Scope and arrangement
The collection consists of correspondence, family documents and photographs collected by Elsie Powell Ingraham dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. The personal correspondence, which makes up the largest portion of the collection, includes not only letters sent and received by Elsie Powell Ingraham, her husband Edward, and her sister Rachel Hopper Powell (who are best represented), but correspondence to and from Elsie's parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and various other members of the extended family and their many friends. These letters are chiefly quotidian in their content, documenting family events and day-to-day activities. Notable are letters home from abroad that capture family members' travels to Western Europe, Egypt, the Canadian wilderness, California and Mexico. Although Rachel Hopper Powell's letters to her sister provide little evidence of her extensive social welfare activities, a slim file of correspondence dedicated to the Women's Prison Association does provide some insights into the workings of this organization. Among Lucy Gibbons Morse's correspondence can be found a transcription of an interview Morse conducted with Sarah Hopper Powell (1840-1905), in which she recalls the violence of the 1863 draft riots and the burning of the Orphan Asylum for Colored Children.
The family documents in the collection include genealogies, legal documents, original poetry and other writings, and ephemera. Of note is a diary kept by Elsie's grandmother Rachel Hopper Brown (1798-1887), which offers an account of her spiritual struggles during an extended illness. Also of interest is a scrapbook pertaining to the purchase of the Shapely house and its relocation from Thompson, Connecticut to Gloucester, Massachusetts.
The photographs range in date from the 1850s to the 1960s and consist primarily of portraits of family members, though snapshots of friends and other unidentified individuals are represented.
Users should note that there are four individuals with the name Wilson Marcy Powell in the collection; they are differentiated by notes within the box list. Wilson Marcy Powell I (1834-1915) and his son Wilson Marcy Powell II (1972-1935) were both New York City lawyers, and were Elsie Powell Ingraham father and brother respectively. Wilson Marcy Powell, Jr. (1904-1974) was Elsie's nephew and a scientist. Wilson (Woody) M. Powell, Jr. (b. 1932), was Elsie's grandnephew and a peace activist.
The Elsie Powell Ingraham family papers are arranged in three series:
All correspondence is organized by sender unless otherwise noted. Notable are letters home from abroad that chronicle family members' travels to Western Europe, Egypt, the Canadian wilderness, California and Mexico. These letters were composed primarily by Elsie Powell Ingraham and Rachel Hopper Powell, with some written by Wilson Marcy Powell I (father to Elsie and Rachel). The correspondence also includes courtship letters from Edward Ingraham to his fiance, Elsie, as well as letters from Sister Mary Veronica, Elsie's friend who was sent to a convent when they were both young women.
- 1857-1947, n.d.
This series consists of genealogies, scrapbooks, calling cards, wedding invitations, clippings, obituaries, financial records, and wills for various family members. Within the ephemera here are also recipes, writings, and a bicentennial bookmark made of silk.
Of note is a diary kept by Rachel Hopper Brown (1798-1887) capturing her spiritual struggles during an extended illness. Annual reports and general information on the Vidyodaya School for Girls document the Ingraham's role as benefactors to the school.
The Ingrahams purchased many historic homes, and information about these properties is contained within these series. Along with a scrapbook pertaining to the purchase and relocation of Shapely House from Thompson, Connecticut to Gloucester, Massachusetts is a narrative and pictorial history of the house and its 97-mile journey.
- circa 1850-1930, n.d.
This series contains photographs of the family and their close friends. Ranging from formal portraits to snapshots, the bulk of these photographs are of the immediate family of Elsie Powell Ingraham. There is also a scrapbook documenting one of Elsie Powell Ingraham's trips to Europe, as well as many photographs taken of historical houses that the Ingrahams were interested in preserving or renovating.