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591--2008-M37; Vt-6

Somerville, Nellie Nugent, 1863-1952. Additional papers of the Somerville and Howorth family, 1850-1989: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Processing of this collection was made possible in part by a gift from Elsie Rodd.

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: 591--2008-M37; Vt-6
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Nellie Nugent Somerville, 1863-1952
Title: Additional papers of the Somerville and Howorth family, 1850-1989
Date(s): 1850-1989
Quantity: 14.01 linear feet (28 file boxes, 1 folio box, 1 folio+ box) plus 1 oversize roll, 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ folder, 1 oversize folder, 17 photograph folders, 2 folio+ photo folders, and 1 videotape)
Language of materials: Materials in English, French, or German.
Abstract: Addenda to the papers (A-50) of the Somerville and Howorth family, including correspondence, clippings, writings, etc.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 591, 646, 721, 726, 741, 823, 826, 862, 883, 956, 970, 1163, 70-28, 70-55, 71-37, 73-80 74-11, 74-42, 74-138, 75-142, 76-161, 77-M205, 78-M93, 78-M152, 78-M223, 79-M30, 79-M88, 79-M102, 79-M113, 80-M42, 80-M116, 82-M36, 83-M84, 83-M124, 83-M146. Accession numbers 82-M93, 82-M222, 83-M107, 84-M17, 84-M53, 84-M101, 84-M122, 84-M166, 84-M191, 85-M17, 85-M74, 85-M90, 85-M91, 86-M16, 86-M81, 86-M137, 87-M27, 87-M45, 87-M140, 88-M83, 89-M53, 89-M115, 2001-M77, 2001-M132, 2008-M37 were added in September 2015.
These addenda were given to the Schlesinger Library by Lucy Somerville Howorth between July 1963 and June 1989, and by Martha Swain between May 2001 and March 2008.

Processing Information:

Preliminary inventory by: Jane S. Knowles
Date: August 1983
Updated and additional material added by: Mark Vassar with the assistance of Meghan Pipp and Dan Bullman.
Date: September 2015

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by the Somerville and Howorth family is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other 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:

Somerville Howorth family Additional papers, 1850-1989; item description, dates. 591--2008-M37, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Somerville and Howorth Family Papers (A-50.).


Donors: Lucy Somerville Howorth and Martha Swain
Accession numbers: 82-M93, 82-M222, 83-M107, 84-M17, 84-M53, 84-M101, 84-M122, 84-M166, 84-M191, 85-M17, 85-M74, 85-M90, 85-M91, 86-M16, 86-M81, 86-M137, 87-M27, 87-M45, 87-M140, 88-M83, 89-M53, 89-M115, 2001-M77
Processed by: Mark Vassar
The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to the Schlesinger Library printed materials division:
The following menus have been removed from the collection and transferred to the Schlesinger Library Menu Collection (Pr-7):


The Somerville-Howorth papers span six generations of Mississippi women, but are primarily the papers of Nellie (Nugent) Somerville (1863-1952) and her daughter, Lucy (Somerville) Howorth (1895- 1997). Nellie Nugent Somerville was born September 25, 1863, on a plantation in Mississippi; her father was serving in the Confederate Army at the time. Her mother died two years later, and her father was widowed again after a brief second marriage; Somerville was raised primarily by her grandmother, S. Myra (Cox) Smith, until her father's third marriage in 1870. Somerville spent two years at a Mississippi boarding school and graduated from Martha Washington College in Abingdon, Virginia, in 1880. She married Robert Somerville in 1885; they had four children: Robert, Abram, Eleanor, and Lucy. Somerville became active in suffrage and temperance work in the early 1890s, becoming corresponding secretary of the Mississippi Woman's Christian Temperance Union in 1894 and organizing the Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association in 1897. By 1915 she was a vice president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. In 1923 she became the first woman to be elected to the Mississippi legislature, serving until 1927. Somerville died in Mississippi in 1952.
Lucy Somerville Howorth was born July 1, 1895, in Greenville, Mississippi, the youngest of the four children of Robert Somerville and Nellie Nugent Somerville. Educated at Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Howorth did postgraduate work at Columbia University and received her J.D. from the University of Mississippi in 1922; she was admitted to the Mississippi bar the same year. Howorth practiced law in Mississippi, 1922-1934, and was admitted to the bar before the United States Supreme Court in 1934. In 1928 she married Joseph Marion Howorth; they had no children. Howorth served as the chairman of the Mississippi State Board of Law Examiners, 1924-1928; the U.S. commissioner of the Southern Judicial District of Mississippi, 1927-1931; a member of the Mississippi state legislature, 1932-1936; associate member of the Board of Veterans' Appeals, 1934-1943; legislative attorney in Virginia, 1943-1949; general counsel to the War Claims Commission, 1949-1954; attorney, Commission on Government Security, 1956-1957; and a member of the President's Commission on the Status of Women, 1962-1963. She has maintained a private law practice in Mississippi since 1958. In 1977, Howorth co-edited Dear Nellie: The Civil War Letters of William L. Nugent, correspondence between her maternal grandparents. Howorth has been a member of the Federal Bar Association, the National Association of Women Lawyers, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Mississippi Historical Society, and numerous other organizations.


The collection is arranged in four series:


These addenda contain the papers of three generations of the Somerville Howorth family: papers of Joseph Howorth's grandparents, Alexander Beauchamp and Louisa Beauchamp, and their children, including letters of Joseph Howorth's mother, Emma Beauchamp Howorth; clippings about and correspondence of Nellie Nugent Somerville; and personal and professional papers of Lucy Somerville Howorth. Each of the above is represented by its own series. Material received between May 1982 and May 2001 (accession numbers 82-M93, 82-M222, 83-M107, 84-M17, 84-M53, 84-M101, 84-M122, 84-M166, 84-M191, 85-M17, 85-M74, 85-M90, 85-M91, 86-M16, 86-M81, 86-M137, 87-M27, 87-M45, 87-M140, 88-M83, 89-M53, 89-M115, 2001-M77,2001-M132, 2008-M37) were added to the collection in September 2015. These materials are located in #198-355.
Series I, Beauchamp family, 1850-1915 (#1-58), contains personal correspondence, accounts and other business records of Alexander Beauchamp (d. 1906), landowner, farmer, cotton trader in Mississippi, and his wife Permelia (Sultan) Beauchamp as well as the personal and professional correspondence of their son, Jesse Beauchamp, teacher, businessman, and medical doctor in Memphis, Tennesse, and of their children.
Series II, Nellie Nugent Somerville, 1885-1981 (#59-73) contains clippings about Nellie Nugent Somerville; reminiscence of Nellie Nugent Somerville by her daughter; suffrage and Woman's Christian Temperance Union material; and correspondence.
Series III, Lucy Somerville Howorth, 1908-1983 (#74-197f+) consists of writings and speeches by Lucy Somerville Howorth; clippings, photographs, personal correspondence; professional papers about Lucy Somerville Howorth's term as representative in the Mississippi Legislature, and service on U.S. Board of Veterans' Appeals; legal papers and records of her professional associations, especially with the American Association of University Women.
Series IV, Addenda, 1882-1989 (#198-355), consists of personal and professional correspondence; address books; biographical material; financial material; genealogical material; photographs; etc. There is considerable overlap between material in this series and series II and III. Much of the correspondence and financial material documents both Nellie Nugent Somerville's and Lucy Somerville Howorth's involvement with the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly in Monteagle, Tennessee. Monteagle was founded in 1882 as an ecumenical assembly dedicated to combining the training of Sunday school teachers with a broader range of educational and cultural pursuits. It had close ties with the Lake Chautauqua, New York, assembly. This material documents the evolution of the assembly and its religious and educational pursuits, management of finances, organizational hierarchy, care for its infrastructure, etc. Lucy Somerville Howorth's activities with a number of professional organizations are also documented here including the International Federation of University Women, National Association of Women Lawyers, and the Mississippi Historical Society, but she was most active in the American Association of University Women and held several positions within the organization. Material related to the American Association of University Women documents her work on various committees such as the constitution and by-laws revision committee, the building planning committee, the nominating committee, and the ad hoc legislative planning committee. She also served on their Education Foundation. While most material was found in labeled manilla envelopes and folders, much of the correspondence was found loose. Original order was retained for identified material and that material retains Howorth's original titles. Loose correspondence was arranged chronologically in folders. There is considerable overlap between the chronological correspondence and other materials in the collection. Personal correspondence arranged by individual, Monteagle Sunday School Assembly, and the American Association of University Women can also be found in chronological correspondence. Most original folder titles were retained. The series is arranged alphabetically.


Container List

Additional Index Terms

Mississippi--Social life and customs
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives, Confederate
United States--President's Commission on the Status of Women
Women--Suffrage--United States
American Association of University Women
Beauchamp family
Buck, Pearl S. (Pearl Sydenstricker), 1892-1973
Dewson, Molly, 1874-1962
Faulkner, William, 1897-1962
Hickey, Margaret
Howorth, Lucy Somerville, 1895-1997
International Federation of University Women
Mississippi Woman's Suffrage Association
Monteagle Sunday School Assembly
Riley, Susan B, 1896-1973
Roosevelt, Franklin D (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
Somerville, Nellie Nugent, 1863-1952
Soroptimist Club
Southern Conference on Human Welfare
Woman's Christian Temperance Union
Woodward, Ellen Sullivan, 1887-1941
Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941