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MC 448

Shouse, Catherine Filene. Papers of Catherine Filene Shouse, 1878-1998: A Finding Aid.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from Catherine Filene Shouse's estate.


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.
February 1999

© 1999 President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 448
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Catherine Filene Shouse
Title: Papers of Catherine Filene Shouse, 1878-1998
Quantity: 14.22 linear feet (27 + 1/2 file boxes, 2 folio+ boxes) plus 9 folio folders, 7 folio+ folders, 4 oversize folders, 5 oversize volumes, 81 photograph folders, 11 folio photograph folders, 6 folio+ photograph folders, 1 supersize photograph folder, 7 oversize photograph volumes
Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, scrapbooks, diaries, photographs, etc., of philanthropist and patron of the arts, Catherine Filene Shouse.

Processing Information:

Processed: February 1999
By: Glynn Edwards

Acquisition Information:

Accession number: 96-M143
These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by the estate of Catherine Filene Shouse in October 1996.


Access. Unrestricted. School papers from Series I.C and Series II are closed until January 1, 2032-January 1, 2040; divorce papers in Series II are closed until January 1, 2041.

Use Restrictions:

Copyright. The trustees of the Shouse estate have transferred any copyright they held in these papers to the President and Fellows of Harvard University for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in some papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred citation for publication:

