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Guide to the Jessie Vanderbilt Simons Papers, 1870-1936 and undated

Abstract

Jessie Vanderbilt McNamee was born in 1874 to a wealthy family residing in Staten Island, New York (Richmond County). In 1901 she married Charles Dewar Simons(1874-1922) and they had one child, Charles Dewar, Jr. Ms. Simons served as a volunteer ambulance driver with the Dongan Hills Motor Corps; helped found and served as the ranking member of the Richmond County chapter of the Red Cross Motor Corps during World War I; served as Vice President of the National Federated Workers for Disabled Soldiers; and was an active member of the Veteran Association of Women War Workers. Her travels throughout Europe during the 1920s and 1930s are documented in diaries, correspondence, and other materials in this collection. Ms. Simons was a friend and neighbor of Alice Austen, a noted photographer who also served in the Richmond County Motor Corps.

The Jessie Vanderbilt Simons papers contain materials dating from 1870 to 1936, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1890 to 1936. Materials in the collection primarily document Simons' travels through Europe during the 1920s and 1930s and her work with the Richmond County chapter of the American Red Cross Motor Corps. Twenty-nine yearly diaries detail daily life, family life, travel, participation in the Motor Corps, and other philanthropic activities. Correspondence with her son, family, and friends is also included; as are receipts, invoices, and other financial materials, primarily from travel to Europe; correspondence, printed materials, a scrapbook, and other items documenting Simons' service with the American Red Cross Motor Corps; material relating to friend, photographer, and fellow Motor Corps member Alice Austen; and photographs.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Simons, Jessie Vanderbilt
Title
Jessie Vanderbilt Simons papers 1870-1936 and undated
Language of Material
English, German
Extent
6.5 Linear Feet, 1000 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The Jessie Vanderbilt Simons papers contain materials dating from 1870 to 1936, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1890 to 1936. Materials in the collection primarily document Simons' travels through Europe during the 1920s and 1930s and her work with the Richmond County chapter of the American Red Cross Motor Corps. Twenty-nine yearly diaries detail daily life, family life, travel, participation in the Motor Corps, and other philanthropic activities. Correspondence with her son, family, and friends is also included; as are receipts, invoices, and other financial materials, primarily from travel to Europe; correspondence, printed materials, a scrapbook, and other items documenting Simons' service with the American Red Cross Motor Corps; material relating to friend, photographer, and fellow Motor Corps member Alice Austen; and photographs.

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

The Jessie Vanderbilt Simons papers contain materials dating from 1870 to 1936, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1890 to 1936. Materials in the collection primarily document Simons' travels through Europe during the 1920s and 1930s and her work with the Richmond County chapter of the American Red Cross Motor Corps. Twenty-nine yearly diaries detail daily life, family life, travel, participation in the Motor Corps, and other philanthropic activities. Correspondence with her son, family, and friends is also included; as are receipts, invoices, and other financial materials, primarily from travel to Europe; correspondence, printed materials, a scrapbook, and other items documenting Simons' service with the American Red Cross Motor Corps; material relating to friend, photographer, and fellow Motor Corps member Alice Austen; and photographs. Files are arranged alphabetically.

American Red Cross, 1914-1922 and undated

Jessie Vanderbilt Simons initially served as Captain of the Dongan Hills Motor Corps, which was later incorporated into the Richmond County Motor Corps. Included are signed letters dated 1914 from Secretary of State Robert Lansing and Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels responding to letters from Simons concerning transportation of Americans attempting to return from England due to wartime conditions. Other correspondence relates to her service in the Motor Corps and her dismissal as Captain of the organization.

(5 folders)
Box 1
Alice Austen, 1880s, 1896, 1931-1934, 1978-1987, and undated
(2 folders)
Box 1
Correspondence, 1890-1936 and undated
(Folders 1-2 of 4)
Box 1
Correspondence, 1890-1936 and undated
(Folders 3-4 of 4)
Box 2
Diaries, 1870-1873, 1890-1893
(5 items)
Box 2
Diaries, 1895-1902
(6 items)
Box 3
Diaries, 1903-1916
(8 items)
Box 4
Diaries, 1918-1925
(9 items)
Box 5
Diaries, 1926-1934
(9 items)
Box 6
Diary, 1935
Box 7
Financial and related materials, 1913-1936 and undated

A large number of receipts and invoices among these materials are in German.

(6 folders)
Box 7
Photographs, 1890s-1930s

Photographs are of Jessie Vanderbilt Simons (4), the Simons home (1), Charles Dewar Simons, Jr. (6), Jessie Vanderbilt Simons and Charles Dewar Simons, Jr. (2), American Red Cross activities (4), Charles Simons' parents (1), Jessie Vanderbilt Simons and Charles Simons (1), Charles Simons (1). Five unidentified photographs are also included.

Box 8
Photographs, 1890s-1930s

Photographs are of Jessie Vanderbilt Simons (2), Jessie Vanderbilt Simons and Charles Dewar Simons, Jr. (1), American Red Cross activities (2), Charles Simons' father (1), Charles Simons' parents (2), Jessie Vanderbilt Simons and her sister, Faith (1), Faith (5), Charles Simons (3).

Box 9
Photographs, 1890s-1930s

Photographs are of Jessie Vanderbilt Simons' sister, Faith (2).

Box 10
Scrapbook, 1917-1920

Documents Simons' service with the American Red Cross, the American Red Cross Motor Corps, the Richmond County Motor Corps, and the National Federated Workers for Disabled Soldiers.

Box 11

Historical Note

Jessie Vanderbilt McNamee was born in 1874 to a wealthy family residing in Staten Island, New York (Richmond County). In 1901 she married Charles Dewar Simons(1874-1922) and they had one child, Charles Dewar, Jr. Ms. Simons served as a volunteer ambulance driver with the Dongan Hills Motor Corps; helped found and served as the ranking member of the Richmond County chapter of the Red Cross Motor Corps during World War I; served as Vice President of the National Federated Workers for Disabled Soldiers; and was an active member of the Veteran Association of Women War Workers. Her travels throughout Europe during the 1920s and 1930s are documented in diaries, correspondence, and other materials in this collection. Ms. Simons was a friend and neighbor of Alice Austen, a noted photographer who also served in the Richmond County Motor Corps.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Jessie Vanderbilt Simons Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Provenance

The Jessie Vanderbilt Simons Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2007.

Processing Information

Processed by Jodi Berkowitz and Melody Rowell, November 2008

Encoded by Jodi Berkowitz, November 2008

Accession 2007-0149 is described in this finding aid.

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

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.