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Janvrin, Aldrich, and Neese family papers

Identifier: MC 126

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises of materials related to the Janvrin, Aldrich, and Neese families. Documents include diplomas and certificates from the family as well as programs and wedding announcements. There are also correspondences between the Aldrich family members and their close relatives. The news articles within the collection are mostly obituaries and school announcements. The collection also includes seven diaries and eight photo albums created by Laura Janvrin Aldrich Neese. In addition to the paper material, there is also an abundance of photography (found both in the scrapbooks and loose) and artwork such as watercolors and sketches.


  • Other: Date Not Yet Determined

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.

Biographical / Historical

Born February 17, 1889, Laura Janvrin Aldrich was the only daughter of Jennie Dora Janvrin and Alonzo Aldrich. At a young age, Laura was a gifted child. Daughter of one of the cofounders of the Beloit Corporation, she was able to gain an education while also pursuing her interests. At Beloit High School, she showed promise by winning an art award and becoming valedictorian. She then went studied at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, where she was again valedictorian. Laura attended Beloit College with the class of 1912. She was a strong student, receiving the highest grades and reports. Continuing her art education, she studied at the Chicago Art Institute and took private lessons from her artist friends. To improve skills and techniques, she attended drawing classes throughout her lifetime. On June 16, 1914, Laura Aldrich married Elbert H. Neese. Two years later, they had their first child, Elizabeth J. "Betty" (Moore); in 1921, they had their second child Alonzo A., nicknamed "Lon," followed by Elbert H. "Ebbie" in 1923 and Laura A. in 1925.

Laura had a very active life as a mother but also as a philanthropist and artist. While her husband served as president of the Beloit Corporation (now known as Iron Works), she worked closely with the Beloit Foundation, the First Congregational Church, and the Art League of Beloit; she even founded the Beloit Family Service Association, still going strong today. In 1941, she also became the first female member of the Beloit College Board of Trustees, remaining a zealous lifelong trustee for over twenty years. In addition to Laura's volunteer work, she was an active artist. Galleries across the country exhibited her paintings and watercolors for more than twenty-five years. In 1952, Beloit College awarded Laura an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts for her commitment to the discipline of art and for her longtime service to the college.

Because of her service, support, and care, Laura made her mark on Beloit College. She donated all her proceeds earned from sales of her artwork to the Wright Museum of Art. With the money, the museum created the Neese Fund, which became an acquisition fund for annual purchases. The college also named the gallery of contemporary art in the Wright Museum of Art in her honor. And in 1975, the Laura Aldrich Neese Theatre was a dedication to the recently deceased artist, alum, and trustee. Laura died on January 24, 1967 in Beloit.


4 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials



Laura Aldrich Neese was a member of the Beloit College class of 1912. She was an artist and philanthropist, and became the first female member of the Beloit College Board of Trustees. She wrote many diaries and created photo scrapbooks during her life, some of which are contained here. The collection also consists of the genealogy of her family, including Janvrin, Aldrich, and Neese branches.


The Janvrin-Aldrich-Neese collection along with diaries and photography albums were donated in 2011 by Jane Petit-Moore (daughter of Betty Aldrich and Harry Moore). Without an original order of the documents, the arrangement order presented here has been imposed by the College Archives staff. Documents and materials moved from the three large boxes they arrived in to the current system in place. A large package of genealogical material found in the collection has been separate into three folders, each corresponding to one of the three families.

A subsequent donation consisting entirely of Kodachrome slides was made by Tom Moore and Jana Petit Moore in 2015. The slide collection was taken by Laura Janvrin Aldrich over the years 1950-1956, and chronicle her travels across North America, Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and South America. The slides were arranged by the donor in 39 plastic slide trays. In each tray, individual slides were assigned a number by the donor, and a brief description of each slide number was recorded on a small piece of paper.. Slide trays had a capacity of 30 slides, but some of the cases were missing some slides. The slides were rehoused in archival containers, and the descriptive information was transferred to this inventory. The slide trays are organized by date, starting in 1950, and ending in 1956. The original slide numbers and descriptions provided by the photographer were retained for this inventory. Descriptions for geographic place names were sometimes augmented to provide more context.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material donated by Jane Petit-Moore (daughter of Betty Aldrich and Harry Moore) in 2011.

Subsequent donation by Jane Petit-Moore and Tom Moore in 2015.

Existence and Location of Copies

Scanned versions of Laura Aldrich Neese's diaries can be found in the Beloit College Digital Collections:

Janvrin, Aldrich, and Neese family papers
Amara Pugens'13
June, 2013
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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