Worthington, Ada Elizabeth, 1899-1989. Papers of Ada E. and John C. Worthington, 1897-1988:
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 by a gift from Mary and Michael Gellert.
Call No.: MC 507
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Ada Elizabeth Worthington, 1899-1989
Title: Papers of Ada E. and John C. Worthington, 1897-1988
Quantity: 4.38 linear feet (10 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 4 photograph folders, 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ folder,
1 oversize folder)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of Ada E. Worthington, founder of Cape Cod Fish Net Industries, and her husband,
John C. Worthington, oil driller, pilot, and general manager of Pond Village Cold
Accession number: 92-M38
These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by their daughter, Diana Worthington.
Processed: November 2004
By: Johanna Carll
Access. Unrestricted, except for folders #OD.1 and 8.14 which are closed until January
Copyright. Copyright in the papers of Ada E. Worthington and John C. Worthington 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.
Ada E. and John C. Worthington Papers, 1897-1988; item description, dates. MC 507,
folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge,
Ada E. and John C. Worthington were married on August 19, 1926, and lived for a short
time in Trinidad before settling in Truro, Massachusetts in 1933. They had three children:
John C., Jr., 1927, Christopher H. "Toppy," 1928, and Diana, 1939.
Ada Elizabeth (Warden) Worthington, daughter of William and Marie Christine (Halsey)
Warden, was born September 2, 1899, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Educated in England,
she served in the Women's British Auxiliary Ambulance Corps during World War I before
coming to the United States in 1918. She worked at Presbyterian Hospital in New York
City, eventually becoming a registered nurse. In 1933, Ada E. Worthington founded
Cape Cod Fish Net Industries, a firm that by 1938 employed more than 40 people. She
owned and operated women's boutiques in Hyannis and Truro, Massachusetts; New York
City; Sausalito, California; and Miami, Florida. In New York her fashions were sold
in 21 stores; she and her fishnet products, which included dresses, scarves, dolls,
curtains, etc., were featured in several fashion magazines. She retired in 1980 and
died on April 17, 1989.
John Cheney Worthington, son of Robert Briggs and Velnette (Cheney) Worthington, was
born February 2, 1899, in Dedham, Massachusetts. He attended Kent School and enlisted
in the Marines during World War I. While working in the oil fields of the American
Southwest and Mexico, he learned to fly airplanes and competed in many air races.
He assisted in the designing of several airports and worked as a sales representative
for the Merrimac Chemical Co. In 1933, John C. Worthington started the Pond Village
Cold Storage Co., a fish processing plant, which he ran until his retirement in 1963.
He served in the Ferrying Division of the Army Air Transport Command during World
War II. Beginning in the 1950s, John C. Worthington became active in Truro town affairs
and served three terms as selectman. He was an advocate of preserving Cape Cod's beaches,
testifying before several government bodies. He was also active on behalf of marine
fisheries and served on the governor's fishery advisory board through the 1960s. John
C. Worthington died on December 23, 1992.
The collection is arranged in five series:
- Series I. Biographical and Personal
- ___Subseries A. Ada E. Worthington
- ___Subseries B. John C. Worthington
- Series II. Correspondence
- ___Subseries A. Family
- ___Subseries B. Other
- Series III. Ada E. Worthington's Professional Work
- Series IV. John C. Worthington's Professional Work
- Series V. Photographs
The collection includes correspondence, birth certificates, payroll ledgers, financial
statements, military records, etc., documenting the personal and professional lives
of Ada E. Worthington and her husband, John C. Worthington. Their daughter, Diana
Worthington, sorted and refoldered the collection. As a result, it is unclear whether
the folder titles and arrangement are original to the collection. The archivist used
this arrangement, alphabetizing and chronologizing folders within it. Information
added to the folder titles by the archivist appears in square brackets.
Series I, Biographical and Personal, 1899-1978 (#1.1-2.20), contains birth certificates,
passports, tax returns, financial information, military records, etc. It is divided
into two subseries.
