Notes for ELIZABETH MERWIN "BEE OR BESS" PAGE HARRIS:
Daughter of Alfred Rider and Elizabeth Merwin "Lillie" (Roe) Page.
Born: August 27, 1889 in California.
Died: March 11, 1969 in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Residence: 1932-1942 - Sierra Madre, California (if not longer)
Education: Graduate of Vassar College.
Occupation: Was a teacher, pacifist, Y.M.C.A. worker during World War I, and an International Grenfell Association volunteer.
Wrote the 1939 best seller The Tree of Liberty. The film rights were sold to Columbia Pictures for $55,000 and the resulting 1940 movie The Howards of Virginia, starring Cary Grant and Martha Scott, was nominated for two Oscars.
Married: Dr. Herbert Taylor Harris 1954 in Unknown.
Elizabeth Page Harris (1889-1969), graduate of Vassar College, writer, and pacifist, remained single until her sixty-sixth year, when she married Dr. Herbert Taylor Harris. Page Harris had several intimate relationships with women that are well-documented in her correspondence. See, for example, the letters of Hope Avery and Helen Drusilla Lockwood. Hope Avery was one of Elizabeth Page Harris’ childhood friends. Her letters, written while she was touring and studying in Europe, describe the girl-girl crushes known as “raves” in the parlance of the time. Helen Lockwood (1898-1971) was a friend of Harris from the Vassar class of 1912. Lockwood never married, and it is difficult to discern much about her private life from her letters, which tend to be highly intellectual. However, a few examples from 1915-1916 make intriguing allusions to intense desires that need to be repressed. Although it is unclear whether Lockwood and Harris were romantically involved, it does seem that they shared and discussed such desires. Because of their oblique, coded language, these letters are difficult to interpret.
Repository: Manuscripts and Archives
Sterling Memorial Library
Call Number: MS 772
Creator: Page family
Title: Page family papers
Bulk Dates: 1876-1943
Physical Description: 15.5 linear feet (34 boxes)
Summary: The papers contain correspondence, family papers, diaries, photographs, and other materials documenting the personal lives and professional careers of Alfred Rider Page, Elizabeth Merwin Roe Page, and their two daughters, Elizabeth Merwin Page Harris and Marjorie Page Schauffler. The Page family papers document Elizabeth Page's work as field secretary for the Women's Board of Domestic Missions of the Reformed Church in America and has correspondence on such subjects as relations between parents and children, courtship, and aging. The papers also contain material on the life and career of elder daughter Elizabeth, who was a teacher, Y.M.C.A. volunteer in World War I, employee of the International Grenfell Association, and author.
Gift of Marjorie Page Schauffler, 1975, and Elizabeth Schauffler Lyman, 1983.
Alfred Rider Page (1859-1931): lawyer, served in the New York State legislature, 1905-1908, and was justice of the New York Supreme Court, 1909-1923.
ALFRED RIDER PAGE AND ELIZABETH MERWIN ROE PAGE
Alfred Rider Page, the son of Charles and Angeline Rider Page, was born in Carlinville, Illinois on October 7, 1859. He graduated from Burr and Burton Seminary in Manchester, Vermont in 1877 and New York University Law School in 1880, was admitted to the New York bar in December 1880, and entered private practice. Long active in Republican Party politics, Page was a member of the New York County Republican Committee 1894-1910, delegate to all Republican State Conventions 1894-1908, delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1908, and State Senator from the 19th Senatorial District in Manhattan 1905-1908, where he was known as a progressive champion of the people's rights. He was elected a justice of the New York Supreme Court in 1909, was elevated to the Appellate Division of the First Department in 1916, and resigned in 1923. Judge Page returned to private practice, but in March 1930 was appointed official referee for the court on which he had served. He died on February 3, 1931 of pneumonia after an illness of two days. Alfred Rider Page married Elizabeth Merwin Roe on April 27, 1886. The couple had three children: Helen Wickham Page (1888-1897), Elizabeth Merwin Page Harris (1889-1969), and Marjorie Page Schauffler (1897-1983).
