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Roe family papers

Call Number: MS 774

Scope and Contents

The Roe Family Papers document the lives of many descendants of Peter Elting Roe and Susan Williams Roe, with the majority of the papers relating to the immediate family of Alfred Cox Roe. The material spans the dates 1802-1977, with bulk dates of 1860-1930. Marjorie Page Schauffler, granddaughter of Alfred Cox Roe, and her children, Elizabeth Dudley Schauffler Lyman, Peter Page Schauffler, and Richard Manvel Schauffler, donated the Roe Family Papers to Yale University in December 1975, January 1983, and January 1985. Significant related material can be found in the Wickham Family Papers (Ms Gr 773) and the Page Family Papers (Ms Gr 772).

The Roe Family Papers are part of a group of five related family collections, the others being the Wickham Family Papers, Page Family Papers, Elizabeth Page Harris Papers, and Schauffler Family Papers. In order to ensure that correspondence to and from the same individuals is kept together, a hierarchical system of arrangement has been adopted. For example, Elizabeth Merwin Roe Page's correspondence with her grandparents is found in the Wickham Family Papers; her correspondence with her parents, brother, and sister is found in the Roe Family Papers; and her correspondence with her husband and children is found in the Page Family Papers.

There are eleven series and one addition to the Roe Family Papers. Series I, Family Correspondence, contains all personal correspondence written or received by members of the Roe family between 1832-1960. Series II, Family Papers, consists of a variety of material relating to family members. Diaries kept by Alfred Cox Roe, Joseph Wickham Roe, Mary Abigail Roe, Mary Wickham Roe, and Walter Clark Roe are found in Series III. Series IV contains sermons by Alfred Cox Roe and Walter Clark Roe. The novels of Edward Payson Roe comprise about two-thirds of Series V, Printed Works. Portraits of many family members are contained in Series VI, Family Photographs. The correspondence of Henry Roe Cloud, the adopted Indian son of Walter Clark Roe and Mary Wickham Roe, can be found in Series VII, Henry Roe Cloud Papers. The last four series in the Roe Family Papers are all related to the missionary activities of Walter Clark Roe and Mary Wickham Roe. Correspondence concerning their work among the Indians is located in Series VIII, Missionary Correspondence. Series IX, Missionary Papers, contains a variety of material treating mission work and Indian life. Series X, Missionary Photographs, consists of photographs of Indians, missionaries, and missions. Series XI, Indian Book Collection, contains books owned by Walter Clark Roe and Mary Wickham Roe. The Addition to the Roe Family Papers has been divided into six series: Family Correspondence, Family Papers, Printed Works, Family Photographs, Henry Roe Cloud Papers, and Missionary Papers.

Series I, Family Correspondence, contains chronologically arranged correspondence of the Roe family, primarily documenting the lives and activities of Alfred Cox Roe, Emma Wickham Roe, and their children. The correspondence in Series I is divided into four major segments. The first covers the years 1832-1859 and contains correspondence of Emma Wickham and Alfred Cox Roe. The second group covers the period 1860-1880, from Alfred and Emma's marriage to the time when their two older children reach adulthood. The third group of letters spans the years 1880-1915 and centers on the Roe children and their Roe cousins, while the last covers the period from approximately 1915 to 1960 and concerns the later lives of the Roe children.

The first significant group of letters (Boxes 1-2, folders 1-57) consists of the correspondence of Alfred Cox Roe and Emma Wickham Roe prior to their 1860 courtship and marriage. Most of this material concerns Emma Wickham. Correspondents include several Porter relatives, particularly grandfather Moses Porter, uncle Eleazar Porter, and aunt Lucretia Porter Snell. (See also the Wickham Family Papers for additional material.) There is also a substantial group of letters by cousin Moses Porter Snell. Those written from Amherst College in 1857-1859 contain descriptions of college life and studies, as well as discussions of religious and personal topics. Cousin A. Moss Merwin's letters detail his studies and concerns as a student at Williams College. Emma Wickham's relatives are also frequent correspondents. Abigail Wickham's letters contain family news and religious advice. The letters of George Stebbins and Esther Wickham Stebbins describe their experiences in Missouri and Illinois during the 1840's and 1850's.

In the 1850's there are many letters from female friends, including Caroline Anderson, Mary P. Jones, Cordelia Sergeant, and Lucy Barrett, a student at Mt. Holyoke. All of these women became teachers, and their correspondence provides information. on women's education in the pre-Civil War era. The letters also discuss religion, social life, books, and current events. Other correspondents include Emily H. Craven and Edward Payson Roe. Roe was a student at Burr and Burton Academy, of which Emma's father, Joseph D. Wickham, was principal. Roe's letters, written in 1858-1859, contain references to Emma's visits at the Roe home at Cornwall on the Hudson.

There is much less material concerning Alfred Cox Roe prior to 1860. Correspondents include cousins Preston Bruen and E.H. Williams; family friend and New York University founder Samuel H. Cox; and South American missionary Jacob B. Sands. There are perhaps fifteen letters from Artemus Dean of Amherst College and M.M. Vail of New York City. Topics include politics, abolitionism, Dean's experience as a tutor for a Virginia family, and the education of women.

With the exception of a few business letters, there is almost no correspondence from the period of Alfred's first marriage to Caroline Powell Childs. There are no letters written by Caroline Childs Roe and just one 1845 letter addressed to her by Alfred. Her ill-health is mentioned in several letters of Edward Payson Roe.

In October, 1860, Alfred Cox Roe married Emma Wickham. The second group of correspondence dates from 1860 to approximately 1880 (Boxes 2-4, folders 58-130) and primarily concerns the couple and their children.

There is relatively little professional correspondence, but information on the career of Alfred Cox Roe as an educator, Civil War chaplain, and minister can be found in the personal letters. This group of letters contains letters by Dr. Howard Crosby of the American. Christian Commission, a few letters by parishioners, and copies of his contracts with various congregations. (For further information, see also Series II, Family Papers, Boxes 18-19).

Family correspondents in this section include Roe siblings Edward Payson Roe, John Peter Roe, Susan Elizabeth Roe Caldwell, and Mary Abigail Roe. Most of their letters date from the Civil War period and are concerned with family news and financial arrangements. An 1879 series of letters by Mary Abigail Roe describes her European tour.

Most of the correspondence in these two decades concerns Alfred and Emma, beginning with a small series of their lengthy and frank courtship letters. (Box 2, folders 57-62). Topics include Alfred's unhappiness with his mentally unbalanced first wife, his hopes for intimacy with Emma, his strained relationship with the two older children, and financial worries. Emma's letters are comparatively brief. A stepchild herself, she comments on the difficulties of becoming a stepmother. Both correspondents frequently discuss religion and the importance of divine guidance in personal affairs.

There are few letters from the first three years of the marriage, but the volume of correspondence increases during Alfred's 1864-1865 service as a Union Army chaplain. These letters contain news concerning Alfred's financial and career uncertainties. The couple openly express regret at their long separation. For example, an 1864 letter of Emma's describes her delight at Alfred's approaching furlough and mentions her wish to become pregnant again.

The Roe children are another important subject for discussion. Alfred's absence increased the difficulty of Emma's position as stepmother to the two older children, Frank Childs Roe and Susan Williams Roe. The letters frequently comment on Frank's resistance to Emma and his dislike of her. Emma's efforts to deal with Susan were frustrated by the child's mental abnormality. Letters of May and June, 1865 detail her symptoms and possible treatments, illustrating the nature of nineteenth-century responses to mental illness. Susan's illness is mentioned in subsequent years and the collection contains several letters written by her, including four from Willard Asylum for the Insane, where she died in 1873.

Most of the relatively few letters from the 1870's are written by Alfred Cox Roe and describe his ministerial career. Letters from Lowell, Massachusetts in 1870 allude to his attempts to organize his congregation and to include working-class Presbyterians in parish activities, a move resented by some parishioners. For additional information about family life and Alfred Roe's ministerial experiences, see the Wickham Family Papers.

The third and largest group of letters covers the years between 1880 and approximately 1915 (Boxes 4-10, folders 131-325). Although the correspondence between Alfred and Emma diminishes, their children become important correspondents and there are also letters from Roe relatives.

The few Edward Payson Roe letters discuss family news. Mary Abigail Roe's letters contain personal news, religious advice, and accounts of her activities as a teacher of natural history at Los Angeles College. Letters from the family of Alfred's younger brother James Gilbert Roe appear after James' move to Texas in 1883, a transfer prompted by his bankruptcy in the previous year. Correspondents from this branch include James Gilbert and his wife Caroline Clark Roe, and their children, William Edgar, Elizabeth C., Irene, Pierre, and James, all of whom correspond with their brother, Walter Clark Roe, a teacher at the Hill School in Pennsylvania, as well as with their cousins.

James Gilbert Roe's financial crisis affected his entire family, and letters of Alfred Cox Roe, Edward Payson Roe, John Peter Roe, and Samuel H. Caldwell detail these financial concerns (Box 4, folders 129-138 and Box 5). As a result of James's bankruptcy, Alfred's school in Cornwall failed in 1882, although he went on to found two more schools. Letters to James describe the schools' organization, curricula, and funding difficulties. There are also letters from pupils and their parents.

The children of Alfred Cox Roe are frequent correspondents during the 1880's. There is relatively little correspondence concerning Frank Childs Roe, and most of that dates from 1886-1889, when he was a patient at Fordham Hospital for the Incurable, where he subsequently died. The letters of Caroline Powell Roe Landon contain news and religious commentary. After separating from her husband in 1892, she became a Presbyterian missionary in rural Vermont, and her letters to Alfred describe her work and discuss such topics as preaching techniques and Biblical commentaries. Elizabeth Merwin Roe's letters describe a series of positions as companion and governess which she held between 1881 and her marriage to Alfred Rider Page in 1886. Mary Wickham Roe's letters often comment upon her teaching positions, first at New York State Normal School and then, beginning in 1885, at the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

Mary's cousin Walter Clark Roe also taught there and education and books are frequent topics in their letters. Their formal courtship begins in 1882 and continues until their marriage in 1887 (Boxes 4-6). The length of the correspondence is partially accounted for by their fear that marriage between first-cousins would be sinful. For example, in an 1884 letter Mary describes her conflicting feelings and suggests that they return to a "friendly" relationship. Letters of congratulation on their December 1886 engagement mention the rarity of first-cousin marriage and offer the couple religious reassurance. Other subjects in these courtship letters include religion and the possibility of Walter's studying for the ministry.