Subseries A, Ada E. Worthington, 1899-1978 (#1.1-1.6), contains her birth certificate
and passport, as well as Ada E. Worthington and John C. Worthington's marriage certificate,
joint tax returns and financial information relating to joint loans. Folders are arranged
in rough chronological order.
Subseries B, John C. Worthington, 1899-1978 (#1.7-2.20), contains his birth certificate,
passports, correspondence, etc. Materials relating to his high school education include
letters, dance cards, class publications, a football playbook, and diplomas. Materials
relating to flying experience include pilot's licenses and membership cards. Papers
relating to his enlistment in the Marine Corps (1917-1919) include appointment and
discharge papers. Records relating to his service in the Ferrying Division of the
Army Air Transport Command during World War II (1942-1945) include his personnel file,
copies of his flight orders, and flight logs. Folders are arranged in rough chronological
Series II, Correspondence, 1897-1988 (#3.1-6.20), contains letters among various members
of the Worthington family as well as exchanges among Ada E. Worthington and John C.
Worthington and their friends, acquaintances, and their nonprofessional contacts.
It is divided into two subseries.
Subseries A, Family correspondence, 1897-1983 (#3.1-5.13), includes letters to and
from various members of the Warden and Worthington families. The correspondence falls
into three main categories. Correspondence between Ada E. Worthington and John C.
Worthington and their respective parents provides information about their early adult
lives. Ada E. Worthington writes of life in New York City, while John C. Worthington
describes Marine Corps training at Parris Island and work in the oil fields of Mexico
and the southwestern part of the United States. Exchanges between Ada E. Worthington
and John C. Worthington include courtship letters, letters discussing their marital
problems, and letters exchanged during John C. Worthington's enlistment in the U.S.
Army Air Transport Command during World War II. Letters from Ada E. Worthington and
John C. Worthington's sons describe life at Kent School, a boarding school in Connecticut,
and those from their daughter describe matters relating to the management of the Cape
Cod Fish Net Industries store in Sausalito, California, as well as day-to-day life
as a wife and mother of two children. Additionally, there are small amounts of correspondence
among Ada E. Worthington and John C. Worthington and their siblings, aunts and uncles,
and other relations.
Also included is a small collection of papers created by Marie Christine Halsey Warden,
Ada E. Worthington's mother. Called "Christine" or "Chrissy," the materials document
her memories of a childhood home; her interest in theology, especially the teachings
of Dr. Charles Cuthbert Hall; and the final years of her life, during which she lived
with Ada E. Worthington and John C. Worthington. Also included is her 1964 suicide
note, in which she writes of a poor quality of life due to illness. Folders are arranged
Subseries B, Other, 1917-1988 (#5.14-6.20), contains exchanges among Ada E. Worthington
and John C. Worthington and their friends and acquaintances, as well as correspondence
relating to various interests they both had outside of their professional work. Much
of the correspondence in this series is between John C. Worthington and his friends
from high school. The correspondence also reflects Ada E. Worthington and John C.
Worthington's involvement in the Cape Cod community as advocates of land conservation,
as well as land owners in the Pamet Valley. Folder titles indicate whether letters
were addressed to Ada E. Worthington or John C. Worthington. When letters were to
both of them, no recipient is indicated. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Series III, Ada E. Worthington's Professional Work, 1935-1980 (#6.21-8.15, OD.1),
contains catalogs, instructions on making various products, payroll records, correspondence,
price lists, etc., relating to Cape Cod Fish Net Industries, a firm founded by Ada
E. Worthington, which manufactured clothing and accessories made of fishnet. Records
in this collection pertain mostly to the manufacturing and distribution of products,
which were done in Truro. For information about the boutique in Sausalito, California,
see Diana Worthington's letters to Ada E. Worthington (#4.1-4.7). Folders are arranged
in alphabetical order.
Series IV, John C. Worthington's Professional Work, 1923-1970 (#9.1-11.7), contains
financial statements, correspondence, incorporation records, stock certificates, etc.,
relating to his work in a variety of fields. Most of the materials relate to his work
with the Fishing Research Corporation, which produced items used in the fishing industry,
his position as general manager of Pond Village Cold Storage Company, which distributed
frozen fish, and his work as a pilot-salesman for the Merrimac Chemical Company. A
small number of folders detail other short lived jobs held by John C. Worthington.
Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Series V, Photographs, 1899-1950s, n.d. (#PD.1-PD.4), includes photographs of Ada
E. Worthington and John C. Worthington; Cape Cod Fish Net Industries shops; Ada E.
Worthington's birthplace; and John C. Worthington's uncle, William F. Cheney, and
mother, Velnette Cheney.
- Series I. BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL
- Subseries A. Ada E. Worthington
- 1.1. Biographical, 1899, 1924-1939, 1965, 1971
- 1.2. Loans, Ada E. Worthington/John C. Worthington, 1938-1962
- 1.3-1.6. Tax returns, Ada E. Worthington/John C. Worthington, including Cape Cod Fish Net Industries,
- Subseries B. John C. Worthington
- 1.7. Birth certificate (1899), passports (1926, 1939); includes photographs.
- 1.8. School stories, 1906; includes calendar (1916).
- 1.9. Dedham High School, 1916-1918
- 1.10. Membership cards, calling cards, etc., 1916-1923, 1977
- 1.11. Annapolis attempt, 1917-1918
- 1.12. Kent School, 1918-1920, 1932
- 1.13. Marine Corps, 1918-1919
- 1.14. Flight experience, 1927-1935, 1947; includes photographs.
- 1.15. Marine Corps, letters recommending John C. Worthington to Aviation Reserve, 1931
- 1.16. Clippings, 1933-1976
- 2.1. Army Air Transport Command, Ferrying Division, 1941-1945; includes photographs.
- 2.2. Army Air Transport Command, Ferrying Division, log book, December 1942 - September
- 2.3-2.7. Army Air Transport Command, Ferrying Division , 1943-1944
- 2.8-2.9. Army Air Transport Command, Ferrying Division, personnel file, 1943-1944.
Folder #2.8 includes reference copy of photograph; original in #PD.4.
- 2.10. Army Air Transport Command, Ferrying Division, flight notes and War Department forms,
- 2.11. Truro Community Club, 1946
- 2.12. Fire at Depot Road house, 1947-1948
- 2.13. Kent School Alumnus Council, 1950-1952
- 2.14. Organizing committee for a Cape Cod Association, 1953
- 2.15. Labor Management Commission, 1954.
Includes reference copy of photograph; original in #PD.4.
- 2.16. Truro Selectman, 1957, 1964
- 2.17. Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission, 1962-1978
- 2.18. Notes re: early fisheries, 1970s
- 2.19. Early history of Pamet River Bridge and dike, n.d.
- 2.20. Trap fishing manuscript, published, n.d.
- Series II. CORRESPONDENCE
- Subseries A. Family
- 3.1. Barrington, Tom and Robert Lof [sons-in law] to Ada E. Worthington/John C. Worthington,
- 3.2. Cheney, William F. [re: distribution of] estate of D.K. Abrams [a relative]; also
includes genealogy of Allyne family, 1897, 1908, 1912.
- 3.3. Cheney, William F. genealogy; includes letters from Mrs. Bush [aunt to Velnette Worthington],
- 3.4. Cheney, William F. to Ada E. Worthington/John C. Worthington, 1917-1931
- 3.5. Johnstone, Robert [Ada E. Worthington's nephew] to Ada E. Worthington and Marie Christine
Halsey Warden, 1963, 1983
- 3.6. Warden, Charlotte to Ada E. Worthington, Eleanor Warden Johnstone, and Marie Christine
Halsey Warden from France, 1948
- 3.7. Warden, Marie Christine Halsey from Diantha Crisp, 1940
- 3.8. Warden, Marie Christine Halsey from Dr. Charles Cuthbert Hall, 1906-1908; includes
[unattributed] sermon (1910).