Elizabeth Merwin Roe Page was born on September 8, 1861 and died on September 10, 1943 in Sierra Madre, California, where she moved after her husband's death. She was the daughter of Alfred Cox and Emma Wickham Roe and sister of Mary Wickham Roe. From about 1903 to 1913 she served as Field Secretary for the Women's Board of Domestic Missions of the Reformed Church in America. Elizabeth Page was the author of In Camp and Tepee published in 1915, a book that described the Indian mission activities supported by the Women's Board. In November 1932 she joined her author daughter Elizabeth in California and remained there for most of the rest of her life. Her health was poor and glaucoma eventually caused blindness. Description of the Papers
The Page Family Papers provide documentation on the lives and careers of Alfred Rider Page, his wife Elizabeth Mervin Roe Page, and their two children, Elizabeth Merwin Page Harris and Marjorie Page Schauffler. The papers also contain correspondence and other papers concerning several generations of Page, Rider, and Roe relatives. The papers span the dates 1828-1948, but the bulk of the material covers the years 1876-1943. The Page Family Papers were donated to Yale University in December 1975 and January 1983 by Marjorie Page Schauffler and her daughter Elizabeth Dudley Schauffler Lyman. Significant related material can be found in the Roe Family Papers(MsGr 774) and the Elizabeth Page Harris Papers(MsGr 771).
The Page Family Papers are the third of five related family collections, the others being the Wickham Family Papers, Roe Family Papers, Elizabeth Page Harris Papers, and Schauffler Family Papers. In order to ensure that correspondence to and from the same individuals is kept together, a hierarchical system of arrangement for these collections has been adopted. For example, Elizabeth Merwin Roe Page's correspondence with her grandparents is found in the Wickham Family Papers, while that with her parents, brothers, and sisters is in the Roe Family Papers.
The Page Family Papers are divided into six series. Series I, CORRESPONDENCE, fills Boxes 1-8. It contains letters of Alfred and Elizabeth Page, plus a small amount of third party Page family correspondence. Series II, FAMILY PAPERS, consists of a variety of papers, primarily concerning Alfred Rider Page, Angeline Rider Page, and Elizabeth Merwin Roe Page. Series III contains diaries of Elizabeth Page. Series IV, BUSINESS AND LEGAL PAPERS, consists of financial and legal records of Alfred and Elizabeth Page, while Series V contains a variety of printed works collected by several family members. Series VI, PHOTOGRAPHS, has photographs of family and friends and concludes with pictures of places. Boxes 32-33 contain oversize photographs, certificates. and other papers.
Series I, CORRESPONDENCE, is chronologically arranged and is housed in Boxes 1-8 of the Page Family Papers. The collection contains some professional correspondence of Alfred Rider Page and Elizabeth Mervin Roe Page, but consists primarily of personal and family correspondence.
The papers provide only scattered references to the legal and political career of Alfred Rider Page. Series I has one 1893 and two 1895 letters that allude to legal business; and 1896 letter from Thomas Collier Platt addressed to Page as "President, Stalwart Republican Club;" a November 1906 campaign letter; a January 1922 letter from Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes; and a series of letters written in April and May 1923 expressing regret at Judge Page's impending resignation from the New York Supreme Court. Additional references to his professional life occasionally appear in family correspondence. More substantive material can be found in Series II, FAMILY PAPERS, in Box 10, folders 199-202 and Box 33 Oversize, folders 461-462.
Much better documentation exists for the period when Elizabeth Page, usually called Lillie, served as Field Secretary for the Women's Board of Domestic Missions. An interesting series of letters written between 1900 and 1916, folders 15-33, gives considerable information about the missionary activities of the Reformed Church in America among reservation Indians in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and New Mexico. The largest quantity of material concerns Colony Mission in Colony, Oklahoma, site of the missionary labors of Walter Clark and Mary Wickham Roe. Correspondents include officials of the Women's Board of Domestic Missions, missionaries, workers at missions, and Indians. Correspondents of note who were involved in missionary endeavours are Martha Garrett Graham, Richard H. Harper, Mary Jensen, Reese Kincaide, Eustace Merrick, Nicholas S. Sichterman, Henry A. Vruwink, John Warnhius, and G. A. Watermulder. Lillie Page's most important Indian correspondents were Louisa Johnson Bear, Frank Hamilton, William Ohlerking, and Howard White Wolf. Missionary correspondence falls off two years after the publication of In Camp and Tepee, but some of the same individuals reappear between 1941 and 1943 after the death of Elizabeth Page's sister, Mary Wickham Roe. Further information on the missionary work of Elizabeth Page is found in Series II, FAMILY PAPERS, Boxes 12-13, folders 228-242 and in Series III, DIARIES, in Box 16.
