Scope and arrangement
The Swinburne Hale Papers consist primarily of personal correspondence (about 600 letters) from family and friends, documenting a small portion of the private life of Swinburne Hale, from about 1908, when Hale moved to New York City, to 1924, when he was living in Taos, N. M. The papers do not reflect his activities as a lawyer or his socialist sympathies.
About 140 letters are from his first wife, Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale, and deal primarily with family matters but also contain some observations of the many people and places she visited while touring the USA as a speaker on feminism, as well as some of her views on marriage. Some reference in the letters is also made to Hale's aspiration to become a poet and to his brief involvement with the magazine New France.
The letters from his family pertain mostly to family matters. The majority of the letters were written by Hale's mother, either from Chicago, where his parents lived, or from the family compound, Aguiden Lodge, in Kineo, Maine, where they spent summers.
Hale wanted to become a poet and some letters from Mrs. Warren of Tahanto Farms and one from Harriet Monroe, editor of Poetic Verse reflect these aspirations. Some other correspondents of interest are the playwright H. W. Bynner, the editor (and Hale's uncle) W. C. Brownell and the scholar and philosopher G. H. Palmer.
Shortly after his second marriage, Hale separated and tried to obtain a divorce, documented in some correspondence between him, Walter Nelles and R. Renegan. Around that same time, he met Greta R. Hercz and their correspondence reflects the intense relationship they had during 1922-1924.
Included in this collection, although not related, are some correspondence and juvenilia of Greta R. Hercz.
The Swinburne Hale papers are arranged in four series:
This series includes some early letters sent by Hale to his mother, including one (1915) discussing his new law firm, and some love letters to Evelyn (last name unknown) (December 1918-Jan. 1919). The bulk of this series consists of his love letters to Greta R. Hercz (May 1923-Jan. 1924), and deal primarily with their relationship, his life out West, building a house, and his health, both physical and mental.
This series contains two letters to Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale, a copy of a letter from Olive Schreiner to Gertrude Forbes-Robertson (Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale's mother), discussing Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale's book and dress reform, two letters to Hale's sister, and one to his mother, from his aunt Virginia Swinburne.
Also included is an office memorandum from the law firm of Ehlerman, Hale and Wright, detailing a new profit-sharing plan for the employees. This series also contains some correspondence (October 1923-June 1924) between Hale, Nelles and Renegan (a Santa Fe lawyer) about Hale's divorce and related real estate issues.
Newspaper clippings included are about Hale's engagement and upcoming marriage to Beatrice Forbes-Robertson, a full page newspaper article (Fort Wayne Gazette, April 24, 1921) about Hale's second wife, Marie Tudor Garland, and a copy of an article about the fiftieth anniversary of the Class of 1873 (Vassar College) and the Brownell Prize Fund, in memory of Virginia Swinburne, Hale's aunt and the wife of W. C. Brownell (Boston Evening Transcript, June 8, 1923).
This series consists of letters sent to Hercz by her family and friends in 1913 and from 1922 to 1924. Also included are a notebook and some juvenilia.