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Guide to the Elizabeth Robins Papers MSS.002

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Janet Evander.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on January 21, 2022
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

The nearly one hundred linear feet of materials which comprise the Elizabeth Robins Papers, 1803-1963, in New York University's Fales Library reflect the many facets of Robins' full life. Robins retained family papers predating her birth as well as her own correspondence with a variety of dynamic personalities. Her papers, therefore, are a resource not only for studying her life and works, but for examining a wide range of family, social, and political issues. The early papers, a slice of Americana, are valuable for studying family, religious, and educational history. Dating from 1803, the Robins family papers consist of diaries, correspondence, compositions, poetry, and photographs. Also present is information on gold mining camps in post Civil War Colorado and turn of the century Alaska, as Robins, her father, and two of her brothers all spent time in mining camps.

The papers from Elizabeth Robins' lifetime provide insight into American and English theater in the late 19th century, English literary circles, and the women's suffrage and feminist movements in England and America. Largely because of her long-term friendship with Dr. Octavia Wilberforce, there is information on the movement for improved health care for women and children.

The correspondence of Raymond Robins, Elizabeth Robins' brother, adds another dimension to the collection. His letters are an excellent source for the study of Chicago political history, the Settlement House Movement, and Progressive Party politics.

The thirteen series which comprise the Papers of Elizabeth Robins are measured in linear feet and inches. Each series has a descriptive note and a container list. Oversize materials are cross referenced from their originating series, and listed in an "Oversize Materials" series at the end of the container list.


Each of the 13 series in the collection are arranged into a number of subseries.

The three subseries of Series I: Diaries, 1873-1952 are arranged chronologically within each series:
Subseries A: Diaries, 1876-1952
Subseries B: Engagement Books, 1892
Subseries C: Notebooks, 1873-1940

Series II: General Correspondence, 1873-1952 is arranged into three subseries:
Subseries A: General Correspondence, 1873 - 1887
Subseries C: General Correspondence, Subject Files
Subseries C: Notebooks, 1873-1940

Subseries A and B are arranged alphabetically by correspondent; Subseries C is alphabetical by subject. All are arranged chronologically within each folder; undated materials are filed at the end of folders.

Series III: Robins Family Papers, 1803-1933 is arranged into nine subseries:
Subseries A: Jane H. Robins 1814 - 1885
Subseries B: Charles E. Robins 1836 - 1893
Subseries C: Sarah E. Robins 1838 - 1866
Subseries D: Hannah M. Robins 1841 - 1890
Subseries E: Eunice (Una) Robins 1880 - 1886
Subseries F: Vernon Robins 1881 - 1933
Subseries G: Saxton Robins 1882 - 1901
Subseries H: Additional Family Members 1803 - 1876
Subseries I: Family Books

Subseries A-G are arranged chronologically. Correspondence with Elizabeth Robins is at the beginning of each subseries, followed by General Correspondence, Business Correspondence and/or personal items such as notebooks, essays, etc. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically; diaries and letterpress books by chronology. The extreme diversity of material in this series complicates uniform arrangement and description.

Series IV: Raymond Robins and Margaret Dreier Robins, 1887-1951 is arranged into four subseries:
Subseries A: Raymond Robins and Margaret Dreier Robins to Elizabeth Robins
Subseries B: Margaret Dreier Robins
Subseries C: Raymond Robins, General Correspondence
Subseries D: Printed Material and Ephemera

Suberies A-C are arrange chronologically within each subseries.

Series V: Florence Bell, 1891-1930 is arranged into five subseries:
Subseries A: Elizabeth Robins to Florence Bell, 1892 - 1930
Subseries B: Florence Bell to Elizabeth Robins, 1891 - 1930
Subseries C: General Correspondence, 1891-1929
Subseries D: Literary Productions
Subseries E: Printed Materials

Subseries A-E are arranged chronologically within each subseries.

Series VI: Octavia Wilberforce, 1916-1963 is arranged into four subseries:
Subseries A: Octavia Wilberforce to Elizabeth Robins, 1916-1950
Subseries B: Elizabeth Robins to Octavia Wilberforce, 1924-1943
Subseries C: General Correspondence, 1918-1963
Subseries D: Printed Material

Each subseries is arranged chronologically within the subseries.

Series VII is arranged alphabetically.

Series VIII: Theater Productions is arranged into two subseries; alphabetically, primarily by play title:
Subseries A: Business Records
Subseries B: Prompt copies and annotated typescripts

Series IX: Photographic Materials is arranged into eight subseries according to subject matter and material type:
Subseries A: Elizabeth Robins
Subseries B: General Portraits
Subseries C: Robins Family
Subseries D: Alaska
Subseries E: Backsettown
Subseries F: Chinsegut
Subseries G: Colorado, and other places
Subseries H: Negatives

Series X: Legal and Financial Records is arranged into two subseries:
Subseries A: Legal Records
Subseries B: Financial Records

Series XI: Scrapbooks is arranged chronologically into two subseries:
Subseries A: Elizabeth Robins, 1874 - 1904
Subseries B: George Richmond Parks, 1871 - 1883

Series XII: Printed Material is arranged chronologically into twelve subseries:
Subseries A: Proofs of Elizabeth Robins's literary productions
Subseries B: Elizabeth Robins's publications
Subseries C: Theatre
Subseries D: Literary and Political Publications
Subseries E: Political, Cultural and Social Events
Subseries F: Backsettown
Subseries G: Putnam Seminary
Subseries H: Alaska
Subseries I: Pictures
Subseries J: Maps
Subseries K: Newspaper Clippings
Subseries L: Books from Elizabeth Robins's library

Series XIII: Artifacts and Ephemera is arranged into three subseries:
Subseries A: Artifacts
Subseries B: Ephemera
Subseries C: Miscellaneous

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Diaries
  2. Series II: General Correspondence
  3. Series III: Robins Family Papers
  4. Series IV: Raymond Robins and Margaret Dreier Robins
  5. Series V: Florence Bell
  6. Series VI: Octavia Wilberforce
  7. Series VII: Literary Productions
  8. Series VIII: Theater Productions
  9. Series IX: Photographic Materials
  10. Series X: Legal and Financial Records
  11. Series XI: Scrapbooks
  12. Series XII: Printed Materials
  13. Series XIII: Ephemera and Artifacts
  14. Oversize - Series II: General Correspondence
  15. Oversize - Series III: Robins Family Papers
  16. Oversize - Series VII: Literary Productions
  17. Oversize - Series VIII: Theater Productions
  18. Oversize - Series IX: Photographic Materials
  19. Oversize - Series X: Legal and Financial Records
  20. Oversize - Series XI: Scrapbooks
  21. Oversize - Series XII: Printed Materials
  22. Oversize - Series XIII: Ephemera and Artifacts