Guide to the Alice J. Cutright Kaine Papers, 1864-1947

Collection Overview

The papers of Alice J. Cutright Kaine document her work primarily as an administrative advisor at the Tuskegee Institute but also include information on her employment as a public school teacher in Springfield, Ill., her service on the board of the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls and the State Board of Control (for prisons), and her travels to Dixfield, Maine, and Nelson County, Va. The collection contains correspondence, writings, legal papers, printed materials, photographs, and ephemera.

The strength of the collection lies with its documentation of Tuskegee Institute. Kaine was hired in 1894 as the head of the Household Department to supervise everything "from the making of bricks to the baking of white bread." (newsclipping, 1947) At the time, Kaine was the only white person on the Institute's staff.

Letters to her brother, Austin Cutright, describe her work her at Tuskegee Institute as well as the Tuskegee community in general. In these letters she speaks frankly about Booker T. Washington's educational philosophy and management style and her close relationship with Washington's wife Margaret and their children. Kaine visited several black families and churches in Tuskegee with the Washingtons and her letters and writings describe the living conditions and religious services she observed as well as the difficulties she had as a white woman in an all black community.

Approximately half of the correspondence from 1896-1903 consists of letters written to Kaine from Tuskegee administrators and Margaret Washington after Kaine's departure from Tuskegee. Letters from J.H. Washington, Superintendent of Industries, contain information on the maintenance of housekeeping practices established by Kaine. Letters from Margaret Washington are of a more personal nature and contain anecdotes and news from Tuskegee. Several of the writings and speeches concern Kaine's work at Tuskegee and describe her experiences from a sympathetic yet somewhat patronizing point of view. A file of printed materials relates exclusively to Tuskegee Institute, and a portrait of the Washington family (ca. 1895) is filed in the photographs series.

Outside of the materials relating to Tuskegee Institute, the papers provide only fragmented documentation of Kaine's life. A few letters to Kaine in the 1860s and 1870s describe her appointment to various teaching positions. Legal papers, writings and addresses, and newsclippings reflect her work with the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls, the State Board of Control, and various social and civic organizations.

Earlier letters, chiefly written to her husband, depict Kaine's visits in the 1880s to New England, particularly Dixfield, Maine, and to her ancestral home in Nelson County, Va. Letters from Dixfield describe the local community life in detail. The series of photographs contains several views of Lovingston, Va., including churches, the courthouse, a hotel, Negro houses and other homes. Letters to Kaine from her brother during the 1940s detail his life in Milwaukee during World War II and to some extent Kaine's life at the Grand Army Home until her death.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Collection Details

Collection Number
Alice J. Cutright Kaine papers
Kaine, Alice J. Cutright, 1845-1947
0.8 Linear Feet, 305 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], The Papers of Alice J. Cutright Kaine, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Alice J. Cutright Kaine Papers, 1864-1947

3 boxes; 1 oversize item
Correspondence, 1864, 1870-1947, and undated.
(4 folders)

Scattered correspondence concerns employment as a teacher in Springfield, Ill.; travels to Dixfield, Maine and Nelson County, Va.; work at Tuskegee Institute; relationships with various social organizations in Wisconsin; letters from brother.

Box 1
Writings and speeches, 1895-1929, and undated.
(1 folder)

Contains notes, speeches, and miscellaneous writings chiefly concerning work at Tuskegee and with the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls. Most of the speeches were delivered to various local social and civic groups in Milwaukee.

Box 1
Legal papers, 1899, 1905.
(1 folder)

Photocopies of Kaine's appointments to the board of the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls and the State Board of Control (for prisons) by the governor. Originals are located in the oversize collection.

Box 1
Printed materials (Tuskegee Institute), ca. 1890s - 1900.
(1 folder)

Pamphlets, brochures, printed speeches, postcards, and handbills describing Tuskegee Institute and its various activities and programs.

Box 1
Newsclippings, 1906-1947, and undated.
(1 folder)

Articles on Kaine published in Milwaukee newspapers, and obituaries of families and friends.

Box 2
(1 folder)

Small account book, cards and invitations, notes, small watercolor by John Kaine, cancelled checks, brochures, calendars and other ephemera.

Box 2
Photographs, 1881 - 1930, and undated.
(3 folders)

Portraits of Kaine, family, and friends, most of which are unidentified; commercial prints of Lynchburg, Va., Natural Bridge, Va., and Chattanooga, Tenn.; various views of Lovingston (Nelson Co.), Va.; portrait of Booker T. Washington family.

Box 2
Legal papers, 1899, 1905.
(1 folder)

Original appointments to state boards (see description above)

Box Sec. A OV9
Photograph, undated.
(1 item)

Rare and fragile crystoleum photograph of Kaine's sister.

Box Sec. A OV9
Vault 211

Historical Note

Alice J. Cutright was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on January 29, 1845. The Cutright family moved to Springfield, Ill., in 1852 where Ms. Cutright attended school and eventually began to teach public school. In 1869 she married Dr. John L. Kaine, a journalist from Milwaukee, Wis., and in 1874 the Kaines moved to Milwaukee where Dr. Kaine took a position with the Milwaukee Sentinel and Alice Kaine continued her work in education and public service.

Ms. Kaine was an active member on the Board of the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls on which she served for 27 years, fourteen of those as Secretary. From 1894-1896 she was employed as an advisor to Tuskegee Institute and in 1898 she became the first woman appointed to serve on the Wisconsin State Board of Control for Prisons. Kaine was active in several social and civic clubs such as the Women's Club of Wisconsin and the Social Economics Club. She was a charter member of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1933, she was admitted to the Grand Army Home where she died in 1947.

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The papers of Alice J. Cutright Kaine, an educator, were purchased by the Rubenstein Library in 1986.

Processing Information

Processed by: Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Staff

Completed in 1986

Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller