). Later correspondence (1947-86) includes letters from diplomatic colleagues in the Philippines, from Robert Maynard Hutchins, and from Yale University (1959, 1981-82) regarding the establishment of the John H. Bumstead Memorial Fund.
Includes Eleanor Bumstead's diaries, diary leaves, journals containing original poetry, and two essays written for English classes at Smith College. Files are arranged alphabetically by type of material.
Series 3. Genealogical Records of the Bumstead/Ullrich Families, 1809-52, 1905-1963 .2 l.f.
Series contains wills, birth and marriage certificates, and various other papers belonging to Eleanor Bumstead's maternal (Ullrich) and paternal (Bumstead) ancestors. Files are arranged chronologically except when such order would separate the papers of one individual.
Series 4. Honors and Miscellaneous Personal Papers, ca. 1921-87 .2 l.f.
This series brings together diverse personal items of Eleanor Stevenson and includes her Bronze Star Medal, the texts of citations and honorary degree presentations, notes on Oberlin, Tanganyika, and Philippine language and culture, and obituaries and letters of condolence to daughters Priscilla Stevenson Hunt and Helen Stevenson Meyner. Records are arranged alphabetically by type.
Series 5. Writings of Eleanor B. Stevenson, 1944-58 1.6 l.f.
The series is divided into Articles, Books, Scripts for Radio Broadcasts, and Speeches. Included is the book I Knew Your Soldier (1944) and three issues of the Saturday Evening Post for October and November 1944 containing the articles on which the book was based. Files are arranged alphabetically.
Series 6. Photographs, ca. 1914 (1 vol.)
One photograph album, containing views of a Bumstead family trip to Europe in 1914. Includes photographs of Ullrich relatives and ancestral homes.
For the Presidential Papers of William Edwards Stevenson, consult Record Group 2/8. A scrapbook (1946-59) assembled for President Stevenson containing clippings documenting his administration is housed in Record Group 18/1/2.
The first accession of the Stevensons' personal papers was transferred to the Oberlin College Archives under deed of gift from William E. Stevenson in 1979. Several subsequent shipments have arrived from Stevenson's daughter, Priscilla Hunt Stevenson, trustee of the Stevenson estate. These shipments comprise the bulk of the records and arrived in 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991. The scrapbook from Record Group 18/1/2 was transferred from the Public Relations Office of Oberlin College in 1967.
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