University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Marion Talbot Papers 1854-1948

© 2012 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Talbot, Marion. Papers




5.75 linear feet (13 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Contains the correspondence and papers of Marion Talbot, Assistant Professor of Sanitary Science, Associate professor of Household Administration, and Dean of Women at the University of Chicago from its inception in 1892 until her retirement in 1925.

Information on Use


This collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Talbot, Marion. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Biographical Note

Marion Talbot received her A.B. (1880) degrees from Boston University where her father, Israel Tisdale Talbot, was dean of the medical school. In 1888 Miss Talbot was granted a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She served as president of the Massachusetts Society for the University Education of Women and as secretary of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, both organizations founded by her mother, Emily, to promote higher education among women. Miss Talbot resigned a position as instructor at Wellesley College to come to the University of Chicago when it first opened in October of 1892. As Dean of Women in the University (i.e. Senior) colleges, she, and Alice Freeman Palmer, organized the women's dormitories and initiated the academic and social life of the women of the University When Mrs. Palmer resigned, Miss Talbot became Dean of Women in the Graduate Schools. She was successively Assistant Professor of Sanitary Science; Associate Professor of Household Administration; and in 1905 became full professor in the latter department. She retired from the University in 1925. After her retirement, she served as Acting President of Constantinople Women's College. She also joined the controversy surrounding the 1944 faculty "Memorial" expressing lack of confidence in Chancellor Robert M. Hutchins. In her administration of women's affairs in a co-educational institution, Miss Talbot adhered firmly to the principles of academic equality and of relative social freedom between men and women.

Scope Note

Series I: Correspondence, covers most aspects of Miss Talbot's career and interests and frequently supplements the materials in other series. The letters written prior to 1892 are of two types: a small body of correspondence between Miss Talbot's parents and their associates which later came into her possession; and a body of Miss Talbot's early letters, which highlight her personal relationships and reflect her developing interest in equal rights for women-particularly in educational and career opportunities. Miss Talbot's early work in the field of "sanitary science" is also documented.

The letters written in 1892 vividly record the early days of the University of Chicago. Miss Talbot participated from the beginning in such matters as faculty organization and the establishment of student life; her letters also record the realities of life under initially primitive physical conditions. Most of the letters from this time are between Miss Talbot and her Boston family; usually both sides of this correspondence has been preserved. There are also many letters from Alice Freeman Palmer who spent much of this first year with her husband at Harvard. Here one is given a picture, not only of the new educational venture in Chicago, but also of the on-going concerns of the established Eastern intellectual community.

Talbot's correspondence from 1892 until her retirement as Dean of Women in 1925 illuminate her various activities as Dean, as head of Green Hall, and as professor of Household Administration. Daily issues such as social deportment and the exigencies of dormitory life find their place next to the broader issues of the social and vocational roles of women. Throughout her own career in Household Administration, Talbot was called upon to recommend qualified persons in the field, and her opinions were frequently solicited regarding curriculum and other theoretical and academic dimensions of this work. Correspondence with her University colleagues in the social sciences and activities such as lecturing on sanitation at Hull House point illustrate Talbot's concern that her own discipline keep in touch with its theoretical neighbors and at the same time serve as a tool to promote social service and feminine dignity

In addition to many University of Chicago faculty members and Talbot's personal associates, some of Talbot's major correspondents are:

Jacob Abbott

Lyman Abbott

Countess of Aberdeen

Herbert Austin Adams

Maude Addams

Jane Addams

Elizabeth C. Agassiz

A. Bronson Alcott

Louisa May Alcott

Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Lady Nancy Astor

Katharine Lee Bates

Henry Bernard

Eduard Benes

Anita McCormick Blaine

Sophonisba Breckenridge

John Dewey

Cyrus Eaton

Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Hamlin Garland

Arnold Gesell

Lillian Gish

Simon Guggenheim

Edward Everett Hale

G. Stanley Hall

William Rainey Harper

Carter Harrison

Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Julia Ward Howe

Cordell Hull

Harold Ickes

Helen Keller

Martha Lamb

Julia C. Lathrop

Mary A. Livermore

Julia Marlowe

Walter Hines Page

Bertha (Mrs. Potter) Palmer

Palmer, Mrs. Potter, undated [Box 1, folder 1]

Elizabeth S.Phelps [Ward]

Theodore Roosevelt

Josiah Royce

Horace E.Scudder

Vida Dutton Scudder

Lucy Stone

W. I. Thomas

Thorstein Veblen

Booker T.Washington

Edith Wharton

Frances E. Willard

Ella Flagg Young

Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler

Brief abstracts of most letters in the Correspondence series are available in the Special Collections Research Center.

