Historian and author of Providence, R.I.
Family papers, 1888-1980
Size: 1 linear foot
Catalog number: MSS 1070
Processed by: Rick Stattler, April 2001
©Rhode Island Historical Society
Elizabeth (Nicholson) White (1877-1961) was the daughter of William T. Nicholson (1834-1893) and Elizabeth (Gardner) Nicholson (1833-1899). Her father was the founder of the Nicholson File Company, the largest manufacturer of files and rasps in the world. She married Merwin White (1877-1920), the president of a coal company in Providence. They had five children: Thomas N. (1910-1980), Samuel M., John R., Elizabeth G. (White) (Herbert) Hughes (1913-1987), and Kate M. (White) White (1913-1979).
Merwin White died in 1920, and Elizabeth soon remarried to Stephen E. Hopkins, a Providence investment broker. By 1929, the marriage had ended in divorce, and Elizabeth had again taken the name Elizabeth Nicholson White. She became active in the National Society of Colonial Dames, and the Alliance Francaise. She also became a prolific author of historical fiction based on the lives of her colonial-era ancestors. Among her publications were:
The Star of La Rochelle: Being the True Story of the Life of Esther Leroy, Wife of Gabriel Bernon, 1652-1710, 1930
Mary Browne: The True Life and Times of the Daughter of Mr. John Browne..., 1935
"A Record of William Coddington, Esquire," 1938
"Gregory Dexter: Master Printer in London, 1641-1643...", 1940
Will Nicholson: A Simple Account of the Days of Old England from 1550 to 1640..., 1948
Her daughter Elizabeth married New York illustrator James D. Herbert (1896-1970) of Providence. After his death she remarried to A.M. Hughes.
Rhode Island Cemetery Database
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Scope and content:
Elizabeth (Nicholson) White's papers consist mostly of correspondence, and of research notes pertaining to her historical books. She received letters from family members; libraries and friends who had received her books; and from the organizations she was involved in, particularly the Colonial Dames and the Alliance Francaise. A large portion of her correspondence (filed separately) relates to her interest in France, including many letters written in French by friends in France and America.
The collection also includes a several folders of papers from White's daughter Elizabeth G. (White) Herbert, usually referred to as "Betty." Her papers include family correspondence, essays and poetry. Also included are two folders of the papers of Betty's husband James D. Herbert, a successful painter and fashion illustrator who worked with Norman Rockwell during World War II. His papers include family correspondence and a folder relating to his "Raw-Eating" diet.
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These papers were purchased from What Cheer Antiques in Providence in 2001. They had previously been the property of manuscript collector Lawrence DiPetrillo.
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Elizabeth (Nicholson) White correspondence:
Folder 1. 1888-1929
Folder 2. 1930-1931 (mostly re Star of La Rochelle)
Folder 3. 1932-1939
Folder 4. 1940-1960
Folder 5. Undated
Elizabeth (Nicholson) White - France materials
Re Alliance Francaise, American Relief for France, travel in France, etc. In French and English.
Folder 6. Correspondence, 1919-1930
Folder 7. Correspondence, 1931-1934
Folder 8. Correspondence, 1935-1952
Folder 9. Correspondence, undated
Folder 10. Diary from trip to France, July 1928. One page.
Folder 11. Diary from trip to France, July 1928. Photocopy for reference use.
Folder 12. Travel brochures and receipts, 1918-1936
Folder 13. Miscellaneous
Elizabeth (Nicholson) White - Publications and writings
Folder 14. Star of La Rochelle / Gabriel Bernon. Early drafts and notes, 1930.
Folder 15. Mary Browne. Early drafts and notes, 1935
Folder 16. Mary Browne. Notebooks, 1935
Folder 17. Mary Browne. Orders and distribution, 1935
Folder 18. William Coddington. Drafts and notes, 1938
Folder 19. William Coddington. Notebooks, 1938.
Folder 20. Gregory Dexter. Early draft and notes, 1940.
Folder 21. Will Nicholson. Notes, 1948
Folder 22. "Five Score," posthumous recollections compiled in 1977
Folder 23. "Back to the Old World," undated essay
Folder 24. "The Cruisers," undated essay
Folder 25. "February Talks," undated essay
Folder 26. "Illustrated Historical Outline of Rhode Island," undated
Folder 27. "Captain William Kidd," by Thomas B. Fielders. Undated manuscript.
Elizabeth (Nicholson) White - Miscellaneous
Folder 28. Death and estate, 1961
Folder 29. Gabriel Bernon Society minute book, 1935-1957
Folder 30. Merwin White estate, 1928-1937
Folder 31. National Society of Colonial Dames - Committee on Americanization minutes, undated circa 1929.
Folder 32. Miscellaneous:
List of furniture in mother's estate, circa 1899
Receipt for bequest from Mary L.L. Mauran estate, 1958
"Song Told to Me by My Cook Bessie," undated
Elizabeth G. (White) (Herbert) Hughes
Folder 33. Correspondence, 1947-1954 and undated, with husband James D. Herbert
Folder 34. Correspondence, 1961-1980
Folder 35. Huguenot Society of Rhode Island - Papers and correspondence, 1965
Folder 36. Poetry, memoirs and essay on Norman Rockwell
Folder 37. Wedding book and related papers, 1945
Folder 38. Miscellaneous:
List of residences, 1913-1947
School report, Wheeler School, 1923
Five school reports, St. Mary's School, 1929-1930
Agreement to loan table to Cathedral of St. John, 1976 (unsigned)
James D. Herbert
Folder 39. Correspondence, 1918-1949 (mostly re mother's 1945 death)
Folder 40. Correspondence, etc., 1945-1969, re "Raw-Eating" diet
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American Relief for France Inc.
Bacon, Helen (Hazard) (1862-1925)
Bernon, Gabriel (1644-1736)
Boardman, William R. (1877-1901)
Coddington, William (1601-1687)
Diet therapy - Rhode Island
Downes, Louis W. (1865-1953)
Elliott, Maud (Howe) (1854-1948)
Fay, Edward M. (1875-1971)
Fielders, Thomas B.
Fogarty, John E. (1913-1967)
France - Foreign relations - 20th century - United States
Gabriel Bernon Society
Geneva Mill (Providence, R.I.)
Hazard, Caroline (1856-1945)
Hazard, Edward H.
Herbert, Elizabeth G. (White) (1913-1987)
Herbert, James D. (1896-1970)
x Hopkins, Elizabeth (Nicholson) (White)(1877-1961)
x Hughes, Elizabeth G. (White) (Herbert)(1913-1987)
Huguenot Society of Rhode Island
Kidd, William (1645-1701)
Motion picture industry - Finance
National Society of Colonial Dames
x Nicholson, Elizabeth (1877-1961)
Nicholson, Paul C. (1888-1956)
Nicholson, William T. (1834-1893)
Perry, Marsden J. (1850-1935)
Providence District Nursing Association
Raw food diet
Rhode Island - History
Rockwell, Norman (1894-1978)
Sharpe, Henry D. Sr. (1872-1954)
Stillwell, Margaret (Bingham) (1887-1984)
Union Saint-Jean-Baptiste D'Amerique (Woonsocket, R.I.)
x White, Elizabeth G. (1913-1987)
Willett, Mary (Browne) (1614-1669)
Willett, Thomas (1610-1674)
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