A number of Finding Aids for our special collections are available in electronic format.
Dr. Albert Leffingwell (1845-1916) was a physician, social reformer, and vocal advocate for vivisection reform, was born in Aurora, NY. Leffingwell authored many books, bringing to light the cruel abuses of animal experimentation and calling for regulation. He worked at the Dansville Sanatorium in Dansville, NY, had a private practice in New York City, and served as U.S. Consul to Warsaw in 1905. His wife, Elizabeth (née Fear) was also a doctor. His son, Albert Fear Leffingwell (1895-1946) was a pulp novelist who wrote mystery thrillers under the pen name Dana Chambers.
Amanda Pope graduated from Wells College in 1936. She was closely involved in the literary scene of Wells and was associate editor of The Chronicle beginning in 1935. The majority of the collection consists of Pope’s English composition papers, copies of The Chronicle, and profiles of alumnae.
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is a professional organization of professors and other academics in the United States. The organization’s stated mission is to advance academic freedom and shared governance to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the higher good. Founded in 1915 by Arthur O. Lovejoy and John Dewey, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing standards and procedures that maintain the quality in education and academic freedom in the country’s colleges and universities. This collection contains correspondence, meeting minutes, council records, and committee reports from AAUP from 1910 through the 1960’s.
Born in 1938, Anne J. Russ earned her B.S. in Education from SUNY Cortland in 1959, her M.A. in Latin American History from Southern Methodist University in 1968, and her PhD from Cornell in U.S. Women’s Education and Administration in Higher Education in 1980. Russ began teaching at Wells College in 1982 as a professor of Sociology and eventually became Emeritus of Sociology and Education. She received numerous awards, including the first Excellence in Academic Advising Award in 1993. Russ wrote her doctoral dissertation on Wells, titled Higher Education for Women: Intent, Reality, and Outcomes, Wells College, 1868-1913. While still teaching at Wells, Russ passed away from cancer in March of 2001. This collection includes the papers of Anne J. Russ, from her PhD dissertation and various research projects, to information and notes from her administrative and committee work.
Professor Bruce Bennett began teaching English at Wells College in 1973. He has been publishing regularly since his arrival at Wells and is charge of an active program for visiting writers and the Book Arts Center. He arranged the Victor Hammer Symposium in 1995, and as a teacher of creative writing, received the Excellence in Teaching Award in 1990. This collection contains correspondence, materials related to the Wells College Books Arts Center and the Victor Hammer Symposium.
Edwin Barber Morgan (May 2, 1806-October 13, 1881) was born in Aurora, New York, the eldest son of Chrisopher and Nancy (Barber) Morgan. He was an entrepreneur and politicin; the first president of the Wells Fargo & Co., founder of the United States Express Co., and director of American Express Co. Morgan was elected to the United States House of Representatives from New York and served three terms. In the post-war period, Morgan became active with colleges. Among his many accomplishments, Morgan was a trustee of Cornell University from 1865-74 and founded a college for women, Wells College, with his friend Henry Wells. This collection contains records of business transactions, property investments, personal correspondence, travel diaries and ephemera from the life of E.B. morgan, as well as, his father, Christopher Morgan, and known associates. In addition, the collection has extensive material documenting Morgan’s life and pursuits, including travel abroad, military and government service, and his connection with the New York Times.
Erastus Dow Palmer (1817-1904) was an American neo-classical sculptor. Palmer sculpted several pieces for Wells College, including Morning and Evening (Located in Macmillan Hall outside the Art Exhibit Room) and the medallions titled Nancy and Charlotte (Located in Morgan Hall). Palmer was a friend of Henry Wells and E.B. Morgan and spent may summers in Aurora. The Palmer Collection contains material about Palmer, used by Temple Hollcroft and Joseph Gravit, as well as, pictures of Palmer and his work.
Else Fleissner was Professor of German at Wells College from 1927-1969. Her husband, Otto Fleissner, was Professor of German at Wells from 1926-1958. Both were distinguished scholars and published extensively. This collection covers the period just prior to WWII to 1982. It includes correspondence from friends inside Nazi Germany and other personal papers and manuscripts.
Ethel Tower was a student at Wells College from 1899-1903. The collection originally came from the Michigan Historical Collection at the Bently Libray of the University of Michigan. It includes letters from Ethel to her mother in Detroit while at Wells College. She vividly details her day to day experiences at Wells covering classes, social events, vacations, and sports.
Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston was born on July 21, 1864 in Buffalo, New York. She graduated from Central High School in Buffalo and attended Wells College. During her senior year at Wells, Frances accepted a marriage proposal from the President Grover Cleveland. The couple married in June 2, 1886 at the White House. At the age of 21, she bacme the youngest First Lady. After her husbands death in 1908, Frances moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where she met Thomas Preston. The couple moved to Aurora and married in 1913. She served as a trustee member at Wells College. Cleveland Library was built in 1911 and named in her honor. She attended the dedication during the Commencement of 1911. Frances passed away in 1947 and was buried with President Cleveland in Princeton, New Jersey.
The collection covers three periods of her life: as a Wells student, as First Lady, and her departure from the White House to her return to Aurora with Thomas Preston. The collection contains portraits, articles, and photographs of the commemoration after her death in 1847.
Frances de la Montayne graduated from Wells College in 1929 and was a member of the Alumnae Association. She was affectionately known to her classmates as “Monkey.” The collection contains materials relating to her association with the college, including an extensive collection of “Goodnight Notes” from her classmates.
Helen Fairchild Smith served as Lady Principal and Professor of English Literature at Wells College in 1876 and was Dean of the College from 1894-1905. She served on the Board of Trustees from 1887 until her death in 1926. Smith was a friend and mentor to First Lady Frances Folsom Cleveland and visited her at the White House. The collection includes her personal correspondence and diaries.
Helen Milliken Nash was the daughter of Julia Severance Milliken, a close friend of Frances Folsom Cleveland, and a large benefactor of Wells College. Helen and her two sisters attended Wells in the early twentieth century; Helen graduated in 1914. She and her sisters were financers of the Aurora Inn. Helen was a trustee in 1936 and 1958 and invested much time into the redecoration of Taylor House. The collection contains financial records from Aurora Inn Inc., correspondences, and photographs of Wells College.
Jane C. Morgan graduated from Wells College in 1934. She became Alumnae Secretary in 1946 and served until 1963. She stayed in Aurora, NY and purchased a small house in the center of the village. After remodeling it, she turned the house into a dress shop, “Jane Morgan’s Little House,” which opened in 1964. She sold the house in 1993 to her assistant, Randi Shaw Zabriskie (Class of 1974). The collection contains correspondence, photographs, and ephemera from Jane Morgan’s student life at Wells College as well as, news clippings and reunion materials.
Jean Scobie Davis (1892-1985) graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1914 and received her master’s degree in 1921 from the University of Wisconsin. Over the course of her long career, she taught at several colleges including Vassar, Pierce, Wells, and the American Women’s College in Beirut. Davis came to Wells College in 1928 and retired from the college in 1957, after twenty-nine years teaching Economics and Sociology. Her notes are the best account Wells has of life for women faculty between 1928 and 1946. Davis had a lifelong interest in prison reform and was a member of the Board of Visitors for the NYS Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, New York for 36 years. The collection contains personal notes related to Wells College, Auburn Prison, Dr. Macmillan, George Morgan Ward, Helen Fairchild Smith, Robert Tristram Coffin, Frances Folsom Cleveland, and many Wells professors.
The Wells College Lesbian Bisexual Alliance was a diverse group of lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual women united by a commitment to bring issues affecting the community to the forefront of campus activity. The community encompassed a variety of individuals with diverse ethnic/racial, religious, and national backgrounds. Their purpose was two-fold: visibility and support. Visibility defined as a commitment to bring issues of sexual orientation into all areas of college life from programming to curriculum. Support defined as the continued presence of an alliance for students, faculty, and administration dedicated to providing a safe space for lesbians, bisexuals, and questioning women. The LBA Papers cover the groups’ activities on the Wells College campus from the years 1988-1995. Included are meeting minutes, programs, educational materials, as well as, information about the Upstate New York Gay and Lesbian Intercollegiate Network (UNYGALIN).
At their graduation in 1923, five Wells Women started a Round-Robin letter called “The Meow,” and kept it going for more than fifty years. The letters in this collection were written by Mary F. Hale. The other four members of the group were: Constance Brown, Elsie Browning, Julia Phough, and Margaret Wyer. The collection contains letters written by the women from 1923 until 1981. Also included in the collection are photographs of the women.
The book, “Mineo Takada: August the Sixth, before and after,” is a collection of letters exchanged between a mother, Mineo Takada, and her son Masaichiro Takada; a schoolboy evacuated from Hiroshima in 1945. The letters were edited by Sylvia Warner ’33. The majority of the collection is the correspondence between Sylvia Warner and those she sought information from; the Takada family, Wells College, etc. The remainder of the collection includes original manuscript, the published book, handwritten poems by Robert Coffin, and information about atomic weapons.
William Ernest Weld served as Wells College’s eighth president, from 1936 to 1945. The collection contains his personal papers covering the years 1935-1950, including his interaction and communications with other colleges, people of distinction in academia, and his personal connections with those that influenced his life and his presidency at Wells College. Also included are Henry Stebbins’ correspondence with President Weld, as Finance member and Trustee of the college.
The Round Robin Letters were started by a group of women who called themselves the “True Blues,” made up of eleven women, mostly from the class of 1936. The Round Robin Letters were started in 1938 as a way for the group to keep in touch. They continued writing into the late 1970s. The collection contains the letters and photographs of the group.
Tano Jodai was born in Daito Machi, Japan in 1886. As a student at Japan Women’s College she took English classes and was encouraged to make international friends. Tano graduated high school in 1910 and applied to Wells College based on the recommendation of her former teacher, Dr. Inazo Nitobe. Dr. Nitobe had lectured at Wells College. In 1913, Tano began classes at Wells College after receiving a scholarship. She majored in English and graduated from the college in 1917. After her graduation, she returned to Japan to teach English. Tano returned to the U.S. several times to study literature at the University of Michigan and received her Master’s degree from Smith College. She served as Dean, and President of the Japan Women’s College. She kept a close connection with Wells throughout her life, returning to celebrate her 50th Reunion with her classmates. The collection primarily contains letters between Jane Morgan, Eleanor Martin, and Tano Jodai, relating to the history of Wells College and its interactions with the Japan Women’s College University from the mid 1960s to the early 1970s. Also included are newspaper clippings and additional miscellaneous items related to each college and their shared history.
Temple Rice Hollcroft (1889-1967) was born in Indiana. He was a Mathematics Professor at Wells College from 1918 to 1953. After his tenure as a faculty member, he was named as the Wells College Historian. He wrote a series of short pieces of historical interest which appeared in the Alumna News. The Hollcroft collection contains an array of primary source documents relating to the history of Wells College, Henry Wells, E.B. Morgan, and the various companies established by the two men. In addition, documents relating to Cayuga County, and numerous notes and correspondence collected during his tenure at Wells College.
Henry Wells was born on 1805 in Thetford, Vermont and moved to Central New York as a child. Wells started his own business as an express agent on the Erie Canal in the 1830s, where he began expanding mail service to Western New York. In 1850, Henry Wells formed the American Express Co. and became its first president. During this time, Wells moved his residence to Aurora, New York, building his estate at Glen Park. He later formed a partnership with E.B. Morgan to establish the Wells Fargo & Co., the first transcontinental postal service. He retired from both Wells Fargo in 1867 and the presidency of American Express in 1868. In 1868, Wells founded Wells College in Aurora, New York, after deciding not to accept Ezra Cornell’s offer to build a women’s seminary on the Cornell University campus. Wells died in Scotland in 1878 and was buried in Aurora, New York. The collection is mainly focused on the biographical aspects of the rise of the famous founder of American Express and Wells Fargo Express Mail & Banking Service, and as founder of Wells College. Included are family documents as recoded by his children, great grandchildren, and historians of Henry Wells.
Victor Hammer was born in Vienna in 1882. Hammer apprenticed as an architect at age 15 until he transferred in to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. In 1922, Hammer moved to Florence, Italy where he set up a printing press and worked as a printer. In 1939, he and his wife fled Europe and settled in the U.S., eventually landing in Aurora, NY where he taught Art at Wells College. While at Wells, Hammer established the Wells College Press and his personal Hammer Press. During this time, he designed the “Aurora” and “American Unical” typefaces. In 1948, after retiring from Wells, Hammer moved to Lexington, Kentucky where he worked as Artist-in Residence at Transylvania College. Hammer died in 1967 at the age of 84. The collection contains personal correspondences, including request for information sent to Wells, a collection of print work from his time at Wells, along with, articles, newsprint, photographs, and bibliographic information on Hammer.
The Canteeners from Wells College were part of the YMCA program that sent alumnae overseas during WWI, ten to a unit, stationed at various canteens in groups of two. Members were to be college graduates, over the age of 25. The YMCA canteens were intended to entertain and cheer men returning from the front for a period of rest. The women’s sole duty, unlike the women in The Red Cross, was to raise morale through planned entertainment, movies, running errands, and aiding in religious work. The contents of the collection are letters the Wells Canteener women sent home from abroad, newspaper articles describing the conditions, and an article titled “The Y Girl in the Leave Area.”