Elizabeth Sarah Kite papers, 1865-1954 (MC 2)

Elizabeth Sarah Kite (1864-1954) was a teacher, social scientist, historian, author, and archivist. Born in Philadelphia to Quaker parents, Kite was educated at Westtown Boarding school and the Philadelphia Friends’ Select School; and then studied extensively in Europe. In 1906, she converted to Catholicism, after her experiences with French Catholics. From 1909 to 1918, Kite was employed in the research laboratory at the Vineland Training School, and conducted research in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. She translated Development of Intelligence in Children and The Intelligence of the Feeble-Minded by Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon (translation published 1916). She also researched and published on various historical topics, in particular the influence of French participation during the American Revolution, and served as the archivist for American Catholic Historical Society from 1932 to 1949. Kite became the first laywoman to receive an honorary doctorate of literature from Villanova University in 1933.

The Elizabeth Sarah Kite papers date from 1865 to 1954, with bulk dates of 1890 to 1935, and document the life and literary endeavors of Elizabeth Sarah Kite. This collection contains mostly correspondence, including Kite family letters, as well as ephemera, poems, research notes, autobiographical writings, and drafts and published copies of articles written by Kite.

1.1 linear feet; 3 boxes

*Materials in this collection have been digitized and can be viewed at the Digital Library @ Villanova University.

View finding aid (HTML)

Mary Brackett Willcox papers, 1807-1864 (MC 10)

This collection contains mostly incoming correspondence to Mary Brackett Willcox (1796-1866), wife of James M. Willcox (1791-1854) whose family owned one of the most significant paper mills in the country in Ivy Mills, now Glenn Mills, Pennsylvania. Along with their status in industry, the Willcox family was also one of the most prominent families within the Catholic community in the Philadelphia area. The family’s mansion became the center of Catholicity in Delaware County, and served as the beginnings of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, the oldest parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

During the 1840s and 1850s, students and the Vincentian administrators of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary spent their summers at the Willcox estate. The letters in the collection are from Vincentians, seminarians, and other priests serving the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who formed close ties with Mary and the Willcox family during this period. A majority of the letters address the topics of religion and spirituality, and more specifically, the teachings of the Catholic Church. These topics were of special interest to Mary. From an old established Puritan family from Massachusetts, she converted to Catholicism after marrying into the Willcox family. The correspondence also documents the Vincentians’ work in the Philadelphia diocese and in other parts of the country; and relates to the Willcox family. Besides correspondence, the collection also includes miscellaneous drafts, notes, and other writings that Mary likely authored.

0.4 linear feet; 1 box

Researchers may find it helpful to use the more recent finding aid (HTML) in conjunction with the legacy finding aid (PDF), which includes more detailed information.

View finding aid (HTML)

Legacy finding aid (PDF)