Harriet W. Elliott Papers, 1900 - 1947 | Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives
Dewson, Molly, 1874-1962
Education - Indiana - History - 20th century
Education - Missouri - History - 20th century
Elliott, Harriet Wiseman, 1884-1947
Gardner, Oliver Max, 1882-1947
Hanover College - Students - Social life and customs
Park College - Students - Social life and customs
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
United States - Politics and government - 20th century
United States. National Defense Advisory Commission
Women - Political activity - United States - 20th century
Woodward, Ellen S. (Ellen Sullivan)
The Harriet W. Elliott Papers date from 1900 to 1947 and contain correspondence, speeches, reports, minutes of meetings, newspaper clippings, photographs, publications, and news releases.
Most of the early correspondence (1900-1907) was written by Elliott to her mother, with a few letters to her father, sister (Alma) and brother (Blaine). The letters originated from Park College (1900-1904) and from Hanover College (1906-1907).The letters reflect the life of a young girl in school, away from home. They are full of discussions on grades, clothing, food, teachers and classmates, pranks played by the students, and requests for money. Letters tell of dancing (November 10, 1901, September 29, November 2, and December 16, 1902); small pox at school (September 12 and October 20, 1902); egg roasts (October 20 and 27, 1902); girls being "fired" because they broke Rule #2 (Rule #2 governed the time boys were allowed to visit. November 25, 1901 and November 24, 1902); seeing two boys while out walking (April 8, 1901); success of the school's debating teams (March 7 and 8, 1901); and other school-related happenings. Also included are the grades from both schools.
The letters from the summer of 1920 were written by Elliott to her family while visiting England and France. She was particularly interested in the labor movement in Europe and attended the National Trade Union Conference. She told her parents that she was very impressed with the leader of the coal miners but declared that "the whole trade union movement is red and no doubt of it." Her letters also tell of meeting with various European women leaders.
The papers relating to the work of Elliott as Consumer Commissioner on the Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense constitute the largest amount of material in the collection. This includes correspondence, speeches, progress reports, minutes and miscellaneous items. Among the correspondence are letters of congratulations upon her appointment and letters regarding the events surrounding her resignation. General correspondence includes contacts made with consumer groups across the country, letters relating to administrative matters of her division and letters discussing the aims and general concepts of the Commission.
Several small collections of correspondence are filed by the name of the individuals. People in this series include Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Judge Florence Allen, O. Max Gardner, Mary "Molly" Dewson, and others. Some of the correspondence is purely personal; however, much of it concerns a specific organization, idea or event. Most of the correspondence with the Roosevelts concerns Elliott's work as Consumer Commissioner. The correspondence with Mrs. Roosevelt, in particular, relates to the problems of the consumer, while that involving Franklin Roosevelt concerns administrative reports and topics dealing with her position. Some letters filed under Judge Allen's name deal with the efforts of various women (inspired by Elliott) to have Judge Allen named to the U.S. Supreme Court. Correspondence with Mary "Molly" Dewson usually concerns the activities of the National Democratic Party. Another collection of letters involves efforts to keep Ellen Woodward in a prominent position in the Federal Government after the abolishment of the Social Security Board.
There are papers dealing with various organizations and commissions, usually small amounts of correspondence and miscellaneous items. These include the Democratic National Committee, Federation of Women's Clubs, Committee of the South, National Committee on Better Care for Mothers and Babies, and N.C. Conference for Social Service. Small amounts of papers dealing with other governmental appointments show her role as director of the Woman's Division of the War Finance Committee (1942-1946) and as a member of the Advisory Council of Educators working on admitting women into the U. S. Navy.
The material relating to her role with UNESCO contains a small amount of correspondence along with minutes and records of meetings in 1945 and 1946. Also included are such miscellaneous items as the passport used in her trip to London in 1946.
The position of women in government and society is the one theme that runs through many of the papers. Although supporting the defeat of the equal rights amendment (1938 and 1945-1947) for women, Elliott was a staunch believer in women having equal representation in all endeavors, including government positions. Her efforts on behalf of Judge Florence Allen and Ellen Woodward show her avid interest in this area.
A small collection of material (news releases, newsletters and reports) from the Women's Committee, Council of National Defense, is included in the Elliott Collection. It was assumed that these papers belonged to her because she was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to the Women's Committee and because her handwriting is found on many of the papers. Among the miscellaneous papers in the collection are speeches and talks made by Elliott; papers involving her family; personal financial records; and biographical material.