1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

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 Whiting-Woolhouse-Webster Family Papers

 Of Providence and Warwick, R.I.

 Papers, 1866-1998

 Size: 1.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 1019

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, April 1998

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            These papers relate mostly to John N. Whiting (1879-1956) and Herbert Woolhouse (1868-1919) and their children. Whiting was the son of an English immigrant from Gloucestershire, and Woolhouse came from Sheffield, England as a young man. More details on individuals can be found in the inventory below.

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Scope and content:

            This collection of family papers contains several items of general interest. Perhaps the most dramatic is a photocopy of a diary written by a Rhode Island soldier until shortly before he was killed in combat during World War I; it gives a graphic description of German war atrocities. Other interesting items include a recipe for pork pies used by John N. Whiting as a street vendor in Olneyville at the turn of the century; a letter from a World War I private, explaining how easy it was to meet girls in Paris; a card file of John N. Whiting's work records, including a stint on the rolls of the Emergency Relief Appropriation act in 1936; a patent for the "Woolhouse Hatpin Point Protector" from 1920; and three scrapbooks by Nellie (Woolhouse) Whiting that include monthly diary entries from 1986 to 1991, as well as long detailed stories about her childhood in the 1920s and other events in her life.

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            These papers were donated in 1998 by Naomi J. (Whiting) Towner and her brother Basil J. Whiting Jr., the children of Basil J. Whiting Sr. and Nellie (Woolhouse) Whiting.

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Innocent Family

Box 1, folder 1. Memoriam cards, 1966, 1974; notes, 1994

Webster Family

Box 1, folder 2. Miscellaneous:

                        Joseph Webster letter from New Zealand aunt and uncle, 1915 (copy).

                        Grace E. Webster obituary, 1974

                        Reference cards kept by John N. Whiting

Whiting, Basil J. Sr. (1905-1984). Born Providence, son of John N. and Helen Whiting. Married Nellie Woolhouse, 1932. Worked at Coro Manufacturing Co. from 1921 to 1974. Two children, Basil J. Whiting Jr. (b.1938) and Naomi Whiting Towner (b.1940).

Box 1, folder 3. Identification and membership cards, 1946-1985

                                    (union retirement card; Coro I.D.; driver's licences, etc)

Box 1, folder 4. Office humor, Coro Manufacturing Company, ca. 1920-1970.

Box 1, folder 5. Miscellaneous:

                                    "620 shares of a no-good gold mine"

                                    Vaccination certificate, 1910

                                    Memorandum book, ca. 1920

                                    School report cards, Providence, 1916-1920

                                    Coro Inc. merger notice, 1970

                                    Masonic certificate, 1946

                                    Copies of birth and death certificates, 1905, 1984

Box 1, folder 6. Marriage book, 1932

Whiting, John N. (1879-1956). Born Fall River, Mass. Son of John Whiting and Hannah Buckley. Married Scotland-born Helen Smith, 1904. Laborer in many different jobs, most notably at Brown & Sharpe from 1912 to 1931. Four children, including Basil J. Whiting Sr.

Box 1, folder 7. Recipe for pork pies, sold as a vendor in Olneyville ca. 1910.

Box 1, folder 8. Letters received from overseas, 1909-1918:

                                    Three from Breary relatives in Australia, 1909-1914

                                    One from cousin James Cunningham of England, undated, circa 1916?

                                    One from WWI soldier Clifton Higgins, 1/20/1918

Box 1, folder 9. State Hospital for Mental Diseases, Howard, R.I., 1941-1950

Box 1, folder 10. Miscellaneous:

                                    Baptismal certificate, 1879

                                    Work records for self and children, 1921-1974

                                    Memorandum re mother's watch

                                    Receipt for divorce action, 1954.

