Scope and arrangement
The Colles family papers comprise the papers of prominent merchant James Colles of New York City, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Morristown, New Jersey; his sons James and George; George's wife, the writer and lecturer Julia Keese Colles, and their children, Gertrude, an artist, George, Jr., an engineer, and Julia, a teacher of physics at Barnard College. The collection includes extensive correspondence, diaries, financial records, photographs, and personal miscellany of three generations of the family, 1801-1957. The collection also includes letters and miscellany of other members of the Colles and related Keese, Nelson, Metcalfe, Johnston, De Forest, and Farragut families.
The Colles family papers are arranged in seven series:
- 1801-18834 boxes
- 1864-19211 box
The papers of James Colles, Jr. contain his correspondence and personal miscellany as well as those of his wife Mary J. (Blachly) Colles, and their children.
- 1829-19085 boxes
- 1859-19144 boxes
The Julia Keese Colles papers also included papers of her son George and daughter Julia. The papers of her daughter Gertrude can be found in section V. Gertrude Colles Papers.
- 1873-19513 folders
George Colles, Jr.'s papers consist of letters from his mother, a small amount of other correspondence, mostly from his sister Gertrude, some ephemera concerning his studies and professional work in engineering, and his death and funeral, including photographs of the open casket. In addition, there are blueprints drawn by George, Jr. of a plat map of the Rose of Sharon Ranch and the foundation, floorplans, and pump-house assembly of the Rosharon Waterworks from 1940.
- 1884-19031 box
Julia Nelson Colles' papers include letters from her mother and correspondence, 1890-1898, mostly with Edith Clarke and Louise Rapalje. Letters from her mother discuss her lectures and performances she attended. She advised Julia on whom to write, what to wear, and what jobs to accept, so that she could earn her own way in the world.
Included in this series is a childhood notebook and a grade book from Wellesley College in which every page lists a class that Miss Colles completed along with her grade and her professor's signature. There is also a typed and handbound story entitled "Tot's Crooked Day," written by Juliet Corson and presented to Julia Nelson Colles on her eighth birthday. The book, bound in felt and yarn, tells the story of a girl named Tot who woke up on the wrong side of the bed one morning. Finally, there is a small amount of memorabilia from Julia's Wellesley College graduation, a few letters regarding her employment at Columbia University, and death notices.
- 1871-195718 boxes
The Gertrude Colles Papers contain correspondence,1882-1956, financial and legal papers, 1890-1952, writings, 1883-1919, memorabilia, 1880-1952, and Colles family photographs, 1871-1933. One half of the collection consists of correspondence from Gertrude's friends, family, clients, and organizations associated with the single tax movement, the women's suffrage movement, and Christian Science.