Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Carruth family letters

Abstract

The Carruth family letters (dated 1900-1961, bulk 1900-1947; 3.68 cubic feet; 11 boxes) comprise letters that document the family relationships between the Carruth, Hutt, and Bruce families in the first half of the twentieth century.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Carruth family letters
Extent
3.68 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Artists.
Correspondence.
Economic conditions
Entrepreneurship -- United States
Family.
Homosexuality
Letters.
World War, 1914-1918.
World War, 1939-1945.
Arrangement
Collection is arranged chronologically. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Sarah Coblentz
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.0119: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Carruth family letters, 1900-1961, bulk 1900-1947 University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Virginia M. Cornick (1844-1916) was born in Missouri to attorney Tully R. Cornick (1817-1892) and Sophia Kennedy Boyd (b. 1823). On August 18, 1866, she married her first husband, Dr. William S. Hutt (1842-1880). Together they had six children: Elizabeth (1867-1960), Valeria (1868-1929), Sophia (b. 1871), Tully (1872-1872), Thomas (1873-1928), and Bertie (1879-1879). William Hutt passed away unexpectedly in 1880, and in 1888, Virginia married her second husband, John P. Johnson (1817-1898), a banker of Highland, Kansas. Upon his passing in 1898, Virginia inherited multiple farms and speculative properties in Florida, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri, along with interest in a mine in Montana.
Virginia's eldest daughter, Elizabeth, attended Vassar College where she met her future husband, Clarence Carruth (1866-1946) while he was a student at Columbia. They married in 1900, and initially lived in Buffalo, but later moved to New York City, and eventually to Scarsdale, New York. Carruth worked as an attorney. Together the couple had three children: Clarence Jr. (1901-1992), Virginia (1904-1993), and Lucy (1906-1992).
Valeria married Horatio Thomas Bruce (1854-1928), a businessman and political figure in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1890. He owned H.T. Bruce & Co where he was a wholesaler of mules and horses, and later became chief of police and vice mayor. Together they had three children: John (1892-1960), Jennievene (1901-1940), and Valerie (1906-1987).
Sophia followed in her sister, Elizabeth's, footsteps and attended Vassar College. She taught music at Webb College for a year and later at Highland University before marrying a minister, Richard Tuttle Bell (b. 1866), in 1905. The couple initially lived in Highland, Kansas, but moved to Omaha, Nebraska; Idaho Springs, Colorado; Arcadia, Florida; and Washington D.C. They had one son together – Richard Jr. (1910-1982).
Virginia's only surviving son, Thomas, married Mabel Melita Elling (1877-1964), of Montana, in 1899. Thomas was the president of a bank, and he moved his family from Kansas to Missouri before finally settling in California. The couple had three children together: Thomas Jr. (1901-1950), Melita (b. 1903), and Virginia (b. 1908).
American Letters collector Wade Hall (1934-2015) was a native of Union Springs, Alabama. Starting in 1962, he lived in Louisville, where he taught English and chaired the English and Humanities/Arts programs at Kentucky Southern College and Bellarmine University. He also taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida. He held degrees from Troy State University (B.S.), the University of Alabama (M.A.), and the University of Illinois (Ph.D.). He served for two years in the U.S. Army in the mid-fifties. Dr. Hall was the author of books, monographs, articles, plays, and reviews relating to Kentucky, Alabama, and Southern history and literature. His most recent books include A Visit with Harlan Hubbard; High Upon a Hill: A History of Bellarmine College; A Song in Native Pastures: Randy Atcher's Life in Country Music; and Waters of Life from Conecuh Ridge.
Scope and Content
The Carruth family letters (dated 1900-1961; 3.68 cubic feet; 11 boxes) comprise letters that document the family relationships between the Carruth, Hutt, and Bruce families in the first half of the twentieth century. The letters provide insight into the lives of upper middle-class to wealthy families in America through multiple generations. The letters discuss national and international events, such as the assassination of President McKinley, the Boxer Rebellion, the San Francisco earthquake, Highland, Kansas getting electricity, and both World War I and II. There are letters that discuss the economic difficulties experienced by Sophia (Hutt) Bell sent to her sisters Elizabeth and Valeria who had both married well and were not the main breadwinners of the family. Prior to Virginia's death, she wrote about her attempts at being an entrepreneur. She writes about conditions, crops, livestock, and her future plans for her properties. She also describes in many letters how unscrupulous men took advantage of her at first because she was a woman, and secondly because she was an absentee owner. Additionally, as the grandchildren of Virginia grow up they begin to write their own letters to each other and their relatives. These letters discuss relatives, gossip, birth and death news, the weather, and business news. Clarence Jr writes often to his parents while working overseas in Europe to set up offices for a law firm that he worked for in the 1920s. Some letters between Sophia and Elizabeth, from 1929 to 1931, document her concern over her son, Dick, and his activities with a young man named Donald. The pastor at Dick's church in Washington feared it was a romantic relationship and Dick had to assure Sophia that it was just a passing phase for some young men. The last few years of the collection, 1960-1961, are mainly letters between Virginia Carruth and Lucy Carruth expressing condolences on the death of their mother, Elizabeth.
The Carruth family letters are part of the Wade Hall Collection of American letters, which includes correspondence and diaries from all over North America covering the time period of the Civil to Korean Wars. The materials were collected by Wade Hall and document everyday men and women.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access The collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Letters, 1900

  • Box 176, folder 1
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Letters, 1901

  • Box 176, folder 2-10
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Letters, 1902

  • Box 177, folder 1-6
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Letters, 1903

  • Box 177, folder 7-11
  • Box 178, folder 1-4
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Letters, 1904

  • Box 178, folder 5-12
  • Box 179, folder 1-2
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Letters, 1905

  • Box 179, folder 3-7
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Letters, 1906

  • Box 179, folder 8-12
  • Box 180, folder 1-2
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Letters, 1907

  • Box 180, folder 3-7
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Letters, 1908

  • Box 180, folder 8-10
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Letters, 1909

  • Box 180, folder 11-14
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Letters, 1910

  • Box 181, folder 1-3
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Letters, 1911

  • Box 181, folder 4-10
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Letters, 1914-1916

  • Box 181, folder 11
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Letters, 1921-1922

  • Box 182, folder 1
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Letters, 1923

  • Box 182, folder 2-10
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Letters, 1924

  • Box 182, folder 11
  • Box 183, folder 1
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Letters, 1925

  • Box 183, folder 2-5
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Letters, 1926

  • Box 183, folder 6-9
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Letters, 1927

  • Box 183, folder 10
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Letters, 1928

  • Box 184, folder 1
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Letters, 1929

  • Box 184, folder 2-5
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Letters, 1930

  • Box 184, folder 6-10
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Letters, 1931

  • Box 185, folder 1-3
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Letters, 1932-1935

  • Box 185, folder 4
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Letters, 1938-1940

  • Box 185, folder 5
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Letters, 1943-1944

  • Box 185, folder 6
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Letters, 1945

  • Box 185, folder 7-8
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Letters, 1947

  • Box 185, folder 9
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Letters, 1959-1960

  • Box 185 A, folder 1-2
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Letters, 1961

  • Box 185 A, folder 3
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Letters, undated

  • Box 185 A, folder 4
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Empty envelopes, advertisements, and scrap notes, undated

  • Box 185 A, folder 5
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Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

Requests

No items have been requested.