                                    Masonic certificate, 1946,with flier, 1939

Box 1, folder 11. Family card file

Box 1, folder 12. Humor and memorabilia from his file, ca. 1920-1950

Box 1, folder 13. Funeral program, bill, estate and obituaries, 1956

Whiting, Nellie (Woolhouse) (1910-1996). Daughter of Herbert and Sarah Woolhouse. Married Basil Whiting Sr., 1932 and resided in Conimicut village, Warwick, R.I.. Two children, Basil Jr. and Naomi. Although she dropped out of school in the eighth grade to help support her family, she became known as the "Poet Laureate of Conimicut", and worked at the auburn Public Library from 1957 to 1972.

Box 1, folder 14. Correspondence, 1979-1992

Box 1, folder 15. Biographical card

Box 1, folder 16. Certificates, 1910-1988

In box 2: Scrapbook of published poetry, story re 1938 hurricane, and obituary, 1982-1989

In box 2: "Nellie's Reflections" (two scrapbooks of personal memorabilia, genealogical notes, correspondence, memoirs, poems, and a loosely kept typed diary from 1986 to 1991)

Whiting family

Box 1, folder 17. Funeral bills, 1910-1925

Box 1, folder 18. Vital records:

                                    Original marriage certificate, John and Hannah Whiting, 1866.

                                    Naturalization, John Whiting, 1877

                                    Nellie Smith, Roger Williams Chapel Sunday School certificate, 1896

                                    Horace K. Whiting cradle roll certificate, 1909

                                    Note to descendants of John M. Smith re land claims

                                    Copies of death certificates of John and Hannah Whiting.

Box 1, folder 19. Genealogical correspondence and notes, 1964-1989

Box 1, folder 20. Genealogical note cards

Arthur H. Woolhouse (1908-1990). Son of Herbert Woolhouse, brother of Nellie Whiting Chemical engineer.

Box 1, folder 21. Biographical notes

Woolhouse, Herbert (1868-1919). Born Sheffield, England, son of William Woolhouse and Mary Johnstone. Married Sarah Ellen Innocent, 1889, in England. Silver polisher by trade. Settled in Connecticut in October of 1891; to Providence circa 1900; to Cranston, R.I. circa 1905; and to Warwick, R.I. shortly before his death in 1919. Eleven children, including William H. Woolhouse (1891-1918), Nellie Woolhouse Whiting (1910-1996). Died in Warwick, R.I.

Box 1, folder 22. Miscellaneous:

                                    Patent and other papers, Woolhouse Hatpin Point Protector, 1920

                                    Copies of vital records and naturalization.

Woolhouse, Sarah Ellen (Innocent) (1869-1945). Born Sheffield, daughter of Walter Innocent and Jane Grayson. Married Herbert Woolhouse in 1889. Died in Providence.

Box 1, folder 23. Funeral program and estate, 1945; copies of vital records

Woolhouse, William H. (1891-1918). Son of Herbert and Sarah Ellen Woolhouse, brother of Nellie (Woolhouse) Whiting. Born in Sheffield, England; raised in Rhode Island. Died at Chateau Thierry, France in World War I.

Box 1, folder 24. Diary, 12/25/1917 - 7/17/1918, as WWI soldier. Photocopy.

Box 1, folder 25. Typed transcript of World War One diary, done 1998.

Box 1, folder 26. Commission as sergeant, Coast Artillery Corps, 1916

Box 1, folder 27. Programs from the Surprise-Woolhouse Post, V.F.W., 1957-1964

Woolhouse family

Box 1, folder 28. Genealogical correspondence and notes, 1972-1992

In box 2: Card file arranged by family member.

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Coro Manufacturing Co.

Diaries, 1918

Diaries, 1986-1991

Emigration and immigration - Rhode Island

Hurricanes - Rhode Island - 1938

Innocent Family


Poetry - Rhode Island - Warwick


State Hospital for Mental Diseases (Howard, R.I.)

Warwick, R.I. - Social life and customs

Webster Family

Whiting, Basil J. (1905-1984)

Whiting, John N. (1879-1956)

Whiting, Nellie (Woolhouse) (1910-1996)

Woolhouse, William H. (1891-1918)

Woolhouse Family

World War, 1914-1918

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