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Edith Doane (Brown) Abbot (1887-1978) Papers

Edith Doane (Brown) Abbot (1887-1978) Papers

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EDITH DOANE (BROWN) ABBOT (1887-1978) PAPERS, 1899-1978

Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Abbot, Edith Doane (Brown), 1887-1978
Title:Edith Doane (Brown) Abbot (1887-1978) Papers
Quantity:4 linear feet (8 boxes)
Abstract:The collection is comprised of the personal papers of Edith Doane (Brown) Abbot. It also includes the papers of additional members of the Brown and Abbot families.
Collection Number:MSS 416

Series List

SERIES I. Correspondence
SERIES II. Scrapbooks
SERIES IV. Family Papers

Scope and Content Note

The collection is comprised of eight boxes of the personal papers of Edith Doane (Brown) Abbot from 1889-1978 arranged in four series. The collection also includes the papers of additional members of the Brown and Abbot families.

Series I. Correspondence contains correspondence to and from the Brown family including information about Edith's time at Bryn Mawr College and the Brown family's international travels from 1887-1927 [bulk 1905-1927]. Included in the Brown Family Correspondence (B1 F1) is an 1887 birth announcement of Edith Doane Brown. A 1912 Voyage Letter Book documents Abbot's travels in Egypt and the Mediterranean. Related material on the voyage can be found in Series III. Scrapbooks in Volume 3. The correspondence regarding the 50th reunion of the Bryn Mawr College Class of 1909 contains the booklet "Phoenix Profiles." A short autobiography of Edith Doane Brown is also included. The photographs contain family photographs from the Brown, Abbot and Zimmerman families from 1886-1961. The childhood photograph of Abbot is noteworthy as it includes the names of her siblings. Many of the envelopes were previously separated from the correspondence; they are contained in Box 3 of the series.

Series II. Scrapbooks contains three volumes of scrapbooks created by Abbot. The scrapbooks all contain information on social, sporting and religious events in Massachusetts and at Bryn Mawr College along with Abbot's detailed annotations. There are many invitations, calling cards, event programs, newspaper clippings and mementos. The second volume of the scrapbook contains Edith's 1904 Salem Classical and High School Valedictorian speech. The third volume of the scrapbook includes photographs of plays and sports teams at Bryn Mawr College and information regarding Abbot's 1912 voyage to Egypt and the Mediterranean.

Series III. Diaries contains continuous diaries from 1889-1925 and one diary for 1948. The series also contains one account book from 1905-1906 detailing Abbot's expenses at Bryn Mawr College. The diaries begin as childhood diaries detailing school and play dates. They later detail social engagements and family matters. The diaries for 1905-1909 detail her time at Bryn Mawr College. The diary for 1907 is labeled by Abbot as "absolutely private."

Series IV. Family Papers contains papers from the Edith Doane (Brown) Abbot collection and additional donations by her daughter, Edith Abbot. They include a two-volume set of the Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow awarded to Sarah H. Brown from Salem High School in 1865. The 1927 album of Mr. and Mrs. Frank A. Brown (parents of Edith Doane Abbot), includes many picture postcards of their Mediterranean and European tour. In Series I. Correspondence there are letters from Mr. and Mrs. Frank A. Brown to Edith from their tour. The papers of Walter Lyle Abbot contain event programs and his obituary. Anne Appleton (Abbot) Willard's papers contain her baby record book begun in 1922 by Abbot. The baby record book also contains some information on Abbot's other daughters, Edith, Caroline, and Madeline, as well as newspaper clippings and a few photographs.

Biographical Sketch

Edith Doane (Brown) Abbot was born December 15, 1887 in Salem, Massachusetts, to Mr. and Mrs. Frank A. Brown. Edith was raised in Salem with one brother, Francis Brown, and one sister, Caroline Appleton Brown. She graduated from Salem Classical and High School in the Classical Course in 1904 as valedictorian of the class. Edith attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, graduating in 1909. After Bryn Mawr College, Edith returned to live in Salem. In 1912 she traveled with her Bryn Mawr classmate, Edith Holt and her family, for two months to Egypt and the Mediterranean, visiting Italy and Sicily. In 1921 Edith married Walter Lyle Abbot, son of Walter A. Abbot and Annie (Clapp) Abbot. Walter L. Abbot was a Sales Manager at Packers Produce and later President of Salem's Old Fashion Candies, Inc. Edith spent the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s raising their four daughters Anne, Edith, Caroline, and Madeline Abbot in Salem. Edith and her family attended Grace Church in Salem, where she was a Sunday school teacher. Edith was active in many charitable and civic activities: the Alter Guild; Director of the Salem Female Charitable Society; and Committee Member at the Essex Institute. Her hobbies included gardening. In the 1950s Edith and her husband Walter moved from Salem to their summer home in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Edith's husband, Walter L. Abbot died in 1968. Edith Doane (Brown) Abbot died January 1, 1978 in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Edith's oldest daughter Anne Appleton Abbot, attended Hamilton College and later married a rector, Pitt S. Willand, of St. Louis, Missouri. Her daughter Edith "Budge" Abbot lived in Richmond, Virginia returning later to live in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Her daughter Caroline Abbot, married Edwin M. Zimmerman, a lawyer in New York and later Assistant Attorney General in Washington, D.C. Her daughter Madeline Abbot married Richard W. Thomas, an insurance agent in Salem, Massachusetts.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Abbot, Edith
Abbot, Edith Doane (Brown), 1887-1978
Abbot, Walter Lyle
Brown, Charles
Brown, Frank A.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882
Thomas, Madeline (Abbot)
Zimmerman, Edwin M.
Bryn Mawr College
Salem High School (Salem, Mass.)
Account books


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

Edith Doane (Brown) Abbot (1887-1978) Papers, MSS 416, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


The bulk of this collection was donated in the 1970s. It also includes accession numbers 1999.034 and 2003.004, which were donated by Edith Abbot (daughter of Edith Doane Abbot).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Marika Cifor, October 2009.

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