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Guide to the John Armstrong Chaloner papers, 1862-1935

Abstract

Great-grandson of John Jacob Astor; from Cobham (Albemarle County), Virginia.

Business and personal correspondence, legal briefs, literary manuscripts, and miscellaneous papers. The letters, about half of the collection, are concerned with John Chaloner's attempts to have himself declared sane after a four-year involuntary internment in Bloomingdale Asylum at White Plains, N.Y. Letters also concern the circulation of some of his poetry; and congratulations to Chaloner on obtaining a favorable verdict regarding his sanity in the U.S. Supreme Court. The literary manuscripts are generally confined to treatises on the lunacy laws of various states. Other letters refer to the encouragment of film industry in rural areas. Included also are photographs; cancelled checks; telegrams; invitations and clippings, the latter largely confined to the career of his divorced wife, the novelist Amélie Rives. Among the correspondents are Philip Alexander Bruce, Richard Evelyn Byrd, J. H. Choate, Walter Duranty, A. C. Gordon, Joseph Jastrow, Claude Kitchin, Lee Slater Overman, and W. L. Phelps.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Chaloner, John Armstrong, 1862-1935.
Title
John Armstrong Chaloner papers 1862-1935
Language of Material
English
Extent
14 Linear Feet, Approx. 6,500 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Collection contains business and personal correspondence, legal briefs, literary manuscripts, and miscellaneous papers belonging to John A. Chaloner, eccentric millionaire and great-grandson of John Jacob Astor. The letters, about half of the collection, are concerned with Chaloner's attempts to have himself declared sane after involuntary internment in Bloomingdale Asylum at White Plains, N.Y. by his family because of his excessive interest in spiritualism. He escaped from the asylum after four years. The letters contain mentions of his efforts to regain possession of his estate; verdicts from pyschologists concerning his mental condition; content on the fostering of motion pictures for rural areas; the circulation of some of his poems on European politics prior to 1914; and congratulations to Chaloner on obtaining a favorable verdict regarding his sanity in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The literary manuscripts are generally confined to treatises on the lunacy laws of various states. The briefs and legal notes are concerned with trials and appeals against the state of New York, and against the Washington Post for slander. Other materials in the collection include cancelled checks; telegrams; photographs; invitations and clippings, the latter chiefly related to the career of his divorced wife, novelist Amélie Rives, who later married Prince Pierre Troubetzkoy, and to the comment caused by the popular phrase coined by Chaloner: "Who's looney now?" Among the correspondents are Philip Alexander Bruce, Richard Evelyn Byrd, J. H. Choate, Walter Duranty, A. C. Gordon, Joseph Jastrow, Claude Kitchin, Lee Slater Overman, and W. L. Phelps.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Letters, 1782-1893, VIII-E
Box 1
Letters, 1894-1900, VIII-E
Box 2
Letters, 1901-1903, May, VIII-E
Box 3
Letters, 1903, June-1904, VIII-E
Box 4
Letters, 1905-1906, VIII-E
Box 5
Letters, 1907-1909, VIII-E
Box 6
Letters, 1910-1913, VIII-E
Box 7
Letters, 1914-1917, VIII-E
Box 8
Letters, 1918-1922, VIII-E
Box 9
Letters, 1923-1932, VIII-E
Box 10
Letters, undated
Box 11
Bills, receipts, and miscellaneous
Box 11
Letters, undated
Box 12
Legal papers
Box 13
Legal papers, 1891-1919 and undated
Box 14-15
Legal papers, 1893-1909
Box 16
Legal papers, 1911-1917
Box 17
Legal papers, 1918-1925
Box 18
Literary, 1891-1904
Box 19
Literary, 1905-1911
Box 20
Literary, 1912-1915
Box 21
Literary, 1916-1921
Box 22
Literary, 1922-1933 and undated
Box 23
Literary, undated
Box 24
Printed material, 1897-1917
Box 25
Printed material, 1918-1931
Box 26
Clippings
Box 27-28
Photographs
Box 28
Bound volumes
Box 28
Bound manuscript volume
Volume L:519

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • United States Supreme and N.Y. Circuit Court Chaloner trial records [three electronic resources] (Duke University Libraries)
  • John Armstrong Chaloner Papers [147 items] (Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John Armstrong Chaloner Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The John Armstrong Chaloner Papers were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library from 1936-1954.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff, September 2011

Encoded by Matthew Warren and Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, April 2012

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 36-828 and later accessions.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.