Catherine Filene Shouse Papers, 1878-1998; item description, dates. MC 448, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Philanthropist and patron of the arts, Catherine (Filene) Shouse was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on June 9, 1896, the daughter of A. Lincoln and Thérèse (Weill) Filene, a founder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Shouse's paternal grandparents were from Germany: William Filene was born in Posen and Clara (Ballin) Filene in Hanover. William Filene was the founder of Filene's Specialty Store. He and Clara Filene had two sons, A. Lincoln and Edward Albert. Thérèse Filene founded the Boston Music Settlement in Boston's North End and helped found Boston's War Camp Community Service Entertainment Bureau, a forerunner of the United Service Organizations in the Boston area, during World War I. Shouse was one of two children. Her sister Helen, born ca.1899, married George E. Ladd, Jr., and had three children: George III, Lincoln F., and Robert M.
Shouse, known to her friends as Kay, grew up in Boston and Weston, Massachusetts, where her family had a country house. She attended Bradford Academy (now Bradford College) for two years (1911-1913), and spent one year at Vassar College (1913-1914). She then transferred to Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts (B.A. 1918), and while there organized conferences on career opportunities for women. In 1917, she was hired as assistant to the chief of the Women's Division of the United States Employment Service of the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C.
In 1919, Shouse returned to Boston and enrolled at Radcliffe College as a graduate student. When the Harvard Graduate School of Education (which her father helped establish) opened in 1920, she transferred and was the first woman to earn a degree (M.A. 1923) there. Houghton Mifflin commissioned her to expand her thesis and edit, Careers for Women, in 1920; a revised edition was published in 1934.
In 1921, Catherine Filene married Alvin E. Dodd, an economist with the Chamber of Commerce; they had one daughter, Joan. In 1941, Joan married David Atholl Robertson and had four children: David A., Jr., John Jouett, Jill, and Jenifer. The Robertsons were divorced in 1959 and in 1978 Joan married Benton C. Tolley, Jr.
In the 1920s, the Dodds lived in Washington, D.C., where Alvin Dodd established the United States Chamber of Commerce. Active in politics during the late 1920s and early 1930s, Shouse was the first woman appointed to the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee, a founder of the Woman's National Democratic Club (1925), and editor of the Woman's National Democratic Club's Bulletin (1929-1932). In 1926, under President Coolidge, she served as first chairman of the board of the Institute for Women Federal Prisoners, where, continuing her interest in opportunities for women, she instituted a job training and rehabilitation program. In 1929, Shouse founded the Institute of Women's Professional Relations (IWPR), which organized national conferences on opportunities for women with more than a high school education. (Institute of Women's Professional Relations was originally located at the campus of North Carolina University and later moved to Connecticut College.)
After Dodd's term at the United States Chamber of Commerce, he relocated to New York in about 1929 while Shouse remained in Washington. Shouse divorced Dodd in 1930 and two years later married Jouett Shouse (born 1879), whom she had met through her political work. A lawyer and businessman who had been a congressman from Kansas and assistant secretary of the Treasury under President Coolidge, Jouett Shouse was serving as chair of the Democratic National Executive Committee. While living in Washington, Jouett and Catherine Shouse took in and raised a boy whom they renamed William Filene Shouse. Shouse terminated her political career and became active in civic and cultural affairs in the Washington area. She was the first to organize and sponsor concerts (Candlelight concerts, 1935-1942) to supplement the salaries of musicians in the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO). These were first held at her Washington home; then when attendance became too large the concerts were moved to the Phillips Gallery.
In the late 1930s, while at a spa in Marienbad, Czechoslovakia, the Shouses became interested in Boxer dogs. They bought a female during their travels and had such success showing her in the United States that they started a kennel, raising champions in three different breeds on their farm at Wolf Trap in northern Virginia (1939-1946). During the 1940s, Shouse became a president of the Potomac Boxer Club (PBC) and publicity chair of the Old Dominion Kennel Club (ODKC). The Potomac Boxer Club's annual specialty shows, begun ca.1941, raised money for various civic organizations. In addition, Shouse judged boxers in shows around the country.
She became well known for her successful efforts in raising funds for charity, beginning in 1928 as a volunteer at the National Symphony Orchestra and in the 1940s with carnivals for the Institute of Women's Professional Relations. She worked extensively with the Community War Fund in 1942. Jouett and Catherine Shouse became interested in the General Clay Fund, which supported the Army's German Youth Activities Program (GYA), while traveling in Germany. Shouse lent her considerable expertise to the enterprise (1949-1952). At the request of former President Herbert Hoover, she ran the Hungarian Relief Fund (1956-1957), and raised $500,000 within a month.
Having been exposed to music early in life, Shouse maintained a lively interest in the performing arts. She took many trips to Europe for musical events and festivals, often in the company of Princess Helen Kotchoubey de Beauharnais. In 1957, she was appointed chair of the President's Music Committee's People-to-People Program (PMC) by President Eisenhower; she served until 1963. Through this organization she produced annual calendars of performing arts events, and organized President's Music Committee's People-to-People Program's first International Jazz Festival (1962).
In 1961, Shouse donated 40 acres of her farm at Wolf Trap to the American Symphony Orchestra League (ASOL). In 1966, she donated 100 acres to the United States government for a performing arts park to be run by the Department of the Interior under the National Park Service (Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts, WTFP) and funded the building of an open-air amphitheater called the Filene Center. This was accepted by an Act of Congress in October 1966. (American Symphony Orchestra League also transferred its 40 acres to the government for the park.) She established the Wolf Trap Foundation to manage the park, arrange programming, and raise funds. The ground-breaking ceremony for the Filene Center took place in 1968, the topping-out ceremony in 1970, and the gala opening on July 1, 1971. In 1982, the center burned to the ground; a new amphitheater opened in 1984.
Shouse owned the following houses: 1916 F Street, Washington, D.C.; "Plantation House," Vienna, Virginia; "Granly," Oaklands, Easton, Maryland; and 110 Fourth Ave. No., Naples, Florida. She was a member of the American News Women's Club, 1925 F Street Club, Kollegewidwok Yacht Club, and Naples Yacht Club.
Shouse received numerous awards. In 1949 she was honored with the City of Paris Award and the Vienna Medal of Honor. In 1954 she received the United States Army's Patriotic Civilian Award and became the first woman to be decorated with the German Federal Republic's Commander Cross of Merit. Queen Elizabeth II named her Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1976, and in 1977 President Ford gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was one of twelve to receive the National Medal of Arts and the ISPAA Angel Award in 1994. Jouett Shouse died in 1968 and Shouse died on December 14, 1994. A partial chronology of supplemental information follows.



The collection is arranged in five series:


The collection contains documentation of Shouse's personal life as well as her activities, philanthropic work and work for performing arts.
There is some overlap among the various series. For example, although most biographies are in Subseries I.A, some are scattered in other areas: e.g. #18f, 95, 102, 452; the scrapbooks in Series I.C cover not only her personal and social life but also her work in philanthropy and performing arts. Material re: German Youth Activities Program centers can be found in various locations, other than Series IV, depending on its connection to accompanying documents: e.g., Subseries I.D contains photographs and notes from the Shouses' periodic visits to centers while Shouse traveled in Europe; related correspondence is in Series III.A.
Scrapbooks pertaining to specific organizations are filed with related materials. Materials found loose in scrapbooks and in no particular order were removed and put into folders. Scrapbooks containing only clippings have been photocopied and the fragile originals discarded. In general, loose and oversize items in scrapbooks and albums have been removed and filed separately.
Family papers are sparse, Series II being the smallest series, but some can be found elsewhere. For example, family correspondence (to Shouse) which was found alone or accompanied by other material, is filed in Series II with the appropriate individual or family; correspondence (from Shouse) which was found in Shouse's "social and personal correspondence" files remains in general correspondence in Subseries III.A. Family photographs are in Series I (if part of an existing scrapbook) or in Series II (if found loose).
Photographs in magnetic albums were removed and put into folders. Fragile materials, mainly letters on highly acidic paper, have been photocopied; the originals are filed separately. Requests for original photographs and fragile papers must be approved by a manuscript curator. Photocopies of plaques are filed in Series I; the originals were returned to the trustees of the estate.
Records of organizations documented in this collection are held in various locations. Other Institute of Women's Professional Relations records are at Connecticut College archives (only 5") and the Schlesinger Library (1.75 linear feet, collection B-5). The National Archives holds materials relating to German Youth Activities Program, the President's Music Committee, and the Wolf Trap Farm Park for Performing Arts (part of the National Park Service record group). The Kennedy Center keeps its own archives; records of the Potomac Boxer Club and the Old Dominion Kennel Club are with those organizations. Jouett Shouse's papers are at the University of Kentucky.
Series I, Personal and biographical (#1-118f), is divided into seven subseries: Subseries A, Biographical (#1-8, see also #452), includes sketches, resumes, publicity files, and photographs.
Subseries B, Journals/diaries (#9v-13), arranged chronologically, includes Shouse's baby album (clippings from the 1920s-50s that were tucked into the album have been removed and filed separately) and a wedding journal.
Subseries C, Scrapbooks (#14f-32) is also arranged chronologically.
Subseries D, Travel (#33-73) consists of correspondence, memorabilia, photographs, etc. that pertain to various trips, and is further divided: e.g., Diaries, Photograph album, Scrapbooks, and General files. Her travel diaries primarily detail trips taken with Jouett Shouse or Princess Helen Kotchoubey de Beauharnais, some to attend music festivals or visit Marienbad for "the cure," or German Youth Activities Program camps in Germany. (Papers from trips devoted solely to visiting these camps are in Series IV.)
Subseries E, Financial papers (#74-84) arranged chronologically, includes deeds, tax returns, and documents about investments including some for her children, Joan and William.
Subseries F, Awards and citations (#85f-110), includes certificates, correspondence, honorary degrees, and photographs.
Subseries G, Other (#111-118f), includes correspondence, notes, photographs, press releases, memorabilia such as appointment logs, clippings, invitations, and the Shouses' wedding certificate.
Series II, Family (#119-166f), is arranged chronologically by individual or family: her uncle, Edward A. Filene; her mother, Thérèse Filene; father, Lincoln Filene; daughter, Joan Tolley (divorce and financial papers); son, William Shouse; the Robertson family, with separate sections for David, David Jr., John, and Jill; Jouett Shouse; and the Ladd family, with sections for George E. Ladd III and Helen Ladd. Most sections contain correspondence, photographs, biographies, and obituaries.
Series III, Correspondence (#167-236). Shouse did not maintain a consistent filing system for correspondence; there is some in each series. Correspondence files that she had labeled "general" or "social" were grouped together here. The archivist retained existing folders for major correspondents and added letters from these individuals found in other correspondence files. The series has been divided into four subseries, each organized chronologically:
Subseries A, General (#167-194), includes some photographs. In some folders letters were arranged in reverse chronological order; this order has been maintained. There is an interesting letter in #183 from Shouse to Lubov Keefer, in which she explains her philanthropic ideals.
Subseries B, Engagements (#195-207), includes invitations, guest lists, and photographs, and is further sub-divided: e.g., Events hosted by Shouse, Inaugural events, and Invitations from the White House. Relevant items found throughout the collection have been grouped here, except those found in scrapbooks in other series, which have been left where they were.
In Subseries C and D, Christmas (#208-218) and Birthdays (#219-236), most folders include cards and correspondence and some include lists of cards and gifts received, and photographs. Subseries D also includes cards and letters for both Shouse's 90th birthday and the 15th anniversary of Wolf Trap Farm Park for Performing Arts.
Series IV, Volunteer and professional work (#237-444), is sub-divided into eight subseries, arranged chronologically by organization or activity: Subseries A, Colleges and universities (#237-254), includes clippings about the 1918 conference on opportunities for women; and correspondence, dedications, memos, newsletters and programs about reunions.
Subseries B, Institute of Women's Professional Relations (#255-266), includes clippings about Careers for Women and programs and reports about fundraising events and conferences.
Subseries C, Wolf Trap Farm (#267-282), consists of clippings, correspondence, deeds, inventory of furnishings, land surveys, notes, maps, and photographs.
Subseries D, Dogs (#283-351) is divided into four sections: Wolf Trap Kennels (photographs, pedigrees, etc. about her stud); Judging assignments and stewardship (correspondence, notes, photographs); Potomac Boxer Club (correspondence, etc., about its Specialty Shows); and Old Dominion Kennel Club (clippings, notes, reports).
Subseries E, Community War Fund (#352-354), consists of clippings, correspondence, reports, lists, notes, and press releases from the "War Fairs."
Subseries F, General Clay Fund/German Youth Activities (#355vo-414), consists primarily of photograph albums and scrapbooks, with some files and articles by Shouse about her trips to German Youth Activities Program camps, fundraising and promotion.
Subseries G, Hungarian Relief Fund (#415-432), includes correspondence, lists, memos, program, etc., about a gala benefit and more general fundraising.
Subseries H, Other (#433-444), includes The Bulletin of the Woman's National Democratic Club, and address book, clippings, programs, notes and correspondence documenting Shouse's involvement with other boards and conferences.
Series V, Performing arts (#445-581), has six subseries arranged chronologically, with some miscellaneous material in the sixth: Subseries A, National Symphony Orchestra (#445-452); Subseries B, Candlelight Concerts (#453-463); Subseries C, American Symphony Orchestra League (#464-468); Subseries D, President's Music Committee/People-to-People Program (#469-499f+); Subseries E, Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts (Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts, #500-546); Subseries F, Other (#547-581), includes John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and performers. Most subseries contain clippings, correspondence, financial records, memos, notes, photographs, press releases, programs, receipts and reports; Subseries E also includes legal papers and plans.



