Scope and arrangement
The O'Shaughnessy Family Papers consist of five series: correspondence, both of Nelson, 1899-1928, and Edith, 1907-1935, O'Shaughnessy; the notes and diaries of Edith O'Shaughnessy, 1907-1935; writings of Edith O'Shaughnessy, photographs and printed matter. The correspondence of Nelson O'Shaughnessy is comprised of official and unofficial letters concerning his career as a diplomat. Included are his official letters of appointment, as well as other official communications, from the Department of State regarding his most of his postings. More common however are personal letters from other embassy and consular staff exchanging news and speculations on diplomatic service developments and career advancement. The period covered by the correspondence does include Nelson O'Shaughnessy's term as chargé d'affaires in Mexico, 1911-1914, a period of extreme unrest and transition in United States- Latin American relations. Also included is correspondence relating to his career after leaving the State Department, a letter copy-book, 1907-1908, largely consisting of personal letters, and a small amount of family correspondence. The family correspondence centers on letters from his wife commenting on the hardship of their financial situation, and the problems caused by their long separations. Finally there is a small selection of financial papers: bills, statements of account, and stock certificates. Correspondents include: William Jennings Bryan, Victoriano Huerta, Kermit Roosevelt, Elihu Root and Henry Lane Wilson.
The correspondence of Edith O'Shaughnessy contains a variety of letters pertaining to her personal and professional lives. The earliest letters, from friends and relatives, refer to the impending birth of her son Elim, and to the changing circumstances of her life as the wife of a career diplomat in various European capitals. After the departure of Nelson O'Shaughnessy from the diplomatic service the correspondence begins to focus more heavily on her career as an author, and the publication of her earliest books relating to Mexico. Also included are letters concerning her involvement in the 1916 United States presidential campaign, and many Catholic causes. The correspondence follows Mrs. O'Shaughnessy's movements back and forth across the Atlantic from Paris to New York City to Rome to Bar Harbor; it documents her relationship to her husband, son and other family members, as well as her perception of her place in the American "upper class" before, during and after the First World War. Also included is a small amount of juvenilia of Elim O'Shaughnessy, retained by his mother, and a small selection of letters to and form Mrs. Jane Augusta McKinney Coues, Mrs. O'Shaughnessy's mother. There is also a small number of financial records included in the correspondence. Correspondents include: Averill Harriman, Mrs. Mary Harriman, Charles Evans Hughes. Countess Gloria Vanderbilt Szechenyi, Mrs. Alice Vanderbilt, and Henry and Emily White.
The notes and diaries of Mrs. O'Shaughnessy are largely social diaries with annotations of events, parties, and concerts attended, as well as the other people attending. There are in addition fragmentary notes for literary works. The writings include annotated typescripts and manuscripts of published and unpublished works by Edith O'Shaughnessy, including among others: Life in the Viennese Court, 1907-1911, Bright Dark, and her translation of Charles de Brosses', "Letters on Italy", as well as speeches, poems, and short stories. The photographs are for the most part family snapshots, portraits, and photographic postcards, while the printed matter pertains to literary subjects, Catholicism, and Latin American politics. Also included is a scrapbook of clippings and reviews relating to the careers of both Nelson and Edith O'Shaughnessy.
Five series: I. Correspondence, 1899-1936; II. Notes and Diaries, 1907-1935; III. Writings; IV. Photographs; V. Printed Matter