Baldwin, Amelia Muir, 1876-1960. Papers of Amelia Muir Baldwin, 1821-1961: A Finding
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
Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: A-131
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Amelia Muir Baldwin, 1876-1960
Title: Papers of Amelia Muir Baldwin, 1821-1961
Quantity: 5.75 linear feet (8 file boxes, 2 half boxes, 4 card files) plus 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ folder,
1 oversize folder, 1 supersize folder, 1 oversize volume)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, financial ledgers and files, photographs, etc., of Amelia Muir Baldwin,
interior decorator and needle tapestry designer.
Accession numbers: 595, 73-40
The papers of Amelia Muir Baldwin were given to the Schlesinger Library by Mr. and
Mrs. LaRue Brown, executors of the estate of Amelia Muir Baldwin, in May 1963 and March 1973.
Reprocessed: July 1983
By: Jane S. Knowles
Access. Collection is open for research.
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Amelia Muir Baldwin as well as copyright
in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Amelia Muir Baldwin Papers, 1821-1961; item description, dates. A-131, folder #. Schlesinger
Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
Amelia Muir Baldwin, interior decorator and needle tapestry designer, was born in
Boston on December 25, 1876, the daughter of Loammi Austin and Louise Vernon (Maynard)
Baldwin. She was graduated from Melrose High School in 1894 and enrolled as a special
student at Radcliffe, 1905-1907. While studying, she supported herself as a bookkeeper
and secretary. She became a saleswoman at A.H. Davenport (1913-1915), where she learned
the interior decorating trade, and took courses in decorative arts from Huger Elliot
at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. In 1916 she was appointed head of the interior
decorating department of Bigelow Kennard and Co., but soon proved too expensive for
them and left, to work freelance from her own studio. At this time she also planned
and designed the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Bazaars. She then served as a field
agent for the United States Housing Corporation (1919-1920). After World War I, she
taught courses in applied art at the Garland School of Homemaking, Boston, and then
re-opened her studio and went into business as a decorator and a needlework designer
and supplier. She weathered bankruptcy in 1923 and developed a good clientele among
the wealthy and socially prominent of the 1920s who summered at Lenox, the North Shore
or Bar Harbor, and wintered in Chicago, Boston, New York, Washington, Santa Barbara
or abroad. She increased her business by exhibiting and had agents in many places;
the most active were Marion Webb and M.K. Johnson. As a designer she did extensive
research; her designs were sold nationwide and won much acclaim.
She managed to continue her business during the Depression working from her apartment,
but her files show the vicissitudes of working with clients who were slow to settle
accounts, and who frequently complained that she had supplied too little wool, or
had charged exorbitant prices. World War II contributed to the demise of her business,
as it was a luxury trade, but she continued to supply clients with wools and designs
until her death in 1960.
In 1942 she took a ship drafting course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
and found temporary work at the Arthur D. Little Co. From 1942 until 1954 she lived
at Elizabeth Peabody House and taught English and Americanization courses to foreigners.
She also designed scenery for the House's theatrical productions, working with, among
others, Sarah Caldwell. Near the end of her life she was executive secretary, then
assistant treasurer, of the Friends of Framingham, positions created by her friends
LaRue and Dorothy Brown to provide her with some income.
The collection is arranged in two series:
- I. Family and personal
- II. Business records
This collection contains Baldwin family papers and photographs, Amelia Muir Baldwin's
personal correspondence and writings, and the records of her interior decorating and
needle tapestry business.
Series I, Family and personal, contains family correspondence of Loammi and Amelia
(Muir) Baldwin, Baldwin's grandparents; also the correspondence of Loammi Austin and
Louise Vernon (Maynard) Baldwin, Baldwin's parents, with other family members, their
certificates, awards and memorabilia; and letters from and among other relatives.