Series II: University of Chicago includes valuable material on the early history of the University, with a particular focus on women students.

Series III: Diaries, Articles and Books, includes diaries and travel journals, drafts and reprints of articles and addresses drafts, proofs and correspondence related to Talbot's books, particularly More than Lore (1936).

Series IV contains memorabilia and autographs collected by Talbot, material related to the life and work of her parents, particularly her mother, Emily Talbot and autobiographical documents.

Series V: Photographs, includes primarily family and personal images; also included are photographs of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Franz Liszt and views of Boston ca. 1892.

Series VI contains a small number of postcards, clippings on co-education, and small files of material on the World's Columbian Exposition and the Association of Collegiate Alumnae.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

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Subject Headings


Series I: Correspondence, 1897-1948

Box 1   Folder 1

Undated letters arranged alphabetically, including-

  • Grace Abbott
  • Maude Adams
  • Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  • William Rainey Harper
  • Robert Herrick
  • Julia Ward Howe [four letters]
  • Harry Pratt Judson
  • Julia Marlowe
  • Elizabeth S. Phelps [Ward]
  • Mrs. Potter Palmer

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Box 1   Folder 2

Correspondence from Louisa May Alcott (and family) to Marion and Emily Talbot

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Box 1   Folder 3

Undated letters to Marion Talbot from her family

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Box 1   Folder 3A

Transcripts of correspondence from Marion Talbot to her parents, September 25-October12, 1892

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Box 1   Folder 4

Correspondence, 1854-1879

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Box 1   Folder 5

Correspondence, 1880-1885

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Box 1   Folder 6

Correspondence, 1886-1887

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Box 1   Folder 7

Correspondence, 1888-1889

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Box 1   Folder 8

Correspondence, 1890-1891

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Box 1   Folder 9

Correspondence, 1892 [month unknown]

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Box 1   Folder 10

Correspondence, January-August 1892

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Box 1   Folder 11

Correspondence, September 1892

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Box 1   Folder 12

Correspondence, October1892

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Box 1   Folder 13

Correspondence, November -December 1892

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Box 1   Folder 14

Correspondence, January-February 1893

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Box 1   Folder 15

Correspondence, March-May 1893

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Box 1   Folder 16

Correspondence, June 1893-1894

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Box 2   Folder 1

Correspondence, 1895-1896

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Box 2   Folder 2

Correspondence, 1897-1899

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Box 2   Folder 3

Correspondence, 1900

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Box 2   Folder 4

Correspondence, 1901-1902

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Box 2   Folder 5

Correspondence, 1903-1904

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Box 2   Folder 6

Correspondence, 1905-1909

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Box 2   Folder 7

Correspondence, 1910-1913

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Box 2   Folder 8

Correspondence, 1914-1919

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Box 2   Folder 9

Correspondence, 1920-1924

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Box 2   Folder 10

Correspondence, 1925

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Box 3   Folder 1

Correspondence, 1926-1927

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Box 3   Folder 2

Correspondence, 1928-1929

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Box 3   Folder 3

Correspondence, 1930-October 1931

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Box 3   Folder 4

Correspondence, November -December 1931

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Box 3   Folder 5

Correspondence, 1932-1935

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Box 3   Folder 6

Correspondence, 1936

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Box 3   Folder 7

Correspondence, 1937-1938

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Box 3   Folder 8

Correspondence, 1939

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Box 3   Folder 9

Correspondence, 1940-1943

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Box 3   Folder 10

Correspondence, 1944-1945

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Box 3   Folder 11

Correspondence, 1946-1948

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Series II: University of Chicago

Box 4   Folder 1

Dean of Women, general, 1892-1910

Box 4   Folder 2

Dean of Women, general, 1911-1925

Box 4   Folder 3

Women's Clubs (Pi Beta Phi Fraternity and the question of admitting sororities at the University of Chicago, ca. 1894-1898)