- 3.9. Warden, Marie Christine Halsey appointment book [mentioning Dr. Charles Cuthbert Hall],
n.d.; includes clippings re: Hall's death (1908).
- 3.10. Warden, Marie Christine Halsey, 1964-1965
- 3.11. Warden, Marie Christine Halsey statement re: Oneck Lane [family estate], 1964
- 3.12. Warden, Marie Christine Halsey to Ada E. Worthington/John C. Worthington, 1926-1952
- 3.13. Worthington, Ada E. correspondence with Wardens, 1904-1981
- 3.14-3.20. Worthington, Ada E. to John C. Worthington, 1925-1977
- 3.21. Worthington, Christopher H. to Ada E. Worthington/John C. Worthington, 1943-1949
- 4.1-4.7. Worthington, Diana to Ada E. Worthington/John C. Worthington, 1951-1986
- 4.8. Worthington, Erastus, Worthington court order, November 6, 1823 [sent to family by
- 4.9-4.15. Worthington, John C. to Ada E. Worthington, 1925-1976
- 4.16. Worthington, John C. re: [uncle] John W. Worthington's will and disbursements, 1963-1965
- 5.1-5.3. Worthington, John C. to Velnette and Robert B. Worthington, 1917-1926
- 5.4. Worthington, John C., Jr., to Ada E. Worthington/John C. Worthington, 1933, 1943-1946,
- 5.5. Worthington, Robert [brother] to John C. Worthington, 1970s
- 5.6. Worthington, Robert B. autopsy report, 1942
- 5.7. Worthington, Robert B. professional, 1889, 1939.
- 5.8. Worthington, Robert B. to John C. Worthington, 1917-1918, 1939
- 5.9. Worthington, Robert B. and Velnette Worthington estate, 1942-1948
- 5.10-5.12. Worthington, Velnette to John C. Worthington, 1917-1945
- 5.13. Worthington, William to John C. Worthington, 1935, 1967, 1972
- Subseries B. Other
- 5.14. Abler, William re: Rolex project, 1980
- 5.15. Ashmore, Sid to John C. Worthington, 1918
- 5.16. Bartlett, Lucy to John C. Worthington, 1918
- 5.17. "Dit" to John C. Worthington, 1918
- 5.18. duPont, Emile F. to John C. Worthington, 1917-1946.
Includes reference copy of photograph; original in #PD.4.
- 5.19. [Pamet] appraisal of beach land donated to Truro, 1971
- 5.20. Pamet Beach Club lease and dock permits, 1960-1962
- 5.21. [Pamet] Bernard, Michael film script, transcription of taped interviews with John
C. Worthington, 1978
- 5.22. [Pamet] Doane, Oscar re: break through Fisher Road Dike, 1971
- 5.23. Pamet Harbor Committee, 1953, 1967
- 5.24. [Pamet] Hathaway, James E. to John C. Worthington re: land at Pamet, 1949
- 5.25. [Pamet] letter and copy of deed re: boundaries on Pamet River, 1948
- 5.26. [Pamet] Marshall, Raymond to John C. Worthington re: Navy in Pamet, 1934
- 5.27. [Pamet] Friends of Pamet Valley, 1966
- 5.28. [Pamet] possible lot plan, south channel entrance to Pamet, 1967
- 5.29. [Pamet] sale of land on Pamet, 1950-1951
- 5.30. [Pamet] shore property sale, 1976-1977
- 5.31. [Pamet] U.S. Army Engineering Division re: dredging of channel, 1959
- 5.32. [Pamet] petition for breakwater, Pamet River, 1939
- 6.1. [Pamet] plans and request for pier at boathouse, 1960
- 6.2. Radio carbon age testing of stump/Fisher Beach, 1973-1974
- 6.3. Robertson to John C. Worthington re: the wreck of the Henrietta, n.d.