The bulk of the correspondence, however, is personal in nature. For the period to 1901, folders 1-15, there is a variety of correspondence from relatives on both the Page and Roe sides of the family. The collection contains five letters from Charles Page to his son Alfred written in 1876-1877; courtship and early marriage letters between Alfred and Elizabeth Roe Page covering the years 1882-1889; several letters of Angeline Rider Page, Alfred's widowed mother; and a series of 1894 letters written by Alfred's cousin, Samuel Hickock Kellogg. Series I also includes a number of letters of sympathy following the death of Helen Wickham Page, Alfred and Lillie's eldest child, in January 1897.
The volume of family correspondence increases when the two remaining daughters grow up. The papers contain five letters from elder child Elizabeth, usually called Bee or Bess, in 1896-1897, but her correspondence only becomes steady in 1914, when she began teaching at Walnut Hill School in Natick, Massachusetts. Her letters provide useful documentation of the life of an educated, career oriented single woman in the period between World War I and World War II, a woman, however, who was as devoted to her family as she was to her work. Correspondence covers Bee's teaching at Walnut Hill School 1914-1916, her Y.M.C.A. work in France in World War I, her service for the International Grenfell Association at White Bay, Newfoundland 1921-1925, and her secretarial work in the offices of Doctors Chester and Herbert Harris in Basin, Wyoming 1927-1931. Between 1930 and 1939 Elizabeth Page wrote three books, the best known The Tree of Liberty, a thousand page historical novel published in 1939. Her correspondence gives information about her research and writing, news of family and friends, and shows Bee's concern for her ailing mother. The circumstances surrounding the death of Bee's aunt, Mary Wickham Roe, are also discussed, particularly in a letter from Bee to her mother on June 18, 1941. The second daughter, Marjorie Page Schauffler, called Marnie, did not write her parents as often as her older sister. In addition, like her mother, she often failed to date her letters. See Box 8, folders 153-156. The Page Family Papers contain, however, a large number of letters from Marnie and lesser numbers from her husband, Bennet Fellows Schauffler, and their three children, Richard, Peter, and Elizabeth, called Jing. A handful of 1918-1919 letters document Marnie's Grenfell Association work.
The collection contains letters of Alfred and Lillie Page to their children and correspondence between husband and wife on the rare occasions they were separated. In the summer of 1922 Judge Page travelled to Europe and his wife stayed at the Page summer cottage on Lake Bomoseen in Castleton, Vermont. Lillie and Bee vacationed in Jamaica in the winter of 1927 and Judge Page visited his daughter in Basin, Wyoming in the summer of 1930. The Page Family Papers also include a handful of letters from Richard Price Rider, the uncle of Alfred and Elizabeth Page, and of cousin Ella E. Winslow, plus more than sixty letters from cousin Henry Wickham Quinan, most written between 1938 and 1943.
Lillie's health problems in old age are well documented. In 1933, some two years after the death of her husband, Lillie Page joined her daughter Bee in Sierra Madre, California, where she remained for most of the rest of her life. Her glaucoma worsened, and, despite two cataract operations, she eventually lost her sight. For the last eight years of her life, she had a secretary-companion, Grace J. Lauman, who helped care for her and wrote her letters. Despite poor health and increasing blindness, Lillie remained active. She made new friends and kept in close touch with relatives who had moved to California, including sister Mary Wickham Roe; cousins Caroline Marsh Roe, Nellie Roe Stevenson, and Elizabeth Roe Willits; and several nieces and nephews. For additional information on Elizabeth Roe Page's health problems, and activities in California, see Series II, FAMILY PAPERS, Box 12, folder 222; Series III, DIARIES; and Series IV, Box 21, folder 319.
Series I also includes correspondence concerning family business and legal affairs after the death of Alfred Rider Page. The Page family lawyers were old friends Harding Johnson and Edward C. O. Thomas. Alfred F. Cherry gave advice on investment in property. E. C. Perkins took care of the Manchester, Vermont homestead and after his death in 1936 Helen L. Pearson administered it. Mrs. Elizabeth Page corresponded with Louis Martin, Sheila S. Orvis, and Esther G. Shaw, three Vermont real estate brokers, concerning family property in Manchester and on Lake Bomoseen. The series also contains a handful of letters from a variety of friends, the most important being Helen L. Brokaw, Marion Garrett Graham, and Anna Lawrence Brown.
Series II, FAMILY PAPERS, is housed in Boxes 9-15 of the Page Family Papers and consists of a variety of alphabetically arranged materials by and about several members of the Page and allied families. The series contains, for example, genealogical notes and correspondence on the Page, Rider, Hickock, Kellogg, Lockwood, and other related families; a composition book of Julia Page Kellogg; two folders of correspondence, depositions, and drafts of legislation concerning the case of Benjamin and Thomas Laurent, English merchants residing in Mexico City whose property was confiscated during the Mexican War; six folders of material on Angeline Rider Page, Judge Alfred Page's mother; composition books of Helen Wickham Page, the Page's eldest daughter who died in 1897; a small group of poems written by Richard Price Rider; and a memorial sermon delivered on the death of missionary Frank Hall Wright. The largest quantity of material in Series II, concerns Alfred Rider Page and Elizabeth Merwin Roe Page. Information on Judge Page is found in Boxes 10-11, folders 190-209 and in Box 33, Oversize, folders 458-463. It consists of such things as certificates, diplomas, official announcement of judicial appointments, newspaper clippings on his political career, souvenirs of a 1922 European trip, obituaries, and estate papers. Material on Lillie Page is found in Boxes 11-14, folders 217-252. It includes birth and death certificates, a DAR application, printed material from a 1914 beauty course, inspirational prose and poetry, and recipes. Folders 222-227 contain estate papers. Two letters from Bee to her lawyers written in September 1943(folder 222) provide a good outline of Lillie's health problems in the decade prior to her death. The files are, however, primarily concerned with settling the estate of Elizabeth Merwin Roe Page, a task complicated by legal uncertainty about her place of residence. The series also contains fifteen folders of notes, drafts, photographs, miscellanea, and several copies of In Camp and Tepeedocumenting Lillie Page's service as field secretary for the Women's Board of Domestic Missions.
Series III consists of three boxes of diaries kept by Elizabeth Merwin Roe Page and one appointment book belonging to Judge Alfred R. Page. The series has nine folders of diaries documenting Lillie's missionary work between 1902 and 1912 and eight volumes of diaries reporting daily activities for the years 1909-1943. The entries were written by Lillie Page until February 1935 at which time her sight had become so poor that she could no longer continue writing. Thereafter the entries were inscribed by companions and most are in the hand of Grace J. Lauman They provide considerable detail about day to day activities of the Pages and also contain a good deal of information about the lives, illnesses, and deaths of Page and Roe relatives. The diaries together with family correspondence in Series I give, for example, a great amount of supplementary information about the life and activities of Lillie's sister, Mary Wickham Roe.
Series IV, BUSINESS AND LEGAL PAPERS, fills Boxes 19-21 of the Page Family Papers, The series contains bank records, cancelled checks, insurance policies, tax bills, and other similar financial material. It also includes business and legal records concerning Page property at Lake Bomoseen, Vermont; Manchester, Vermont; and the family home at 2202 Loring Place in the borough of the Bronx, New York City. The files for legal records and Mary C. McMillan (Box 21, folders 311 and 313) give insight into Page financial difficulties, while material in Box 21, folders 316, 319, and 320 provides information on the ownership and upkeep of the Manchester, Vermont house.
PRINTED WORKS are housed in Boxes 22-27 of the Page Family Papers and contain books, leaflets, magazines, maps, newspaper clippings, and pamphlets owned by several different Pages. Nineteen of thirty-one books belonged to Angeline Rider Page. Most of the nonbook material appears to have been collected by Elizabeth Merwin Roe Page.
The final series is designated as PHOTOGRAPHS. Photographs of people, mostly of family, are found in Boxes 28-29, folders 388-422 and those of places in Boxes 29-32, folders 423-457. Boxes 32-33, Oversize, contain eight folders of photographs and six folders of material on Alfred Rider Page.
Arranged in six series and one addition: I. Correspondence. II. Family Papers. III. Diaries. IV. Business and Legal Papers. V. Printed Works. VI. Photographs.
I. CORRESPONDENCE, 1841-1943
II. FAMILY PAPERS, 1828-1948
III. DIARIES, 1893-1943
IV. BUSINESS AND LEGAL PAPERS, 1880-1943
V. PRINTED WORKS, 1865-1941
VI. PHOTOGRAPHS, 1863-1922