Skip to main content

Miriam Hapgood DeWitt Papers

 Collection
Call Number: YCAL MSS 277

Scope and Contents

The Miriam Hapgood DeWitt Papers consists of original and photocopied material related to the writers Hutchins Hapgood (1869-1944) and Neith Boyce (1872-1951), their forebears, and their circle of intellectuals, social reformers, and artists. The collection was created by their daughter Miriam Hapgood DeWitt (1906-1990) with the assistance of her sister Beatrix Hapgood Faust (1910-1994), as the women endeavored to gather and publish an annotated selection of their parents' correspondence while working closely with scholars interested in their parents' lives.

Although the collection contains a good selection of original items, including a diary and scrapbook, and some correspondence and literary writings, the bulk of the papers is a chronologically arranged set of copies of letters sent between Hutchins Hapgood and Neith Boyce and their friends and family. As writers covering social causes in the first two decades of the twentieth century, and founders of the amateur theatre company Provincetown Players, Hapgood and Boyce formed close lifetime associations with activists, anarchists, artists, and authors in America and abroad. DeWitt and Faust wrote and visited libraries and collections around the United States and in Europe, gathering photocopies and microfilm of letters with which they intended to build a comprehensive chronological narrative of their parents' activities, thoughts, and relationships. Their publication project never came to fruition, but the letters collection, heavily augmented by original correspondence that the Hapgood siblings had exchanged with their parents, achieves their greater goal of documenting Hapgood and Boyce's lives, largely presented in their own words.

Miriam Hapgood DeWitt's extended family is also documented in these papers, particularly her second husband, the Croatian-born husband Vaso Trivanovitch (ca. 1899-1949), and her grandfather Charles Hutchins Hapgood (1836-1917), who traveled to Labrador (1857) and extensively around the western United States (1859-1865) and the world (1865-1867). Also included are lecture notes taken by her great-uncle Hutchins Hapgood (1792-1828), who studied medicine at Dartmouth College with Dr. Nathan Smith (1762-1829).

Dates

  • 1812 - 1990
  • Majority of material found within 1903 - 1990

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 25: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Existence and Location of Copies

Some of the material in Series III, Hutchins Hapgood and Neith Boyce Correspondence Collection, was microfilmed by patron request prior to the collection being processed. Film number 2686 contains some but not all of the current contents of the 1906-1909 letters folders, as well as Neith Boyce's entire scrapbook of newspaper clippings now in Series II.

Conditions Governing Use

The Miriam Hapgood DeWitt 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 Edward Bright, 1991.

Arrangement

The collection is organized into four series: I. Miriam Hapgood DeWitt Papers (1933-1990); II. Hapgood Family Papers (1812-1988); III. Hutchins Hapgood and Neith Boyce Correspondence (1857-1954); IV. Hapgood Circle Writings (1911-1932).

Associated Materials

Additional Hutchins Hapgood and Neith Boyce material can be found in the Hapgood Family Papers (YCAL MSS 41) at the Beinecke Library, and the Hapgood Family Papers (manuscript group 795) in Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Extent

11.36 Linear Feet (25 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.dewitt

Overview

The Miriam Hapgood DeWitt Papers consists of original and photocopied material, including letters, documents, and literary papers, related to the journalists and authors Hutchins Hapgood (1869-1944) and Neith Boyce (1872-1951), their forebears, and their circle of intellectuals, social reformers, and artists. The collection was created by their daughter Miriam Hapgood Dewitt (1906-1990), with the assistance of her sister Beatrix Hapgood Faust (1910-1994).

Miriam Hapgood DeWitt

Miriam Hapgood DeWitt was the daughter of the journalists and authors Hutchins Hapgood (1869-1944) and Neith Boyce (1872-1951). She was born in Florence, Italy, on November 29, 1906, and, along with her siblings Harry Boyce (1901-1918), Charles Hutchins (1904-1982) and Beatrix (1910-1994), was raised in the family's homes in New York and Provincetown, Massachusetts. As an adult, she lived in Taos, New Mexico, through 1945, then in Washington, D.C., through 1979, after which she settled in Provincetown and resided there until her death on April 16, 1990. DeWitt worked briefly for the federal government while in Washington, and also had a successful career as a painter. Her first marriage, to Edward Hamilton Bright (1894-1954) in 1930, produced two sons but ended in divorce; her second, in 1947 to the Croatian-born economist, writer, and educator Vaso Trivanovitch (ca. 1899-1949), ended at his death; and her third, in 1956 to the writer and Department of the Interior administrator John DeWitt (1910-1984), also ended in divorce.

Processing Information

The Miriam Hapgood DeWitt Papers is largely composed of photocopies. Their presence is usually distinguished in the box and folder list, but the dates given are those of the original letters, writings, and other material, regardless if there are photocopies or originals in the files. DeWitt had created many duplicates of the letters and transcripts in Series III, Hutchins Hapgood and Neith Boyce Correspondence Collection, by means of carbon copies and photocopies; these duplicates were compared, removed, and discarded when the collection was processed.
Title
Guide to the Miriam Hapgood DeWitt Papers
Status
Under Revision
Author
by Sandra Markham
Date
February 2008
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.