Letters of the 1880's and 1890's contain much information on the health of the two families. Between 1886 and 1890, William Edgar Roe, Walter Clark Roe, James Roe, Pierre Roe, and Frank Childs Roe all contracted tuberculosis; the latter three died of the disease. Symptoms, treatments, and family reactions to the illness are all important topics during this period, especially in the letters of Mary Wickham Roe after Walter was stricken in 1889 (Box 7).

In 1890 Mary and Walter moved to Ft. Worth, Texas for health reasons. Ordained in 1892, Walter served in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area for some years, but the Roes became interested in the missionary work being done at Colony, Oklahoma, by Frank Hall Wright, and Walter took charge of the mission there in 1897. The Roes' professional correspondence is located in Series VIII, Missionary Correspondence, but their personal letters also contain much information about conditions at Colony and its daily operations. Additional material can be found in the letters of Elizabeth Merwin Roe Page, always called Lillie, who served as Field Secretary to the Women's. Executive Committee of the Reformed Church in America from 1903-1813 and who visited Colony several times. Her letters are usually undated and these have been placed in Boxes 14-15, folders 420-52. (For additional information, see also the Page Family Papers.)

The third section of correspondence also contains many letters by Joseph Wickham Roe, beginning with notes describing his school life and activities at Burr and Burton, the Hill School, and Yale. After his 1895 graduation, Joseph's letters are mainly brief announcements of news, travel plans, and financial information, However, the Addition to the Roe Papers contains 1902 courtship letters written by his first wife, Nellie Allen Roe, who died six weeks after their marriage, as well as travel letters written by Joseph to his cousin Miranda B. Merwin.

The fourth and final section of correspondence covers the years between approximately 1915 and 1960 (Boxes 10-14, folders 324-419) and reflects the changes in the lives of the Roe children at this time. Lillie resigned as Field Secretary in 1913. She remained interested in mission work, but her letters are increasingly devoted to personal matters, especially to her ill-health. Her daughter Elizabeth Merwin Page Harris, called Bee, becomes a frequent correspondent of both Joseph and Mary Wickham Roe in the late 1920's, as her mother's health fails. These letters contain news of family financial arrangements and descriptions of her literary work. The letters of Lillie's younger daughter Marjorie Page Schauffler, called Marnie, are mainly brief, personal notes.

Mary Wickham Roe's correspondence also demonstrates her changing interests. After the death of Walter Clark Roe in 1913, she remained at Colony until 1932, and worked to further Protestant evangelization efforts in the United States and Latin America. Correspondents include Marcia Snyder, Anna Bayard Hawley, Charles Henry Lathrop, L.D. Collingwood, and Henry Turner. There are some letters from relatives, particularly William Edgar Roe, his daughter Caroline Clark Roe, and Henry Wickham Quinan. Topics include Mary's journeys to Central and South America, the mission field, and general religious themes. There are fewer letters after her retirement to California and most of these are personal notes written by Bee and Henry Wickham Quinan.

Joseph Wickham Roe remarried in 1915, and this final section contains letters of his wife, Mary Lambertson Roe, and her daughter, Betty Lambertson Pratt. Most of these are brief and personal. There is relatively little business correspondence, with the exception of several 1922 letters by Orville and Katherine Wright concerning an aviation film. Another subject of interest to Joseph Wickham Roe was genealogy. Beginning about 1915, he corresponds about the histories of the Roe, Wickham, Ludlow, and Brewster families. Correspondents include Clarence Torrey, Sarah Stebbins, Anna D. Roe Keith, Horace Halley, and Olga Starrett Chambers. Most of the letters from the last years of his life are brief notes written by Bee, with occasional letters from Marnie.

Many other topics are covered in the correspondence. For example, researchers can find a great deal of material on European travel in 1879; 1887, 1898, and 1902; on family reactions to death in 1873, 1889, 1897, 1903, and 1906; and on the difficulty of retiring in 1895, 1905, and 1931. The Roe family correspondence, especially when used in conjunction with the Wickham Family Papers, provides an interesting view of family and social life in nineteenth and early twentieth century America.

Series II, Family Papers, is housed in Boxes 18-29 of the Roe Family Papers and consists of a variety of materials by, about, or collected by members of the Roe family. The collection includes genealogical materials on the Brewer, Dresser, Ludlow, Roe, and Wickham families; financial records of James Gilbert Roe; reviews of novels by Edward Payson Roe and a short story, "Elder Strong Speaks Rather Strongly", also by Roe; a folder of sermon notes by Caroline Powell Roe Landon; obituaries of Peter Roe; newspaper clippings, poetry, and scrapbooks; and seven folders of memorabilia.

Material on Alfred Cox Roe and Emma Wickham Roe can be found in Boxes 18-20. The collection contains his chaplain's records and reports from 186-165, and two folders of articles about his war experiences; a folder of notes and reports on his work in New York City as a missionary for the American Christian Commission; "Street Talks" he delivered when pastor in Lowell, Massachusetts; and records from his ministerial career. There are also several folders of lecture notes, newspaper clippings, and other papers, including an article on "Hawthorne and his Teachings", published in 1888. The Roe Addition contains two drafts of his unpublished manuscript, "Rabboni: A Story of Jesus and His Friends". Material on Emma Wickham Roe includes an 1846 composition book, memorabilia of S.F.B. Morse, estate papers, and an obituary.

