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Emerson family papers

Identifier: MC 46

Scope and Contents

This collection contains papers of certain members of the Emerson family, especially regarding their connections to Beloit College.

Beloit College professor Joseph Emerson's papers include correspondence, addresses, American Education Society information, bank books and financial matters, bills and receipts, family letters, genealogies, journals, memorials, personal notes, photographs, publications, sermons, Skull and Bones Society (at Yale) information, will and testament.

Art curator Helen Brace Emerson's papers include correspondence, lecture notes, papers, photographs, and recollections. There is a large amount of documentation about establishing and curating Art Hall (which became the Wright Museum of Art), and particularly well represented are materials about the "College Portraits," paintings of various Beloit College alumni, faculty, administrators, and benefactors.

Ralph Emerson's papers contain correspondence from 1798-1839. Many other Emerson extended family members have correspondence in this collection as well.

Helen B. Emerson – Art Hall correspondence 1877-1935
Helen B. Emerson – College portraits correspondence 1892-1925
Joseph Emerson correspondence 1840-approximately 1926 (Clara Emerson's correspondence 1900-1926)
Joseph Emerson subject files up to 1955 (newspaper clipping)
Ralph Emerson correspondence 1798-1839
Emerson family correspondence 1790-1860


  • 1790-1955

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research; however, certain materials are fragile and require Archives staff for handling, or use may be restricted altogether.


40 Linear Feet (65 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection contains papers of certain members of the Emerson family, especially regarding their connections to Beloit College. Family members primarily represented are Professor Joseph Emerson, Art Hall curator and art department founder Helen Brace Emerson, and Joseph's father, Ralph Emerson.

Related Materials

Buildings and Properties collection (AC 24)
Library records (AC 71)
Wright Museum of Art records (AC 114)
Stephen Peet and Stephen D. Peet papers (MC 84)
Horace White papers (MC 113)

The College Archives maintains inventories of correspondence for Joseph Emerson, Helen Brace Emerson, and Ralph Emerson, which include postmark dates, correspondents, and in some cases, content summaries of the letters and transcriptions.
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Repository Details

Part of the Beloit College Archives and Special Collections, Beloit, WI Repository

700 College St.
Beloit WI 53511 USA