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MC 658; T-353; Vt-195; MP-67

McCannel, Louise Walker, 1915-2012. Papers of Louise Walker McCannel, 1833-2008 (inclusive), 1905-1990 (bulk): 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 Louise Walker McCannel.

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 658; T-353; Vt-195; MP-67
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Louise Walker McCannel, 1915-2012
Title: Papers of Louise Walker McCannel, 1833-2008 (inclusive), 1905-1990 (bulk)
Date(s): 1833-2008
Date(s): 1905-1990
Quantity: 40.87 linear feet (98 file boxes) plus 3 folio folders, 1 folio+ folder, 2 oversize folders, 124 photograph folders, 9 audiotapes, 2 videotapes, 1 motion picture)
Language of materials: Most materials in English; some correspondence in French and German.
Abstract: Correspondence, diaries, photographs, and other personal documents of Louise Walker McCannel, philanthropist and civic activist, as well as the correspondence and other personal papers of her siblings and parents (Archie Dean Walker Sr. family of Minneapolis, Minnesota), her children (the McCannel family), her aunts, uncles, and her grandparents (T. B. Walker family of Minneapolis, Minnesota), and other family members.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 2008-M24, 2008-M45, 2009-M133, 2009-M158, 2009-M166, 2010-M105, 2010-M119, 2011-M159, 2012-M32
The papers of Louise Walker McCannel were given by her daughter, Teri Motley, between 2008 and 2012.

Processing Information:

Processed: October 2012
By: Marilyn Morgan with assistance from Samuel Bauer

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted with the following exceptions. Access to the papers of Laurie Hudson McCannel (#70.13-72.2) is closed until January 1, 2059. Access to some vital records and financial records (#72.11) is closed until January 1, 2052 Additionally, folders access to which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy are restricted as noted. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Louise Walker McCannel 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:

Louise Walker McCannel Papers,1833-2008; item description, dates. MC 658, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Donors: Teri (McCannel) Motley
Accession number: MC 658
Processed by: Marilyn Morgan
The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to the Schlesinger Library Books and Printed Materials Division:


Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on November 20, 1915, Louise Walker McCannel was the third of six children and the only daughter born to Archie Dean Walker Sr. (1882-1971) and Bertha Willard Hudson Walker (1882-1973). Her siblings were Hudson Dean Walker (1907–1976), Stephen Archie Walker (1910-2001), Walter Willard Walker (1911-2001), Philip Hulet Walker (1917-1969), and Archie Dean Walker Jr. (1920-2008). Her father, alongside his siblings, Gilbert Marshal Walker (1864-1928), Julia Anstis Walker Smith (ca.1865-ca.1951), Fletcher Loren Walker (1872-1962), Willis J. Walker (1873-1943), and Clinton Lee Walker (1876-1944), helped manage operations of the extensive lumber companies, philanthropic organizations, and other business ventures established by his father, Minnesota lumber magnate and art collector Thomas Barlow (commonly called "T. B." ) Walker (1840-1928). As the granddaughter of T. B. Walker and Harriet Granger Hulet Walker (1841-1917), Louise had a privileged lifestyle. However, her voluminous correspondence reveals a woman frequently conflicted by and at odds with her family's social and economic standing. As an adolescent Louise confessed in letters and diary entries that she felt stifled by conventions that dictated proper behavior for young women. Pointing to the freedoms her brothers experienced (e.g., being allowed to participate in extended sailing trips and drive across the country without a chaperone), she lamented not being born a boy.
Louise attended Northrop Collegiate School for Girls, then proceeded to Smith College. She spent a year in France (1936), studying at the Sorbonne, then returned to Smith, earning a BA (1937). After graduation, Louise returned to Minneapolis and attended classes at the Minneapolis School of Art. She also became involved, in varying degrees, in the Walker family businesses. She sometimes accompanied her father on trips to Westwood, California, where the family-owned Red River Lumber Company plant was located, but did not become highly involved in its operation. Perhaps because of her artistic inclinations and experience, she began working as the assistant of Daniel Shafer Defenbacher, director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Within a short time she became romantically involved with Defenbacher, who separated from his first wife. That he was still married when he and Louise became involved did not endear him to the socially conservative Walker family. Shortly after Defenbacher's divorce, he married Louise (1941). They resided in Minneapolis and both continued to work at the Walker Art Center. They had three children: Teri Louise (1943), Dana Dean (1947), and Gail Walker (1948). Gail changed her first name to Abby in the 1980s. In 1951, Louise and Daniel divorced; Defenbacher remarried days later and had little to do with their children.
Louise's family, particularly her father and brothers Walter and Hudson, rallied to support her after the divorce. In 1952, she met Malcolm ("Mac") McCannel, an ophthalmologist from Minot, North Dakota. The couple married later that year and, at that time, Mac adopted Teri, Gail (Abby), and Dana. The following August, a fourth daughter, Laurie Hudson McCannel, was born (1953). Malcolm McCannel developed an outstanding reputation as an ophthalmologist and pioneer in cataract surgery in the use of intraocular lenses; he also developed the McCannel suture. In addition to his private practice, in 1961 Mac began teaching surgery in ophthalmology on the S.S. Project Hope, a floating medical center.
As she grew older, Louise drifted far from the conservative political views held by some of her family. Though she shared duties and managed office operations for one of the family businesses, Barlow Realty Company, she became increasingly active in philanthropic work. Following in the footsteps of her grandmother and mother, she donated time and support to local care-giving agencies, including hospitals, mental health facilities, and the Walker Methodist Home. While active in the Hennepin County Mental Health Association, Louise directed most of her energies to organizations that fought discrimination based on class, ethnicity, and race. She grew especially interested in establishing racially integrated housing in Minneapolis and raising awareness of white racism. She was instrumental in establishing The Way, a youth center created for African Americans and the urban poor, in an effort to improve race relations and empower groups that felt socially and fiscally powerless. At times, Louise's views provoked criticism from some in her family who criticized her liberalism and "communistic" sympathies. In part because of their divergent political and social views, an animosity developed between Louise and her elder brother, Stephen Walker. Tensions had arisen years before as Stephen had deeply distrusted Daniel Defenbacher, Louise's first husband, and often expressed annoyance with Louise for marrying him. In letters to his brothers (found in Series I, Subseries B) Stephen savagely criticized Louise's decisions and actions. Perhaps since family letters were circulated and shared, Louise often judged herself harshly as well. Rarely satisfied with her productivity, she experienced bouts of depression.
Family expectations and tensions also contributed to periods of emotional turmoil. Louise's father, Archie Dean Walker Sr., suffered from alcoholism. References to this problem and how it plagued the family are found throughout the collection. Both Louise and Walter wrote poignant letters to Archie Sr. and to Bertha, alternatively encouraging and insisting that Archie seek help for the addiction. In turn, Bertha expressed concern that all of her children drank excessively. Unfortunately, Archie Sr. did not conquer his battle with alcoholism and it affected the family even beyond his death. Correspondence between Louise and her brother Walter discuss the alcoholism of Hudson, Walter, and Archie Jr., as well. To the chagrin of his brothers, Archie Jr. publicized his struggle (and that of his family) against alcoholism and later established a treatment center. Later, some of Louise's daughters struggled with the toxic effects of the family's alcoholism; the collection also contains some materials of Teri (McCannel) Motley candidly discussing her treatment and sobriety.
Throughout her life, Louise has generously supported many philanthropic causes, with both time and money. Two causes held special significance: art and racism. Louise passed away in June 2012, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she had resided her entire life.


The collection is arranged in seven series:


The Louise Walker McCannel Papers contain diaries, biographical material, correspondence, notes, essays, drawings and other illustrations, dismantled scrapbooks, audiotapes, and photographs. Friendships in girlhood, dating, adolescent boyfriends, college life, familial relationships (especially sibling, mother-daughter, and mother-father), and marriage are richly documented, as are her philanthropy work and involvement in various organizations and causes, including fighting racism and discrimination. The dismantled scrapbooks, created by Louise to showcase family history, consist of photocopied materials interspersed with original photographs, letters, postcards, and other documents. The photographs especially richly illustrate generations of the extended Walker and Hudson families. The collection also contains the voluminous correspondence of Louise's aunt, Alma Brooks Walker, as well as the personal papers (correspondence and ephemera) of Louise's parents, five brothers, two spouses, and four daughters. It also contains personal correspondence and documents of Louise's grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, grandchildren, and extended family.
The collection was received without an original filing system. Some papers, scrapbooks, audiotapes, and photographs were originally housed in large envelopes marked "rejects" (likely by the Minnesota Historical Society); some papers were found in folders, most of which were unlabeled, or incorrectly labeled and other papers were found loose in boxes. Louise also created over 500 "scrapbooks" in three-ring binders. The scrapbooks contained mixed materials: photocopies, original letters, photographs, and ephemera. The archivist retained Louise's scrapbook heading and ordering; the arrangement and most folder headings of other papers were created by the archivist. Some folder headings include keywords pertaining to the folder contents; these are neither exhaustive nor comprehensive but are intended to provide general guidance. Those few headings created by Louise Walker McCannel appear in quotation marks. The Minnesota Historical Society houses the extensive T. B. Walker and Family Papers. These consist primarily of papers pertaining to T. B. Walker (Louise's paternal grandfather) and his business ventures, some of the papers of his sons, and to a lesser degree, some of his grandchildren. The Society's collection of Louise's papers is small and pertains, primarily, to her charity work for Minneapolis hospitals and mental health facilities.
Search note: This finding aid contains no correspondence index. However, the names of selected correspondents can be searched using the browser's search feature. Because the search feature is also the most efficient way to find the recurring names and issues throughout the collection, there are few cross-references. Clippings from large city newspapers were discarded, unless they pertained directly to McCannel or her work, in which case photocopies of pertinent clippings were retained. Although substantial overlap exists within each series (for subjects as well as individuals), there is very little duplication. The collection is arranged in six series.
Series I. LOUISE WALKER MCCANNEL. BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1833-2002 (#1.1-36.2, FD.1, F+D.1, PD.1-PD.67, PD.73-PD.82, PD.118-119, T-353.1 - T-353.5), contains biographical records and personal materials including some diaries and journal writing, calendars, to-do lists, and samples of scrapbooks that McCannel created to capture specific events or elements of family history. This series documents major life changes and events, including marriage, births of her children, as well as more minor events in her personal life, including lists of books that she read, reminiscences of childhood and family, and her notes and drawings.
Subseries A, Louise Walker McCannel. Personal, 1922-2002 (#1.1-14.11, F+D.1, T-353.1 - T-353.5), contains autobiographical essays, awards, address books, certificates, curricula vita, diaries, daybooks, travel diaries, journals, personal notes, and notebooks Louise referred to as "creative writing exercises." The latter consist of segments of poetry or creative writing (often timed) followed by critiques, corrections, and annotations added by Louise at a later date in red pen. This subseries also includes some essays, poems and other writings; they were retained in folders as they were originally grouped, thus some folders may contain both poems and essays. Also included are a handful of report cards and awards; additional awards and report cards for Louise and her brothers may be found in the scrapbooks in Subseries B and elsewhere. The daybooks resemble homemade engagement books with dates and entries added by Louise. Very little consistency appears in terms of the content within the daybooks, engagement books, journals, and notebooks. Some contain primarily appointments, interspersed with brief personal reflections, drafts of letters, travel notes, notes on interviews, etc. Most include to-do lists, amidst other pages.
Louise wrote prolific notes and maintained very detailed diaries throughout her life. According to her daughter, Teri (McCannel) Motley, Louise may have burned some of her diaries; there are photocopies (made by Louise) of some pages from diaries no longer extant. In April 2012, the archivist traveled to Minneapolis to sort through a large storage locker that housed papers that Louise collected over her life; there, many volumes of diaries and journals were found, documenting Louise's girlhood through adult life. Notes, including sketches and doodles, were found in distinct clumps, grouped by rubber bands or plastic bags. These groupings were retained, despite the fact that groupings overlap years. This subseries is arranged alphabetically.