There are Baldwin and Maynard family photographs and photographs of Baldwin. Baldwin's
own papers include clippings, certificates and personal correspondence; writings,
including lectures and articles; letters seeking employment; records of her casual
employment and her affiliations with political and civic organizations; and her estate
Series II, Business records, contains an extensive record of Baldwin's interior decorating
and needlework business: advertising and exhibition material; correspondence with
lawyers over debts and bankruptcy; and client files. The client files were greatly
reduced when the collection was first processed. The samples of complete files which
were retained (see # 58, 85, 90, 91, 102-104) show her personal contacts, method of
work, growth of the business (1925-1932) and its decline (1932-1935). They contain
work orders, correspondence, samples of threads, wools, upholstery, drapery material,
wallpaper, needlework designs and blueprints. There are also records of Baldwin's
design research, her financial records, mailing lists, and lists of suppliers and
- Box 1: 1-20
- Box 2: 21-31
- Box 3: 32-42
- Box 4: 43-60
- Box 5: 61-81
- Box 6: 82-101
- Box 7: 102-114
- Box 8: 115-127v
- Box 9: 128v-135v
- Box 10: 136v-138v
- Boxes 11-14: Card files
- Series I. FAMILY AND PERSONAL
- 1. Baldwin family. Genealogy
- 2. Baldwin family. Correspondence of Loammi and Amelia (Muir) Baldwin, Amelia Muir Baldwin's
grandparents, 1821-1847: Loammi Baldwin to Eliza (Baldwin) Newhall (sister), 1821-1827;
Amelia (Muir) Baldwin to Eliza (Baldwin) Newhall (sister-in-law), 1829-1838, and to
Mary Louise (daughter), 1840; Loammi to Thaddeus Baldwin (son), 1845; Loammi Baldwin's
- 3. Baldwin family. Correspondence, etc., of Loammi Austin Baldwin and Louise Vernon (Maynard)
Baldwin, Amelia Muir Baldwin's parents, et al., 1854-1885: Loammi Austin Baldwin to
Thaddeus (brother), 1854; Eliza (Baldwin) Newhall to Loammi Austin Baldwin, sympathizing
with the south in the North/South conflict, 1861; Loammi Austin Baldwin's commission
as first lieutenant in the Louisiana State militia, 1861 (in #37o); Loammi Austin
Baldwin to future wife, 1870; marriage certificate of Loammi Austin Baldwin and Louise
Vernon (Maynard) Baldwin, 1872; Louise Vernon (Maynard) Baldwin to Vesta (sister),
1874; Thankful Stow, Louise Vernon (Maynard) Baldwin's grandmother, from her deathbed,
1880. Accounts, school merit cards, verse, n.d.
- 4f. Photographs. Amelia Muir Baldwin, 1894, n.d.
FILED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS.
- 5. Photographs. Baldwin family and friends, n.d.; Boston Common with Park St. Church,
FILED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS.
- 6. Personal. Obituaries and other clippings
- 7. Personal. Birth and other certificates; lease; medical bills, 1943-1960.
- 7af+. Personal. Grammar and high school diplomas, 1890, 1894.
- 8. Personal. Correspondence, 1883-1893, n.d.
- 9. Personal. Correspondence, 1914-1923: with architect Frank Bourne concerning the renovation
of her apartment
- 10. Personal. Correspondence, 1921-1934: feuding with landlady, Rebecca Joslin
- 11. Personal. Correspondence, Christmas cards, some designed by Amelia Muir Baldwin, 1919-1955,
- 12. Personal. Estate. Inventories of research files, household effects and silver, Amelia
Muir Baldwin's household accounts, 1957-1960
- 13. Personal. Estate. Dorothy (Kirchwey) Brown's correspondence with clients, 1960-1961
- 14. Personal. Estate. Correspondence and gifts, 1960-1961
- 15. Personal. Lectures, articles and other writings. Articles on art and decoration, 1916-1923
- 16. Personal. Lectures, articles and other writings. Interior decoration and applied art:
miscellaneous notes and articles, 1917-1920
- 17. Personal. Lectures, articles and other writings. Articles re: housing, 1918-1919
- 18. Personal. Lectures, articles and other writings. Lecture notes for course on applied
art at Garland School of Homemaking, 1920.
See also #74, 118+
- 19. Personal. Lectures, articles and other writings. Lecture: "Gardens in tapestry," n.d.
- 20. Personal. Lectures, articles and other writings. Miscellaneous writings, 1949, 1960
- 21. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Bazaars,
See also #37o.
- 22. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Bazaars:
photographs, 1915, n.d.
FILED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS.
- 23. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Bigelow Kennard and Co. interior decorating
- 24. Personal. Employment and organizational work. North End Union bazaar, 1917.
See also #37o.
- 25. Personal. Employment and organizational work. United States Housing corporation, 1918
- 26. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Inquiries for jobs, 1918-1920
- 27. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Independence Bureau, Philadelphia, 1919
- 28. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Women's City Club, New York, 1919
- 29. Personal. Employment and organizational work. National Industrial Conference Board,
statistical department, 1919
- 30. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Inquiries for jobs, 1934-1945
- 31. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Ship drafting course, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, 1942
- 32. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Elizabeth Peabody House, 1942-1954;
includes autograph letter, signed from Sarah Caldwell, 1946.
For stage and other designs see #37o.
