MC 356; M-133
Whitehouse, Vira Boarman, 1875-1957. Papers of Vira Boarman Whitehouse, 1889-1957:
A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
The collection was microfilmed as part of a Schlesinger Library/
University Publications of America project.
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
© 1989 President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: MC 356; M-133
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Vira Boarman Whitehouse, 1875-1957
Title: Papers of Vira Boarman Whitehouse, 1889-1957
Quantity: .42 linear feet (1 file box) plus 3 folio+ folders
Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, clippings, scrapbook, etc., of Vira Boarman Whitehouse, owner of the
Whitehouse Leather Company and suffragist.
Reprocessed: January 1989
By: Jane E. Ward
Accession number: 77-M102
The papers of Vira (Boarman) Whitehouse were given to the Schlesinger Library by her
daughter, Alice (Whitehouse) Harjes, in July 1977.
Access. CLOSED. Use microfilm M-133 (Series 1, Part B, Reel 15).
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Vira Boarman Whitehouse 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
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Vira Boarman Whitehouse Papers, 1889-1957; item description, dates. MC 356, folder
#. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute,
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
Vira (Boarman) Whitehouse was born in Virginia on September 16, 1875, the daughter
of Robert and Cornelia (Terrell) Boarman. Educated at Newcomb College in New Orleans,
Whitehouse married Norman de R. Whitehouse, a New York stockbroker, on April 13, 1898.
The couple had one child, Alice (Whitehouse) Harjes.
As chairman in 1913 of the publicity council of the Empire State Campaign Committee
and in 1916 of the New York State Woman Suffrage Party (NYSWSP), Vira Boarman Whitehouse
was a leader in securing suffrage for New York women in November 1917. In 1918, Whitehouse
became director of the Swiss office of the United States Committee on Public Information;
her assignment was to "combat the German propaganda and make plain the aims of the
American people" (Who Was Who, volume 5, 1973, page 776). She published a book, A Year as a Government Agent (1920), recounting this experience.
In 1921 Whitehouse bought the Buchan-Murphy Manufacturing Company, a leather business,
renamed it the Whitehouse Leather Products Company, Inc., and reorganized it with
herself as president. She managed the company for eight years, instituting a 44-hour
(as opposed to 48-hour) work week, among other changes. Whitehouse sold the company
before the stock market crash in 1929.
In 1925 she was elected a member of the Democratic County Committee from Manhattan's
15th Assembly District. Organizing and helping in state political campaigns occupied
much of the rest of her life; she was national chairman of the Woman's Action Committee
for Victory and Lasting Peace and active in the Women's City Club, which she helped
found in 1916. Whitehouse died on April 11, 1957.
This collection provides information about Vira Boarman Whitehouse's suffrage work,
her work for the government, her leather business, and her social activities. The
bulk of the material falls between 1914 and 1920.
The suffrage papers include letters of appreciation to Whitehouse from New York State
suffrage campaign workers, a series of original cartoons about Whitehouse and the
suffrage campaign, a scrapbook of suffrage articles by Whitehouse, other clippings,
and two volumes containing New York State Woman Suffrage Party annual reports.
Whitehouse's government work is represented by annotated cables, correspondence, reports,
and clippings. Correspondents include Carrie Chapman Catt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dean
Acheson, Frances Perkins, Norman de R. Whitehouse, and friends. There are also clippings
about Whitehouse's social and business activities.
Arrangement within each folder is chronological. Clippings were discarded after filming.
Additional papers of Norman de R. Whitehouse are at the New-York Historical Society.
- 1. Correspondence. To Vira Boarman Whitehouse, 1914-51 (scattered), n.d.
- 2. Correspondence. To Norman de R. Whitehouse and Alice Whitehouse Harjes, 1889, 1912,
- 3f. Photograph of unidentified French woman, with inscription (in French) to Norman de
R. Whitehouse, and 11 signatures, n.d.
FILED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS.
- 4. New York State suffrage campaign. Notes, drawings, and poems, 1915-1917, n.d.
- 5. New York State suffrage campaign. Correspondence to Vira Boarman Whitehouse, November
- 6. New York State suffrage campaign. Correspondence to Vira Boarman Whitehouse, November
5-15, 1917, n.d.
- 7v. New York State suffrage campaign. New York State Woman Suffrage Party: annual reports,
- 8v. New York State suffrage campaign. New York State Woman Suffrage Party: annual reports,
- 9. Carrie Chapman Catt to Vira Boarman Whitehouse re: White House National Achievement
Award dinner and ceremony for suffragists, 1941
- 10. United States Committee on Public Information. Correspondence from George Creel, Woodrow
Wilson, Newton D. Baker, et al., 1917-20; her diplomatic passport issued May 22, 1918
- 11. United States Committee on Public Information. To Vira Boarman Whitehouse: cables,
cable transcripts (with Vira Boarman Whitehouse notes), and letters from George Creel,
State Department, United States Embassy in Switzerland, 1917-1918
- 12. United States Committee on Public Information. Vira Boarman Whitehouse's report on
her activities in Switzerland, n.d.
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.
Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971
Baker, Newton Diehl, 1871-1937
Brown, Gertrude Foster, 1867-1956
Burrows, Roxana B.
Cannon, Jenny Curtis
Catt, Carrie Chapman, 1859-1947
Creel, George, 1876-1953
Dreier, Mary E. (Mary Elisabeth), 1875-1963
Green, Theodore Francis, 1867-1966
Hay, Mary Garrett, 1857-1928
Laidlaw, H. B. (Harriet Burton), 1873-1949
Miller, Alice Duer, 1874-1942
Mills, Harriet May, 1857-1935
New York (N.Y.)--Social life and customs
New York State Woman Suffrage Party
Pepper, George Wharton, 1867-1961
Perkins, Frances, 1880-1965
Pinchot, Cornelia Bryce, 1881-1960
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
Seabring, Lena S.
Tone, Gertrude Franchot
United States. Committee on Public Information
Whitehouse, James Norman de Rapelye, 1858-1949
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924
Women--Suffrage--Caricatures and cartoons
Women--Suffrage--New York (State)