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Adlai E. Stevenson Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-BC611

Abstract

Lawyer and Democrat politician from Bloomington, Ill.; vice-president of the U.S., 1893-1897. Also represented are his mother, wife, children and grandchildren. Stevenson was active in Illinois and national Democratic politics. He was a district attorney (1865-1869), twice elected to Congress (1875-1877, 1879-1881), a delegate to the Democratic national conventions of 1884-1892, and first assistant postmaster general (1885-1889). His wife, Letitia G., was one of the founders of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and active in many other women's social organizations. His daughters, Letitia E. and Julia, participated in the social life of the vice-presidential household. His grandson, Adlai E. Stevenson II, was governor of Illinois (1949-1953), twice the Democratic candidate for U.S. President (1952 and 1956), and U.S. ambassador to the U.N. (1961-1965). Another grandson, Adlai S. Hardin, was a noted sculptor.

Correspondence, invitations, certificates, speeches, recipes, research notes, scrapbooks, photographs, diaries, unpublished papers, clippings, published material and genealogical material concerning the private lives and the public careers of the Adlai E. Stevenson I and his family. Topics include Stevenson's career in politics; his wife's and daughters' social activities, writings and travels; his grandsons' careers in politics and art; and family history and genealogy. Most prominently represented family members include Stevenson's wife Letitia G., daughters Letitia E. and Julia, and grandson Adlai II. Also represented are his mother Eliza, son Lewis, granddaughter Elizabeth S. Ives, and great-grandson Adlai E. Stevenson III. This collection also contains microfilm copies of letters written to and by Richard J. Oglesby, ca. 1868-ca. 1875.

Numerous photographs, broadsides, published materials and artifacts have been transferred out of the collection.

A Stevenson family tree can be found in the printed finding aid.

Dates

  • 1830 - 1966

Biographical Sketches

* Adlai Ewing Stevenson (AES I, 1835-1914) was born in Christian County, Ky., on October 23, 1835, the second of the seven children of Eliza Ann Ewing and John Turner Stevenson. The family moved to Bloomington, Ill., in 1852, where Adlai became a lawyer and was active in Democratic Party politics. He served as district attorney (1865-1869), was twice elected to Congress (1875-1877, 1879-1881), and was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions of 1884-1892. He served as first assistant postmaster general during President Grover Cleveland's first term (1885-1889) and Vice President of the U.S. during Cleveland's second term (1893-1897). He was also the Democratic nominee for that latter office in 1900 and for governor of Illinois in 1908. In 1897, Pres. McKinley appointed him special envoy to Europe, part of a monetary commission sent to promote international bimetallism. He died in Bloomington, Ill., on June 15, 1914.

In 1866, Adlai married Letitia Barbour Green, daughter of Rev. Lewis W. Green of Danville, Ky. They had 4 children: Lewis Green, Mary Eliza, Julia Scott and Letitia Ewing.

* Letitia Green Stevenson (1843-1913), wife of AES I, was as active socially as her husband was politically. She was one of the founders of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and served 4 terms as its President General. She was one of the earliest members of the Colonial Dames, worked towards the development of the Women's Clubs of America, and was the first president of the Women's Club of Bloomington. She was also one of the founding members in 1896 of the Congress of Mothers, forerunner of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and served as an officer in the Illinois branch of that organization. She died in Bloomington, Ill., on December 25, 1913.

* Lewis Green Stevenson (1868-1929), son of AES I, served as his father's secretary while he was vice-president. He served in various public offices: chairman of the Illinois Board of Pardons (1913-1914), Illinois Secretary of State (1914-1917), and special investigator for the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C. (1917-1918). He was married to Helen Davis. They had two children: Elizabeth Davis and Adlai E. Stevenson II.

* Letitia Ewing Stevenson (1876-1970), the youngest of AES I's three daughters, participated in the social life of the vice-presidential household, traveled with her father on his mission to Europe in 1897 and around the world in 1925-26, wrote plays, reminiscences, stories and essays, and was interested and active in the political campaigns of her nephew, AES II. She never married, and died on September 6, 1970. Julia Stevenson Hardin (1874-1966), the elder of the two daughters of AES I to survive into adulthood, was married to Reverend Martin D. Hardin. Of their two sons, Adlai S. Hardin (1901-1989) was an advertising executive who retired in 1959 and became a sculptor of some note. His brother, Parker C. Hardin, was a physician in Rockford, Ill. Julia Stevenson Hardin died on September 4, 1966.

* Adlai E. Stevenson II (AES II, 1900-1965), grandson of AES I, was governor of Illinois (1949-1953), twice the Democratic candidate for U.S. President (1952 and 1956), and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations (1961-1965). He married Ellen Borden in 1928. They had three sons: Adlai Ewing III, Borden, and John Fell.

* Elizabeth Stevenson Ives (1897-1994) was sister and confidant of AES II. She worked closely with him during his campaigns for governor and president, and wrote books and articles about him. She also researched her family's history and participated in numerous historic preservation projects in Illinois and North Carolina. She was married to Ernest L. Ives, a foreign service officer, in 1927. They had one son, Timothy.

* Adlai E. Stevenson III (1930- ), great-grandson of AES I, was a lawyer and Democratic politician in Illinois where he held office as a state representative (1965-1966), state treasurer (1967-1970), and U.S. Senator (1971-1980).

