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Guide to the Louisa Merritt Field Stabler family papers 1995.002

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11201
718-222-4111
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Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Jillian Cuellar and Marilyn H. Pettit

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 22, 2011
English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Finding aid revised and entered into Archivists' Toolkit by Nicholas Pavlik,  , July 30, 2010

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: Stabler, Louisa M., (Louisa Merritt), 1826-1914
Title: Louisa Merritt Field Stabler family papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1818-1954
Abstract: Louisa Merritt Field Stabler (1826-1914) lived with her husband and children in Brooklyn Heights at 135 Willow Street. The Stablers' children included a daughter, Louise Merritt (1868-1954), and a son, Edward. Louise Merritt Stabler was a member of the first graduating class of Barnard College in 1893. She later became active in the suffrage movement, and was married to zoologist George Howard Parker (1864-1955), a professor at Harvard College. The Louisa Merritt Field Stabler family papers chiefly consist of personal correspondence from Louisa Merritt Field Stabler to her daughter, Louise Merritt Stabler Parker. Some correspondence is also between various members of the Stabler and Parker families. The collection also includes notebooks, a copy of Louisa Merritt Field Stabler's will, various newspaper clippings, and ephemera.
Quantity: 3.0 Linear feet in three record cartons.
Text [Carton]: ARC.071 3 of 3
Text [Carton]: ARC.071 1 of 3
Text [Carton]: ARC.071 2 of 3
Call Phrase: 1995.002
Sponsor: This collection was processed and described as part of the project, "Uncovering the Secrets of Brooklyn's 19th Century Past: Creation to Consolidation," funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources, with additional support from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

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Biographical Note

Louisa Merritt Field Stabler (1826-1914) lived with her husband and children in Brooklyn Heights at 135 Willow Street. Her husband, Edward Hartshorne Stabler (1813-1877), was a drug broker with an office at 44 Cedar Street in New York City. His commercial specialty was opium, at that time an import from Asia. He was originally from Baltimore and after his move to Brooklyn, his business never recovered. The Stablers' children included a daughter, Louise Merritt (1868-1954), and a son, Edward. The Stablers were Quakers with strong ties to the Brooklyn Meeting House and Mission, the Young Friends Society, and the Friends Seminary. The Stabler family was also highly involved with education on all levels, from local kindergartens to universities. The family had connections to Columbia College, and contributed financial support to the establishment of Barnard College, at the time one of the few institutions in the country to offer a college education to women.

The Stablers' daughter, Louise Merritt Stabler, graduated from Brooklyn Heights Seminary in 1886 and taught there before attending Barnard College. She was a member of the first graduating class of Barnard College in 1893. She later became active in the suffrage movement, and was involved with the League of Women Voters and the American Civil Liberties Union. In 1894, she married zoologist George Howard Parker (1864-1955), a professor at Harvard College and a member of the American Physiological Society. The Parkers lived in North Cambridge, MA at 6 Avon Place.

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Scope and Contents

The Louisa Merritt Field Stabler family papers span the period 1818 to 1954 and consist of three linear feet of material, the majority of which is made up of correspondence between Louisa Merritt Field Stabler and her daughter, Louise Merritt Stabler Parker. There is also a considerable amount of correspondence amongst other members of the Stabler and Parker families, though a notable amount comes from Louise Parker's great aunt Hannah of Pine Cottage, the original Field family homestead in Port Chester, Westchester County. The collection also contains notebooks, a copy of Louisa Stabler's will, various newspaper clippings, and ephemera. To facilitate better access to the materials, the collections has been divided into three series:

  1. Correspondence from Louise Stabler to Louisa Parker, 1886-1914
  2. Additional correspondence of Louisa Stabler, 1833-1914
  3. Correspondence of the Stabler and Parker families, 1818-1954

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Parker, George Howard, 1864-1955
  • Parker, Louise M., (Louise Merritt), 1868-1954
  • Stabler, Edward H., (Edward Hartshorne), 1813-1877
  • Stabler, Louisa M., (Louisa Merritt), 1826-1914

Document Type

  • Correspondence
  • Family papers
  • Memorabilia

Subject Organizations

  • Barnard College.

Subject Topics

  • Families -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Housekeeping
  • Quakers -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Women -x Education (Higher) -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Women -- Suffrage
  • Women -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Women -- United States -x Social conditions
  • Women's colleges -- New York (State) -- New York

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • Brooklyn Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Port Chester (N.Y.)
  • Westchester County (N.Y.)

Family Name(s)

  • Stabler family

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Louisa Merritt Field Stabler family papers, 1995.002, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Related Materials

Louise Merritt Stabler Parker's wedding gown is housed in the Museum of American Textile History in North Andover, Massachusetts.

Letters from George Howard Parker to his wife, Louise Merritt Stabler Parker, are contained in the Papers of George H. Parker, 1881-1956, housed at the Harvard University Archives.

An account of George Howard Parker's courtship of his wife, Louise Merritt Stabler Parker, can be found in Chapter 15 of his autobiography, The World Expands: Reflections of a Zoologist (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1946).

Other Finding Aids note

An earlier version of this finding aid, containing a detailed folder listing, is available in paper form at the Othmer Library. Please consult library staff for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Margaret B. Morse, 1995.

Processing Information note

Minimally processed to the series level.

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Container List

Series 1: Correspondence from Louisa Stabler to Louise Parker, 1886-1914

Scope and Contents

This series comprises the bulk of the collection and contains extensive correspondence from Louisa Stabler to her daughter, Louise Parker. Stabler's letters create a continuous narrative from 1886 until her death in 1914, and offer insight into the culture of upper-middle class life in Brooklyn Heights at the turn of the century. More importantly, the letters richly illustrate a closeness between mother and daughter during a time of change. The mother stayed at home but fostered education for women in general and her daughter in particular, and as she did so she filled her frequent and affectionate letters to her daughter with news of neighborhood events and cultural activities in Brooklyn. She also offered advice on housekeeping, touching upon fabric samples, cooking, and managing servants. The whole correspondence is one portion of a discourse between mother and daughter that not only illustrates traditional parental values, but also reveals the dramatic social and cultural changes in the late 19th-century United States, the economic power of wealthy females, advocacy of education for females, and the expansion of opportunities for women while nurturing traditional values between generations.

Series 2: Additional correspondence of Louisa Stabler, 1833-1914

Scope and Contents

This series consists of Louisa Stabler's correspondence with various individuals, including her husband, Edward H. Stabler. Other materials include three notebooks belonging to Louisa Stabler, a copy of her will, and a telegram to Louise Parker notifying her of her mother's death.

Series 3: Correspondence of the Stabler and Parker families, 1818-1954

Scope and Contents

This series contains correspondence amongst various members of the Stabler and Parker families, as well as family friends. Letters from Louise Parker to her husband, George Howard Parker, can be found here, as can letters from Louise Parker to her brother, Edward, and her sister-in-law, Elizabeth, concerning a trip she and her husband took to the American West, often accompanied by memorabilia Parker collected to document the trip. Also included are Louise Parker's obituary and correspondence concerning her death, other various memorabilia, textile samples, and a pressed flower.

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