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Margaret Hitchcock Emerson (1899-1985) Papers, circa 1898-1960
1.05 Linear feet (2 archives boxes, 1 OS file)
Collection number: MA.01006

The Margaret Hitchcock Emerson (1899-1985) Papers consist of family correspondence saved by Margaret Emerson, who was a daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of Amherst College graduates, and who worked in the Amherst College Memorabilia Room, the forerunner of the Amherst College Archives. The correspondence in the collection dates largely from the period in which Emerson attended college and graduate school approximately up to the time in which her mother (Mary Waters Bryan Hitchcock) fell ill and died (1934). Most of the correspondence is from her mother's Southern family. There is a small amount of correspondence from other years, as well as a random collection of writings, ephemera, and publications.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the Margaret Hitchcock Emerson Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the Margaret Hitchcock Emerson Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections

Biographical Note

Margaret Randolph Hitchcock Emerson (1899-1985) was the daughter of John Sawyer Hitchcock (AC 1889) and Mary Waters Bryan of Virginia, and the granddaughter of Dr. Edward ("Doc") Hitchcock (AC 1849) and Mary Judson on her father's side, and John Randolph Bryan ("Balloon Bryan," a Confederate soldier) and Margaret Randolph Minor on her mother's side. She married Henry Seelye Emerson (AC 1929), son of Professor Benjamin Kendall Emerson (AC 1865).

Hitchcock's maternal family had deep Southern roots, and her paternal family, Northern ones. The two regions were united in Margaret Hitchcock's generation when her grandfather Edward Hitchcock was invited to the University of Virginia to set up a physical education program like the one he had begun at Amherst. Instead of going himself, Hitchcock sent his son John shortly after the latter's graduation from Amherst College. In an interview recorded and housed at the university (see "Related Materials"), Margaret Hitchcock indicated that the Bryan family was in town to attend to the needs of an ill child when Mary Bryan met John Hitchcock. According to their daughter, John Hitchcock spent more time courting her mother than he did teaching (he was at UVA from 1889 to 1890). His subsequent medical career (and his daughter's life) was spent both in New England and in the South, and he retired in Virginia.

Margaret (Peggy) Hitchcock Emerson earned a bachelor's degree from Smith College (1922) and a master's degree from Columbia University (1925). She followed in the footsteps of her archivally-minded grandfather Doc Hitchcock and worked in the Hitchcock Memorabilia Room for many years, doing much of the early work for the archives.

Most of the material in this collection is correspondence from 1934, when Emerson's mother, Mary Waters Bryan Hitchcock died. Many of the correspondents are from the Minor, Bryan, and Williston families on Emerson's mother's side.

For Margaret Emerson's father's side, see the "Edward and Mary Judson Hitchcock Papers," which contains some correspondence to and from Emerson, as well as the "Edward and Orra White Hitchcock Papers," which covers Emerson's great-grandparents.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Margaret Hitchcock Emerson (1899-1985) Papers consist primarily of correspondence among family members, the bulk of it to Emerson but some forwarded to her.

The collection documents in particular Emerson's relationships with family members on her mother's (Mary Waters Bryan Hitchcock) side. The families were Southerners, with roots especially in Virginia, and the collection provides insight into the lives of post-Civil War families of the region. Many of the correspondents are from the Bryan, Minor, and Williston families, and much of the material in this collection is correspondence from 1934, when Mary Hitchcock died.

There is a small selection of writings (including Amherst College topics), memorabilia, booklets, and ephemera, most of the latter from Emerson's years at Smith College. The collection is contained in 2 archives boxes (1.0 linear foot) and 1 oversize file.

The collection is organized into two series:

The collection is organized into three series:


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the Margaret Hitchcock Emerson Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the Margaret Hitchcock Emerson Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

[Identification of item], in Margaret Hitchcock Emerson (1899-1985) Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library

History of the Collection
Custodial history:

The Margaret Hitchcock Emerson Papers were added to the collection in the 1980s (a gift of Margaret Emerson) but remained in the unprocessed backlog until 2012.

Additional Information
Contact Information
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000

Phone: (413) 542-2299
Fax: (413) 542-2692

Email Reference Form:
Related Materials at Amherst College and other institutions

Amherst College Non-alumni biographical file: Margaret Randolph (Hitchcock) Emerson: includes a photograph of Emerson

Amherst College Biographical files: Henry Seelye Emerson (AC 1929) (son of Benjamin Kendall Emerson, AC 1865); John Sawyer Hitchcock (AC 1889); John Hitchcock (AC 1926)

Amherst College: Edward (AC 1849) and Mary Judson Hitchcock Papers

Amherst College alumni and non-alumni files for many members of the Hitchcock and Williston families

University of Virginia, Charlottesville: Margaret H. Emerson materials (small collection)

University of Virginia, Charlottesville: oral history interview of Margaret H. Emerson by Charles E. Moran, March 21, 1977 (primarily reminscences about the history of UVA)

Smith College alumnae files -- Class of 1922

Library of Virginia: Bryan Family Papers, 1679-1943

University of Virginia, Charlottesville: Papers of Kate (Flanagan) Coles, 1913-1940

Contents List

0.5 Linear feet

Genealogical notes used in processing correspondence, including photocopies from online information

Box 1: folder 1
Correspondence - A

Box 1: folder 2

"Amanda," on notepaper with initials "ASB"

Correspondence - B
circa 1934

Box 1: folder 3

Bandy, Mark [Bryan?], Henrietta [Buck's daughter?] [Bryan?], Hilah [Buck's daughter?]

Bryan, "Buck" (Indian Run, 1934), wife is Etta; he is Peggy's uncle, her mother's brother. Buck Bryan forwarded 3 letters to Peggy regarding her mother's death, from: "Joan," "Louise" (Lexington, KY), and "Lydia C. [Lake?]" (Proffit, VA)

Bryan, Etta Bryan, [Mary] [a cousin?] (Indian Run, 1934]

Bullitt, James (Mrs.) [Evelyn] (Chapel Hill, NC, 1934), Peggy's aunt, her mother's sister. Evelyn Bullitt forwarded several letters to Peggy regarding her (Peggy's) mother's death: from "Cousin Minor," (the Minors are related to the Bryans through Evelyn's mother); from Mrs. William M. Dey (Alice Dey), and from Elizabeth D. Hanscom (Northampton, MA).

See also: "Recollections of Home" (catalogued) by Delia Bryan Page

Search Terms
Page, Delia (Bryan)

Correspondence - C - D

Box 1: folder 4

Draper, Warren [T.?], Bureau of Public Health Service, Treasury Department

Correspondence - E - F - G

Box 1: folder 5

"Frank" (postcard; a child c. 1930)

Correspondence - H

Box 1: folder 6

Hague, [Hilda?] Hanscom, Elizabeth D.: see "B" for a letter sent to Evelyn Bullitt and forwarded to Peggy. Hitchcock, A. [W.?] [Albert W.?] H[itchcock?], L.C. (Writes from Meriden, CT.) Hitchcock, Caroline [J.?], Peggy's aunt on her father's side Hitchcock, Charlotte (Mrs. Albert Hitchcock) Hitchcock, Charles [N., an uncle, 1859-1938?]

[Hitchcock, John?], 1904-1949, (AC 1926)] A note from someone calling himself Peggy's "big brother." Details otherwise don't seem to match (marries "Marion" in 1925," for example, vs. the bio record's marriage to Rose Tarver in 1934).

Hitchcock, John, writing to his Uncle Buck [Bryan], Aunt Etta,and Hilah and Henrietta (cousins, presumably) Hitchcock, Jane Elizabeth (1863-1939; an aunt -- "Aunt Bess") Hitchcock, Mary Waters Bryan (Peggy's mother; several letters from her to Peggy)

Correspondence - I - J
1922; 1934

Box 1: folder 7

"Jim," sending telegram from Flint, MI "Joanna," writing from Hartslog Farms, Alexandria, PA

King, Stanley ((AC 1903))Coles, Kate (Flanagan), circa 1856-1943, Correspondence - K
1921; 1934-1944

Box 1: folder 8

"Katy" [Kate Flanagan Coles? -- see "Related Materials" for her collection at the University of Virginia] "E.K." (uncle; Kendall?] King, Stanley (President of Amherst College)

Search Terms
Hitchcock Memorial Room

Correspondence - L
1931; 1934

Box 1: folder 9

Lake, Lydia C.: see "B" for letter forwarded to Peggy by Buck Bryan "Lauren" (wife Eleanor?) "Lillie" "Lois" "Lulu" (Meriden, CT), 1934 "Lyla"

Correspondence - M

Box 1: folder 10

"Mae" (Maebelle?) (1928) "Marge" Mathews, Edward B. (Geological Dept, Johns Hopkins University, 1927) Miller, A.F. (Mrs.) (Lyla?) Minor, R.T. (Jr.) (Charlottesville, VA, 1934) (a cousin or uncle?) Minor ("cousin," writing Evelyn Bullitt and sent by her to Peggy; see "B")

Correspondence - N

Box 1: folder 11

[Nichols, Herbert (Mrs.)?] "Aunt [Pats?]" Mrs. Herbert Nichols is MRHE's aunt, her mother's sister.

Correspondence - O - P
1922; 1934

Box 1: folder 12

[Overton?], Frances Platsch, Bianca (1934) Pond, Adela (1922)

Correspondence - Q - R
circa 1927-1931

Box 1: folder 13

Radcliffe, George L. (Baltimore, MD) (1927) Rasch, A. L. (1931)

Richmond, Isabel Bryan (Peggy's aunt, her mother's sister, "Aunt Belle," of Providence, R.I.). Includes letters sent to her from "Mary" and "Delia" [Johnston?] and forwarded to Peggy.

Correspondence - S

Box 1: folder 14

"Susan," sends telegram from Baltimore, MD

Correspondence - T

Box 1: folder 15

Tomkins, Cary: letter is to Buck and Etta [last name?] regarding death of MRHE's mother Mary Waters Bryan Hitchcock ("Maisie")

Tyler, Aurelia: letter is to Elizabeth Bryan, sister of MRHE's mother, Mary ("Maisie"), about Maisie's death (1934)

Correspondence - U - V

Box 1: folder 16

"Virginia" (1923),writes from a trip abroad

Correspondence - W
circa 1926-1934

Box 1: folder 17

Wade, Edith White, Alice Williston, Robert L., Jr., enclosed with letter from brother Bill (William Wardlaw) Williston (AC 1926)

Williston, Elizabeth C. Bryan (Mrs. Robert L. Williston, "Lib," mother of RLW '34 and WWW '26): some letters are from "Lib" to her sister Mary (Peggy's mother), and others are directly to Peggy. Note that Robert Lyman Williston (AC 1892) married first (1901) Margaret Randolph Bryan, who d. 1917; he then married her sister Elizabeth (Lib). Both Williston boys (Bill and Bob) are Margaret's sons.

Woods, F.A. (Dr.)

Search Terms
Williston, Robert Lyman, 1869-1934 (AC 1892)

Williston, William Wardlaw, 1904-1983 (AC 1926)

Correspondence - X - Y - Z

Box 1: folder 18
0.25 Linear feet

Cards, Poems, Postcards

Box 2: folder 1
Miscellaneous: Ephemera, receipts, etc.

Box 2: folder 2

Box 2: folder 3

"Summary of Collections of Rocks and Minerals," Wards Natural Science Establishment, Rochester, N.Y., September 1, 1923.

"Heredity and Sex," by Frank E. Lutz. Reprint of the American Museum Journal, Vol. XVI, pp. 228-242, April, 1916.

Brochure for "Indian House, Old Deerfield, Massachusetts," circa 1930, and program for Old Deerfield

Photographs (1 of 3)
circa 1911

Box 2: folder 4

Snapshots (4x4), mostly of a trip to Scotland.

Photographs (2 of 3)
circa 1911

Box 2: folder 5

Snapshots, many from Scotland (August, 1911).

Photographs (3 of 3)

Box 2: folder 6

Photographs, mostly of a woman (or women?). Possibly Margaret Hitchcock Emerson, but unrecorded.

circa 1922-1931

Box 2: folder 7

1922 Class Supper (Smith?)

Rivanna Garden Club Year Book (Charlottesville, VA) for 1928-29, 1929-30 and 1930-31 (2 copies)

An Old Virginian May Day at Stuart Hall, May 15, 1923

Victor record lists (typescript)

Lyric sheet for unnknown club gathering (lyrics to Thou Comest Here to the land; Mammy's Lullaby; The Piper o' Dundee).

School Exams
circa 1920-1922

Box 2: folder 8

"A Floral Wedding" Geology 207 [Geology] 207 Geology 266 (Geology 266 is indicated as a Smith College course, and the others may be Smith courses as well)

School Notes (mostly geology)

Box 2: folder 9
1922, 1925

Map case 6, drawer 12
Scope and content:

Smith College (1922) Columbia University (1925)

Location of originals:

MC6, DR 12

Series 3: WRITINGS
circa 1938-1945
0.25 Linear feet

Emerson, Margaret Randolph Hitchcock, 1899-1985, Article typescript: "The Mastodon of Thomas Jefferson"

Box 2: folder 10

File contains Peggy Hitchcock's article "The Mastodon of Thomas Jefferson," written at or for the School of Geology, University of Virginia, c. 1930. Typescript folder includes a letter from Joseph K. Roberts from the School of Geology regarding publication of the article. Also included are three copies of the published article as reprints from "The Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences," Vol. 21, No. 5, March 4, 1931.

Writings about Amherst College subjects (1 of 2)
circa 1940s

Box 2: folder 11

"High Upon Her Living Throne" (about Johnson Chapel) "The Sea of Life" (about President Edward Hitchcock) (photocopy) "The Biographical Record as an Entertainment for Leisure Hours"

Writings about Amherst College subjects (2 of 2)
circa 1938-1945

Box 2: folder 12

Untitled essay about Hope Church in Amherst Notes about buildings and grounds of Amherst College

"The 'Fred Allis' of the 40s" -- article about Joseph Vaill, one of the first trustees and benefactors of Amherst College

Search Terms
Amherst College -- History -- Sources

Vaill, Joseph, 1790-1869

Hitchcock family traits
circa 1938-1945

Box 2: folder 13

[Article on science and music traits in four generations of Hitchcocks] -- multiple drafts

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Emerson, Henry Seelye, 1907-1946 (AC 1929)
  • Hitchcock family
  • Hitchcock, Edward, 1828-1911 (AC 1849)
  • Hitchcock, John Sawyer, 1869-1928 (AC 1889)
  • Hitchcock, Mary Waters Bryan, 1870-1934

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