Additional catalog entries.

The following catalog entries represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. An entry for each appears in the Harvard On Line Library Information System (HOLLIS) and other automated bibliographic databases. THIS IS NOT AN INDEX.
Addams, Jane, 1860-1935
American News Women's Club
American Symphony Orchestra League
Art patrons--United States
Arts fund raising
Arts publicity
Baby books
Beauharnais, Helen Kotchoubey, Princess de
Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs
Bush, Barbara, 1925-
Career education
Centers for the performing arts--Virginia
Civic leaders--United States
Cohen, Elaine Pear
Coolidge, Grace
Custody of children--United States
Czechoslovakia--Description and travel
Divorce--United States
Dog shows--United States
Dogs--Judging--United States
Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937
Eisenhower, Mamie Doud, 1896-1979
Entertaining--Washington (D.C.)
Fairfax County (Va.)--Social life and customs--20th century
Fascism and youth
Filene, E. A. (Edward Albert), 1860-1937
Filene, Lincoln, 1865-
Filene family
Fund raising--United States
Germany--Description and travel
Hill family
Holmes, Gerald
International relief charities
Institute of Women's Professional Relations
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (U.S.)
Johnson, Lady Bird, 1912-2007
Joint custody of children--United States
Ladd family
Lewis, Boyd
Lockhart, H. (Hugh)
Menuhin, Yehudi, 1916-1999
Music festivals--United States
Music patrons--Virginia--Vienna
National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.)
Nixon, Pat, 1912-1993
Ocean travel
O'Connor, Sandra Day, 1930-
Ormandy, Eugene, 1899-1985
People-to-People (Organization). President's Music Committee
Performing arts--Finance
Performing arts--Virginia
Performing arts--United States
Perkins, Frances, 1880-1965
Philanthropists--United States
Political refugees--Hungary
Prey, Hermann, 1929-1998
Putnam, George Palmer, 1887-1950
Ripley, Sidney Dillon, 1913-2001
Robertson family
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919
Shouse, Jouett, 1879-1968
School records
Soldiers--Recreation--20th century
Tax records
Udall, Stewart L.
United States--Officials and employees
United States. European Command
Vienna (Va.)--Social life and customs--20th century
Virginia--Social life and customs--20th century
Voyages and travels
War Camp Community Service (U.S.)
Washington (D.C.)--Social life and customs--20th century
Wheaton College (Norton, Mass.)--Alumni and alumnae
Williams, Charl Ormand, 1885-1969
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (Va.)
Woman's National Democratic Club (U.S.)
Women--Vocational guidance--United States
Women--Employment--United States
Women--Southern States
Women in the professions--United States
Women philanthropists--United States
Women travelers
Woodhouse, Chase Going, 1890-1984
World War, 1939-1945--War work--United States
World War, 1939-1945--Women--United States
Youth centers--Germany


This index includes the names of selected writers and recipients. Information about persons and subjects is not indexed.
Key: No symbol = Recipient; * = Writer and Recipient; # = Writer


Donors: Estate of Catherine (Filene) Shouse
Accession number: 96-M143
Processed by: Glynn Edwards
The following items have been removed from the collection: