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Leslie Nelson Savage Mahoney Papers, 1890-1986 (Bulk: 1942-1970)
10 boxes (4 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 229

Abstract:
Architectural historian and interior decorator. The papers provide insight into the life a southern woman and a professional single mother. Her writings include material related to interior decorating; poetry; travel diaries; an unpublished biography of her father; and photographs of mostly family mambers. Correspondents include photographer, Frances Benjamin Johnston and lawyer and House of Representatives member, Lucy Sommerville Howorth.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The collection is open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Leslie Nelson Savage Mahoney. 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."

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note
Nell Savage Mahoney, May 1942

Nell Savage Mahoney, May 1942

Leslie Nelson ("Nell") Savage was born in 1890 in Nashville, Tennessee, one of three daughters of Leslie Alice Jones and opthamologist Dr. Giles Christopher Savage. She graduated from Ward Seminary, a private girls' school in Nashville, in 1908 and began study at Vanderbilt University. After a year she transferred to Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1912. Her continued interest in architectural history and design led her to take courses at the Art League in New York, the New York School of Applied Design for Women, and Cooper Union. She began study in 1916 at Ward Belmont School, completing a Certificate in Interior Decorating. In July 1918, she received an appointment as clerk in the Surgeon General's Office in Washington, D.C. She resigned in October of the same year. In 1923 she married Charles Hallum Mahoney, the first cousin of her sister Kate's husband. They were divorced in May 1925. She received full custody of their daughter Margaret Ellerbe Mahoney who was born in October 1924.

Nell entered Vanderbilt University in 1937 and received her Master of Arts degree in history in 1939. Her thesis was titled "The Building of the Tennessee State House, 1845-1854," and was written under the direction of Professor Frank L. Owsley. She worked as an interior decorator, lecturer, and writer. Her work on architect William Strickland was published in the Tennessee Historical Quarterly and various magazines and newspapers. In 1944, she worked for the Department of Military Intelligence in the Signal Corps. Although she anticipated the publication of a monograph on Strickland through McMillan & Co., the manuscript was never completed. She died January 30, 1986.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Leslie Nelson Savage Mahoney Papers consist of four linear feet of correspondence, writings, diaries, and photographs and date from 1890 to 1986. The bulk of the material dates from 1942 to 1970. The papers are both personal and professional in nature and provide insight into the life a southern woman and a professional single mother.


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

The collection is open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Leslie Nelson Savage Mahoney. 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."

Preferred Citation

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

Leslie Nelson Savage Mahoney Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The Leslie Nelson Savage Mahoney Papers were received from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, where they were temporarily stored, in three installments between 1986 and 1988. Some of the personal papers were also received as part of Margaret E. Mahoney's papers donated to the Sophia Smith Collection in the same period.

Processing Information

Processed by Susan Boone, 2001.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

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

Email Reference Form: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/emailform.html
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Series Descriptions
(1893-1986)
1.75 linear ft.

This series contains a handwritten autobiography which describes Nell Mahoney's life to 1923 and a biographical sketch written by her friend, Dorothy Saunders. There are a series of personal diaries (1933-45, 1952, 1962-69) from Nashville and Monteagle, Tennessee; travel diaries from Europe (1906, 1960s) and engagement calendars (1966, 1969, 1979). There are also miscellaneous biographical items on Giles Christopher and Alice Leslie Savage as well as Nell Savage Mahoney. These includes legal documents such as wills and Nell's divorce decree. This series also contains memorabilia consisting of school records and a scrapbook. The scrapbook which contained clippings, memorabilia, and photographs has been photocopied and dismantled.

(1902-72)
1.75 linear ft.

