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Ethel Eyre Valentine Dreier papers, 1902-1957
7 boxes (2.75 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 50

Settlement house president; suffragist; woman's club leader; and civic leader. The bulk of professional papers relate to Dreier's suffrage work and civic activities. Also documented is Dreier's advocacy of public housing; her work in politics; and her settlement house work. Materials include correspondence, speeches, writings, photographs, notebooks, and travel diaries. The personal correspondence consists primarily of letters to her husband. Other correspondents include Jane Addams, Carrie Chapman Catt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Alfred E. Smith.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

They are open for research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

The copyright owner of this collection is unknown. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Ethel Eyre Valentine was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1874. She graduated from Packer Collegiate Institute in 1895. After graduation Ethel organized and became president of Brooklyn's first social settlement, All Sorts and Conditions of Girls. She was also president of the United Neighborhood Guild (consisting of five settlements) and the People's Institute of Brooklyn. She married H. Edward Dreier (brother of Mary Dreier and Margaret Dreier Robins, labor reformers; and Katherine Dreier, artist) on April 18, 1901. The next ten years were primarily dedicated to family life. Her daughters Antoinette Storrs and Dorothea; and sons Theodore and John were born between 1902 and 1909.

In 1912 Dreier was named chairman of the Woman Suffrage Party of Brooklyn. Under her leadership its 23 Assembly Districts were organized. When the women of New York state won suffrage in 1917, Brooklyn cast the largest vote for suffrage of any county in the state. For several years after this victory, she continued in a leadership role group as chairman of the Brooklyn League of Women Voters. From 1924 to 1930, and again from 1932 to 1936, Dreier was president of the Women's City Club of New York. She remained honorary president until her death.

Dreier was also active in housing projects for low-income groups as a member of the Brooklyn Committee for Better Housing. In 1928 she was one of the incorporators of the Brooklyn Garden Apartments, the first limited dividend corporation founded under the state housing law. She was also a founder of the Dreier-Offerman Playground, opened in Brooklyn in 1934. In the New York mayoralty campaign of 1937 Dreier was joint chairman of the Fusion Campaign Committee to re-elect Fiorello H. LaGuardia, and chairman of the campaign's Women's Division. She was invited to serve from 1938-40 on the Executive Committee on Women's Participation in the World's Fair, and on the Women's Committee for Brooklyn for Women's Day at the F air. Throughout her career, Dreier was active in the Brooklyn community as a member of the Civitas Club of Brooklyn, the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, and vice-president of the Friends of the Brooklyn Public Library. Dreier also spent several years on the advisory council of Black Mountain College in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Her son Theodore was a founder of the school.

In 1941 the Dreiers celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with their first trip to the West Coast. Later that year Ethel set off on a solo car trip through 17 states to catalogue birds and flowers. Also in 1941, the Dreiers moved permanently into their summer home, "Sunken Meadow," in Fort Salonga, Long Island. Ethel became active in the community as a member of the Garden Club, the Board of the Fort Salonga Association, and the Board of Education. Ethel and Edward celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1951 with their children and eight grandchildren. Edward Dreier died in 1955. Ethel Dreier died in December of 1958.

Scope and contents of the collection

The Ethel Eyre Valentine Dreier Papers include correspondence, writings, miscellaneous clippings, pamphlets, and publications. The material documents Ethel Dreier's life from the time of her marriage to H.Edward Dreier in 1901.

The personal correspondence consists primarily of letters to her husband, H. Edward Dreier, from 1902-38. The early letters describe the daily household activities and concerns of an upper class homemaker, while the later letters describe in limited detail Ethel's work for various social causes. Other correspondence includes letters (1924-55) to Ethel Dreier from Jane Addams, Carrie Chapman Catt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Alfred E. Smith among others.