- 6.4. Scott, Frances W. to John C. Worthington, 1917-1918
- 6.5. Simonitsch, Mark to John C. Worthington re: Fish Weirs, Inc., 1981, 1988
- 6.6. Smith, Grace re: contract for bibliography of Edith Wharton and place to work, 1963
- 6.7. Snow, David L. [general contractor] re: [work done on] Depot Road house, 1931-1932
- 6.8. Vietnam soldiers' thank you to Ada E. Worthington for care packages containing food
and fishnet items to decorate living quarters, 1967-1968.
Includes reference copy of photograph; original in #PD.4.
- 6.9. Worthington, Ada E. causes [mainly environmental], 1961-1979
- 6.10. Worthington, Ada E. female friends, 1927-1982; includes Irene Lewisohn.
- 6.11. Worthington, Ada E. re: opposition to Lady Bird Johnson's beautification program,
- 6.12. Worthington, John C. re: boat Pilhasca, 1949
- 6.13. Worthington, John C. Coastal Wetlands Act, 1973
- 6.14-6.15. Worthington, John C. correspondence, 1917-1934, 1952, 1967, 1985.
Folder #6.14 includes reference copy of photograph; original in #PD.4.
- 6.16. Worthington, John C. friends [mainly re: war experiences], 1942-1945
- 6.17. Worthington, John C. Kent School friends, 1917-1918
- 6.18. Worthington, John C. re: percent of well #3, Tampico, Mexico, 1931
- 6.19. Worthington, John C. purchase of New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company
property, 1946, 1950
- 6.20. Worthington, John C. statement before Senate on Insular Affairs on Bill S.2636 re:
Cape Cod National Seashore, 1959
- Series III. ADA E. WORTHINGTON'S PROFESSIONAL WORK
- 6.21-6.23. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries accounts (Cuba, London, Nassau, Switzerland, USA), 1935-1939
- 7.1. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries brochure, post cards, catalogs, n.d.
- 7.2. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries, Ada E. Worthington and Truro selectmen re: school house
- 7.3. Cape Cod Fish Net Industry direction cards with stock number, name, time to make,
cutting and sewing directions, n.d.
- 7.4. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries directions notebook by Gladys Francis, 1940
- 7.5. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries directions for fishnet articles with some drawings, pages
of Gladys Francis notebook, 1950-1960
- 7.6-7.7. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries directions and prices of items, 1940-1944
- 7.8. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries examples of net mesh sizes, directions for curtain drapery,
- 7.9. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries Florida trip expenses, n.d.
- 7.10. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries linen thread explanation of net conversions, 1940
- 7.11. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries list of outside workers prior to 1964
- 7.12. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries "Living and Working on Cape Cod" transcript, 1941
- 7.13. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries model chart for labor/time/item in John C. Worthington
- 7.14-7.15. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries net project for W.A. Augur, Inc.: barrage balloon inflation
nets for war, 1943
- 7.16. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries notes of Ada E. Worthington re: new accessories, n.d.
- 7.17. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries price note pages; includes fan guard, 1955-1962.
- 8.1. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries prices figured at $.75/hour labor, 1957
- 8.2. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries price lists, 1940-1959
- 8.3. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries [publicity] advertisement copy, n.d.
- 8.4. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries publicity contacts in New York City, Ada E. Worthington
- 8.5-8.6. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries publicity, write-ups, copies of photographs used in advertisements,
- 8.7-8.8. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries, Rochester Safety Equipment Company, 1973-1980
- 8.9. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries, Sausalito, California shop], 1961
- 8.10. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries shop sales totals, 1962-1963
- 8.11-8.13. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries suppliers, addresses, cost per item (notebook pages),
- 8.15. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries work sheets and prices paid for work, 1942-1950
- SERIES IV. JOHN C. WORTHINGTON'S PROFESSIONAL WORK
- 9.1. Atlantic Coast Fisheries, n.d.
