Lucy T. Aldrich Papers
Art collector of Providence, R.I.
Papers, 1885-1955. Bulk, 1920-1954.
Size: 2 linear feet
Catalog number: MSS 938, sg 2
Processed by: Rick Stattler, November 1995 Revised by Amy Lappin, June 1997
©Rhode Island Historical Society
Lucy Truman Aldrich (1869-1955) was the oldest surviving child of Sen. Nelson W. Aldrich and Abby Pearce (Chapman) Aldrich. She never married, and lived in the family home at 110 Benevolent St. in Providence for most of her life, but traveled extensively in Europe and Asia. On one trip to China in 1923, she was captured by armed bandits and held for two days before her release. She was an active art collector, especially in the fields of porcelain and Asian textiles. She donated much of her collection to the Rhode Island School of Design's Museum of Art, and was a member of its Museum Committee as well. Her sister Abby married John D. Rockefeller Jr.
Aldrich, Alvin J. George Aldrich Genealogy. Published by the author, 1971.
Kert, Bernice. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller: The Woman in the Family. New York: Random House, 1993
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Scope and content:
This collection includes many of Lucy T. Aldrich's personal papers, though it is not complete. The bulk of the collection dates from 1920 to 1954, with only a few scattered items from the first fifty years of her life.
Series 1 (Correspondence) includes letters received from a wide variety of correspondents. Family members appear frequently, especially her brother Winthrop W. Aldrich, U.S. Ambassador to England, and various members of the Rockefeller family. There is also extensive correspondence relating to her art, museum and charitable activities. There are also frequent letters from her attorney, William H. Edwards of Providence. A September 30, 1941 letter from the Rhode Island Historical Society discusses their decision to purchase the John Brown House.
Series 2 consists of miscellaneous personal papers, including scattered diary entries and memorandum books, an inventory of the Nelson W. Aldrich estate, clippings and other notes regarding the Rockefellers, and a notebook listing books read from 1900 through 1902.
Series 3 is a file of bills paid from 1949 through 1954; a few scattered bills from earlier years have been added. This series provides information on all work done on what is now the Aldrich House, as well as Miss Aldrich's other daily expenses.
Series 4 consists of information on Lucy T. Aldrich's art collecting activity. The art purchases files include receipts and correspondence from art dealers around the world, especially in Japan and England. The R.I.S.D. files show her involvement in museum affairs, and include lists of gifts and loans to the museum and well as correspondence and project files.
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These papers were part of the Winthrop W. Aldrich estate given to the Society around 1975, and stored at the Aldrich House museum until 1995.
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The collection was originally in 13 highly acidic letter files, as kept by Lucy Aldrich. For the most part, this filing system has been maintained, though parts of the collection were rearranged for the sake of consistency. The R.I.S.D. and art purchase materials were boxed separately in much the same form as they are here, for example. The bills paid from 1949 to 1954 were rearranged thematically. The correspondence was slightly rearranged to allow chronological access. Most of the miscellaneous personal papers (diaries, etc.) were found scattered through the other Aldrich family papers, and were not originally boxed with the rest. The collection has been housed in archival boxes and folders.
One of the letter files contained personal papers of Minnie A. MacFadden, Lucy Aldrich's traveling companion and a nurse in the Aldrich-Rockefeller family from 1913 to 1947. These papers were removed to form Mss 938, sg4: the Minnie A. MacFadden Papers.
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Series 1 : Correspondence
Box 1, folder 1. Correspondence, 1912-1918
Box 1, folder 2. 1923-1926
Box 1, folder 3. 1928-1936
Box 1, folder 4. 1937-1939
Box 1, folder 5. 1940
Box 1, folder 6. 1941
Box 1, folder 7. 1942-1951
Box 1, folder 8. 1952-1953, A-D
Box 1, folder 9. E-F
Box 1, folder 10. G-L
Box 1, folder 11. M-O
Box 1, folder 12. P-R
Box 1, folder 13. S-Z
Box 1, folder 14. 1954, A-D
Box 1, folder 15. E-F
Box 1, folder 16. G-O
Box 1, folder 17. P-Z
Box 1, folder 18. 1955 (re estate)
Box 1, folder 19. Undated
Series 2 : Chinese Bandit Kidnapping, 1923
Box 1, folder 20. Personal accounts of the Chinese bandit kidnapping from Lucy T. Aldrich, Minnie McFadden, and Mathilde Schoneberg including LTA's Atlantic Monthly article, "A Weekend with Chinese Bandits," 1923
Box 1, folder 21. Correspondence re: Chinese Bandits, 5/8/1923-1/23/1924
Box 1, folder 22. Correspondence re: Return of items taken by bandits and compensation for those items never recovered, 5/10/1923-5/19/1925
Box 1, folder 23. Telegrams sent to and received from China re: bandit ordeal, 5/6/1923- 5/29/1923
Box 1, folder 24. News clippings re: Chinese bandit experience, 1923-1924
Box 1, folder 25. Manuscript: "The Sacred Twin Butterflies - A Dramatic Photo-play," by S. Won-Kingsing. Based loosely on LTA's Chinese bandit experience, undated
Series 3 : Miscellaneous Personal
Box 1, folder 26. Letter from Lucy Aldrich to her mother, 1/25/1883
Box 1, folder 27. Diary, 7/15/1885-7/16/1885 and memorandum book
(also Abby P. Greene commonplace book, 1862)
Box 1, folder 28. Diary, 4/2/1892-4/19/1892 and social calendar, 9/1893-10/1893
(also undated house inventory notes)
Box 1, folder 29. Diary/memorandum book, 2/25/1919-5/13/1919
Box 1, folder 30. Travel diary page, 7/19/1924
Providence High School report card, 1885
Box 1, folder 31. Undated memorandum books (2)
Box 1, folder 32. Notebook of books read, 1900-1902
Inventory of 110 Benevolent St., 1915-1916
Box 1, folder 33. Will and catalogue of Lucy T. Aldrich
Papers including the Estate of Lucy T. Aldrich can be found in mss 938 sg 3, the Winthrop W. and Harriet A. Aldrich papers.