Boxes 20-21 contain the papers of Joseph Wickham Roe. These provide much information about his estate. (See also the Roe Addition, Boxes 158-160.) Also included are school compositions, reports, and other papers.

The papers of Mary Abigail Roe are located in Boxes 21-26. Much of this material is related to her teaching career. The papers also contain a typescript of "Recollections of the Roe Family"; reviews of two of her novels; six folders of other writings by Mary Abigail Roe; scrapbooks, clippings, and pamphlets; and a presentation copy of A. Moss Merwin's "The Drift from Rome", as well as an obituary of the author.

Boxes 26-29 contain the personal papers of Mary Wickham Roe and Walter Clark Roe. In addition to financial records, Mary Wickham Roe's papers include magazine and newspaper clippings, poetry, pamphlets, and obituaries. There are three folders of miscellaneous writings and five of Bible stories written with Walter Clark Roe. These papers also include biographical notes, obituaries, financial records, lecture notes, and the manuscript of his article, "Switzerland".

Series III, Diaries, fills Boxes 30-36, and contains diaries of several members of the Roe family. Alfred Cox Roe's diaries run from 1856-1900, and most of the brief daily entries are in shorthand. Mary Abigail Roe's 1879 diary is a record of her European tour. The diaries of Joseph Wickham Roe (1884, 1902-1960) contain short daily entries, usually professional in nature. Much information concerning the early years of Colony mission can be found in the Colony journals of Mary Wickham Roe. Topics in her later diaries include family news, details of her lecture tours, and her trips to Central and South America. Walter Clark Roe's diaries also provide material on the mission at Colony. The 1908-1909 diaries mention his work with the Ft. Sill Apaches.

Sermons by Alfred Cox Roe and Walter Clark Roe are found in Series IV. Most of. Alfred Cox Roe's sermons date from 1870-1874, the years of his ministerial service in Lowell, Massachusetts and Geneva, Galen, and Clyde, New York. Walter Clark Roe's sermons were almost all written for the churches he served in the Ft. Worth area from 1893-1897. There is one folder of mission sermons. The sermon fragments and sermon notes may also date from Colony.

Series V, Printed Works, contains both works written by and works owned by several members of the Roe family. Boxes 45-51 house a virtually complete collection of the novels of Edward Payson Roe. Other works in this series authored by Roes include Joseph Wickham Roe's Inventors and Engineers of Old New Haven; two novels by Mary Abigail Roe, and her Reminiscences of E.P. Roe (Roe Addition, Box 162); and Mary E. Roe's The Count of Elsinore; or, Valdemar the Baltic Rover. Boxes 53-57 contain a variety of printed items. Books not otherwise identified were probably collected by Mary Wickham Roe.

Series VI, Family Photographs, fills Boxes 58-66 of the Roe Family Papers. Photographs of people, mostly of family members and family friends, are found in Boxes 58-63; photographs of places in Boxes 64-66.

Series VII, Henry Roe Cloud Papers, is located in Boxes 67-72 of the Roe Family Papers and contains. correspondence and other material relating to Henry Roe Cloud. Most of the correspondence is with Walter Clark Roe and Mary Wickham Roe and dates from Cloud's student years, 1907-1914. These letters are almost entirely personal. Subjects discussed include Cloud's adjustment to Yale, his student life and activities, career choices, and conditions among American Indians, particularly within his own tribe. Correspondence with Mary Wickham Roe traces the relationship between the missionary and her adopted son, who apparently shared many of her ideas and concerns.

After 1914, the amount of correspondence diminishes sharply. While Mary Wickham Roe continues to be the major correspondent, most letters are now business-like in tone and concern the founding and funding of Roe Indian Institute. There are also letters from Elizabeth Bender Cloud to "Mother Roe", containing family news. Cousin Elizabeth Merwin Page Harris becomes a regular correspondent during the 1930's and 1940's. These letters discuss her mother's failing health, Cloud's own heart condition, family concerns, and her historical novels.

There is, however, almost no documentation of Cloud's professional life. Several letters to G. Elmer E. Lindquist and J. Leighton Read concern Indian education, and in a 1945 letter to Bee, Henry comments unfavorably on Indian Affairs Commissioner John Collier. In addition to correspondence, the series also contains newspaper clippings, drafts of articles and speeches, and Cloud's 1916 autobiographical pamphlet, "From Wigwam to Pulpit". Two copies of the 1928 Meriam Report, co-authored by Cloud, can be found in Series XI, Box 137, and an additional folder of material can be found in Box 164 of the Roe Addition.

