Edmund Lyon Family Papers

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Edmund Lyon family papers
Creator: Lyon, Edmund, 1855-1920
Call Number: A.L98
Dates: 1863-1949, undated
Physical Description: 22 boxes
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Content List
Box 13 Letters to Mrs. Lyon (missions and charities), 1915-1919
Box 15 Papers, notes, etc. relating to teaching speech to the deaf
Box 18 Oversize ephemera, including poetry, essays, news clippings, a newspaper and a portrait
Box 19 Postcards
Collection Overview
Title: Edmund Lyon family papers
Creator: Lyon, Edmund, 1855-1920
Call Number: A.L98
Dates: 1863-1949, undated
Physical Description: 22 boxes
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
In 1830, Harrison Armstrong Lyon (1815-1900), then 15, left his parents' home in Burnt Hills in Saratoga County, New York, to follow his eldest brother Edmund., who had settled in Rochesterville in the Genesee Region of Upstate New York some 10 years before. Through hard work and diligent saving, he managed to "make a name of himself" in Rochester, becoming identified with the milling, carpet and dry goods trade businesses. Successful and independent, he yearned for the peace and tranquility which he had not known since he had left his parents' farm. Finding that hop growing was a successful venture much in demand (beer and ale being very popular at the time), he sold his business interests in the city in 1848, and purchased several acres of land in the vicinity of what is now Culver Road and East Main Street, but what was then a choice farming area. In 1851, Harrison married Fannie Minerva Gale, daughter of Justus and Philanda Root Gale of the nearby village of Brighton. They had two children: Elizabeth, born on September 25, 1852, and Edmund, born on June 4, 1855, and named after his father's eldest brother."Eddie" had his preparatory training in the Brighton District School, Hale's Private School for Boys, St. Mark's Academy on Clover Street, Brighton, and the DeGraff Military School of Rochester. He entered the University of Rochester as a member of the Class of 1877; his career there was marked with high honors. He won first prize in Mathematics in his Freshman year, and honorable mention in his examination; as a Sophomore, he was the first College Precentor Commencement Orator; and he graduated with honors. He studied law at Columbia University, receiving his LL.B from that institution in 1880. He was admitted to the Monroe County Bar the same year, but he soon turned from the practice of law for travel, investment, business operations, and philanthropic work. He occupied an important place in local business affairs; the city of East Rochester owes its inception in part to his enterprise, the "Vanderbilt Improvement Company". Edmund Lyon Park in East Rochester is named in his honor.Lyon was also an inventor; he submitted numerous inventions to the patent office in Washington, and received patents for most of them. Of these, the most notable were a locomotive turntable in which the power of the locomotive itself, operating through the driving wheel, was made to rotate the turntable, and a mechanism for starting automobile engines, eliminating the need for the starting hand-crank. This second device ensured the success of the Northeast Electric Company, which eventually became the Delco Division of General Motors (Several of his drawings and patent applications may be found within this collection, in Box 16; see the listing at the end of this register.) His interest in public matters was broad and varied - his philanthropies wise and most generous; but to the cause of Education, particularly of the deaf, and to the broadening of the opportunities in life for the usefulness and happiness of those so handicapped, he gave devoted attention, with enduring and beneficial results.In 1887, Lyon became a volunteer teacher at the Western New York Institute for Deaf-Mutes (later the Rochester School for the Deaf). It was here that he met Carolyn Hamilton Talcott (herself partially deaf due to a bout with diphtheria), who had taught at the school since 1879; they married in 1896. He served at the school for seven years, sympathetically studying the problems of the deaf. Out of his experiences and inventive brain, he made a notable contribution with his writing of the Lyon Phonetic Manual for use in promoting the teaching of speech to the deaf. This manual was highly regarded and used widely around the world. Through his work with the deaf, he became close friends with Alexander Graham Bell.In 1895, Edmund was appointed Secretary of the State Board of Charities, and a year later was appointed by that Board as State Examiner of the nine schools for the deaf in New York State. He devised and put into operation a scientific method of examination and comparison of the mental attainments of deaf pupils, which involved a prodigious amount of labor on the part of himself and Mrs. Lyon, and which raised the standards of teaching and scholarship in these schools. He also invented several devices for the aid and advancement of the handicapped, such as: a) a mechanism to enable the blind to write in a perfectly uniform style of modified script; b) a mechanical apparatus for teaching numbers; and c) a complete system of shorthand line writing illustrative of his manual. (The first item was designed with Helen Keller in mind; its presentation to her as a gift won Lyon her "undying gratitude and eternal friendship.") He was a lecturer and writer on Phonetic analysis, and on the development of elemental speech sounds in the educational work among the deaf.Edmund and Carolyn Lyon had five children: two sons, Edmund Jr. and Edmund Harrison, both of whom died in infancy; and three daughters, Elizabeth Hamilton, and twins Carolyn Sibyl and Linda Gale, nicknamed "May" and "June" (because they were expected in June, but were born in May of 1902). The Lyon family remained close to the Institute for the Deaf and contributed generously to it and other worthy causes in Rochester. Edmund Lyon died on April 23, 1920.A more detailed account of the lives of the Lyons and the Talcotts is given in the book "Vibrant Silence", by Carolyn Sibyl (Lyon) Remington, which may be found in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, call number F 130.2 L99r.