Box 2, folder 1. Address books (2), 1924 and undated
Box 2, folder 2. Newspaper clippings on Aldrich and Rockefeller families
Box 2, folder 3. Memories of Abby (Aldrich) Rockefeller
R.I. Congressional resolution re Abby Rockefeller
Box 2, folder 4. Dedication of the Abby Greene Aldrich Memorial Organ at the Beneficent Congregational Church, Providence, RI, 11/12/1923
Box 2, folder 5. Inventory of Nelson Aldrich estate
Box 2, folder 6. Extracts from register of Diss Church, Norfolk, "The Aldrich Family"
Box 2, folder 7. Miscellaneous memos and notes, undated
Series 4 : Financial - Paid bills
Box 2, folder 8. Yokohama account, 1923-1924
Box 2, folder 9. 110 Benevolent St. - Building work, 1949-1954
Box 2, folder 10. Furnishings, etc., 1949-1954
Box 2, folder 11. Insurance, 1950-1954
Box 2, folder 12. Landscaping, garden, etc., 1953-1954
Box 2, folder 13. Automotive, 1941, 1950-1953
Box 2, folder 14. Books and periodicals, 1947-1954
Box 2, folder 15. Club bills and charitable contributions, 1942-1954
Box 2, folder 16. Department store and clothing, 1949-1954
Box 2, folder 17. Food - William B. Chase, 1950-1954
Box 2, folder 18. Food - Anthony Ciresi, Savoy Market, etc., 1950-1954
Box 2, folder 19. Health (pharmacy, doctor, hearing aid), 1949-1954
Box 2, folder 20. Hotels, 1949-1954
Box 2, folder 21. Laundry and storage, 1949-1954
Box 2, folder 22. Utilities (phone, gas, electric, water), 1949-1954
Box 2, folder 23. Miscellaneous, 1949-1954
Series 4 (Art)
Box 2, folder 24. Art purchases, 1921-1940, A-B
Box 2, folder 25. C
Box 2, folder 26. D
Box 2, folder 27. E-F
Box 2, folder 28. G-J
Box 2, folder 29. K-L
Box 2, folder 30. M-O
Box 2, folder 31. P-Q
Box 2, folder 32. R
Box 2, folder 33. S
Box 2, folder 34. T
Box 2, folder 35. T
Box 2, folder 36. U-V
Box 2, folder 37. W
Box 2, folder 38. X-Z
Box 2, folder 39. X-Z
Box 2, folder 40. Misc., unidentified
Box 2, folder 41. Appraisal of textile collection, 1955
Box 2, folder 42. R.I.S.D. - Correspondence, 1935-1941 and undated
Box 2, folder 43. 1948-1949
Box 2, folder 44. 1950
Box 3, folder 1. 1951
Box 3, folder 2. 1952
Box 3, folder 3. 1953-1955
Box 3, folder 4. Pine Room / English Room, 1936-1937, 1947
Box 3, folder 5. Exhibit floor plans, 1950, 1951
Box 3, folder 6. Museum committee minutes and reports, 1939-1941
Box 3, folder 7. Newspaper clippings, 1936-1941
Box 3, folder 8. Exhibit, loan, gift, appraisal forms, 1937-1954
Box 3, folder 9. Loans returned to LTA, 1940-1942
Box 3, folder 10. Museum loan forms (non-R.I.S.D.), 1935-1946
Box 3, folder 11. "A Talk Given by Miss Germaine Merlance on the Occasion of an Exhibition of Chinese and Japanese Textiles from the Collection of Miss Lucy Aldrich and Others at the Home of John D. Rockefeller Jr., March 26, 1930"
Box 3, folder 12. "The Lucy T. Aldrich collection of China" - List of gifts, 1951
Box 3, folder 13. Miscellaneous art, antique and textile notes, appraisals and catalogues, undated
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Aldrich, Abby P. (Chapman) (1845-1917)
Aldrich, Nelson W. (1841-1915)
Aldrich, Winthrop W. (1886-1974)
Art - Collectors and Collecting - Rhode Island - Providence
Beneficent Congregational Church
China - History - Warlord period, 1916-1928
Diaries - 1892
Diaries - 1919
Edwards, William H.
Japan - Textile Fabrics
John Brown House
McFadden, Minnie A.
Rhode Island School of Design - Museum of Art
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