Box 4   Folder 4

Women's Clubs, 1910-1925

Box 4   Folder 5

Women Fellow's Club, minutes, 1898

Box 4   Folder 6

Women's Union, minutes, 1901-1904

Box 4   Folder 7

Women's Union, minutes, 1905-1909

Box 4   Folder 8

Women's Union, account books, 1902-1908

Box 4   Folder 9

Junior College of Arts (Women), minutes, 1906-1909

Box 4   Folder 10

Junior College of Science (Women), minutes, 1906-1909

Box 4   Folder 11

Women's Administrative Council, minutes, 1914-1916, holograph

Box 4   Folder 12

Women's Administrative Council, minutes, 1914-1916, typescript

Box 4   Folder 13

Women's Houses (dormitories), 1892-1924

Box 5   Folder 1

Women's Commons, 1894-1917

Box 5   Folder 2

Women's Gym, 1909

Box 5   Folder 3

Ida Noyes Hall, planning and dedication, 1913-1915

Box 5   Folder 4

Green House constitution and account books

Box 5   Folder 5

Household Administration Department, general

Box 5   Folder 6

Household Administration Department, conference and exhibit, June 6, 1916 (Quarter Centennial Celebration)

Box 5   Folder 7

Child Welfare Study Group, Spring Quarter 1917

Box 5   Folder 8

Nurses' training courses, 1918-1923

Box 5   Folder 9

World War I, general

Box 5   Folder 10

World War I, Women and the War

Box 5   Folder 11

Status of University of Chicago women faculty and students, 1920s

Box 5   Folder 12

Social life, 1923-1924

Box 5   Folder 13

Official University of Chicago color, ca. 1894

Box 5   Folder 14

(Graduate) Student Faculty, minutes, 1898-1899 (also membership and committee reports)

Box 5   Folder 15

Curriculum Committee, ca. 1914-1916

Box 5   Folder 16

Racial discrimination, 1914-1915, Series Diaries, Articles and Books

Series III: Diaries, Articles and Books

Box 6   Folder 1

Diary, 1879-1880

Box 6   Folder 2

Diary, 1880-1881

Box 6   Folder 3

Marion Talbot's description of her trip to Norway, 1886

Box 6   Folder 4

European journal, 1908

Box 6   Folder 5

Papers read at Boston University, 1877-1881

Box 6   Folder 6

Dated articles and speeches, 1887-1915

Box 6   Folder 7

Dated articles and speeches, 1916-1925

Box 6   Folder 8

Dated articles and speeches, 1926-1948

Box 7   Folder 1

Undated articles

Box 7   Folder 2

Articles and lectures on Household Administration and Sanitary Science

Box 7   Folder 3

Articles, "Romping on Beacon Hill," and "Glimpses of the Real Louisa May Alcott"

Box 7   Folder 4

Addresses delivered at the Constantinople Women's College

Box 7   Folder 5

Biographical sketches written for the Association of Collegiate Alumnae

Box 7   Folder 6

Reprints of Marion Talbot's column in The House Beautiful, 1902-1904

Box 7   Folder 7

Reprints, 1887-1899

Box 7   Folder 8

Reprints, 1900-1929

Box 7   Folder 9

Reprints, 1930-1945

Box 8   Folder 1

The Modern Household, Talbot and Breckinridge

Box 8   Folder 2

The Education of Women, Talbot

Box 8   Folder 3

More than Lore, Talbot

Box 8   Folder 4

More than Lore, Typescript draft

Box 8   Folder 5

More than Lore, Galley proofs

Box 8   Folder 6

Letters and documents concerning the publishing of Marion Talbot's books

Series IV: Family and Memorabilia

Box 9   Folder 1

Documents and letters concerning Marion Talbot's parents

Box 9   Folder 2

Emily Talbot, reports and papers given under the auspices of the American Social Science Association, 1881

Box 9   Folder 3

Emily Talbot Lectureship (est. 1910) and the Marion Talbot Fellowship (est. 1925)

Box 9   Folder 4-5

Lawsuit, Esther Mercy vs. Marion Talbot, 1912

Box 9   Folder 6

Speeches given on Marion Talbot's retirement from the University of Chicago, 1925