Scope and Content
This collection consists of the personal, business, and family papers of Edmund Lyon (1855-1920), a noted Rochester inventor, humanitarian, philanthropist, and manufacturer. It includes family and business correspondence, diaries, notebooks, manuscripts of books and articles, financial records, photographs and memorabilia of Lyon, his wife Carolyn Hamilton (Talcott) Lyon, Harriet E. Hamilton (her aunt), and a few other members of the family.

The first nine boxes of the collection consist of correspondence to and among members of the Edmund Lyon family. A majority of the letters are to or from Carolyn Talcott ("Carrie") or Harriet Hamilton ("Aunt Hattie"), but there are others, especially between Edmund Lyon and his parents. There is a large number of letters exchanged between Edmund and Carolyn during the six months or so before they married on June 2, 1896, as he spent most of that time in Albany and New York City on business. The letters are mostly personal in nature, but some business concerns are occasionally mentioned; quite a bit is mentioned about the Western New York Institute for Deaf-Mutes, where Carolyn and Harriet worked and Edmund had much interest. Boxes 1 through 8 contain dated letters, from 1863 to 1949; the letters in box 9 are undated. The rest of the collection (boxes 10 - 17) consists of diaries (of Carolyn and Harriet), business records, mining reports (Edmund had later developed an interest in the search for metals and ores), notebooks, some school materials (from the University of Rochester), and other various papers relating to the teaching of speech to the deaf, Edmund Lyon's several inventions, and donations to different missions and charities. A copy of The Lyon Phonetic Manual may be found in box 17.

New York (State)--Rochester
Albums (Books)
Lyon, Edmund, 1855-1920
Lyon, Carolyn Talcott
Hamilton, Harriet E.
Western New York Institution for Deaf-Mutes (Rochester, N.Y.)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was placed on deposit in the University Library by Mrs. Francis Kirk (Lyon) Remington, April 18, 1951. Additional material received during 1965/66. On November 11, 2008, the postcards found in Box 19 were received from Allis and Louis D'Amanda.Access
The Edmund Lyon family papers is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], Edmund Lyon family papers, A.L98, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Administrative Information
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rare Books and Special Collections staff
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055

Content List
Box 1, Folder 1-10Correspondence, 1863-1886
Box 2, Folder 1-7Correspondence, 1887-1894
Box 3, Folder 1-4Correspondence, 1895-March, 1896
Box 4, Folder 1-4Correspondence, April 1896-1897
Box 5, Folder 1-4Correspondence, 1898-February 1901
Box 6, Folder 1-4Correspondence, March 1901-1902
Box 7, Folder 1-7Correspondence, 1903-1909
Box 8, Folder 1-12Correspondence, 1910-1949
Box 9, Folder 1-11Correspondence, 1899-1923
Box 9a, Folder 1-2Correspondence, undated
Box 10, Volume 1-34Diaries of Carolyn (Talcott) Lyon and Harriet Hamilton, 1880-1919
Mrs. Lyon (31): 1880, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886(2), 1887, (31) 1888, 1889, 1890(2), 1891, 1892, 1895, 1900, 1901, 1903, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1912, 1914, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1919. Also: 1910 - journal of trip to Europe.
Harriet Hamilton (3): 1889, 1900, 1907-08
Box 11, Folder 1-11Onamena Mining Co. correspondence, 1913-1917
Box 12, Folder 1-9Business records, 1914
Box 13Letters to Mrs. Lyon (missions and charities), 1915-1919

Box 14, Volume 1Little Princess Mining Co. papers, 1909
Box 15Papers, notes, etc. relating to teaching speech to the deaf
Box 16, Folder 1-4Letters, articles, and notes (miscellaneous)
Box 16, Folder 5-6E. Lyon - Biography, by Roswell Ward
Box 16, Folder 7Miscellaneous reports, articles
Box 16, Folder 8Miscellaneous notes
Box 16, Folder 9Speech given at Rochester Dental Dispensary, May 9, 1917
Box 16, Folder 10E. Lyon obituary
Box 16, Folder 11Correspondence, vehicle license, and electric oven advertisement
Originally located in box labeled "Various Historical Treasures." Materials appear to have belonged to Mrs. H. A. Lyon.

Box 16, Folder 12Certificates, illustrations, clippings, correspondence, and programs
Originally located in box labeled "Various Historical Treasures." Materials appear to have belonged to Mrs. H. A. Lyon.
Separated Materials Broadsides removed to file.

Box 16, Folder 13Keller, Helen, 1896-1922
Includes writings by and about Keller and the Western New York Institution for Deaf-Mutes. Also includes photographs of Keller, the Western New York Institution for Deaf-Mutes, a man named "Z.F. Westervelt," disabled children, and an illustration by Maurice Greiffenhagen.

Box 16, Folder 14Notes from lesson taught by Alexander Graham Bell; Century Oats notebook, 1876-1920
AGB notebook contains notes from lessons on speech/pronunciation, including illustrations of vocal organs and machines to aid in speech as well as diagrams of linguistic symbols. Also includes transcripts of lectures. Century Oaks notebook contains linen, china, glass, and silver inventories and to-do lists for rooms in a house.

Box 16, Folder 15Notebook on pronunciation of vowels and consonants, including diagrams of the mouth and throat; and issues of Daily Paper for Our Little People, 1902-1903
Box 16, Folder 16"The Castles of the Fronde"
An account of the War of the Fronde, detailing how the queen of France at the time, Anne of Austria, and other royal figures handled the war. The second half of the publication describes various French castles. 30 pages.

Box 16a, Volume 1Lyon Phonetic Manual, 1891
Includes introductory article from The Union and Advertiser about the manual. 73 pages.

Box 16a, Volume 2Binder containing pronunciation notes and diagrams, class primer, clippings, journal entries, correspondence, and other materials, 1876-1895
Includes letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Lyon dated November 20, 1895, "English Visible Speech for the Million," a 16-page booklet, and "Upon some of the Consequences of Denying Occult Force, Vol. 1," 23 pages, by Alexander Graham Bell.

Box 16a, Volume 3Notebook containing lessons of [Reverend] A.R. Vosburgh, 1909
Correspondence, notes, ephemera, and newspaper clipping have been inserted within the notebook.

Box 16a, Volume 4"Summary of lessons on the Epistles to the Hebrews by [Reverend] A.R. Vosburgh. Copies from Miss Shoecraft's Notes"
Handwritten summary of A.R. Vosburgh's lessons.

Box 17, Folder 1Carrie Talcott's letter book, 1891
Book containing Carrie Talcott's correspondence, organized by date. Various photographs and notes are inserted within the book. 191 pages.

Box 17, Folder 2Calling book containing records of phone calls; Sunday School teachers diary; Address book, 1886-1898
Sunday School Teachers Diary includes a calendar, attendance records, and written notes on Sunday School sessions. 126 pages.

Box 17, Folder 3Script for The Courtship of Miles Standish, February 26, 1888
Handwritten. Includes program booklet

Box 17, Folder 4Carrie Talcott's notebook, 1882-1906
Includes handwritten quotations and notes, photographs and drawings, clippings and handwritten poems, newspaper clippings about religious services, obituaries, programs, musical scores, and other miscellaneous clippings. 181 pages.

Box 17, Folder 5"Miss Hamilton's writing book" (Carrie Talcott's), 1875
Handwritten sections of work by various authors.

Box 17, Folder 6Progress notes; Seneca notebook
Progress Notes is a diary detailing sites visited by the author, as well as notes on historical figures. Seneca Note Book is a handwritten history of Erasmus.

Box 17, Folder 7Black notebook; Maroon notebook, 1872-1910
Black notebook contains religious quotes and excerpts. Various religious clippings are pasted into the book. Maroon notebook contains religious clippings and handwritten excerpts.

Box 17a, Folder 1Bundle of cards, 1892
Calendar that Mary H. True, friend of C. Talcott, made for Carrie to take on her trip abroad. Includes funny sayings.

Box 17a, Folder 2Portfolio, 1870-1889
Papers of Pamela L. Talmadge, including documents relating to her property on Lake Avenue, tax receipts, a list of birthdays, and other materials. Includes receipt about visible speech.

Box 17a, Folder 3Bound papers
Illustration proofs for Lyon's method (Lyon Phonetic Manual). Lyon's student papers.

Box 17a, Folder 4University of Rochester materials, 1873-1875
Booklets of essay topics from the English and History departments, examinations from German, psychology, Greek, and history classes, and examination essays written by E. Lyon.

Box 18Oversize ephemera, including poetry, essays, news clippings, a newspaper and a portrait
Box 19Postcards

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