Morrow family papers
Scope and Contents
The bulk of the papers relate to the life and work of Elizabeth Cutter Morrow. Types of materials include correspondence, minutes, agendas, reports, magazine and newspaper articles, notes, posters, pamphlets, artwork, writings, speeches, film, microfilm, and memorabilia. Major topics represented in these papers include women's higher education, relief work during World War I, Mexican art and diplomacy, American involvement in World War II, children's literature, poetry, community organizations and fundraising. The papers additionally illustrate the life and lifestyle of a politically prominent and wealthy northeastern U.S. family in the early twentieth century.
Among the Elizabeth Cutter Morrow materials, the largest category relates to her work for Smith College. Although Morrow's involvement with Smith was varied and extensive, reflecting her roles as devoted alumna and mother of three Smith daughters, the papers best reveal her work on fundraising efforts and administration of the College. In addition to work on all of the College's major fund-raising campaigns between 1900 and 1950, the files also document the successful effort to raise an endowment to support a visiting professorship in honor of Smith's third president, William Allan Neilson. Morrow's long and varied committee work is also well documented, particularly through records of her work on the Alumnae Committee of Ginling College in China and the Committee on Furnishing the New Dormitories (in the Quadrangle). Of particular note are materials related to the War Service Committee during World War I which includes extensive correspondence from members of the Smith College Relief Unit in France.
Researchers interested in higher education in China from 1919-41 may find relevant materials, as Morrow travelled to China in 1936 to tour and raise funds for colleges, including Ginling College, the sister school of Smith College.
In marked and public contrast to the views of her famous son-in-law Charles Lindbergh, many of the organizational activities of Elizabeth Cutter Morrow related to advocacy, in speeches and organizations such as Fight for Freedom, for U.S. intervention in World War II. Letters from listeners after her radio speech on 4 June 1940 illustrate the timbre and variance of American public opinion on intervention. Other materials document Morrow's wartime service in a variety of organizations including the Food for Freedom campaign and the United Service Organizations (USO). Materials related to Morrow's assistance during and after World War II to Gaspard Weiss, a Frenchman who had difficulty obtaining an academic appointment in the United States are also included.
The Morrow family residency in Mexico from 1928-30 fostered not only an improved political relationship between the United States and Mexico, but also a popular interest in Mexican art. After her return to the U.S. Elizabeth Cutter Morrow promoted Mexican arts and culture through her writings, speeches, and support both for individual artists and for a major traveling exhibition of Mexican art organized by the American Federation of Arts. Of particular interest among the Mexico-related materials is the correspondence from art curator and Director of the Museum of Modern Art Rene d'Harnoncourt, who often illustrated his letters.
Morrow was also deeply involved in the life of her home community and was an avid and successful fundraiser for the Englewood Community Chest.
Extensive drafts, manuscripts, and correspondence document Morrow's writing career. In addition to her own writing, she was involved in numerous literary organizations, including the Poetry Society, Shakespeare Club, Prix Femina, and the North Haven, Maine, library.
Morrow's most frequent correspondents included her mother and sister, both named Annie Spencer Cutter; friends Amey Aldrich and Alice Evangeline Hall Walter (Smith College class of 1894); her children; her cousin Pauline Dillingham; and her uncle Arthur Cutter until his death on 31 March 1894. Researchers interested in family relationships between women, particularly mother-daughter relationships, will find ample material here. Correspondence also reveals the experience of a college girl in the 1890s, as well as the lengthy engagement of Elizabeth Cutter and Dwight Morrow.
Notable correspondents include Harry Truman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Robert Frost, Diego Rivera, Madeleine Camp L'Engle, the Calvin Coolidge family, Chester and Amey Aldrich, Ada Comstock, William Allan Neilson, and Joseph Auslander (whose papers are held at the University of Miami).
The remainder of the materials document other Morrow family members and their Conover, Cutter, Dillingham, Foote, Hunt, Kelley, Lindbergh, McIlvane, Morgan, Reeve, Scandrett, Spencer, and Yates relatives. In most cases these consist primarily of family correspondence, some writings, and a small amount of general biographical materials such as news clippings and ephemera. Materials related to the Cutter family, Elisabeth Reeve (Morrow) Morgan, and Dwight Whitney Morrow, Jr., are more extensive.
Dates of Materials
- Majority of material found within 1873-1955
- Morrow family (Family)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
Writer, philanthropist, and educator Elizabeth Reeve Cutter was born May 29th, 1873 in Cleveland, Ohio to Charles Long and Annie (Spencer) Cutter. She attended Miss Mittelbergers's School before matriculating at Smith College, where she earned a B.L. in 1896. After graduating from Smith, she studied in Florence, Italy in 1896-97 and at the Sorbonne in Paris from 1899 to 1900. In 1903 she married Dwight Whitney Morrow, and the following spring their first child, Elisabeth Reeve Morrow, was born. Anne Spencer Morrow, Dwight Whitney Morrow, Jr., and Constance Cutter Morrow followed in 1906, 1908, and 1913, respectively.
Elizabeth Morrow's involvement with Smith College extended well beyond her college years. In 1915, hearing that the Alumnae Association had purchased the old homestead of Sophia Smith, she suggested to her class that they restore the property as a reunion gift. She chaired this effort until its completion in June 1916. In 1917 she began to serve as President of the Alumnae Association of Smith College. Her first act as President was to host a farewell luncheon for the newly formed Smith College Relief Unit SCRU) on the eve of its departure for France. Her support of the Unit extended beyond stateside fundraising, as she travelled to France herself in January of 1918, narrowly avoiding the German invasion of Ham, and eventually meeting the SCRU at Beauvais, only about fifteen miles from the Front. (Source: Elizabeth Cutter Morrow to Mr. H. W. Thirlkeld, 26 November 1919. [ECM: Smith College: $4 Million Fund, corr.])
In 1920 Morrow was appointed alumnae representative on the Smith College Board of Trustees. Six years later, she became a Trustee of Smith College, and from 1939-40 she served as Acting President of Smith College. From 1947 to 1950 Morrow chaired the Board of Trustees. Throughout her life, she made significant contributions to the financial well-being of Smith College, both personally and in her extensive work as a fundraiser for the Alumnae Association campaigns to raise four million dollars (1919-20), the 50th Anniversary gift (1924-25), the William Allan Neilson Foundation (1935-37), and the 75th Anniversary Fund (1946-50). She was also a member of building committee for the Smith College Alumnae House, completed in June 1938.
Morrow spent 1927-30 in Mexico while her husband served as U.S. Ambassador, where she and her family met the artist Diego Rivera and commissioned his murals in Cuernavaca. Upon her husband's death in 1931, she refused offers to fill out his term in the United States Senate. Morrow publicly advocated American aid to Britain before the US entry into WWII in stark contrast to the views espoused by her son-in-law, the aviator Charles Lindbergh. Her charitable involvements were deep and plentiful and included the Englewood Community Chest, Food for Freedom, Ginling College, and the United Service Organizations (USO). A well-respected educator, she received numerous honorary degrees.
She published several works of verse as well as children's books, including The Painted Pig: A Mexican Picture Book (1930), Quatrains for My Daughter (1931), Casa Manana (1932), Beast, Bird, and Fish: an Animal Alphabet (1933), The Rabbit's Nest (1940), My Favorite Age (1943), Shannon (1944), and finally The Mexican Years: Leaves from the Diary of Elizabeth Cutter Morrow (1953). She died in Englewood, New Jersey on January 23, 1955.
Those interested in the early life of Elizabeth Cutter Morrow should consult A Distant Moment: The Youth, Education, and Courtship of Elizabeth Cutter Morrow (Northampton: 1978) by her daughter, Constance Morrow Morgan.
Dwight Whitney Morrow (1873-1931)
Dwight Whitney Morrow was born in Huntington, West Virginia in 1873. While enrolled at Amherst College, he met Elizabeth Cutter, who, after an extended courtship and engagement, became his wife in 1903. In 1899 he received an L.L.B. from Columbia University and joined Simpson Thacher, rising to partner before joining J.P. Morgan & Company as a partner in 1914. His college roommate, Calvin Coolidge, appointed him ambassador to Mexico (1927-30), during which time he helped soothe the relationship between the United States and Mexico, and helped negotiate the peace which ended the Cristero Rebellion (1926-29). After his ambassadorship he served as a United States Senator from New Jersey until his death at home on 5 October 1931 at 58 years of age.
For more information, consult the Dwight W. Morrow papers at Amherst College.
Elisabeth Reeve (Morrow) Morgan (1904-1934)
Elisabeth Reeve Morrow was born on 17 March 1904 to Elizabeth Cutter Morrow and Dwight Whitney Morrow in Englewood, New Jersey. Like her mother and the sisters who would follow her, she attended Smith College. After her graduation in 1925 she studied at the Sorbonne and the University of Grenoble. Elisabeth taught school in Mexico while her father served as Ambassador (1927-30). Upon her return to the United States, she founded and directed the Little School in Englewood, New Jersey from 1930-1932, which later became known as the Elisabeth Morrow School. On 28 December 1932 she married Aubrey Niel Morgan and moved to his native Wales. Two years later she died of incurable heart disease in Pasadena, California, on 3 December 1934.
Anne Spencer (Morrow) Lindbergh (1906-2001)
See the Anne Morrow Lindbergh papers for a detailed biographical note.
Dwight Whitney Morrow, Jr. (1908-1976)
Dwight Whitney Morrow, Jr. was born in Englewood, New Jersey, on 28 November 1908, and educated at Groton School in Massachusetts. Like his father, he attended Amherst College, graduating in 1933. Dwight Morrow, Jr. received further education at Harvard and Yale. In 1937 he married Margot Loines, with whom he had three children: Stephen, Faith, and Constance. Along with his wife Margot, he embarked upon the Harvard Columbus Expedition in 1939. In 1946, he and Margot divorced. Throughout his life he experienced disruptive mental breakdowns and underwent treatment on several occasions. He managed Marble Ranch in Monterey, California (1941-48) and Carmel Valley Dairy Farm. Beginning in 1952, he taught international relations at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He died September 4, 1976 in Monterey, California.
Researchers may also wish to consult the Elizabeth Cutter Morrow papers related to Dwight W Morrow, Jr, at Yale University.
Constance Cutter (Morrow) Morgan (1913-1995)
Constance Cutter Morrow was born in Englewood, New Jersey on 27 June 1913. In 1929, while attending Milton Academy, Constance received anonymous letters threatening her with kidnapping unless a ransom was paid. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College in 1935. Along with Margot Loines, Constance founded the Brattleboro Summer Theatre in Vermont. In 1937 Constance married her sister's widower, Aubrey Niel Morgan, with whom she would have four children: Saran, Elisabeth, Rhidian, and Eiluned. After her marriage, she earned an M.A. in English literature from Columbia University. Beginning in 1939, Constance and Aubrey, along with a few others, began to revitalize what would become British Information Services. After the war Constance and Aubrey moved to their farm in Ridgefield, Washington, then moved to Washington, D.C., to assist the British Ambassador to the United States. After five years in the world of diplomacy they returned to the Pacific Northwest in 1953. She served as Alumna Trustee of Smith College from 1956-63 and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Smith College from 1967-72. She wrote A Distant Moment, a biography of her mother's early years and education, in 1977. She died on 25 March 1995 in Portland, Oregon.
For further information, consult http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituaryconstance-morgan-1613205.html.
222 boxes (142.5 linear feet)
The amount of material by or about individuals varies from as little as one slim folder to dozens of boxes. Correspondence between family members is filed with the author's materials, e.g. letters written BY Elisabeth Reeve (Morrow) Morgan TO Elizabeth (Cutter) Morrow are filed under Elisabeth Reeve (Morrow) Morgan. Where letters from one member of the family include a short section written by another, the letters are filed under the primary author.
Speeches and writings (when present) are arranged chronologically.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Processed by Maida Goodwin, Burd Schlessinger, and Colin Woodward, 1993. Reprocessed by Kate Sumner, 2015.
- Authors, American -- 20th century
- Blanchard, Eleanor Brown
- Charities -- United States -- 20th century
- Courtship-United States--20th century
- Diplomats -- Mexico -- 20th century
- Englewood (N.J.)
- Family -- United States
- Financial records
- Greeting cards
- Lindbergh family
- Lindbergh, Anne Morrow, 1906-2001
- Lindbergh, Charles A. (Charles Augustus), 1902-1974
- Lindbergh, Charles Augustus, 1930-1932 -- Kidnapping
- Mazel, Ella
- Mexico -- Description and travel
- Morgan, Constance Morrow
- Morgan, M. Eiluned
- Morgan, Rhidian
- Morrow (?), Elisabeth
- Morrow family
- Morrow, Dwight W. (Dwight Whitney), 1873-1931
- Morrow, Elizabeth Reeve Cutter, 1873-1955
- Motion pictures
- North Haven (Me.)
- Pendleton, Elisabeth Morgan
- Philanthropists -- United States
- Philanthropists -- United States
- Smith College -- Administration
- Smith College -- Students
- Travelers' writings
- Upper class families -- United States
- YYWCA of the U.S.A.
- Morrow family papers
- Finding Aid
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Processing of portions of the Morrow Family papers was made possible by the generous support of the Estate of Elizabeth Cutter Morrow (Smith 1896), Constance Morrow Morgan (Smith 1935), and Elisabeth Morgan Pendleton (Smith 1962).
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2017-07-26T17:48:22-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063