Box 9   Folder 7

Constantinople Women's College, reports, miscellaneous documents

Box 9   Folder 8

Deeds and correspondence regarding Marion Talbot's home in Holderness County, New Hampshire

Box 9   Folder 9

Marion Talbot's instruction concerning her funeral

Box 9   Folder 10

Christmas cards

Box 10

Passport, 1927-1928

Box 10

Passport, 1931-1932

Box 10

Women's clubs roster, 1903-1906

Box 10

Women's clubs roster, 1907-1915

Box 10

Women's clubs roster, 1915-1918

Box 10

Women's clubs roster, 1920-1922

Box 10

Women's clubs roster, 1922-1925

Box 10

Guestbook - "Pine Eyrie," Holderness, New Hampshire, 1902-1914

Box 10

Guestbook - "Pine Tree Cove," Holderness, New Hampshire, 1914-1936

Box 10

Engagement book, 1901

Box 10

Engagement book, 1902

Box 10

Engagement book, 1902

Box 10

Engagement book, 1904

Box 10

Engagement book, 1905

Box 10

Engagement book, 1906

Box 10

Engagement book, 1907

Box 10

Engagement book, 1908

Box 10

Engagement book, 1909

Box 10

Engagement book, 1910

Box 10

Engagement book, 1911

Box 10

Engagement book, 1912

Box 10

Engagement book, 1913

Box 10A   Folder 1

United States certificate of citizenship, degrees, memberships, and awards, 1889-1947

Box 10A   Folder 2

Invitations and programs, 1924-1945

Box 10A   Folder 3

Memorial programs, 1939-1945

Box 10A   Folder 4

Keepsakes, 1935 and undated

Box 10A   Folder 5

American Public Health Association certificate of appreciation, 1936

Box 10A   Folder 6

Retirement keepsake, 1925

Box 11   Folder 1

Autographs. Collection of autographs disbound from Marion Talbot's scrapbook, including-

  • Noah Webster
  • Daniel Webster [two letters]
  • Edward Everett
  • Austin Phelps
  • Josiah Quincy
  • James Russell Lowell
  • Henry W. Longfellow [fragment]
  • Bayard Taylor
  • Thomas Hughes
  • R.H. Dana, Jr.
  • Horace Bushnell

Series V: Photographs

Box 11   Folder 2

Richards letter and photograph

Box 11   Folder 3

Franz Liszt photographs

Box 11   Folder 4

Photographs of Miss Talbot and Pine Tree Cove

Box 11   Folder 5

Baby Party photographs, 1920

Box 11   Folder 6

Constantinople College Photographs

Box 11   Folder 7

Social Service photographs, Constantinople

Box 11   Folder 8

Identified Portrait photographs

Box 11   Folder 9

Photographs of Boston and Cambridge

Box 11   Folder 10


Box 11   Folder 11

Children's Party photographs, 1915

Box 11   Folder 12

Photographs of Baalbek and Jebeil, 1928

Box 11   Folder 13

Unidentified photographs

Box 11   Folder 14

Miscellaneous identified photographs

Box 11   Folder 15

Miscellaneous identified photographs

Box 11   Folder 16

Miscellaneous identified photographs

Box 11   Folder 17

Miscellaneous identified photographs

Series VI: Miscellaneous

Box 12   Folder 1


  • Unidentified to MT, December 21, 1881, postcard
  • Annie G Howes to MT, January 12, 1882 postcard
  • HM (unidentified) to MT, October25, 1882, postcard
  • Harriet Stone to MT, postmarked January 5, 1893, postcard
  • Edith T. Jackson, Eva Channing, and Sarah, L. Day to Emma E. Foster, September 1886, postcard
  • Mary L. Mason to Annie Montagne, April 1890, postcard
Box 12   Folder 2

Articles and news clippings on co-education

Box 12   Folder 3

World's Columbian Exposition correspondence

Box 12   Folder 4

Association of Collegiate Alumnae materials

Box 12   Folder 5

Biographical information

Box 12   Folder 6

The Life of Alice Freeman Palmer by George H. Palmer; pasted inside volume is an invitation to the wedding of George Herbert Palmer and Alice Elvira Freeman addressed to Talbot, 1887