Series VIII, Missionary Correspondence, is housed in Boxes 73-82 of the Roe Family Papers and contains correspondence connected with the missionary careers of Walter Clark Roe and Mary Wickham Roe. From 1897 until approximately 1920, most of the correspondence is concerned with the Indian missions of the Reformed Church in America, and covers a wide variety of subjects. Topics include the operation of the missions, social conditions and educational needs of reservation Indians, Indian attachment to tribal customs, and missionary dissatisfaction with policies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Information on the routine operations of the missions, especially of Colony, and on the Reformed Church's mission efforts in general, can be found in the letters of officials of the Women's Board of Domestic Missions. Correspondents include Board Presidents Emily Bussing (1893-1925) and Elsie Maynard (1926-1928); Corresponding Secretaries Edith Allen (1904-1926) and Ruth Rule (1927-1932); Office Secretary Helen Voorhees (1911-1930); and Chairmen of the Committee on Indian Work Louise Runk (1896-1921) and Ada Quinley Knox (1922-1929). Mary Wickham Roe's sister Lillie was Field Secretary from 1903-1913. Her correspondence is found in Series I, Family Correspondence, and in the Page Family Papers. Correspondence with Commissioners of Indian Affairs Francis Leupp, C.H. Larrabee, R.S. Valentine, R.M. Preston, and Cato Sells documents missionary reactions to governmental policies concerning Indians, as do letters of various agency superintendents with jurisdiction over specific missions.

Much of the above material relates to the mission at Colony, the earliest and most important of the Reformed Church foundations. Correspondents of the Roes from Colony include Frank Hall Wright (at Colony 1894-1897), Henry A. Vruwink (1913-1922), John H. Baxter (1923-1926), Richard H. Harper (1927-1929), Peter Van Es (1930-1932), and mission assistants Mary Jensen and Johanna Meengs. The letters of benefactor Kate Olcott contain many financial details about the mission. Colony has a significant number of Indian correspondents, including Paul and Edna Goodbear, William Ohlerking, John Fletcher, Frank Hamilton, Ella Butts, Richard Birdhead, Wautan Wauzitza, Two Crows, and John Ottipoby. Their letters shed much light on the daily lives of Oklahoma Indians in the early twentieth century, as well as revealing a variety of attitudes toward white culture and tribal customs. There is also correspondence with local agency superintendents Walter Dickens and John H. Seger, usually reflecting missionary disapproval of government policies. Additional information concerning Colony can be found in the letters of Reese Kincaide, director of Mohonk Lodge, a mission-sponsored Indian crafts co-operative; and in the post-1916 letters of G.A. Watermulder, superintendent of missions for the Reformed Church.

The other Reformed Church missions are also well-represented in this series. The Comanche-Lawton preaching station is discussed by several missionaries, including Leonard and Maud Legters, J. Leighton Read, and Robert Chaat. The letters of J. Denton Simms provide information on the impoverished and still tribal Jicarilla Apaches served by Dulce Mission. Walter Clark Roe's Ft. Sill correspondents include missionaries Hendrina Hospers, Clover Mahan, and Mary MacMillan. The Mescalero correspondence is more extensive, and contains details of the missionaries' fight to protect the reservation from National Park status. Correspondents include E.M. Fincher (at Mescalero 1908-1913), Richard H. Harper (1913-1915), James Dykema (1916-1920), N.E. and Marjorie Overman (1920-1931), John L. Mixon (1931-1933), and Peter Van Es (1933). Finally, the correspondence from Winnebago Mission contains detailed discussions of reservation policies and of the rise of the peyote cult. Correspondents include missionaries G.A. Watermulder and Anna Berkenpas, Agency Superintendent Albert H. Kneale, and Indians Louisa Johnson Bear, Eva DuPuis Gover, and Lucy Hunter.

Other correspondents concerned with North American missions and Indian welfare are G. Elmer E. Lindquist, first principal of the Roe Indian Institute and later Chairman of the Y.M.C.A. Committee on Indian Work; Robert D. Hall of the Rosebud Indian Mission; and S.M. Brosius of the Indian Rights Association.

Many of these correspondents continue writing through the 1920's and, in some cases, the 1930's. The focus of the collection, however, changes in the early 1920's. There is more generalized discussion of Indian welfare and of governmental policies toward the Indians. The letters of Mary Wickham Roe are particularly critical of what she perceived as the Bureau of Indian Affairs' tolerance of tribalism and immorality, especially under the controversial direction of John Collier. In addition, the missionaries in the field begin to find the decisions of the Women's Board confusing and uninformed about the real needs of the Indians. The collection documents these changes in Board policy, which led to the closing of Colony mission and the partial abandonment of Dulce in 1932.

Beginning in the 1920's, the correspondence also reflects Mary Wickham Roe's increased interest in Protestant evangelization efforts among the Indians of Latin America. Correspondents include missionaries Dorothy and Dudley Peck, Paul Burgess, R. Esther Smith, Georgia Robertson, Harry Strachan, Lacy Simms, and Leonard Legters, as well as exchange students Jose Chicol and Anhel Castro. Topics include the status of Indians in Latin America, the lack of basic literacy in Mexico and Guatamala, and the missionaries' dislike of native Roman Catholic practices. Many other subjects are discussed in the correspondence. Researchers can find, for example, correspondence on land allotment, farming practices, the ration system, Indian fairs, boarding-school education, and tribal customs. In general, the series provides insight into the views of missionaries on reservation life and tribal activities.

Boxes 83-102 contain Series IX, Missionary Papers, which consists of a variety of materials relating to Indians and to mission work among them. The series has been divided into four sections: North American Missions of the Reformed Church in America; Other Missions to Indians of North America; Indians of North America; and Missions to the Indians of Latin America.