This series is organized into two subseries: Personal and Business. The Personal subseries is divided into two sections, incoming and outgoing. The first section contains personal correspondence from friends and family. Correspondents include photographer, Frances Benjamin Johnston (1934-42), and lawyer and House of Representatives member, Lucy Sommerville Howorth (1953-72). There are also significant runs of letters from her mother (1902-54) and her friends, Virginia Polk (1951-72), operator with her husband of the largest Mississippi plantation system, and Elizabeth Rogers (1939-69), history professor at Wilson College. The second section contains letters to her daughter, Margaret E. Mahoney (1940s, 1960s), her mother, Leslie Alice Savage (1935-52), and her sister, Kate Savage Zerfoss (1939-47). Letters from her daughter are contained in the Margaret E. Mahoney Papers and are closed until 2015. The Business correspondence includes material related to her research on architect William Strickland.

(1933-69)
.5 linear ft.

This series consists of typescripts and notes related to Nell Mahoney's interior decorating work, poems, a biography of her father, and a series of newspaper articles from the Nashville Tenneseean on Nashville history art and architecture, 1949-53.

(1880-1984)
2.5 linear in.

There are circa 110 photographs in this series dating from 1880 to 1986. These include photographs of Nell, her parents, and other family members. There are miscellaneous photos including Tom Thumb and his wife, singer Eleonora de Cisneros, and Frances Benjamin Johnston. [See also SERIES I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL--Scrapbook]

Contents List
SERIES I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL
(1893-1986)


Diaries



Nashville and Monteagle, Tennessee



1933-45, 1952, 1962

Box 1: folder 1-17
1963-69

Box 2: folder 1-4
Europe,
1906

Box 2: folder 5
Rome,
1906

Box 2: folder 6
Paris, post
1960

Box 2: folder 7
England,
1968?

Box 2: folder 8
Engagement calendars,
1966, 1969, 1979

Box 2: folder 9
Autobiography,
n.d.

Box 2: folder 10-12
"Nell Savage Mahoney, July 16, 1890 to January 30, 1986" by Dorothy Saunders,
1986

Box 2: folder 13
Miscellaneous documents and clippings,
1890-1981

Box 2: folder 14
Memorabilia



School records



Ward Seminary



Miscellaneous,
1908-10

Box 3: folder 1
Yearbook,
1908

Box 3: folder 2
History of art notebook,
1908

Box 3: folder 3
Goucher College,
1909-12

Box 3: folder 4
Ward-Belmont School,
1920

Box 3: folder 5
Vanderbilt University,
1910-67

Box 3: folder 6
Scrapbook,
1910-17


Photocopy


Box 3: folder 7-8
Contents


Box 4: folder 1-4
SERIES II. CORRESPONDENCE
(1902-72)


Personal



Incoming



Edward and Florence Ardery,
1914-56, n.d.

Box 5: folder 1
Joseph Albert Bennet,
1934

Box 5: folder 2
Jean Bradford,
1955

Box 5: folder 3
Paul Bragrams,
1942

Box 5: folder 4
Susan Clark Carr,
1965-71

Box 5: folder 5
Christopher and Linda Clark,
1966-71

Box 5: folder 6
Portia Ward Clark,
1965-71, n.d.

Box 5: folder 7
Nannie Dudley,
1941, 1944

Box 5: folder 8
Bess Eager,
1965-70

Box 5: folder 9
Helen Einwalter,
1965-71, n.d.

Box 5: folder 10
Irene Agnes Eweret,
1941-44

Box 5: folder 11
Ruth Anna Fisher,
1953-65

Box 5: folder 12
Marguerite Fry,
1969-70, n.d.

Box 5: folder 13
Valerie Graham,
1967-70, n.d.

Box 5: folder 14
Dina Harris,
1942-44, n.d.

Box 5: folder 15
Mary Park Heym,
1953-71

Box 5: folder 16
Lucy Howorth,
1953-72

Box 5: folder 17
Rick Johanson,
1968-70

Box 5: folder 18
Marjorie Johanson,
1967-70

Box 5: folder 19
May Johanson (cousin),
1912, 1952-56, n.d.

Box 5: folder 20
Eunice Jones,
1965-69

Box 5: folder 21
Frances Benjamin Johnston,
1934-42

Box 5: folder 22
Lt. Tom M. Kelly,
1944-45

Box 5: folder 23
Mary Kirby-Smith,
1966-71

Box 5: folder 24
Cynthia Anne McMillan,
1969-70

Box 6: folder 1
Walter A. Montgomery,
1944-45

Box 6: folder 2
Rebecca T. Nelson,
1954-72, n.d.

