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Brewster family papers, 1882-1967
10 boxes (4.38 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 21

Traveler, author, English teacher, Smith graduate, and librarian. Papers are primarily those of Anna Gertrude Brewster and Mary Kate Brewster. Both sisters were devoted to theatre, particularly to the Academy of Music in Northampton. They also wrote several books and plays, some of which were published. Material documents world travel, and includes scrapbooks, photographs, diaries, correspondence, and the Brewster children's family newspaper.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The Papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Restrictions on use:

The copyright owner for unpublished works of Brewster family members in unknown. 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

Civil War veteran Major Charles Harvey Brewster (1833-1893) was a prosperous Northampton businessman. He originally sold windows, doors, blinds and paints, and later transformed the enterprise into a successful florist shop. He married Anna Williams (1843-1935) in 1868 and the couple had six children: Anna Gertrude, Mary Kate, Caroline Williams, Charles Russell, Harold, and Helen Campbell.

Anna Gertrude (1869-1967) attended local schools and graduated from Smith College in 1893. She began her teaching career soon after, holding positions in Brewster, Massachusetts and Nashua, New Hampshire before studying for a year at Oxford University (1906-07). She taught English at Northampton High School from 1907 until her retirement in 1940, after which she taught at the Northampton School for Girls. Anna Gertrude was a charter member of the Betty Allen Chapter of the DAR, served on the advisory board of the Young Women's City Club, and was a long-time Trustee of the Forbes Library.

Mary Kate (1871-1957) was an avid traveler and a prolific writer. She went twice to Australia (1893 and 1896) and later to the American West (1920-21); she also traveled often to other parts of the United States. Her great love was the theatre, and she was especially committed to the Academy of Music in Northampton. She wrote several books and plays, some of which were published, as well as a treatise on the cultural value of municipal theatre. She corresponded with various actors and wrote reviews for "The New York Dramatic Mirror". She reviewed Smith College theatre productions for the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the Springfield Republican and the Boston Globe, and also regularly contributed articles about topics of interest in Northampton to these newspapers.

Only two of Charles Harvey and Anna Williams Brewster's six children married. Harold married Margaret B. Cable and they had three children: Gertrude, George and Margaret. Margaret graduated from Smith in 1932 and married Alfred C. Chard; they had two children, James and Carol. Margaret Brewster Chard died in 1982. Helen Campbell Brewster married Karl Brownson Allured in 1919. Their only child, Jonathan (b. 1920), married Nancy Babcock, and they had four children: David, Karla, Caroline and Charles.

Scope and contents of the collection

The Brewster Family Papers are comprised primarily of the papers of Anna Gertrude Brewster and Mary Kate Brewster, dating from 1882 to 1967. The collection includes biographical material, family photographs, diaries, scrapbooks and other memorabilia, correspondence, writings, and the Brewster children's family newspaper (1884-1885). Mary Kate's papers include records of her two trips around the world (1893-1894 and 1896-1897), typescripts of novels and plays, correspondence with family members as well as with actors and actresses of the day, and her newspaper articles and theatre reviews. Anna Gertrude's papers include personal diaries and family correspondence, as well as letters received from former students. Both sisters kept annual records of finances, books read, and letters written and received. In addition, Anna Gertrude generally kept a record of social calls received and returned in a given year. These notations are located at the back of the diaries.

Organization of the collection

This collection is organized into four series:

  • I. General Family Information
  • II. Mary Kate Brewster
  • III. Anna Gertrude Brewster
  • IV. Other Family Members
Organization of the collection

Series I includes general family information, articles about the Brewsters, photographs, and the children's newspaper. It is followed by Series II and III, the papers of Mary Kate Brewster and Anna Gertrude Brewster, respectively. In both series, diaries are arranged chronologically. Correspondence is divided into two sub-categories, family and other. Letters to and from Mary Kate during her two trips to Australia are filed separately. Writings are arranged by type and then listed alphabetically by title. Personal memorabilia appear at the end of each series. Series IV consists of correspondence and memorabilia of other family members.

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

The Papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Restrictions on use:

The copyright owner for unpublished works of Brewster family members in unknown. 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:

Brewster Family Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

Additional Formats

Diaries (1889-1927) of Mary Kate Brewster are available on the History of Women microfilm series (New Haven: Research Publications) available in the Sophia Smith Collection and Neilson Library, Smith College and through interlibrary loan.

History of the Collection

The Brewster Family Papers were donated in 1966 by Philip Butcher of Baltimore, Maryland. He obtained them through Carl Waltz of Northampton when Mary Kate and Anna Gertrude Brewster moved from their family home to smaller quarters.

Processing Information

Processed by Burd Schlessinger, 1995.

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


Box 1: folder 1
Articles about the family

Box 1: folder 2

Box 1: folder 3
Children's newspaper,

Box 1: folder 4


1 Jan 1889-31 Dec 1890

Box 1: folder 5
2 Oct 1893-31 Dec 1894 (includes Australia)

Box 1: folder 6
1 Mar-30 Jun 1896 (includes Australia)

Box 1: folder 7
1 Jul 1896-30 Jun 1898 (includes Australia)

Box 1: folder 8
1 Jan 1899-31 Dec 1900

Box 1: folder 9
1 Jan 1902-31 Dec 1903

Box 1: folder 10
1 Jan 1907-31 Dec 1909

Box 2: folder 11
1 Jan 1910-31 Dec 1911

Box 2: folder 12

Box 2: folder 13

Box 2: folder 14

Box 2: folder 15

Box 2: folder 16
31 Dec 1920-4 Dec 1921

Box 2: folder 17
1 Jan 1922-31 Dec 1924

Box 2: folder 18
1926, 1927,

Box 2: folder 19

To family

Anna Gertrude Brewster,
1890-1904, 1921

Box 3: folder 20
Anna Williams Brewster, Caroline Brewster, Aunt Carrie,
1882, 1923, undated

Box 3: folder 21
Australia trip,

Box 3: folder 22
Australia trip,

Box 3: folder 23
From family

Australia trip,

Box 3: folder 24
Caroline Brewster,; Charles Russell Brewster, 1921

Box 3: folder 25
Harold Brewster,

Box 3: folder 26
From others

Arthur Allen,

Box 3: folder 27
Frank Lyman,

Box 3: folder 28
Northampton Players,

Box 3: folder 29
Miscellaneous ,
1916, 1917, 1942, 1943

Box 3: folder 30


Tasman and "The Interrogation" (published copies)

Box 3: folder 31
Blessington (typescripts)

Part I: "Death in the Office"

Box 4: folder 32
Part II: "Myella: A Nice Little Girl"

Box 4: folder 33
Part III: "Myella and the Hermit" & Part IV: "Giving Up"

Box 4: folder 34
Part V: "Lincoln's Daughter" & Part VI: "Seas of Delight"

Box 4: folder 35
Part VII: "Myella Married"

Box 4: folder 36
Swithin Living and Dead (typescript; unclear if Part I (pp. 1-29) is missing , or if MKB eliminated it in a revision)

Box 4: folder 37
They Sail the Wide Seas (typescript),

Box 4: folder 38

"Daily Bread: A Truth in Whimsey in Three Acts" (includes photocopies of criticism and suggestions from an unidentified person)

Box 4: folder 39
"Daily Bread: A Farce Comedy" (different version than Folder 39; possibly incomplete)

Box 4: folder 40
"Steward: A Play of the Sea"

Box 4: folder 41
"The Success"


Box 5: folder 42
carbon, incomplete

Box 5: folder 43

Box 5: folder 44
carbon of revised version

Box 5: folder 45

Learned Ladies Today", "The Editor We Complain Of

Box 5: folder 46
"The Municipal Theatre in America"

Box 5: folder 47
"The Municipal Theatre in America" (photocopy)

Box 5: folder 48
"Theatre in Northampton"

Box 5: folder 49

Guest Book,

Box 6: folder 50
Theatre Programs

Box 6: folder 51
Attractions and bookings at Academy of Music,

Box 6: folder 52
Scrapbooks (2): Clippings of newspaper articles; correspondence with editors, and clippings from theatre programs

Box 6


1882, 1884, 1885

Box 7: folder 53
1 Jan 1889-31 Dec 1892 (incomplete journal through May 7, 1890; beginning on page 58, AGB kept a line diary for the remainder of 1890, and for the years 1891 and 1892)

Box 7: folder 54
1886, 1887, 1897

Box 7: folder 55
28-30 Jun 1888, 14 Jul 1888

Box 7: folder 56
1893, 1894, 1895 (line diary)

Box 7
21 Jul-19 Aug 1894, 3-31 Aug 1895, 8 May-5 Oct 1898, 9 Apr-17 Jun 1899 (?)

Box 7: folder 57
1903, 25 Feb-28 Aug, 1922 (trip to Europe)

Box 7: folder 58
1 Jul-26 Aug 1937 (trip to England)

Box 7: folder 59

To family

Anna Williams Brewster,

Box 8: folder 60
Caroline, Helen, and Charles Harvey Brewster,

Box 8: folder 61
Mary Kate Brewster,

Box 8: folder 62
"Aunt Kate" and "Ortie",
1876 and 1898

Box 8: folder 63
Unidentified fragments

Box 8: folder 64
From family

Anna Williams Brewster,
1872-1906, undated

Box 8: folder 65
Caroline Brewster,
1882-1906, undated

Box 8: folder 66
Charles Harvey Brewster,

Box 8: folder 67
Charles Russell Brewster to Anna Gertrude,
1904-05, 1921

Box 8: folder 68
Harold Brewster,

Box 8: folder 69
Helen Brewster,

Box 8: folder 70
From others


Box 8: folder 71

Box 9: folder 72

Box 9: folder 73

Box 9: folder 74

Box 9: folder 75

Box 9: folder 76

Box 10: folder 77
1908-30, undated

Box 10: folder 78
George Cable,

Box 10: folder 79
Writings: Miscellaneous,

Box 10: folder 80
Memorabilia: DAR membership certificate (photocopy)

Box 10: folder 81

[See original in Flat File]


Charles Russell Brewster: Diary,

Box 10: folder 82

Anna Williams Brewster to Caroline and Harold
1899, 1901, undated

Box 10: folder 83
Miscellaneous, 1893, 1905, 1918, 1924 (includes fragment)

Box 10: folder 84
Caroline Brewster to Anna Williams Brewster,
1899, undated

Box 10: folder 85
Charles Russell Brewster to Anna Williams Brewster,
1904, 1905

Box 10: folder 86
Harold Brewster to Anna Williams Brewster,
1905, 1906, 1926

Box 10: folder 87
Harold Brewster to Helen Brewster, Caroline Brewster,
1902-03, 1920

Box 10: folder 88
Helen Brewster to Anna Williams Brewster,
1903, 1904, undated

Box 10: folder 89
Margaret Brewster Chard to Caroline Brewster,

Box 10: folder 90
Memorabilia: Helen Campbell Brewster Allured's scrapbook of theatre programs

Box 10: folder 91
Drawer 12: Anna Gertrude Brewster, DAR Membership Certificate

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.

  • Australia--Description and travel--Sources
  • Authors, American--20th century--Sources
  • Brewster family
  • Brewster, Anna Gertrude, 1869-1967
  • Brewster, Mary Kate, 1871-1957
  • Family--United States--History--Sources
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History--Sources
  • Teachers--Massachusetts--History--Sources
  • Theater, Municipal--Northampton (Mass.)--History--Sources
  • Theater--Reviews--History--Sources
  • Voyages around the world--History--Sources
  • Women travelers--History--19th century--Sources

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