- 9.2-9.3. Fishing Research Corporation , 1946-1951; folder #9.2 includes uncataloged photographs.
- 9.4. Fishing Research Corporation incorporation articles and minutes, 1946-1948
- 9.5. Fishing Research Corporation John C. Worthington accounts, 1946-1950
- 9.6. Fishing Research Corporation John C. Worthington shares, 1946-1947
- 9.7. George M. Pynchon, Jr., Inc., 1931
- 9.8-9.9. Merrimac Chemical Company, 1932-1933
- 9.10. Merrimac Chemical Company advertisement poster from Aviation, September 1935
- 9.11. Merrimac Chemical Company reports, November 1932 - April 1933
- 9.12. Merrimac Chemical Company flight log book, signed by Frank Hawkes, April 1930 - November
- 9.13. Merrimac Chemical Company flying costs, 1932-1933
- 9.14. Pond Village Cold Storage, 1942-1944; includes accounts of damage from the Great Atlantic
Hurricane of 1944.
- 9.15. Pond Village Cold Storage copper for net treating [product information], 1960
- 9.16. Pond Village Cold Storage dissolvement, 1962-1965
- 9.17. Pond Village Cold Storage [financial] statements, 1960
- 9.18. Pond Village Cold Storage fish weir permits, maps, 1962-1965
- 9.19. Pond Village Cold Storage loan request to repair damages from Hurricane Carol, 1954-1955
- 9.20. Pond Village Cold Storage materials, tractor/diesel engines, 1934-1946
- 10.1-10.2. Pond Village Cold Storage receipts and payments, 1956-1970
- 10.3-10.6. Pond Village Cold Storage posted accounts ledger, 1946-1969
- 10.7. Pond Village Cold Storage pounds of fish caught, 1934-1953
- F+D.1. Pond Village Cold Storage pounds caught, 1958
- 10.8. Pond Village Cold Storage [stock cerificates, John C. Worthington], 1947
- 10.9. Pond Village Cold Storage stock disbursements, 1969-1970
- 10.10. Pond Village Cold Storage stock returned [after dissolvement] with personal stockholder
- 10.11. Pond Village Cold Storage stockholder reports, 1942-1969
- 11.1-11.2. Pond Village Cold Storage time books, 1955, 1959, 1960, 1963
- 11.3. Pond Village Cold Storage trap locations, n.d.
- 11.4. Pond Village Cold Storage Twinefield land [re: survey], 1966-1968
- 11.5. Pond Village Cold Storage warrant and writ re: H & G Frozen Whiting, 1944-1947
- 11.6. Slater Mills, Webster, Massachusetts, notebooks, 1923
- 11.7. Tuna for Teiji Mizumio, Japan [inspected by John C. Worthington], 1965
- SERIES V. PHOTOGRAPHS
- PD.1. Ada E. Worthington birthplace, Flores, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1899; Ada E. Worthington
at Presbyterian Hospital, 1922; Ada E. Worthington, n.d.; John C. Worthington, n.d.
- PD.2. Cape Cod Fish Net Industries, 1930s-1970s, (mostly n.d.)
- PD.3. Reverend William F. Cheney and Velnette Cheney, n.d.
- PD.4. Photographs removed from #2.8, 2.15, 5.18, 6.8, 6.14
Fashion designers--United States
Parent and child--United States
Parris Island (S.C.: Recruit depot)
Women-owned business enterprises--Massachusetts
Women's clothing industry--United States
World War, 1914-1918. Personal narratives, American.
World War, 1939-1945. Personal narratives, American.
Cape Cod Fish Net Industries
Fishing Research Corporation
Pond Village Cold Storage Company
United States. Army Air Forces. Air Transport Command. Ferrying Division
United States. Marine Corps--Military life
Worthington, John C., 1899-1992