Box 6: folder 3-5
John and Muriel Pilley,
1941-49

Box 6: folder 6
Virginia Polk,
1951-72, n.d.

Box 6: folder 7-10
Elizabeth Rogers,
1939-70, n.d.

Box 7: folder 1-2
Dorothy and Lawrence Saunders,
1932, 1944-70, n.d.

Box 7: folder 3
Leslie Savage (mother),
1902, 1939-44, 1950-54

Box 7: folder 4
Nellie Nugent Sommerville,
1952

Box 7: folder 5
Cary Eleanor Waples,
1935-64, n.d.

Box 7: folder 6
Eleanor Woodward,
1965-68

Box 7: folder 7
Laura Hunter Wyatt-Brown,
1954-68, n.d.

Box 7: folder 8
Kate Zerfoss (sister) and family,
1941-55, 1969, n.d.

Box 7: folder 9
A-K,
1935-69, n.d.

Box 8: folder 1
L-Z,
1917-69, n.d.

Box 8: folder 2
Unidentified,
1940-71, n.d.

Box 8: folder 3
Wedding announcements and invitations,
1919-54

Box 8: folder 4
Outgoing



Christopher and Linda Clark,
1970

Box 8: folder 5
Margaret Ellerbe Mahoney (daughter),
1940-65

Box 8: folder 6
Alice Leslie Savage (mother),
1935-52

Box 8: folder 7
Kate Zerfoss (sister),
1939, 1944, 1947

Box 8: folder 8
Business



A-W,
1940-69, n.d.

Box 8: folder 9
Arthur Vernay Co.,
1934-36

Box 8: folder 10
William Wright Crandall,
1940-44

Box 8: folder 11
War service,
1918, 1944-46

Box 8: folder 12
Lectures,
1927, 1934-37, 1952

Box 8: folder 13
Arts Club of Washington,
1918, 1947-55

Box 8: folder 14
National Trust for Historic Preservation,
1952-56, 1961

Box 8: folder 15
British Museum and Library of Congress,
1938-56

Box 8: folder 16
Miscellaneous organizations,
1936-37, 1953-55

Box 8: folder 17
SERIES III. WRITINGS
(1933-69)


"Account of Giles Christopher Savage,"
n.d.

Box 9: folder 1
Poems for Margaret E. Mahoney,
1937, 1953

Box 9: folder 2
Poems,
1953, 1968-77

Box 9: folder 3
"Worksheet of a Decorator,"
1933-37

Box 9: folder 4
Research notes,
1951-69

Box 9: folder 5
Articles from the Nashville Tennessean,
1949-53,

Box 9: folder 6
SERIES IV. PHOTOGRAPHS
(1880-1984)


Giles Christopher Savage,
1880-1925, n.d.

Box 10: folder 1
Leslie Alice Savage,
1886-1909, n.d.

Box 10: folder 2
Fanny D. and Anson Nelson (grandparents),
1898

Box 10: folder 3
Nell Savage Mahoney



Alone,
circa 1891-1986, n.d.

Box 10: folder 4
With family,
circa 1892-1982, n.d.

Box 10: folder 5
Family,
1905-41

Box 10: folder 6
Miscellaneous,
1918, n.d.

Box 10: folder 7

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.

Subjects
  • Cisneros, Eleanora de, 1978-1934--Photographs
  • Divorced mothers--United States--History--20th century
  • Europe--Description and travel--Sources
  • Howorth, Lucy Sommerville, 1885- --Correspondence
  • Interior decorators--United States--History--20th century
  • Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952--Correspondence
  • Mahoney, Leslie Nell Savage, 1890-1986
  • Mahoney, Margaret, 1924-
  • Southern States--Social life and customs--20th century
  • Tennessee--Architecture--Nashville--History--Sources
  • Thumb, Tom, 1838-1883--Photographs


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