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Guide to the Papers of H. William Geils
1899-1916
  MS 242

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Celia Hartmann

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 09, 2011
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: The H. William Geils Papers
Dates: 1899-1916
Abstract: H. William Geils (b. 1890/91) was educated in Manhattan and worked as a cashier and bookkeeper for various New York City companies. His correspondence is mostly from family members, including an uncle who witnessed the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, and friends of his age in the New York area.
Quantity: 0.43 Linear feet (1 box)
Location note: Manuscript cage
Call Phrase: MS 242

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Biographical Note

H. William Geils (b. 1890/91) lived in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan and in the Bronx with his parents, John L. and Sophie (Lankenau) Geils, and a brother Henry Louis (also Heinrich Ludwig). He attended P.S. 77, the High School of Commerce, and Packard Commercial School in Manhattan. He worked as a cashier and bookkeeper for A. Anderson Newspaper Advertising (August 1904 to December 1905), W & J Sloane department store (c. 1907), and Dieges & Clust, manufacturers of medals and trophies (1910 to 1915). In the summer of 1915 he traveled west to attend a Shriners' convention and visit an uncle in San Francisco, CA. He returned to New York in the late summer and began working for a stock brokerage firm on Wall Street.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection consists predominantly of correspondence to H. William Geils from family members, notably his uncle Louis Lankenau, of San Francisco, CA; and friends Charles Rebman, an undergraduate at Cornell University; Augusta Dietrich, a neighbor and sometime sweetheart; and Emily Flanagan, a student at the New York Training School for Teachers and later a teacher. Most are addressed to Geils at home in Manhattan and the Bronx; some document vacations in Massachusetts and upstate New York.

The letters show the daily life and concerns of young people of this time: school, work, news of other friends and family members, gossip, and planning and attending social events. They delineate the behavior expected by the parents of courting couples, the etiquette observed between young unmarried men and women, and use extensively the slang and vernacular expressions of the period.

Corrected drafts of letters from Geils to Emily Flanagan detail his journey west. Among the undated correspondence are typescripts of off-color jokes and stories, including one involving Alice Roosevelt and Nicholas Longworth; its origin might be assumed to predate their February, 1906, marriage. Some of the undated letters are in envelopes on which are written Geils' name and "Addressed," indicating that they may have been enclosures in other correspondence.

The highlight of the collection is an April 23, 1906, letter from his uncle detailing the San Francisco earthquake of April 18 and the subsequent fires that destroyed the city. Addressed from Bolinas, CA, where Lankenau was living temporarily, it and a May 21, 1906, letter provide first-hand accounts of the destruction. They detail Lankenau and his friends' plans for new business endeavors in the city after its planned rebuilding.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in two series. Within each series the materials are arranged chronologically.

  1. I. Correspondence to H. William Geils
  2. II. Draft correspondence from H. William Geils

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Dietrich, Augusta
  • Dube, Edna
  • Ehlers, Lydia
  • Flanagan, Emily L.
  • Flemming, George
  • Geils, H. William
  • Geils, Henry Louis (Heinrich Ludwig)
  • Geils, John L.
  • Geils, Sophie L.
  • Lankenau, Louis (Ludwig)
  • Rebman, Charles
  • Zettler, Frances

Document Type

  • Correspondence
  • Newspaper clipping
  • Photographic negative
  • Photographic print
  • Postcards

Subject Organizations

  • Dieges & Clust
  • New York Training School for Teachers
  • Packard Commercial School

Family Name(s)

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Gift, 2006

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Use Restrictions

Permission to quote from this collection in a publication must be requested and granted in writing. Send permission requests, citing the name of the collection from which you wish to quote, to

Manuscripts Curator
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as H. William Geils Papers, MS 242, The New-York Historical Society.

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Container List

Series I: Correspondence to H. William Geils (1899-1916)

Scope and Contents note

This series consists of correspondence to H. William Geils.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Correspondence to H. William Geils
1899 June 2-1906 May 21
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Correspondence to H. William Geils
1907 Aug. 8-1907 Nov. 18
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Correspondence to H. William Geils
1908 Dec. 2-1901 Dec. 30
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Correspondence to H. William Geils
1911 Jan. 8-1911 Jan. 29
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Correspondence to H. William Geils
1912 Jan. 15-1913 Oct. 31
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Correspondence to H. William Geils
1913 Nov. 6-1914 Aug. 11
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Correspondence to H. William Geils
1914 Oct. 14-1916 Aug. 23
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Correspondence to H. William Geils

General note

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements note

Undated

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Series II: Draft Correspondence from H. William Geils, 1901-1915

Scope and Contents note

This series consists of draft correspondence written by H. Williamm Geils.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Draft Correspondence from H. William Geils
1901 Feb. 25-1915 Nov. 28

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