Extent

2.3 Linear Feet (2 archival boxes, 1 oversize box, and 2 microfilm reels)

Language of Materials

English

Scope and Contents

The Adlai E. Stevenson I Family Papers, 1830-1966, consist of 2.3 linear feet of original materials and 2 rolls of microfilm copies of materials the originals of which are not found elsewhere in the collection. These materials include correspondence, invitations, certificates, speeches, recipes, research notes, scrapbooks, photographs, diaries, unpublished papers, news clippings, published material and genealogical material concerning the private lives and the public careers of the Adlai E. Stevenson I, his family and descendants. These papers are arranged into twelve files, nine of which contain the papers of various family members. The remaining files include: Stevenson Family Genealogy; Scrapbooks; and Oversize and Microfilmed Materials.

* The Eliza Ewing Stevenson and Jane Stevenson file (Box 1) consists of the correspondence of these two sisters. Letters written by Adlai E. Stevenson I to his mother, Eliza Stevenson, are filed with his papers.

* The Adlai E. Stevenson I (AES I) file (Boxes 1 and 2-1/3 and Microfilm Rolls #1 and #2) consists of correspondence, invitations, calling cards, certificates, inauguration memorabilia, speeches, programs, clippings and published materials. They include AES I's signed letters to various family members; incoming correspondence, with letters from James W. Bradbury, William Jennings Bryan, Grover Cleveland, Porfirio Diaz, Elbert W. R. Ewing, Charles W. Fairbanks, Melville W. Fuller, William R. Harper, William Wirt Henry, Garret A. Hobart, Francis Kossuth, Louis Kossuth, William W. Rockhill, Thomas DeWitt Talmage, Edward Douglass White, and Edward Wolcott; correspondence regarding Stevenson's book, Something of Men I Have Known; typescript papers by and about Stevenson, including an 8- page memoir and an 18-page essay entitled 􀁿The Senate of the United States"; and a bound manuscript copy of the 1892 Democratic platform.

* The Letitia Green Stevenson file (Box 1 and Microfilm Roll #2) consists of correspondence, unpublished papers, recipes, clippings, printed materials, and a copy of her book, Brief History of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Seven of the letters were written by Mrs. Grover Cleveland concerning social functions at the White House.

* The Letitia Ewing Stevenson file (Boxes 1 and 2 and Microfilm Roll #2) consists of correspondence, diaries, unpublished essays and research notes, scrapbooks, and clippings. Many of the letters in this file were written to her by Letitia's parents while she was a student in Chicago in 1890. Letters from her nephew, AES II, are filed with his papers. One of the diaries in this file was kept during 1897, when AES I was appointed special envoy to Europe and Letitia traveled with him. The other is the journal of a world cruise in 1925-1926. Letitia did a considerable amount of writing; her essays and research notes fill 6 folders. Two scrapbooks cover her years in Washington as part of the vice-president's family.

* The Julia Stevenson Hardin file (Box 2 and Microfilm Roll #2) consists of correspondence, essays, clippings, and photographs. The correspondence includes letters to and by her husband, Rev. Martin D. Hardin, and her sons Adlai S. and Parker C. Most of the essays Julia has written are reminiscences of her parents and grandparents and other family stories. Many of the clippings concern the sculptures of her son, Adlai S. Hardin.

* The Lewis G. Stevenson file (Box 2 and Microfilm Roll #2) consists of a single letter written to his mother sometime in the 1890s, two campaign pamphlets, and news clippings. The pamphlets derive from Lewis' run for re-election as Secretary of State in 1916 and his being proposed as a vice-presidential running mate for Al Smith in 1928.

* The Adlai E. Stevenson II (AES II) file (Boxes 2 and 2-1/3) consists of letters written to his aunts and other relatives, and press releases, campaign materials, clippings and programs that derive from his activities as a politician and diplomat. Of the 38 AES II letters, 5 were written before he became governor, 8 are from the gubernatorial years, 16 are from the presidential campaign years, and 9 were written while he was U.N. ambassador.

* The Elizabeth Stevenson Ives file (Box 2) consists of letters written to her aunts and other relatives.

* The Adlai E. Stevenson III file (Box 2) consists of letters written to his great aunts and other relatives.

* The Stevenson Family Genealogy file (Box 2) consists of unpublished papers and research notes, letters, clippings, a scrapbook, and a copy of a guidebook to the British Pavilion at the New York World's Fair of 1939. A note on the guidebook cover indicates the page within that contains the ancestry of George Washington.

* The Scrapbooks file (Boxes 2 and 2-1/3) consists of 3 volumes, all of which cover various aspects of the life and career of AES I, one of which also covers the Hardin family and various religious topics.

* The Oversize and Microfilmed Materials file (Box 2-1/3 and Microfilm Rolls #1 and #2) consists of oversize materials from files described above and 2 rolls of microfilmed clippings and letters, the originals of which are no longer available. These materials are arranged into 6 parts: one section each for AES I, his wife, and their 3 adult children, and a miscellaneous section. The clippings within each of these sections are not arranged in chronological order. Most of the letters in this file are in Part I, the AES I section. Most of them are written to and some of them by Richard J. Oglesby between ca. 1868 and ca. 1875. Most of them are fragmentary. None of them are written to or by any of the Stevenson family members represented in this collection. Some of the identifiable correspondents found here include: W. P. Chandler, H. D. Cook, S. Cullom, David Davis, James Dinsmoor, 0. M. Hatch, C. H. Hay, W. D. Henderson, Robert G. Ingersoll, D. W. Jackson, General H. D. Lick, John A. Logan, John Palmer, G. M. Ratcliffe, Benjamin Roll, J. C. Short, Lyman Trumbull, and Bluford Wilson.
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collection Repository

Contact:
112 North Sixth Street
Springfield IL 62701 US
(217) 558-8923