MC 259; M-59
Sprague, Nancy Ann Atwood, 1837-1916. Papers of Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague, 1854-1916:
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
Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 259; M-59
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Sprague, Nancy Ann Atwood, 1837-1916
Title: Papers of Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague, 1854-1916
Quantity: 4.17 linear feet (10 file boxes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Diaries, scrapbooks, etc., of Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague, mother and diarist.
Accession numbers: 77-M88, 77-M118, 77-M143
The papers of Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague were given to the Schlesinger Library in June
and September 1977 by Margaret Stewart (Coit) Coolidge (Mrs. Albert Sprague Coolidge).
Processed: January and October 1978
By: Nancy M. Robertson, Joseph A. Interrante
Access. Originals closed; use microfilm (M-59, reels 988-992, no. M26).
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague is held by
Margaret Stewart (Coit) Coolidge. Upon her death, copyright transfers to her daughter,
Elizabeth Coolidge Winship. 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.
Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague Papers, 1854-1916; item description, dates. MC 259; M-59,
folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge,
Nancy Ann Atwood was born September 3, 1837 in Barnard, Vermont. She was the seventh
of twelve children, with five older brothers, one older sister, four younger brothers,
and one younger sister. Until her marriage to Albert Arnold Sprague (born May 19,
1835), she lived in the small towns of Barnard and Royalton, Vermont. Following her
marriage on September 29, 1862, she and Albert Arnold Sprague moved to Chicago, where
he was to become a prominent businessman. They spent many of their summers in Pittsfield,
Massachusetts. The Spragues had three daughters, two of whom died in childhood. Elizabeth
Penn Sprague (born October 30, 1864), the eldest and sole surviving child, married
Frederic Shurtleff Coolidge in 1891; they had one son, Albert Sprague Coolidge, born
on January 23, 1894. Elizabeth Penn Sprague Coolidge was notable for her financial
support of musical performance, especially at the Library of Congress.
Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague's Family:
- Father: Ebenezer Atwood -1870
- Mother: Elvira (Tucker) Atwood -1871
- Brother: Joseph Foster, c.1825-1895
- Brother: Thomas, 1827-1872
- Sister: Elizabeth, 1830-1861; married Zerah B. Stetson in 1860
- Brother: Charles, c.1834-1880; married Helen Beebe
- Brother: George and one other older brother (No dates)
- Brother: Oliver, c.1839-?
- Brother: Ebenezer, Jr.(killed in Civil War), c.1842-c.1863
- Brother: Irving (killed in Civil War), c.1844-c.1862
- Brother: Myron, c.1847-?
- Sister: Lucia Elvira, c.1854-1901; married Otho S.A. Sprague in 1871
- Niece (daughter of Lucia Elvira (Atwood) Sprague and Otho S.A. Sprague): Mary Amelia,
1872-?; married Adolf Casper Miller in 1895
- Nephew (son of Lucia Elvira (Atwood) Sprague and Otho S.A. Sprague): Albert Arnold
Sprague II, 1874-1946; married Frances Dibble in 1901
- Niece (daughter of Lucia Elvira (Atwood) Sprague and Otho S.A. Sprague): Nancy Atwood,
1876-?; suffered from mental illness
- Niece (daughter of Lucia Elvira (Atwood) Sprague and Otho S.A. Sprague): Lucy, 1878-1967;
married Wesley Clair Mitchell in 1912
- Nephew (son of Lucia Elvira (Atwood) Sprague and Otho S.A. Sprague): 2 boys die young
These papers consist of diary/scrapbooks kept by Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague and a photocopy
of memoirs of her childhood, Pleasant Memories of My Life. The diaries contain comments on the weather, social events, trips and family information;
Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague rarely recorded her thoughts or emotions. The volumes also
include numerous enclosures, particularly clippings and programs of the social events
and organizations of Chicago and many letters. The bulk of the letters are from Elizabeth
Penn Sprague Coolidge and Albert Sprague Coolidge. The diaries start in 1854 and end
in 1916 with Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague' final illness.
- Box 1: 1v-2v
- Box 2: 3v-5v
- Box 3: 6v-7v
- Box 4: 8v-9v
- Box 5: 10v-11v
- Box 6: 12v-13v
- Box 7: 14v-15v
- Box 8: 16v, 23v, 24v
- Box 9: 1a, 2a, 3a, 5a, 6a, 7a, 8a, 11a, 16a, 17v, 18v
- Box 10: 19v-22v, 24a-26
- 1v. Bound diary/scrapbooks, 1854-1883.
Scope and Contents: Sporadic entries, including birth and death of Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague' children,
death of her parents, health, hiring servants, trip abroad 1882-1883, letters (mostly
to Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague), early recital programs for daughter Elizabeth, and photographs
of Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague and Albert Arnold Sprague.
- 2v. Bound diary/scrapbooks, 1884-1890.
Scope and Contents: Sporadic entries, including family news, menus, letters, programs for musical events;
Elizabeth and Frederic Shurtleff Coolidge are engaged.
- 4v. Bound diary/scrapbooks, 1897-1900.
Scope and Contents: Includes photographs of Albert Sprague Coolidge, Isabella Coolidge Councilman (niece
and god-daughter), Lucy Sprague's debut. Programs from musical and theatrical events.
Printed material from organizations the Spragues are members of, such as The Fortnightly
Club and the Art Institute of Chicago. Letters, mostly from family.
- 5v. Bound diary/scrapbooks, 1901-1903.
Scope and Contents: Several photographs. Material from the Friday Club. Letter, probably from Otho S.A.
Sprague, about Nancy Sprague; Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague writes a few comments on Nancy's
mental condition. Lucia Elvira (Atwood) Sprague dies in September 1901.
- 5a. Loose items from 4v and 5v.
- 6v. Bound diary/scrapbooks, 1904-1905.
Scope and Contents: Diary entries include trip to Pasadena to see Otho S.A. Sprague and family, bridge
lessons and visit at Frederic Shurtleff Coolidge and Elizabeth Penn Sprague Coolidge's
summer home in Pittsfield. Printed materials from the Antiquarian Society; musical
and theatrical programs. Several photographs, of any of Albert Sprague Coolidge.
- 7v. Bound diary/scrapbooks, 1906.
Scope and Contents: Newsclippings include obituaries for Marshall Field (founder of the department store)
and William Rainey Harper (President of the University of Chicago, which the Spragues
supported). Article re: Lucy Sprague, then Dean of Women Students, University of California.
- 11a. Loose items from 9v, 10v and 11v.
- 15v. Bound diary/scrapbooks, 1913
- 16v. Bound diary/scrapbooks, 1914. Clippings about appointment of Adolf C. Miller, husband
of Mary (Sprague) Miller, to the Federal Reserve Board. Albert Sprague Coolidge is
Phi Beta Kappa.
- 16a. Loose items from 12v, 13v, 14v, 15v and 16v.
- 17v. "Memorandum of Events in the Life of_____," 1860-1908.
Scope and Contents: Sporadic entries, mostly factual information on Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague and her family,
especially birth, death and wedding dates. Some national news mentioned, without comment.
More frequent entries during 1895-1906.
- 20v. Travel Diary, 1899.
Scope and Contents: Diary entries, programs, tickets, clippings, postcards and recipes from trip to Europe
with Rev. Joseph H. and Harmony Twichell.
- 20a. Loose items from 19v and 20v.
- 21v. "Line-A-Day Diaries," 1903-1907.
Scope and Contents: Mentions weather, trips, visitors, health, letters. Includes newsclipping about Marshall
- 22v. "Line-A-Day Diaries," 1908-1912.
Scope and Contents: Mentions weather, trips, visitors, health, letters.
- 23v. "Line-A-Day Diaries," 1913-1916.
Scope and Contents: Mentions weather, trips, visitors, health, letters. Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague mentions
working on her memoirs, Albert Arnold Sprague's and Frederic Shurtleff Coolidge's
deaths, Albert Sprague Coolidge's graduation from Harvard and wedding; writes a little
about managing servants. Diary stops March 23, 1916, when Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague
- 24v. Miscellaneous volume, 1912.
Scope and Contents: Golden Wedding Anniversary Album. Includes invitations, guest and present lists, cards,
letters, telegrams, newsclippings and Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague written account.
- 24a. Loose items from 21v and 24v.
- 25. Photocopy of a privately printed book: Pleasant Memories of My Life, written in 1916.
Scope and Contents: These are Nancy Ann Atwood Sprague' memoirs of her childhood in rural Vermont, from
her earliest memories to about 1870. She writes of her family, especially their interest
in music and their daily life. There are chapters on the Civil War, in which three
of her brothers fought, and passages on schooling and teaching, as both of her sisters
taught school and the family moved so that the children could attend school. Nancy
Ann Atwood Sprague' older sister, Elizabeth, attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary,
1849-1850. There are 5 photographs (photocopies).
- 26. Loose photographs from 3v, 4v, 5v, 6v, 7v and 8v.
Chicago (Ill.)--Social life and customs
Families--Health and hygiene
Mothers and daughters
Women--Societies and clubs
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives
Vermont--Social life and customs
Voyages and travels
Coolidge, Albert Sprague, 1894-1977
Coolidge, Elizabeth Penn (Sprague) 1864-1953
Mitchell, Lucy Sprague, 1878-1967
Mount Holyoke Female Seminary