Subseries B, Louise Walker McCannel. Scrapbooks, 1833-1992 (#14.12-36.2, FD.1, PD.1-PD.67, PD.73-PD.81, PD.118-119), contains original materials and some photocopies of correspondence. The collection when received included 245 three-ring binders used as scrapbooks. Created by Louise, they contained photocopied letters, forms, or other documents mixed with original photographs, letters, postcards, invitations, drawings, etc. Many photocopied letters bear the stamp "found chez A.D.W. [Archie Dean Walker] after his death," and some bore the pencil annotation "from WWW [Walter Willard Walker] papers" or "LWM [Louise Walker McCannel] papers"; these consist primarily of the correspondence of Louise's parents. Roughly half of the scrapbooks' letters reflected business matters; the rest detailed the complex dynamics, personality conflicts, and rivalries among the Walkers, one of Minnesota's most powerful and influential families. Since the originals presumably exist in the T. B. Walker and Family Papers in the Minnesota Historical Society, the majority of such photocopies were not retained here. However, those photocopies of letters written or received by Louise, as well as letters about her (particularly those prior to 1960), were kept, since the originals were not found. They provide invaluable context and insights into McCannel's life, including the divergent reactions of her family to her first husband; conflicting ideas surrounding her role in the operation of the Walker Art Center in the 1940s; her complicated relationship with her brother Stephen; and her relationship with her other siblings. Although photocopies of correspondence between Louise, her second husband, and her daughters (1960-1965) were found within the scrapbooks, these were discarded since originals and carbons were found elsewhere in the collection.
Louise's letters to her brothers discuss family and newsworthy events, including a strike that Red River Lumber Company workers at Westwood, California, workers launched in 1939 to fight for their right to join a union; Louise collected a decades' worth of clippings documenting reactions to the strike. The scrapbooks also contain materials that trace the history of the Red River Lumber Company's (RRLC) trademark, Paul Bunyan. Illustrator William B. Laughead, Archie Sr.'s cousin and former lumberjack, launched an imaginative advertising campaign for the company's Westwood mill. Booklets containing Laughead's hand-drawn illustrations of Bunyan tales began accompanying advertisements for Red River's goods in 1914. By 1922, the stories became popular across the country. Perhaps because she demonstrated talent for illustration and at one point considered becoming an illustrator, Louise collected many of Laughead's original pamphlets and stories in her scrapbooks.
Upon arrival, most of the scrapbooks were labeled (presumably by Louise) and arranged in rough chronological order (e.g., "January-March 1950"). Folder titles in quotes reflect those labels. On occasion, the dates of some photographs and other documents found in a scrapbook do not match those of the label. However, because Louise seems to have constructed the scrapbooks with such deliberation, such anomalies were retained and noted. Many, if not all, of the photocopied pages contain annotations; some of these were made by Louise, who periodically reviewed and added to the scrapbooks, providing dates or explaining nicknames or situations. In some cases, additional annotations were written by Clara Nelson, who for nearly forty years labored to write a comprehensive biography of the Walker family. Nelson typically made notes in pencil or wrote questions on random pages in the scrapbooks. Lists labeled "indexes" were added (sometimes by Louise and other times by Nelson) at the end of most scrapbooks. These "indexes" are fragmentary references to some items only, listing highlights from selected letters, by date; there are no references to location within the scrapbooks, and in some cases, the items mentioned may have been discarded.
Maintaining the original order, the subseries is arranged chronologically; original items (photographs, letters, postcards, programs, and other ephemera) were place in folders labeled "items removed." Photocopies of relevant material (as described above) are found in folders following the original items. Materials from several scrapbooks pertaining to one year are sometimes condensed into one folder, with the following exception. Some scrapbooks were created to commemorate an event; one such example, the "1937 Trip to Europe Scrapbook," also contains an "editor's note" that provides some insight into how and why Louise created and maintained the scrapbooks. Created in 1977, this scrapbook consists almost entirely of photocopied letters from Louise to her parents, some photographs, and business letters that have little or nothing to do with the trip itself, but which Louise added in 1982 and again in 1992. Although these miscellaneous additions do not pertain to Louise or her trip, they were retained as found. The few original photographs in this scrapbook were removed by the archivist and replaced with photocopies, thus providing a sample of the divergent types of materials (many seemingly unrelated) that were originally found in all scrapbooks but discarded.
Series II, LOUISE WALKER MCCANNEL. CORRESPONDENCE, ca.1925-1997, n.d. (#36.3-44.4), contains letters of a social and personal nature between Louise Walker McCannel and friends and acquaintances. It also includes notes (often written on scraps of paper or verso of homework) that she and friends exchanged in class and study hall at Northrop Collegiate School for Girls and Smith College. Sometimes friends used nicknames for one another or over time varied the spelling of their names (e.g., Esther Hardenberg signed letters as Esty, Estie, Eastie, Oyster, and E). Folder titles in quotation marks were created by Louise.
Subseries A, Louise Walker McCannel. Outgoing, ca.1925-1989, n.d. (#36.3-37.11), contains carbons of letters or drafts, memos, and notes that Louise sent to friends, extended family, and business acquaintances. From the frequency of letters, a clear picture of Louise's daily activities, social life, philanthropic interests, and to some extent Walker family businesses and dynamics, emerges. While this subseries is comprised primarily of carbons it also contains incoming letters which were stapled to carbons. Carbons of Louise's letters to immediate family members are found in Series III and IV.
Subseries B, Louise Walker McCannel. Incoming, alphabetical, 1928-1977 (#37.12-41.16), contains letters, love-letters from different suitors, and notes, primarily of a social and personal nature written to McCannel by friends and business acquaintances. Some correspondents span a considerable period of McCannel's formative years. Of particular interest are letters written beginning in boarding school and college and continuing through adulthood, documenting stages of life from debutante balls, to marriage, childbirth, and sometimes divorce and death. This subseries was arranged by the archivist. Folder titles in quotation marks were created by Louise. When full last names were unknown, the archivist placed letters alphabetically by monogrammed stationery. Some correspondents listed here may also appear in the chronological listing, presumably purposefully separated by Louise; the archivist maintained that distinction.
Subseries C, Louise Walker McCannel. Incoming from extended family, 1928-1994 (#41.17-42.12), includes letters written to Louise and, in some cases, her carbon replies. Letters discuss both family business and personal matters. This subseries is arranged alphabetically.
Subseries D, Louise Walker McCannel. Incoming, chronological, 1928-1997 (#42.13-44.4), contains letters, arranged chronologically, including "to everybody" letters from Fran Mooney, the McCannel's long-term housekeeper, to whom Teri and Dana grew very close.
Series III, PARENTS AND SIBLINGS, 1892-2008 (#44.5-64.17, FD.1, F+D.1, OD.1-OD.2, PD.68, PD.82, PD.120, T-353.6), contains the correspondence and some personal papers of Louise's parents, siblings and their wives, and some correspondence of nieces and nephews. Many letters written by family members to Archie Dean Walker Sr. and Bertha Hudson Walker were addressed to "Pop" and "Maloo" because as a toddler, Teri couldn't pronounce "grandfather" and "grandmother." Louise, her siblings, and their children adopted these nicknames for Archie Sr. and Bertha the rest of their lives. This series is divided into six subseries.
Subseries A, Archie Dean Walker Sr. ("Pop"), 1898-1974 (#44.5-47.7, F+D.1, OD.1, PD.82), contains personal and business correspondence that Archie, Louise's father, exchanged with his brothers, children, other family members, friends, and business acquaintances. Carbons of letters sent to family appear first, followed by letters exchanged with family members, arranged alphabetically. These are followed by general letters. The remainder of the series contains documents about Archie's estate and personal and biographical materials, arranged alphabetically by topic.
Subseries B, Bertha Hudson Walker ("Maloo"), 1892-1973 (#47.8-54.3, OD.2, PD.83-PD.89), contains correspondence that Bertha, Louise's mother, exchanged with family, friends, acquaintances, charitable organizations, and other institutions. Letters written to "Pop and Maloo" or "Mother and Dad," as well as those addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Walker," appear in Bertha's folders. Letters exchanged with children appear first, arranged chronologically, then by child's name. Letters from extended family written to "Pop and Maloo" appear next. These are followed by Bertha's general correspondence and a folder of biographical and personal materials.
Subseries C, Walter Willard Walker, 1924-2001 (#54.4-58.12, PD.68, T-353.6), contains letters, memos, and carbon copies exchanged between Walter ("Walt") and Louise Walker McCannel. Though Louise held cordial relationships with most of her brothers, she grew closest to Walter (1911-2001). The siblings had mutual friends (or sometimes dated one another's friends), and began exchanging regular, detailed letters while Louise attended Smith College and Walter finished undergraduate studies and began graduate work. They continued exchanging letters and detailed notes throughout their lives. Walter graduated from Princeton University (1935) and Harvard Medical School (1940). Walt married Elva Mae Dawson in 1939. She ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Democrat, causing no small degree of upset in the Republican ranks of the family. After a thirty-year marriage the couple divorced but Elva continued to correspond with Louise and others in the family. In approximately 1948, after working in the surgical pathology department at the University of Minnesota for several years, Walter, in response to family need, began supervising operation of the family's extensive lumber, real estate, and investment businesses. In 1972, he married Elaine Barbatsis.
This subseries includes letters written to "Walt and Elva" and "Walt and Elaine," as well as some letters written solely by Elva or Elaine. Topics include personal as well as business affairs. Also included are numerous messages on printed message pads. These messages exchanged by Louise and Walt (referred to as "Barlow weekly office logs" functioned as a conversation of sorts, with Louise writing on the left half and Walter responding on the right half of page. Many of the logs contain business notes and office questions mixed with personal and family concerns. Letters exchanged with Louise appear first, followed by Barlow Realty Company "office logs," and audiotapes of telephone conversations between Louise and Walter. These are followed by Walter's general correspondence, biographical and personal materials, and a taped interview.
Subseries D, Hudson Dean Walker, 1898-1983 (#58.13-63.9, F+D.1), contains correspondence of Louise's eldest brother, Hudson Dean Walker (1907–1976), as well as some personal and biographical information. Hudson attended the University of Minnesota, then Harvard University (1928-1930). A friend from Harvard, James Gaul, introduced Hudson to his sister, Ione Harvey Gaul, an art student in Pittsburgh. Hudson married Ione in 1936 (Louise also corresponded with Ione's brother Jim who served with the Office of Strategic Services and was executed in Czechoslovakia during World War II). They lived in New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts, and had three children: Harriet ("Hattie"), and twins, Louise and Bertha. After developing a reputation as a discerning art historian, Hudson followed in his grandfather's footsteps and amassed a spectacular collection of art that he showcased in various cities including the Goodman-Walker Art Gallery in Boston; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; and the Metropolitan, Whitney, and Brooklyn Museums in New York, among others. Hudson was a founder and first President of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the family's summer residence. To honor Hudson's commitment to establishing the Center, it officially changed its name to the Hudson Walker Gallery. After a long struggle against cancer, Hudson died in 1976. Additional correspondence of Hudson to Louise as well as biographical materials may be found in the scrapbooks in Series I, Subseries B. This subseries also includes correspondence with Hudson's wife, Ione.
Subseries E, Stephen Archie Walker, 1913-1988 (#63.10-64.5, FD.1, PD.120), contains biographical and personal information about Louise's older brother Stephen (1910-2001), correspondence exchanged between Louise and Stephen, detailed and newsy letters that Stephen received from his brothers, Hudson and Walter, letters from parents, and some of Stephen's general correspondence. It also contains carbons of letters from Louise to her youngest brother, Archie Dean Walker Jr. (1920-2008). Folders pertaining to Stephen appear first, followed by folders about Archie. The scrapbooks in Series I, Subseries B, contain more extensive correspondence exchanged between Louise and her brothers.
Stephen graduated from Princeton University (1933), then attended medical school. Following his graduation, he established a medical practice in California; in 1956, he married Virginia Manning Archer. The couple remained in California and had no children. Stephen's stark sarcasm, colorful language, and sometimes racist epithets offended some of his siblings or siblings' spouses. Most of the correspondence between Stephen and Louise appears in the scrapbooks, where his letters critique Louise to her brothers and parents, suggesting that he developed an antagonistic attitude toward her when she returned to Minneapolis following her college graduation. He was especially critical of her political liberalism, efforts to raise awareness of racism, efforts to establish integrated housing and her involvement with Daniel Defenbacher. In later years, following the death of their father, the siblings corresponded more cordially. This subseries also includes correspondence between Louise and Virginia Walker, Stephen's wife.
Subseries F, Philip Hulet Walker, 1924-1969 (#64.6-64.12), contains correspondence exchanged between Louise, Philip, and his wife, Ruth, as well as some of Philip's personal correspondence and biographical information. Philip Hulet Walker (1917-1969) graduated from Harvard College (1939) and attended Harvard Medical School. He married Ruth Ludlow Hagler (Radcliffe Class of 1940) in 1941. The couple lived in Brookline, Massachusetts, and had three children: William, Sally, and Julia. Ruth pursued a career in art, working at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, before entering law school. Philip and Louise maintained a regular correspondence that reflects similar interests in social activism. He worked as a doctor at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Shattuck Hospital in the 1950s, and served as an active advisor to the Friends of Framingham, a halfway house dedicated to rehabilitating young female offenders in Massachusetts. In the 1960s, he participated in Project HOPE with other medical volunteers, traveling the globe on a floating hospital ship to provide medical care, health education, and humanitarian assistance to people in need. Philip died of bone cancer in 1969. Series I, Subseries B contains extensive correspondence exchanged between Louise and her brothers.
Subseries G, Archie Dean Walker Jr., 1927-2008 (#64.13-64.17), contains biographical and personal information about Louise's youngest brother, Archie Dean Walker, Jr. (1920-2008). The scrapbooks (Series I, Subseries B) contain more extensive correspondence exchanged between Louise and her brothers.
Archie Dean Walker Jr. married Amy Katherine Camp in 1944. The couple had four children, Katherine "Kaki" Walker (later Griffith), Lita Walker (later West), Stephen Archie Walker, and Archie Dean Walker III, who died in 1999. During World War II, Archie Jr. served in the 3rd Army Air Force as an instructor in celestial navigation in Tampa, Florida. After the war, he attended Minneapolis College of Business and became a dealer of imported cars. In 1962, Archie entered the Hazelden Clinic in Minnesota, a treatment center for alcoholics. His outspoken, public discussion of his father's alcoholism and his own struggle with alcoholism at times alienated his siblings. By the mid-1960s, with his adult children no longer living at home, Archie sold his car business and moved from Minneapolis to Idaho where he and Amy operated a cattle ranch and farm. Living in Idaho and noticing a problem with alcoholism in rural areas led him to found the Walker Center in Gooding, Idaho, for the treatment of substance abuse. This subseries also includes correspondence with Archie's wife, Amy Walker. Correspondence to Lita and "Kaki" is scattered throughout the collection and noted in folder titles.
Series IV. SPOUSES AND CHILDREN, 1903-2006 (#64.18-72.11, FD.2, F+D.1, PD.69v-PD.70, T-353.7 - T.353.8), contains correspondence primarily between Louise, her second husband, Malcolm McCannel, and her four daughters, including letters addressed to "Mom and Dad" or "family," letters exchanged between sisters, as well as biographical and personal materials for some children. It also includes a handful of letters to or from her first husband, Daniel Defenbacher, and his mother, Helen. This series is divided into six subseries. It is arranged with spouses appearing first, followed thereunder by subseries arranged by child, from eldest to youngest.
Subseries A, Spouses and in-laws, 1903-1988 (#64.18-65.11, PD.69v) includes correspondence and biographical materials of Louise Walker McCannel's husbands, as well as a photograph album of her second husband's mother. Louise met Daniel Shafer Defenbacher (1906-1986), director of the Walker Art Center, while she worked at the Center as his executive assistant. That he was still married when he began courting Louise caused tension in the Walker family. Shortly after Defenbacher's first divorce, he married Louise (1941). They resided in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and both continued to work at the Walker Art Center. The couple had three children, Teri Louise (1943), Dana Dean (1947), and Abby (Gail) Walker (1948). In 1951, the couple divorced and Defenbacher remarried shortly thereafter.
The following year Louise met Malcolm ("Mac") McCannel, an ophthalmologist from Minot, North Dakota, who moved to Minneapolis to assume the practice of Dr. Walter Camp (a relative of the Walkers through marriage) after Camp's death. Mac and Louise met at a church dance and, after a brief and intense courtship, the couple married (1952). He adopted Teri, Abby (Gail), and Dana in 1952. The girls used the McCannel surname from that point forward. The following August, the couple's daughter Laurie Hudson McCannel was born (1953). McCannel was well-known as a pioneer in cataract surgery and the use of intraocular lenses; he also developed the "McCannel suture." In addition to his private practice, in 1961, Mac also began teaching surgery in ophthalmology on the S.S. Project Hope, a floating medical center.
This subseries includes sparse correspondence between Louise and Daniel Defenbacher, as well as a few letters and cards from his mother, Helen. It contains a large quantity of carbon copies from Louise to Mac and some correspondence with his mother, "Mother Mac." It also includes a photograph album of the Lakeside Hospital for Sick Children, where she served as head nurse.
Subseries B, Teri Louise (McCannel) Motley, 1943-2006 (#65.12-68.11, T-353.7 - T.353.8), contains correspondence between Teri and her parents, her siblings, and other general correspondence. It also includes two phone conversations between Teri and Louise, which Louise recorded, as well as personal and biographical materials, especially her final years at Northrop Collegiate School for Girls, traveling abroad, and her life at Radcliffe College (1962-1965). This subseries also includes a baby book in which Louise faithfully documented Teri's experiences from birth through age five. The level of detail and consistency of weekly entries makes the book remarkable.
Born in 1943, Teri Louise was the first child born to Louise and Daniel Defenbacher. Like her mother, she attended Northrop Collegiate School for Girls. Upon graduation, she attended Radcliffe College (AB 1965). In 1969 Teri married George Lamb and the couple had three children: Hudson Lamb, who suffered some brain damage at birth; Julia Lamb, and Catherine Lamb. Years after McCannel and Lamb divorced, Teri reconnected with Herbert J. Motley (Harvard 1965), whom she had dated while attending Radcliffe. The couple married in 1999. In 2009 she was ordained as a minister of The Pulpit Rock Church in Nahant Village, Massachusetts. In this subseries, correspondence and phone conversations between Teri and Louise appear first, followed by Teri's correspondence with other family members, and general correspondence, arranged chronologically. Personal and biographical materials, including the baby book, appear last and are arranged chronologically.
Subseries C, Dana Dean McCannel, 1947-1996 (#68.12-70.1, PD.70), contains correspondence between Dana, her parents, her siblings, and general correspondence, as well as some personal and biographical materials. This subseries also includes a baby book in which Louise documented Dana's experiences from birth through age two. The level of detail and consistency of weekly entries makes the baby book remarkable. According to Louise's daughter Teri, Dana's original baby book was lost, leaving the photocopies as the only extant versions. The second daughter of Louise and Daniel Defenbacher, Dana was born in 1947. She attended University High School in Minneapolis where she excelled at photography, winning several awards. In 1975 Dana married Keith Kuckler. The couple divorced in 1980. In this subseries, correspondence between Dana and Louise appear first, followed by Dana's correspondence with other family members and general correspondence, arranged chronologically. Personal and biographical materials, including a detailed baby book Louise created, appear last.
Subseries D, Abby (formerly Gail) Walker McCannel, 1947-1989 (#70.2-70.12, FD.2, F+D.1), contains correspondence between Louise and Abby (Gail) and sparse personal information. It also includes photocopies of the baby book in which Louise documented Abby's (formerly Gail's) life from birth through age two. The level of detail and consistency of weekly entries makes the baby book remarkable. According to Louise's daughter Teri, who donated the collection, the original baby book was lost, leaving the photocopies as the only extant versions. The third daughter of Louise and Daniel Defenbacher, Abby (formerly Gail) Walker McCannel was born in 1948. During childhood and early adulthood, family and friends called her Gail. Throughout high school, she excelled at costume design. In 1972 she married Peter Nussbaum. The couple divorced in 1974. The following year she married Tom Weber. The couple had two children, Jake Weber and Will Weber. At some point in the early 1980s, Abigail stopped referring to herself as Gail; subsequently, friends, family, and acquaintances refer to her as Abby. She and her husband Tom operated Abigail-Thomas, Inc., a remodeling and decorating company. In this subseries, correspondence between Abby (Gail) and Louise appear first, followed by Abby's correspondence with other family members and general correspondence, arranged chronologically. Personal and biographical materials appear last and are arranged chronologically. While Louise did create a baby book for Abby (Gail), the original book was not received with the papers; the photocopies Louise made of the book are included, however.
Subseries E, Laurie Hudson McCannel, 1958-1997 (#70.13-72.2), contains correspondence with her parents, letters received from her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and sisters, and some biographical and personal materials of Laurie Hudson McCannel. Born in 1953, Laurie was Louise's fourth daughter and the only child born from Louise's marriage to Malcolm McCannel. It is arranged with letters exchanged with Louise appearing first, followed by letters exchanged with her father, sisters, grandmother, and extended family. General correspondence and personal materials appear last. This subseries is closed until January 1, 2059.
Subseries F, McCannel daughters and grandchildren, 1952-1996 (#72.3-72.11), contains letters from Louise Walker McCannel addressed to two or more of her children, letters written by Louise to "everyone," to "L's, M's, N's" (Lambs, McCannels, Nussbaums), and to "family." These newsy letters often include clippings about current events. It also includes letters Louise wrote to her grandchildren, letters addressed to two of more McCannel siblings from other family members, and that more than two McCannel siblings exchanged. It also includes some vital records of McCannel children. This subseries is arranged with letters between Louise and "everyone" (her daughters) appearing first, followed by letters exchanged between multiple sisters and letters addressed to more than one sister from other family members. These are followed by folders containing correspondence and papers of grandchildren. The last folder contains vital records and financial assets.
Series V, OTHER FAMILY PAPERS, 1859-1992 (#72.12-92.17, FD.1, FD.3, F+D.1, PD.71, PD.90f-PD.109, T-353.9, Vt-195.1), contains the correspondence and some personal papers of Louise's grandparents and great-aunts and uncles. It is arranged in four subseries.
Subseries A, Harriet Granger Hulet Walker and Thomas Barlow "T. B." Walker, 1859-1992 (#72.12-73.7, FD.1, F+D.1), contains correspondence, legal documents, business agreements, etc. (some marked "withdrawal," presumably by Minnesota Historical Society) of Louise's paternal grandparents. T. B. Walker (1840-1928) was born in Xenia, Ohio, to Platt Bayless Walker (1808-1849) and Anstis Keziah Barlow Walker (1814-1883). The couple had three other children, Platt Bayless II, Adelaide, and Helen, before Platt's untimely death. Anstis married Oliver Barnes, giving the Walker children a half-sibling, Oliver W. Barnes. The family moved to Berea, Ohio, in 1855, where T. B. and Helen attended Baldwin University. In December 1863, T. B. married Harriet Granger Hulet. The couple had eight children: Gilbert, Julia, Leon, Harriet, Fletcher, Willis, Clinton, and Archie Dean. Harriet died in New York on January 13, 1917, while accompanying her husband on a business trip. T. B. became involved in several lumber business partnerships, the most lucrative of which was the Red River Lumber Company (RRLC), which he organized in 1883. The first mills were built in Minnesota and Dakota territory, but the most extensive and lucrative lumber mill was built in Westwood, California, in 1912-1913, as T. B. Walker reportedly owned 900,000 acres of forest in California.
T. B. began collecting paintings in about 1874 and had grown his collection so impressively within five years that he began admitting the public in for viewing. His personal gallery had become so popular that T. B. built at least four additions to the house at 803 Hennepin Avenue (Minneapolis), in order to house and display his growing collection. In 1925, the T. B. Walker Foundation, Inc., was incorporated to manage the collection after the city of Minneapolis refused to accept the collection as a gift. The following year, T. B. began construction of a distinct gallery building. Incorporated as the Walker Galleries, this building functioned until 1969, when it was demolished to construct a larger, more modern Walker Art Center. More detailed biographical information on T. B. and the formation of the Red River Lumber Company is available in the Minnesota State Historical Society. In this subseries, correspondence between Harriet Granger Walker and family appear first, followed by general correspondence and personal materials, including a marriage license. Correspondence, miscellaneous, and personal and biographical papers of T. B. Walker follow those of Harriet Granger Hulet Walker.
Subseries B, Clinton Walker and Della Brooks Walker, 1899-ca.1980 (#73.8-73.12, PD.90f-PD.98), contains correspondence, business records, some biographical materials, and photographs of Clinton Walker (1876-1944), the fifth child of T. B. and Harriet G. Walker, and the papers of his wife, Della Brooks Walker. After graduating from School of Mines at the University of Minnesota (1898), Clinton worked for Red River Lumber Company, surveying and mapping the area in California that became the site of Westwood. Clinton married Della Brooks in approximately 1901; the couple had three children: Brooks Walker, Harriet E. Walker Henderson, and Alma Virginia Walker Hearst McKeever. Clinton and his son Brooks invested and experimented in automotive and aviation development, opening laboratories in Piedmont, California. This subseries contains a few photographs of a biplane, likely one on which Clinton and Brooks experimented. Clinton worked for his father's River Lumber Company, on an as-needed basis, initially, then served as a vice president from 1933 until his death in 1944. Following Clinton's death, Della married James Van Löben Sels. Folders pertaining to Clinton are listed first, alphabetically. These are followed by Della's papers, listed alphabetically.
Subseries C, Willis J. Walker, 1915-1942 (#73.13-74.8, PD.71), contains correspondence, inventories, some financial records, and some biographical materials. Willis (1873-1943), sixth child of T. B. Walker and Harriet Granger Hulet Walker and one of Archie Dean Walker Sr.'s older brothers, graduated from the University of Minnesota. He starred as the football team's right tackle (1893-1895) and maintained an avid interest in football throughout his life. Willis was instrumental in arranging the public reappearance of legendary football punter and coach, Pat O'Dea (who had disappeared from public view in 1917) at the University of Wisconsin's homecoming game in 1934. In 1897 he married Alma Brooks. The couple had one child, Leon Brooks Walker (1899-1965). Willis oversaw operations of the Walkers' Minnesota logging operations in Akeley until 1915 when he and his family moved to San Francisco. From that point, Willis served as vice president and president of the Red River Lumber Company in Westwood until a management conflict resulted in Archie replacing Willis (in name) as vice president and chairman of the board of directors in about 1933. Correspondence was labeled "personal" and contains a mixture of teletype messages, telegrams, memos, carbon copies, and incoming letters, the majority of which relate to daily operations of the company at Westwood, California, and letters of a personal nature. Some letters marked confidential by the Aluminum Company of America relate to the final painting of the Golden Gate Bridge. A handful of letters discuss family matters. This subseries also includes an extensive inventory of supplies and expenses for the Westwood department store and club store in 1931, Willis's formal recommendations about interactions with Fruit Growers Company, and Westwood's liquidation. This subseries is arranged with correspondence appearing first, followed by miscellaneous papers, then personal and biographical material.
Subseries D, Alma Brooks Walker, 1890-1981 (#74.9-91.9, FD.3, F+D.1, PD.99-PD.108, T-353.9, Vt-195.1), contains primarily carbon copies of outgoing letters, some handwritten postcards and letters to Ann (Winhold?) (primarily requesting things or asking her to arrange travel), a few incoming letters, and some letters about Alma written by Ann Winold and Archie D. Walker. Alma Brooks, who married Willis J. Walker in 1897, was a prolific correspondent, writing several letters daily. The majority of letters were typed by her secretaries, Ann Winhold and Blanche Doyle, and discuss social engagements, family dynamics (particularly her relationship with her sister Della), health, births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and speculations about the activities, marriages, health, and families of friends. A fair amount of correspondence discusses her active involvement in the National Society of Colonial Dames of America.
Letters also detail her travels and recount the ethnicity and various shortcomings she perceived in her cooks, maids, servants, and chauffeurs, who had a high rate of turnover. Some letters discuss design and construction of her sister's (Della) house by Frank Lloyd Wright. Folder titles in quotation marks were created by Alma Brooks Walker or by Louise Walker McCannel. Broad topics are noted in folder titles. Recipients of frequent letters include Elizabeth Carpenter, Aynsley Chapple, Olivia Welles Coan, Blanche Doyle, Janet Foster Dulles, Mary Geesamen, Florance Greble, Frank Heffelfinger (former football coach for the University of Minnesota) and family, Carrie Hewitt, Thomas S. Horn, Sally Hunt, Gertrude Low, Helen Jones, Waring Jones, Sally Krook, Katherine Miller, Suyeki Naka (cook), Nellie Pillsbury, Bernadette Plant, Katie Vietor, Nan Wood, and Walker family members, particularly Della Brooks Walker, Archie Dean Walker Sr. and Bertha Hudson Walker, Harriet Granger Hulet Walker, Hudson Walker, Ione Walker, Katherine Walker (great-niece), Leon Brooks Walker, Louise Walker McCannel, Ruth Walker, Stephen Walker, and Walter Willard Walker. This subseries is arranged with one folder of miscellaneous letters and papers appearing first, followed by folders of social correspondence arranged chronologically, followed by folders of address books, biographical material, an interview on audiotape, photographs, a travel diary, and one videotape.
Subseries E, Other family, 1870-1978, n.d. (#91.10-92.17, PD.109), contains the correspondence and some personal papers of Archie Dean Walker Sr.'s siblings Clinton Walker, Gilbert Walker, Harriet Walker, Julia Walker, and Oliver W. Barnes (stepbrother); Justin V. Smith (Julia's son), members of the Hudson family, Elizabeth Purcell Brooks (mother of Alma and Della Brooks Walker) and Emily Brooks Harrison (sister of Alma and Della Brooks Walker). It includes a letter Julia received from her mother, Harriet Granger Hulet Walker, about Julia's miscarriage. It is arranged alphabetically.
Series VI, PHILANTHROPIC CAUSES AND ORGANIZATIONS, 1939-2003 (#92.18-98.8, PD.72, Vt-195.2, MP-67.1), contains correspondence, notes, pamphlets, legal documents, petitions, clippings, requests for financial assistance, etc., that reflect Louise Walker McCannel's philanthropic and charitable work. It includes her activities in her family's philanthropic organizations such as the Archie and Bertha Walker Foundation and the McCannel Fund. Louise dedicated a great deal of time to raising awareness of racism, fighting discrimination, and establishing integrated housing in Minneapolis. Some overlap but little duplication exists between the topics in this subseries and incoming correspondence, (#42.13-44.4). This series is arranged in two subseries.
Subseries A, Family foundations and miscellaneous causes, 1939-1992 (#92.18-94.1), contains correspondence, meeting minutes, clippings, etc., pertaining to the Walker family's charitable organizations and the Walker Art Center, as well as organizations or causes that Louise actively supported. It includes two folders of general correspondence from various individuals, groups, and causes requesting monetary assistance; in some cases, solicitors included poetry, creative writing, stories, and personal pleas. Often, Louise's response is stapled to the incoming request. In many cases, Louise's meeting notes include doodles and sketches; some folders function as subject files of information Louise collected about a topic. This subseries is arranged alphabetically.
Subseries B, Racism and discrimination, 1961-2003 (#94.14-98.8, PD.72, Vt-195.2, MP-67.1), contains correspondence, notes, legal briefs, clippings, minutes, etc., pertaining to issues of racism and discrimination in which Louise became actively involved. It contains a significant amount of correspondence between Louise and James and Mary Tillman, social scientists who directed several anti-poverty programs and seminars to raise awareness about cultural bias, racism--which they called "white racism"--and discrimination. Louise helped fund many of the seminars and courses which attracted participants from across the country. She forged a long-lasting friendship with the Tillmans and often discussed their ideas in her correspondence with family. This subseries is arranged alphabetically.
Series VII, PHOTOGRAPHS, ca.1920-1958, n.d. (#PD.110-PD.117), contains loose photographs, photograph albums, and photographs removed from dismantled scrapbooks, as noted. Photographs in this collection are, or will be, cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others are "uncataloged" photographs; these include blurred images, slight variations of images, and images with insufficient research interest (or accessible information) to warrant cataloging. These are either placed in separate folders labeled "uncataloged."

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Alcoholism--United States
Art, American--20th century
Art--Collectors and collecting--United States
Baby books
Brothers and sisters--United States
Child Development
Childbirth--United States--History--20th century
Civic leaders--Minnesota
Courtship--United States
Dating (Social customs)--United States
Divorce--United States
Documentary films
Families--United States
Family records
Fathers and daughters--United States
Grandparent and child--United States
Household employees--United States
Marriage--United States
Minneapolis (Minn.)--Social life and customs--20th century
Motherhood--United States
Mothers and daughters--United States
Mothers and sons--United States
Motion pictures
Parent and child--Minnesota
Photograph albums
Racism--United States
Reducing diets--United States
Short stories
Sisters--United States
Smith College--Students
Student activities--Massachusetts--Cambridge
Teenage girls--United States
Women--Social life and customs--20th century
Women civic leaders--Minnesota
Women college students--Massachusetts
Women philanthropists--Minnesota
Women travelers
World War 1939-1945--Personal narratives
Barlow Realty Company (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Cochran, David R.
Comstock, Jane Burnet
Defenbacher, Daniel
Gilmore, Julia Walker
Hardenberg, Esther
Harvard University--Students
Martin, Michel
McCannel, Dana Dean
McCannel, Laurie Hudson
McCannel, Malcolm Archie
Motley, Teri McCannel Lamb
Nelson, Clara
Nichols, Lawrence
Northrop Collegiate School (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Radcliffe College--Alumni and alumnae
Red River Lumber Company
Tillman, James
Tillman, Mary
Walker, Alma Brooks
Walker, Archie Dean, 1882-1971
Walker, Archie Dean, Jr.
Walker Art Center
Walker, Bertha Willard Hudson, 1882-1973
Walker, Clinton
Walker, Della Brooks
Walker, Elaine Barbatsis
Walker, Elva Mae Dawson
Walker family
Walker, Harriet Granger Hulet
Walker, Hudson D. (Hudson Dean), 1907-1976
Walker, Ione Harvey Gaul
Walker, Leon Brooks
Walker, Philip Hulet
Walker, Stephen Archie
Walker, T. B. (Thomas Barlow), 1840-1928
Walker, Walter Willard, 1911-2001
Walker, Willard J.