Section one, North American Missions of the Reformed Church in America, fills Boxes 83-87. It begins with material on the Women's Board of Domestic Missions, including several annual reports, a 1932 history of the Board's religious work, and several folders of pamphlets, newspaper clippings, obituaries, and speech notes. The remainder of the section is arranged alphabetically by name of mission. All of the missions connected with the Roes' work are represented. Colony material includes financial accounts, records of camp-meetings and conferences, several folders of Indian testimonials, circular letters detailing mission activities 1899-1930, newspaper clippings, and pamphlets on life at the mission, some of which were written by the Roes. Circular letters, clippings, and mission pamphlets are also available for Comanche-Lawton and Dulce-Jicarilla Missions. Material on Ft. Sill-Apache Mission includes papers on prisoner relief for the Geronimo band. There is one folder of papers relating to the reservation rights campaign at Mescalero Mission. The material on Winnebago Mission includes Indian testimonials and copies of the 1913 "Monthly Recorder". (See also Box 164 of the Roe Addition.)

Section two, Other Missions, is contained in Boxes 87-88 of the Roe Family Papers. It consists almost entirely of pamphlets and leaflets on various Protestant missions to Indians, such as those operated by the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. and the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Section three, Indians of North America, is housed in Boxes 88-97 and is devoted to non-mission papers. There is considerable material on the Bureau of Indian Affairs, including addresses, several annual reports, informational bulletins, and an extensive run of Indians at Work, a Bureau publication edited by John Collier. Four folders of magazine and newspaper clippings contain articles detailing the missionary view of Bureau policies, including one on John Collier (Box 94, folder 1639). A history of the Reformed Church's mission work can be found in the September and December, 1940 issues of The Chronicles of Oklahoma. Account books, catalogs, and newspaper articles relating to Mohonk Lodge, an Indian crafts co-operative, have been placed in this section. In addition, the collection contains smaller amounts of material on many organizations and topics, including the American Indian Institute, the Indian Rights Association, the early Lake Mohonk Conferences on the Indian, writings by and obituaries of John H. Seger, and a folder of material on the peyote cult.

Section four, Missions to the Indians of Latin America, fills Boxes 98-102 and consists mostly of pamphlets, circular letters, and newspaper and magazine clippings which describe Protestant missionary activities. The section contains materials on the Reformed Church's mission in Chiapas, Mexico; the evangelical Committee on Co-Operation in Latin America; and the Chiquimula mission to the Cakchikel Indians in Guatamala. There are also several folders of general-interest newspaper and magazine clippings.

Series X, Missionary Photographs, is located in Boxes 103-15 and has been divided into three sections: Missions of the Reformed Church in America, Indians of North America, and Latin America. All photographs which could be identified as pertaining to a specific mission have been placed in the first section. These include views, portraits of Indians and missionaries, and group shots. There are several albums which date from the earliest years of Colony and Ft. Sill. Section two, Indians of North America, contains many interesting studio portraits (ca. 1900-1915) which provide details of contemporary costume. One such photograph shows a young woman in full traditional dress carrying an ivory-handled parasol. There are also group portraits, portraits of several peyote cult leaders, and views. The third section, Latin America, consists of photographs and postcards from Mary Wickham Roe's trip to Central and South America. Box 112 contains glass negatives.

Boxes 113-115 contain Oversize family papers and photographs. These include Civil War records of Alfred Cox Roe, a genealogical chart kept by Joseph Wickham Roe, and portraits of several members of the Roe family. The Oversized Mission photographs include early views of Colony Mission and Seger School.

Boxes 116-155 house Series XI, Indian Book Collection. The collection belonged to Walter Clark and Mary Wickham Roe, and it contains books on many aspects of Indian life and culture in both North America and Latin America. Many of the books on Latin America are accounts of Protestant evangelization activity. Several works in the collection were written by friends and correspondents of the Roes, including Albert H. Kneale's Indian Agent, G. Elmer E. Lindquist's The Jesus Road and the Red Man, and John H. Seger's Early Days Among the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians.

The Addition to the Roe Family appers is located in Boxes 156-164 and has been divided into six series. Series I, Family Correspondence, contains correspondence of Joseph Wickham Roe. It consists primarily of 1902 courtship letters written by his first wife, Nellie Allen Roe, and letters written by Joseph to his cousin, Miranda B. Merwin. Estate papers and memorabilia of Joseph Wickham Roe are located in Series II together with an unpublished manuscript by his father Alfred Cox Roe. Printed Works, Series V, includes a copy of Mary Abigail Roe's E.P. Roe: Reminiscences of His Life. There are two small albums of family pictures and several portraits in Series VI, Family Photographs. Also included is a folder of Henry Roe Cloud Papers and the Addition concludes with three folders of Missionary Papers. These contain a fifty year history of the Indian work of the Women's Board of Domestic Missions, notes on camp-meetings in the hand of Elizabeth Page Harris, and a "Pageant of Indian History at Colony" also by Elizabeth Page Harris.


  • 1802-1977


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the Roe family has been transferred to Yale University. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact

Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Marjorie Page Schauffler, 1975; Elizabeth Schauffler Lyman, 1983; Elizabeth Schauffler Lyman, Peter Page Schauffler, and Richard Manvel Schauffler, 1985; and Dorothy North, 2005.


