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Dunham family papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00246

Scope and Contents

The Dunham Family Papers are a diverse collection of material documenting the personal and professional activities of four generations of the Dunham, Kellogg and Dows families from 1814 to 1951. The bulk of the material dates from 1855 to 1951. About three quarters of the collection is material relating to Mary Dows Dunham, her husband, Edward Kellogg Dunham, and their son, Edward Kellogg Dunham, Jr. The remaining quarter of the collection represents other family members.

There is a large amount of material documenting the professional and other activities of the Dunhams. Edward Kellogg Dunham, Sr.'s, papers include correspondence; lecture notes and papers from Harvard Medical School; notes from his cholera research; research material, manuscripts, and published writings relating to antiseptics and empyema during World War I. There are also letters to Mary (Dows) Dunham, written after Edward's death, from his many friends and colleagues regarding the publication of his research on empyema and the establishment of the Edward Kellogg Dunham Lectures at Harvard Medical School. Additional papers related to the Dunham Lectures are located at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard.

Mary (Dows) Dunham's papers document her and Edward Dunham's various philanthropic activities during the early twentieth century, including the New York cooking school for nurses, the American Red Cross, and the Seal Harbor Village Improvement Society. There is also material relating to Mary and Theodora Dunham's work with the American Fund for French Wounded which includes letters from American and French soldiers, relief workers, nurses, and doctors stationed in World War I France.

Edward Kellogg Dunham, Jr.'s, Mount Desert Island material provides valuable information on the development of a rural seaside community. It includes correspondence; reports and minutes of committee meetings; and clippings and photographic material. These date from 1930 to 1949.

The Dunham Family Papers include correspondence and other material relating to a number of important individuals, most notably medical and academic colleagues of Edward Kellogg Dunham, Sr. These are located in the papers of Edward Kellogg Dunham, Sr., Mary (Dows) Dunham, and Edward Kellogg Dunham, Jr. Important correspondents include: Walter B. Cannon, physiologist; Samuel Colman, artist; Henry D. Dakin, English chemist and brother-in-law of EKD and MDD; D.L. Edsall, Dean, Harvard Medical School; Simon Flexner, pathologist; Graham Lusk, physiologist; John D. Rockefeller, Jr., philanthropist; Henry Osborne Taylor, author; William S. Thayer, M.D.; John L. Yates, surgeon.

A significant portion of the material consists of personal correspondence. Of particular interest are the travel letters of Harriet (Kellogg) Dunham to her family from Italy (1855-56), and Mary (Dows) Dunham to her mother from her various travels in the western United States, Bermuda, Europe, Greece, and Egypt dating from 1877 to 1914. These trips are particularly well detailed in Mary's letters which are complimented by her numerous photographs (located at the end of the collection).

Throughout the collection there are creative writings of various individuals, in particular, those of Harriet (Kellogg) Dunham, Beatrice Dunham, and Mary (Dows) Dunham. Carroll and Harriet Dunham, their children, and friends created a magazine called "The Phoenix" which consisted of articles, stories, poems, and artwork periodically compiled together and distributed to family and friends. They maintained and distributed this family magazine from 1883 to 1888.

A large portion of the collection is photographic material (prints, negatives, and photograph albums) including images of Europe, Egypt, Greece, Central America, the Caribbean, and the western United States, and ranging in date from the 1890s to the 1930s. There are also prints and many negatives of family, friends, and activities on Mount Desert Island, ca. 1910 to 1930. Many of the images are in negative format only.

The collection also includes genealogies, family histories, biographical material, legal documents, financial records, printed pamphlets, clippings, and memorabilia.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1788 - 1997
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1855 - 1951


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Dunham and Bodman family members. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Biographical / Historical

The Dunham family as represented in this collection begins with Edward Wood Dunham (1794-1871) of New Brunswick, New Jersey, and his wife, Maria Smyth Parker (1794-1834), of Perth Amboy, New Jersey. They moved to New York City in 1821. There Edward established himself as a banker and eventually became president of the Corn Exchange Bank. Edward and Maria Dunham had four children: Ann Lawrence, Edward, James, and Carroll.

Carroll Dunham (1828-1877) was a homeopathic physician and dean of faculty at the New York Homeopathic Medical College. He was also president of the American Institute of Homeopathy. In 1853, Carroll married Harriet E. Kellogg (1828-1878), the daughter of Edward and Esther Kellogg of Brooklyn, New York. They lived in Irvington, New York, and had six children: Carroll, Edward Kellogg, Theodore, Herbert, Constantine, and Beatrice. Herbert and Constantine both died before one year. Harriet's sister, Amelia Nash (Kellogg) Henshaw--affectionately called "Aunt Rabbit," studied under artist Samuel Colman (Anne Lawrence Dunham's husband). Beatrice Dunham was a prolific writer of stories and verses. She and other family members also compiled a family magazine called "The Phoenix."

Edward Kellogg Dunham (1860-1922) was well known for his work in the fields of pathology and bacteriology. He earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1886 then studied for a period at Koch's laboratory in Berlin where he discovered the "cholera-red" reaction. After returning to the United States, he worked for the Board of Health Commission in Boston and later became professor of pathology at the Bellevue Medical College of New York University. During World War I, he worked in U.S. Army hospitals, researching and treating meningitis cases. Soon he became involved in treating soldiers infected with empyema (a lung disease related to pneumonia) and in 1918 was appointed chairman of the "Empyema Commission." After Edward's death his empyema research was published by his wife, Mary (Dows) Dunham, and several of his colleagues. In 1923 Mary gave an endowment to Harvard Medical School for the establishment of the "Edward Kellogg Dunham Lectures for the Promotion of the Medical Sciences."

In 1893 Edward married Mary Dows (1865-1936), daughter of David Dows (1814-1890) and Margaret (Worcester) Dows (1831-1909), also of Irvington, N.Y. David Dows headed the New York firm, David Dows and Company, one of the largest grain dealers in the country. He also served on the Board of Directors of Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Co. Mary was stricken with polio as a child and was left partially disabled. She suffered from almost constant pain throughout her life, nevertheless, traveled extensively and pursued various artistic and philanthropic activities. Mary became interested in photography at a young age and was encouraged in her endeavors by artist Samuel Colman (Anne Lawrence Dunham's husband). She traveled to the western United States and Europe numerous times before her marriage to Edward in 1893. Mary and Edward traveled together in Europe, Egypt, and the Western U.S. from the 1890s to the 1910s. In Egypt, they journeyed down the Nile River on a houseboat for three weeks in 1906.

Edward and Mary had two children: Theodora Dunham (1895-1983) and Edward Kellogg Dunham, Jr. (1901-1951). Soon after the birth of their daughter Theodora, Edward and Mary moved from Litchfield, Connecticut, to New York City. In 1898 they built a house in Seal Harbor, Maine, which they named "Keewaydin." The Dows family had spent many summers in Seal Harbor and several of Mary's siblings also made it their summer home.

During World War I, Mary and Theodora were involved with the American Fund for French Wounded (AFFW), an organization which provided medical and material aid to wounded soldiers and refugees. Theodora went to France to work as a volunteer at the front from 1916 to 1917. Mary organized volunteers in both New York City and in Seal Harbor to send relief packages overseas for the AFFW workers there to distribute to refugees and soldiers.

During the early twentieth century, Mary and Edward were involved in various philanthropic activities in New York and Seal Harbor. They worked with the New York Cooking School and several New York City hospitals to establish a cooking school for nurses with the aim of improving hospital food service. In Seal Harbor, Edward tested the milk of the local dairy farms, and Edward and Mary helped to organize the Mount Desert Chapter of the American Red Cross for which both Mary and Edward Dunham, Jr., were board members. The family was also active in the Seal Harbor Village Improvement Society.

Edward Kellogg Dunham, Jr. (1901-1951), was graduated from Harvard University in 1922, and worked as assistant manager for the Corn Exchange Bank (his great-grandfather's institution) in New York through the 1920s. After that, much of his time was occupied with other financial activities as treasurer of Dows Estates (established with the estate of his grandparents) and as trustee of his mother's estate. Edward lived for a few years in the western United States where, in 1933, he met and married Anne ("Nancy") Yellott. Edward and Nancy had two children: Edward Kellogg Dunham III and Elizabeth Dunham. They eventually moved to New York City and spent their summers in Seal Harbor where Edward continued in his parents' philanthropic footsteps.


26.835 linear feet (60 containers)


Artist, photographer, homemaker, traveler, philanthropist, bacteriologist, pathologist, and financier. The Dunham Family Papers represent four generations of the Dunham, Parker, Kellogg, and Dows families. The collection documents the medical education, research and professional activities of doctors Carroll Dunham and Edward Kellogg Dunham, Jr.; the financial activities of Edward Kellogg Dunham Jr.; the World War I medical and the volunteer work of women, including Theodora Dunham Bodman; creative writings; artwork; numerous photographs; travel correspondence; diaries and photographs from Europe, Egypt, the western U.S., and Panama.


The collection is arranged by individual or, where there is only a small amount of material, by family. These are the family papers of each of the three women who married Dunham men: Maria Smythe (Parker) Dunham, Harriet (Kellogg) Dunham, and Mary (Dows) Dunham. The family papers of each woman precede her own papers. The individuals and families are, in most cases, in order by generation. Material under each individual is arranged by type. Some photographs are filed with the papers if their subject content is specifically related to that material. However, the bulk of the photographic images (prints and negatives) are filed separately, at the end of the papers. Photographs of individuals are arranged alphabetically. Other photographs and negatives are arranged by subject. Oversize items are located in the oversize boxes at the end of the collection or in the flat file. These are cross-referenced in the inventory and by separation sheets which are filed throughout the collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Dunham Family Papers were given to the Sophia Smith Collection by Herbert Luther Bodman, Jr., and Ellen-Fairbanks Diggs Bodman in 1985. The material was initially part of a larger collection of papers relating to both the Bodman and Dunham families. They are now organized as two separate collections.

Additional material was donated by Lydia Bodman Vandenbergh in 2006-2007 and 2011.

Additions to the Collection

Periodic additions to collection are expected.

Additional Formats

Selections from the Dunham Family Papers can be viewed in the Web exhibit Across the Generations: Exploring U.S. History through Family Papers.

Related Material

See also the Bodman Family Papers. Researchers should note that there is material related to the Dunham and Bodman families in both collections and that there are cross-references to the Bodman Family Papers throughout the Dunham Family Papers inventory. The papers of Theodora (Dunham) Bodman are mostly located in the Bodman Family Papers except for her correspondence to her parents (filed under Mary Dows Dunham).

Processing Information

Processed by Margaret Jessup, 1993.

Dunham family papers
Finding Aid
Margaret Jessup
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: mnsss20 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:13-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2019-04-16: Made paper FA pencil edit changes.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063