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Mary Hoyt Wiborg papers

 Collection
Call Number: YCAL MSS 1408

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of correspondence, writings, photographs, personal papers, printed material, and electronic files by or relating to Mary Hoyt Wiborg. Materials document her life as an expatriate in France, service as a volunteer nurse in both World Wars, and work as a playwright. Included are letters from Wiborg to her father Frank Bestow Wiborg in 1918, describing her experiences at a French military hospital during World War I, and correspondence with her sisters Sara Murphy and Olga Fish, and Sara's husband Gerald. Among the other correspondents are prominent literary, artistic, political, and military figures such as Jean Cocteau, Noel Coward, Mamie Eisenhower, Manuel de Falla, John J. Pershing, and Eleanor Roosevelt. The collection additionally contains a scrapbook of clippings, correspondence, and posters for Wiborg’s play Taboo, which starred African American actor Paul Robeson, and essays and memoirs about her work as a wartime nurse. Also included are two medals awarded to Wiborg by the French government and French Red Cross for her WWI service, photographs of Wiborg, family, and friends, and papers concerning her death and estate.

Dates

  • circa 1910s-2017
  • Majority of material found within 1914-1964

Creator

Language of Materials

In English, with some materials in French.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Box 8 (computer media): Restricted fragile material. Access copies of digital files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Mary Hoyt Wiborg Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish, 2017, 2020 and 2021.

Arrangement

Organized into three series: I. Correspondence, 1914-1964, undated. II. Personal Papers, circa 1910s-circa 2017. III. Computer Media, undated.

Extent

4.67 Linear Feet ((7 boxes) + 1 broadside)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

https://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.wiborg

Overview

The collection consists of correspondence, writings, photographs, personal papers, printed material, and electronic files by or relating to Mary Hoyt Wiborg. Materials document her life as an expatriate in France, service as a volunteer nurse in both World Wars, and work as a playwright. Included are letters from Wiborg to her father Frank Bestow Wiborg in 1918, describing her experiences at a French military hospital during World War I, and correspondence with her sisters Sara Murphy and Olga Fish, and Sara's husband Gerald. Among the other correspondents are prominent literary, artistic, political, and military figures such as Jean Cocteau, Noel Coward, Mamie Eisenhower, Manuel de Falla, John J. Pershing, and Eleanor Roosevelt. The collection additionally contains a scrapbook of clippings, correspondence, and posters for Wiborg’s play Taboo, which starred African American actor Paul Robeson, and essays and memoirs about her work as a wartime nurse. Also included are two medals awarded to Wiborg by the French government and French Red Cross for her WWI service, photographs of Wiborg, family, and friends, and papers concerning her death and estate.

Mary Hoyt Wiborg (1888-1964)

Mary Hoyt “Hoytie” Wiborg, an American playwright, arts patron, and socialite who lived in New York City and Paris, was born in 1888 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Adeline Moulton Sherman and businessman Frank Bestow Wiborg. Wiborg was a volunteer nurse during World War I and earned the French Medal of Honor for her service; during the second World War, she worked for the French Red Cross. Wiborg also authored the play Taboo, performed by a predominantly Black cast, including Paul Robeson in one of his earliest stage roles, in 1922.

During Wiborg’s childhood, her father’s ink manufacturing business, Ault & Wiborg Company, expanded to New York, and the family thereafter maintained homes in Cincinnati, Manhattan, and Long Island. She had two sisters, amateur artist Sara Sherman Wiborg, who married painter Gerald Murphy and joined the American expatriate community in France in the 1920s, and Olga Marie Wiborg, who married Sidney Webster Fish. In 1918, Wiborg traveled to France to join the ambulance corps. She received a commendation and medal for attending to wounded soldiers at a field hospital in Montmirail, Marne, and after World War I ended, France conferred on her an apartment in Paris in appreciation for her service. During World War II, Wiborg remained in Paris at the start of the German occupation in 1940, but departed after the United States entered the war in December 1941. She was subsequently stationed with the French Red Cross in Switzerland, Germany, and Portugal. Wiborg was named honorary corporal of the 213th Regiment of the French infantry, which referred to her as its marraine, or “godmother.” Additionally, she was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for her part in the French Resistance. Immediately after Paris was liberated in 1944, Wiborg returned to the city and lived there until her death on March 26, 1964.

Notable members of Mary Hoyt Wiborg’s family include great-uncles General William Tecumseh Sherman and U.S. Senator John Sherman.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization. Various acquisitions associated with the collection have been merged and organized as a whole.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
Title
Guide to the Mary Hoyt Wiborg Papers
Status
Completed
Author
by Brooke McManus
Date
November 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977

Location

121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.