Arranged in twelve series: I. Family Correspondence, 1832-1960. II. Family Papers, 1846-1977. III. Diaries, 1856-1940. IV. Sermons, 1865-1911. V. Printed Works, 1849-1939. VI. Family Photographs, 1861-1960. VII. Henry Roe Cloud Papers, 1907-1952. VIII. Missionary Correspondence, 1897-1942. IX. Missionary Papers, 1886-1941. X. Missionary Photographs, 1860-1940. XI. Indian Book Collection, 1870-1956. XII. Roe Addition, 1802-1970.

Associated Materials

Wickham Family Papers (MS 773), (Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library); Page Family Papers (MS 772), (Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library); Elizabeth Page Harris Papers (MS 771), (Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library); Schauffler Family Papers (MS 1389), (Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library) .


77.25 Linear Feet (164 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The papers contain family correspondence, missionary correspondence, family papers, diaries, sermons, printed works, photoprints, and other materials documenting the lives and careers of Alfred Cox Roe, Emma Wickham Roe, Mary Abigail Roe, Walter Clark Roe, Mary Wickham Roe, Joseph Wickham Roe, Henry Roe Cloud, and several other Roe relatives. The Roe family papers have extensive material on family life, specifically concerning such subjects as relations between brothers and sisters and parents and children, courtship, marriage, stepmothering, health and illness, old age, death, and finances. The papers also document the educational, missionary, and pastoral careers of several members of the Roe family and the Indian mission work of the Women's Board of Domestic Missions of the Reformed Church in America.

Biographical / Historical

Alfred Cox Roe And Emma Wickham Roe

Alfred Cox Roe was born on April 7, 1823. The eldest son of Peter Elting and Susan Williams Roe, he grew up in Cornwall on the Hudson, New York, and graduated from New York University in 1843. The following year he established the Cornwall English and Classical School in the Canterbury district of Cornwall, New York, at which he taught for almost two decades. Ordained by the Presbyterian Church in 1863, Roe was appointed chaplain to the 83rd Regiment of New York Volunteers. This unit was destroyed at the Battle of Weldon Railroad in August 1864 and Roe was re-commissioned in the 104th Regiment, in which he served until his discharge in July 1865. He was Eastern Secretary of the American Christian Commission in New York City 1866-1869. In 1870-1871 he was pastor of a Presbyterian church in Lowell, Massachusetts. He then returned to New York state, serving Presbyterian congregations in Geneva 1871-1873, Galen 1873-1874, and Clyde 1875-1876. He moved to Cornwall on the Hudson in 1877, and, there founded the Cornwall Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies. The school failed in 1882, and he returned to New York City, where he opened the Berkeley Institute in Brooklyn in 1883, followed in 1888 by the New York Collegiate Institute of Harlem. Roe retired in 1895. He and his wife then joined their daughter and son-in-law, Mary Wickham and Walter Clark Roe, in Texas, and moved with them to Colony, Oklahoma in 1897. Alfred Cox Roe and his wife returned East in 1901, and settled at the Wickham home in Manchester, Vermont, where he died in September of that year.

Alfred Cox Roe married Caroline Powell Childs (-1859) in 1847. Three children survived to adulthood: Frank Childs Roe (1850-1889), Susan Williams Roe (1852-1873), and Caroline Powell Roe Landon (1859-1897). In October, 1860, Roe married Emma Wickham (1832-1901). Surviving children were Elizabeth Merwin Roe Page (1861-1943), Mary Wickham Roe (1863-1941), and Joseph Wickham Roe (1871-1960).

Emma Wickham Roe was born in New Haven, Connecticut on October 23, 1832. She was the only child of Joseph Dresser Wickham and Amy Porter Wickham, who died shortly after Emma's birth. She attended York Square Academy in New Haven in 1845-1846, and also attended Burr and Burton Seminary, of which her father was principal, in Manchester, Vermont. During 1854-1855 she taught French and music at Oxford Academy, where her step-mother, Elizabeth Merwin Wickham, had been preceptress. Emma Wickham married Alfred Cox Roe in 1860, and accompanied him in his many career changes. After her husband's death, she remained in Manchester until her death in December 1906.

* * * * *

Mary Abigail Roe

Mary Abigail Roe, youngest sister of Alfred Cox Roe, was born in Cornwall on the Hudson in 1839, and attended Burr and Burton Seminary in Manchester. Never married, she kept house for her father until his death in 1877. She then became a teacher of natural history, first at Cornwall Collegiate Institute and then at Berkeley Institute, both founded by Alfred Cox Roe. During the late 1880's she taught at Los Angeles College, and several years later became an instructor at the Lady Jane Gray Academy in Binghamton, New York. She published at least three novels, Free, Yet Forging Their Own Chains; Left in the Wilderness; and A Long Search, and wrote Reminiscences of E.P. Roe after the sudden death of her novelist brother. Mary Abigail Roe retired to Manchester around 1900 and later moved to Watertown, New York, where she died in 1920.

* * * * *

Walter Clark Roe and Mary Wickham Roe

Walter Clark Roe was born in 1859, the second son of James Gilbert and Caroline Clark Roe. He attended Sigler's Institute in Newburgh, New York and graduated from Williams College in 1881. He taught at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and in 1884 joined the faculty of the Hill School in Pennsylvania, where he remained until stricken with tuberculosis in 1889. With his wife Mary Wickham Roe, he moved to Ft. Worth, Texas and studied for the ministry while convalescing. Ordained by the Southern Presbyterian Church in 1892, he served four mission stations in the Ft. Worth area before being called to a Dallas church. While there, Roe became interested in the Indian missionary work of the Reverend Frank Hall Wright and in 1897 he succeeded Wright as head of the mission of the Reformed Church in America at Colony, Oklahoma. In 1908 he was named Superintendent of Indian Missions for that church. Roe also took up the cause of Geronimo's Apache band, then prisoners of war at Ft. Sill, and in 1912 journeyed to Washington, D.C. on their behalf. Already suffering from Addison's Disease, he sailed for the Bahamas in hopes of recovery and died in Nassau on March 12, 1913.

Walter Clark Roe married Mary Wickham Roe, his first cousin, in 1887. The couple had no surviving children. Both Roe and his wife always referred to Henry Roe Cloud as their adopted son, and he incorporated their name into his in 1908.

Mary Wickham Roe, daughter of Alfred Cox and Emma Wickham Roe, was born in 1863 and educated at her father's schools. In 1883 she became a teacher at the New York Normal School, now Hunter College, and in 1885 joined her cousin, Walter Clark Roe, at the Hill School; they were married two years later. Following their 1889 move to Texas, Mary taught at the Ft. Worth High School. She worked closely with her husband at the Colony Mission and after his death continued to serve the Reformed Church as a missionary and advisor until 1924, living at Colony and making many lecture tours for the Women's Board of Domestic Missions. In the 1920's, she became interested in Protestant missionary efforts among Latin American Indians. She visited several of these missions and was a delegate to the 1925 Pan-American Mission Conference in Montevideo, Uruguay. She left Colony in 1931 and settled in Claremont, California. Despite some ill-health, she remained interested in mission work and was attending a mission conference in New Mexico when she was killed in an automobile accident on June 17, 1941.

* * * * *

Joseph Wickham Roe

Joseph Wickham Roe, born in 1871, was the youngest child of Alfred Cox and Emma Wickham Roe. He prepared for college at Burr and Burton Seminary and at the Hill School, and graduated from Yale's Sheffield Scientific School in 1895. Following graduation, he worked for several manufacturing companies, but returned to Yale in 1906, received the M.E. in 1907, and taught mechanical engineering and machine design at Sheffield Scientific School until 1917. In that year, he was commissioned a major in the Aviation Section, Signal Reserve Corps of the Army. After the war, he worked briefly in private industry, returning to teaching in 1921 as professor and chairman of the Department of Industrial Engineering at New York University, from which he retired in 1937. He was a consultant for the Navy during World War II. Joseph Wickham Roe was the author of numerous articles and several books on engineering and management. He spent his retirement years at Southport, Connecticut, where he died in 1960.

He married Nellie Allen of Dallas in November, 1902; she died in January, 1903. In 1915, he married Mrs. Mary Sherwood Lambertson of Southport, who died in 1960. The couple had no children, but Mrs. Lambertson had one daughter, Elizabeth L. Pratt, by her first husband.

* * * * *

Henry Roe Cloud

Henry Roe Cloud was born on December 28, 1886 in Winnebago, Nebraska, the son of Winnebago parents who died when he was young. Cloud attended an Indian school in Nebraska, prepared for college at Mt. Hermon, and entered Yale in 1906. In his freshman year he was befriended by Walter Clark and Mary Wickham Roe and soon after began using the name of these adoptive parents. He received his A.B. in 1910, becoming the first Indian to graduate from Yale. In 1913 he earned his B.D. from Auburn Theological Seminary and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church. After taking his M.A. at Yale in 1915, he founded the Roe Indian Institute (later the American Indian Institute) in Wichita, Kansas and served as its superintendent for fifteen years. Roe Cloud was co-author of the 1928 Meriam Report on Indian administration and in 1931 he was named special regional representative of the Office of Indian Affairs. He was appointed superintendent of Haskell Institute in Wichita, Kansas in 1933, the first full-blooded Indian to hold that position. Cloud left the Institute in 1936 to become assistant supervisor of Indian education-at-large in the Office of Indian Affairs. His further posts were superintendent of the Umatilla Indian Agency in Pendleton, Oregon and regional representative of the Grande Ronde and Siletz Indian Agency. Cloud was active in the Society of American Indians and at one time served as the editor of the Indian Outlook.

Henry Roe Cloud married Elizabeth Georgian Bender in 1916. A Chippewa and a graduate of Hampton Institute, Elizabeth Bender Cloud served as Boy's Matron and Financial Executive at the American Indian Institute for almost twenty years. In 1951 she was named Oregon Mother of the Year. The couple had four surviving children: Elizabeth Marion (b. 1917), Anne Woisha (b. 1918), Lillian Alberta (b. 1920), and Ramona Clark (b. 1922).

For charts outlining the genealogical relations of the Roe, Page, Porter, Sherwood, and Wickham families, please consult theGenealogical Charts.

Guide to the Roe Family Papers
Under Revision
by Bruce P. Stark and Diane Ducharme
August 1985
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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