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Clark, Frances Underhill (VC 1891)Guide to the Frances Underhill Clark Papers, 1890-1937 (bulk 1922-1937)

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Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Clark, Frances Underhill
Title: Frances Underhill Clark Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1890-1937
Bulk Dates: 1922-1937
Quantity: 0.70 cubic ft (3 boxes)
Abstract: The bulk of these papers are letters to Clark from conscientious objectors and political prisoners sentenced under the Espionage Act and other legislation enacted during World War I, discussing their lives in prison, their philosophy on war and militarism, political issues, their legal cases, their families, lumberjack experiences, reaction to prison life, and current issues outside prison, 1922-1937. Some of the prisoners were Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) members arrested after labor disturbances in Centralia, Washington. Included are six letters from Ray Becker, 1922-1927, and 41 letters from Warren K. Billings, 1924-1937. Other items include pamphlets, poetry, clippings, and photographs as well as three notebooks from her time at Vassar, 1890-1891.
Forms of Materials: Correspondence, photographs, printed material

Biographical Note

Frances Underhill Clark (1868-1950) was born into a Quaker family. She attended Vassar Preparatory School and was graduated from Vassar College in 1891. Her sister, Adelaide Underhill (Vassar '88), was for many years a librarian at the college. A year after graduation, "Fanny," as she was called, married Dr. George Edward Clark. Although the Clarks never had any children of their own, they informally adopted two orphaned boys and educated a niece. In communications with the Vassar alumnae office Clark described herself as a "homekeeper" and also listed volunteer activities during World War I. As a Quaker she was concerned with the protection of human rights and maintained a large correspondence with political prisoners -- socialists, labor organizers, and conscientious objectors -- many of whom had been sentenced under legislation such as the Espionage Act and the California Criminal Syndicalism Act. She died December 16, 1950.

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Scope and Content Note

The bulk of these papers are letters to Clark from conscientious objectors and political prisoners sentenced under the Espionage Act and other legislation enacted during World War I, discussing their lives in prison, their philosophy on war and militarism, political issues, their legal cases, their families, lumberjack experiences, reaction to prison life, and current issues outside prison, 1922-1937. Some of the prisoners were Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) members arrested after labor disturbances in Centralia, Wash. There are a total of 217 letters. Included are six letters from Ray Becker, 1922-1927, and 41 letters from Warren K. Billings, 1924-1937. Other items include pamphlets, poetry, clippings and photographs as well as three notebooks from her time at Vassar.

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Access and Use

Access

This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library without any additional restrictions.

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Subject Headings

Names:

  • Becker, Ray.
  • Billings, Warren K., 1894-

Organizations:

  • Industrial Workers of the World.
  • Vassar College--students.

Subjects:

  • Prisoners--Attitudes.
  • Conscientious objectors.
  • Human rights.
  • Political prisoners.
  • Prisoners' writings.
  • Socialism--United States.
  • Voluntarism.
  • War--Women's work.
  • Women social reformers.
  • Women, Quaker.
  • World War, 1914-1918--War work.
  • Labor and laboring classes--Washington--Centralia--Political activity.

Places:

  • United States--Politics and government--20th century.

Document Types:

  • Poems

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Encoding Information

Encoded by Laura Finkel, November 2006

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Francis Underhill Clark Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Original proceesing date unknown.

Updated November 2006

Acquisition Information

Gift of Frances Underhill Clark

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Container List

There is no container list currently available for this collection.