- 33. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Elizabeth Peabody House: Fundamentals
of Adult Civic Education Course, 1942
- 34. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Massachusetts League of Women Voters,
- 35. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Friends of Framingham, 1949-1960
- 36. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Miscellaneous employment, 1953-1956
- 37o. Personal. Employment and organizational work. Blueprints, plans, and designs for Massachusetts
Suffrage Bazaars, North End Union bazaar, Elizabeth Peabody House
- Series II. BUSINESS RECORDS
- 38. Legal correspondence. Bankruptcy proceedings, 1921-1923
- 39. Legal correspondence. Bankruptcy, mortgages, 1928-1935
- 40. Legal correspondence. Threats of suits, etc., 1936
- 41. Advertising for exhibitions, etc. Business and calling cards
- 42. Advertising for exhibitions, etc. Newspaper ads, programs, magazines
- 43. Advertising for exhibitions, etc., 1922-1951
- 44. Advertising for exhibitions, etc. Studio, 1921-1930
- 45. Advertising for exhibitions, etc. Bar Harbor, 1925-1931
- 46. Advertising for exhibitions, etc. New York City, 1929-1935
- 47. Advertising for exhibitions, etc. Newport, 1922-1924
- 48. Advertising for exhibitions, etc. Oyster Bay, 1937-1940
- 49. Advertising for exhibitions, etc. Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1932-1933
- 50. Advertising for exhibitions, etc. Washington, D.C., 1935-1940
- 51. Advertising for exhibitions, etc. Other needlework exhibitions, 1930-1937
- 52. Client files. Alexander, Mrs. Harold M., 1937-1940
- 53. Client files. Andrews, Mrs. J.H., 1923-1932
- 54. Client files. Auchincloss, Mrs. Hugh, 1922-1930
- 55. Client files. Bennett, March G., 1914-1932
- 56. Client files. Boston Society of Decorative Art, 1920-1921
- 57. Client files. Boston Y.M.C.A.-United Service Club, 1913-1918
- 58. Client files. Braganza, Princess de, 1923-1930 (complete file)
- 59. Client files. Brown, Dorothy Kirchwey, 1923-1930
- 60. Client files. Budd, Mrs. Kenneth, 1935
- 61. Client files. Chase, Mrs. John P., 1930.
For plans see supersize folder #118+.
- 62. Client files. Christine Custom Handbags, 1950-1951
- 63. Client files. Clark, Mrs. William E., 1926
- 64. Client files. Cordingley, William R., 1919-1920
- 65. Client files. Cowdrey, Mrs. Frank D., 1927-1928
- 66. Client files. Crane, Mrs. William N., 1913-1914
- 67. Client files. Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, 1923
- 68. Client files. Dexter, Mrs. Philip, 1922-1929
- 69. Client files. Easton, Mrs. C.D., 1922-1924
- 70. Client files. Edgren Studio, 1951-1954
- 71. Client files. Elkins, Mrs. Felton B., 1916
- 72. Client files. Farr, Mrs. M.E., 1924, customer complaints
- 73. Client files. Furley, Mrs. Alice G., 1922
- 74. Client files. Garland School of Homemaking, Mrs. J.H. Stanwood, 1917-1920.
See also #18, 118+
- 75. Client files. Goddard, Mrs. D.D., 1913
- 76. Client files. Hallstead, Mrs. G.W., 1916-1922, personal friend and client, re: bankruptcy
- 77. Client files. Hammond, Mrs. John Hays, 1923-1925
- 78. Client files. Harding, Mrs. F.A., 1926
- 79. Client files. Hardon, Mrs. J.B., 1921-1926
- 80. Client files. Hoyt, Mabel M., 1918-1927
- 81. Client files. Johnson, Mrs. M.K., 1923-1935
- 82. Client files. Johnson, Mrs. M.K., 1945-1951
- 83. Client files. Johnson, P.B., 1926-1931
- 84. Client files. Knight, Mrs. Webster, II, 1938
- 85. Client files. Little, Luther, 1916-1917 (complete file).
For plans and blueprints see supersize folder #124+.
- 86. Client files. McGinley, Mrs. Holden, 1934
- 87. Client files. Marsh, Mrs. Howard, 1950-1960
- 88. Client files. Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 1961
- 89. Client files. Memorial Hospital, Pawtucket, 1918
- 90. Client files. Metcalf, Mrs. E.F., 1932-1934 (complete file)
- 91. Client files. Metcalf, Mrs. E.F., 1946-1948 (complete file)
- 92. Client files. Metcalf, Mrs. Thomas, 1924
- 93. Client files. Mitton, Mrs. Richard, 1932
- 94. Client files. Morss, Mrs. Everett, 1922-1923
- 95. Client files. Nelson, Mrs. Arthur T., 1923, complaints about expense of Amelia Muir
- 96. Client files. Neyhart, Dorothy, 1948-1949
- 97. Client files. Nichols, Mrs. John T., 1923
- 98. Client files. Nutter, George R., 1917-1920
- 99. Client files. Orpet, Mildred, 1955-1960, Radcliffe classmate, friend and customer
- 100. Client files. Peters, Mrs. Andrew J., 1917: with enclosure from Andrew J. Peters
- 101. Client files. Pitman, Mrs. Stewart, 1923-1926
- 102. Client files. Reed, Mrs. G.W., 1919 (complete file)
- 103. Client files. Reed, Mrs. G.W., 1920-1921 (complete file)
- 104. Client files. Reed, Mrs. G.W., 1922-1931 (complete file)
- 105. Client files. Society of Arts and Crafts, 1920-1922
- 106. Client files. Trassel, Sophie M., 1925-1932
- 107. Client files. Wallace, Mrs. Donald S., The Ivy Shop, 1952-1954
- 108. Client files. Washington Cathedral, 1955-1957
- 109. Client files. Webb, Marion, 1927-1929
- 110. Client files. Webb, Marion, 1930-1931
- 111. Client files. Webb, Marion, 1931-1934
- 112. Client files. Weld, Mrs. Charles G., 1927
- 113. Client files. White, Mrs. Henry, 1929-1933
- 114. Client files. Wright, Clara L., 1937-1938
- 115. Client files. Clients, miscellaneous, 1913-1928
- 116. Client files. Clients, miscellaneous, 1930-1939
- 117. Client files. Clients, miscellaneous, 1940-1960, typed letters, signed from Clare
Booth Luce, August 1947; Catherine Drinker Bowen, June 1951.
- 118+. Client files. Blueprints and plans for Mrs. John Chase, Luther Little, design research
- 119. Photographs of unidentified interiors showing Amelia Muir Baldwin's needlework; Amelia
Muir Baldwin studio door, n.d.
FILED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS.
- 120. Design research; samples of her designs, n.d.
See also supersize folder #118+.
- 121. Design research; samples of her designs. Interior decorating and needlework.
See also supersize folder.
- 121am. Design research; samples of her designs. Needlework purse and buttons
- 122. Design research; samples of her designs. Jewelry: correspondence re: jewelry designing
- 123. Design research; samples of her designs. Jewelry
- 124. Design research; samples of her designs. Old New York, design for wall hanging
- 125. Design research; samples of her designs. Old Philadelphia
- 126v. Financial records. Petty cash books, January 1913-December 1915
- 127v. Financial records. Petty cash books, October 1921-December 1924
- 128v. Financial records. Petty cash books, January 1925-May 1928
- 129v. Financial records. Petty cash books, June 1928-April 1931
- 130v. Financial records. Petty cash books, 1931-1934
- 131v. Financial records. Journals, January 1916-October 1917
- 132v. Financial records. Journals, November 1917-August 1920
- 133vo. Financial records. Journals, September 1920-September 1921
- 134v. Financial records. Trial balances, 1916-1917
- 135v. Financial records. Ledgers, 1913-1915
- 136v. Financial records. Ledgers, 1916-1921
- 137v. Samples, borrowed and loaned, 1920-1925
- 138v. Samples, borrowed and loaned, 1925-1932
- 139. 14 work order booklets, 1928-1959
- Box 11. Card files. Work orders, clients, A-I
- Box 12. Card files. Clients, J-Z; suppliers
- Box 13. Card files. Mailing list, A-Z
- Box 14. Card files. Bibliography of histories of textiles and interior decoration
Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs
Decoration and ornament
Theaters--Stage-setting and scenery
Women-owned business enterprises--Massachusetts
Auchincloss, Emma B.
Boston Society of Decorative Art
Bourne, Frank Augustus, 1871-1936
Bowen, Catherine Drinker, 1897-1974
Brown, Dorothy Kirchwey, 1888-1981
Caldwell, Sarah, 1924-2006
Elizabeth Peabody House
Friends of Framingham Reformatory
Garland School Of Homemaking (Boston, Mass.)
Hammond, Natalie Hays
Luce, Clare Boothe, 1903-1987
Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association
Peters, Martha Phillips
Radcliffe College--Alumni and alumnae
Society of Arts and Crafts (Boston, Mass.)
United States Housing Corporation