Personal papers and writings include manuscript drafts of speeches, reports and meeting agendas, notes, and a description of her solo car trip through 17 states in the summer of 1941. There are also notebooks listing wedding gifts received, and describing gardens at her Long Island home, "Sunken Meadow." Appointment books from 1939-57 briefly note daily activities, as does the travel diary from a European tour with her husband in 1901.

The bulk of professional papers relate to records of the New York state campaign for woman suffrage (1912-17), and records of activities of the Women's City Club of New York (1919-65). Included in the suffrage papers are newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and committee reports on the progress of the woman suffrage movement through the work of the National and New York State Woman Suffrage Associations. Women's City Club of New York records include club calendars, programs, and lists of members. The remainder of the professional papers document Ethel Dreier's work with the Brooklyn Garden Apartments (low cost housing development); the 1937 Fusion Mayoral Campaign to re-elect Fiorello H. LaGuardia; the Garden Club of America; King's Park Central School of Long Island; and Black Mountain College of North Carolina. Included is a scrapbook of newspaper clippings relating to her various social and civic activities.

Remaining records document biographical information such as Ethel Dreier's work for her alma mater, Packer Collegiate Institute; and an 80th birthday celebration folder contains congratulatory correspondence and a biographical sketch written by her children.

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

They are open for research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

The copyright owner of this collection is unknown. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Preferred Citation

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

Ethel Dreier Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The Dreier Papers were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Ethel Dreier and her children between 1951 and 1959.

Processing Information

Processed by Elizabeth Duvall in 1967. Revised in 1994 by Leslie Fields and Amy Hague. Finding aid revised in 2002 by Brook Hopkins, intern.

Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List

Ethel Dreier to

Dreier, H. Edward,

Box 1: folder 1-11
Garrison, Eleanor,

Box 1: folder 12
1915, 1920

Box 1: folder 13
Others to Ethel Dreier, A-Z

Adams, Sherman (also to Edward Dreier),

Box 2: folder 1
Addams, Jane,

Box 2: folder 2
Catt, Carrie Chapman,
1932-38, undated

Box 2: folder 3
Dewson, Molly,

Box 2: folder 3a
Dreier, Antoinette S. and Dorothea (also to Edward Dreier; includes 25th wedding anniversary poem),

Box 2: folder 4
Dreier, Mary E. (includes poems and clippings),

Box 2: folder 5
Ickes, Harold,

Box 2: folder 6
Morrow, Elizabeth C.,

Box 2: folder 7
Moses, Robert,

Box 2: folder 8
Perkins, Frances,
1936, 1951

Box 2: folder 9
Pratt, Ruth,

Box 2: folder 10
Roosevelt, Eleanor,

Box 2: folder 11
Roosevelt, Theodore,

Box 2: folder 12
Smith, Alfred E.,

Box 2: folder 13
Stearly, Antoinette Dreier,

Box 2: folder 14
Valentine, Antoinette (also to Ethel Dreier's grandmother),
1875, undated

Box 2: folder 15
van Kleeck, Mary,

Box 2: folder 16
Wald, Lillian,

Box 2: folder 17
Wheelock, Ward (includes invitation to "This I Believe" radio program),

Box 2: folder 18

Condolences re: respective deaths of Ethel and Edward Dreier,
1955-58, undated

Box 2: folder 19
Letters to Ethel Dreier concerning women's rights (including Eleanor Roosevelt),

Box 2: folder 20
Unidentified letters to Ethel Dreier,
1901-44, undated

Box 2: folder 21
Writings and speeches (also includes appointment books, diaries, and travel journal),
1898-1957, undated

Box 2: folder 22
Biographical Material and Photographs (includes speeches)

80th birthday celebration: Correspondence and biographical sketch,

Box 3: folder 1
Black Mountain College: College catalog and speeches,
1939-40, undated

Box 3: folder 2
Dreier-Offerman Playground: Speech and program from opening ceremonies,

Box 3: folder 3
Golden wedding anniversary: Photograph, poem, and skit script,

Box 3: folder 4
Kings Park Central School: Reports, letter, and speeches,

Box 3: folder 5
Packer Collegiate Institute: Speeches, clippings, brochures, reports, letters, and yearbooks,
1895-1945, undated

Box 3: folder 6
Storrs Family: Storrs Agricultural College at University of Connecticut (includes pamphlets, photographs, postcards, speech, and telegram),
1948, 1956, undated

Box 3: folder 7
Miscellaneous (includes biographical sketch and notes),

Box 3: folder 8
Photographs (includes photo of painting; photo mounted on wood of Ethel and Edward Dreier),
1900-34, undated

Box 3: folder 9
Organizations and Events

All Sorts and Conditions of Girls: Brochures, clippings, and correspondence,

Box 4: folder 1
Brooklyn Garden Apartments [low cost housing developments]: Correspondence, minutes, and notes,

Box 4: folder 2
Fusion Mayoral Campaign: Ballots, clippings, correspondence, and pamphlets,
1937-41, undated

Box 4: folder 3-7
Garden Club of America annual meetings: notebooks,

Box 4: folder 8
League of Women Voters: Correspondence, clippings, newsletter, notes, pamphlets,

Box 4: folder 9
North Suffolk Garden Club: Reports and articles,
1946, 1948, undated

Box 4: folder 10
Women's Centennial Congress: Reports,

Box 4: folder 11
Miscellaneous: Correspondence, clippings, notes, pamphlets, press releases, and draft of Cloisters in American Politics by Frances Kellor,
1919, undated

Box 4: folder 12
Women's City Club of New York

50th anniversary: Clippings and pamphlets,

Box 5: folder 1

Box 5: folder 2
Letters received upon 20th anniversary of Women's City Club, including Sara Roosevelt),

Box 5: folder 3
Miscellaneous: Correspondence, minutes, notes, reports, speeches, programs, and postcards,

Box 5: folder 4
1926-40, undated

Box 5: folder 5
Women's City Club calendars, brochures, invitations,

Box 6

Letters of appreciation for Dreier's leadership in New York State suffrage campaign (includes "votes for women" playing card),

Box 7: folder 1
New York State Woman Suffrage Party: Clipping, Industrial Section Letter Series Nos. postcards, and miscellaneous, ca. 1917

Box 7: folder 2
Woman Suffrage parties of Brooklyn and New York City: Pamphlets and pins,
ca. 1917

Box 7: folder 3
National Woman Suffrage Publishing Co.,
1915, 1917

Box 7: folder 4
Miscellaneous clippings and publications,
1919, undated

Box 7: folder 5
NAWSA certificate and photograph of League of Women Voters' national honor roll plaque recognizing women who worked for suffrage in New York state,
1920, 1931

Box 7: folder 6
Brooklyn suffrage campaign: Correspondence, notes, speeches, and reports,

Box 7: folder 7
Miscellaneous: Speeches, article, and letter,
1915, undated

Box 7: folder 8
Correspondence (includes certificate for five shares of stock in the National Woman Suffrage Publishing Co, 1917),

Box 7: folder 9
Packer Collegiate Institute diploma,

Flat File

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.

  • All Sorts and Conditions of Girls (Organization : Brooklyn)
  • Civic improvement--New York (State)--New York--History--Sources
  • Dreier, Ethel Eyre Valentine.
  • Housing--New York (State)--New York--History--20th century--History--Sources
  • La Guardia, Fiorello H. (Fiorello Henry), 1882-1947
  • Municipal government--New York (State)--New York--History--Sources
  • New York (N.Y.)--Civic improvement--History--Sources
  • New York (N.Y.)--Politics and government--1898-1951
  • Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn--History--Sources
  • Political campaigns--New York (State)--History--Sources
  • Social settlements--New York (State)--New York--History--Sources
  • Women's City Club of New York--History--Sources
  • Women--Suffrage--New York (State)--History--Sources

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