Helen Aldrich de Kroyft Papers

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Helen Aldrich De Kroyft papers
Creator: De Kroyft, Helen Aldrich, 1818-1915
Call Number: D.241
Dates: 1844-1923
Physical Description: 1.75 Cubic feet
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
Collection Overview
Title: Helen Aldrich De Kroyft papers
Creator: De Kroyft, Helen Aldrich, 1818-1915
Call Number: D.241
Dates: 1844-1923
Physical Description: 1.75 Cubic feet
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
Helen (Aldrich) De Kroyft (October 29, 1818 - October 1915) was born in Rochester, New York. Christened Susan Helen Aldrich, and the oldest of twelve children, she was schooled at the Westfield Academy, Westfield, New York and at Genesee Wesleyan Seminary at Lima, New York. Following an engagement of some years, she married William De Kroyft, M.D. on July 25, 1845. He died later that day.

The cause of his death is variously explained. An obituary describes him as beginning his medical practice "with health somewhat impaired," and Mrs. De Kroyft's account in A Place in Thy Memory (1849) describes "hemorrhage of the lungs" and "consumption" during the two months preceding their marriage. Mrs. De Kroyft's long-time companion, Effie Douglass Fox, mentions a "fall from a carriage", "three days prior" as the cause of internal injuries which killed him. In any event, Dr. De Kroyft died and a month later Mrs. De Kroyft became blind, apparently from some infection of the eyes.

Helen De Kroyft then attended the New York Institution for the Blind, in New York City, where she learned to write straight across a page with the help of a card which guided her hand. Her first book, A Place in Thy Memory (1849), is a collection of letters to family members and friends written during this period, 1846 to 1849.

Mrs. De Kroyft's success as an author was as much her success as a book seller. Her method was to call on businessmen and public officials who entered their own subscriptions in her order book, and usually paid the price of the book in advance. In this way Mrs. De Kroyft personally sold over 150,000 copies of various of her works. This method produced an order book with the signatures of seven U. S. presidents, their cabinets, and many members of Congress including the entire Senate of 1850, state governors and numerous prominent citizens. Following the publication in 1849 of A Place in Thy Memory, and until her 94th year, Mrs. De Kroyft spent much of her time traveling throughout the United States selling her books. Her book sales enabled her to support herself and her parents, and to educate eight younger sisters.

Mrs. De Kroyft's written works were published over a fifty-five year span from 1849 to 1904. Three of these works (A Place in Thy Memory, 1849; Mortara 1888; and The Foreshadowed Way, 1901) are autobiographical in nature, collections of letters to family members and friends, recounting her experiences and with the addition of a variety of religious, philosophical and aesthetic reflections. The Story of Little Jakey, 1875, is a work of juvenile literature, and The Soul of Eve, 1904, is an essay on the dignity of humankind and the superiority of woman. The Soul of Eve, in lecture form, was delivered before audiences in New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania during the years 1871 through 1876.

Mrs. De Kroyft's last years, 1912 to 1915, were spent in Dansville, New York where she had established her father in business many years before and where members of her family lived.

Scope and Content
The De Kroyft Papers comprise letters, legal and financial documents, genealogical materials, miscellaneous items, advertising notices and press cuttings, and a collection of calling cards.

The correspondence, mostly between Mrs. De Kroyft and family members is concentrated during the years 1850 to 1869. The letters after 1912 are between Effie Douglas Fox, Mrs. De Kroyft's long time companion, and members of Mrs. De Kroyft's family.

The Legal and Financial papers include the subscription book, 1849, for A Place in Thy-Memory, and an 1892 will, later set aside, directing the disposition of her original manuscripts, other literary properties, including copyrights, bound autograph volumes, and her unique book of railroad passes. These items are now (1993) in the collections of the Local History Division of the Rochester Public Library, Rochester, New York.

The De Kroyft Papers also include Aldrich family genealogical materials gathered by Mrs. De Kroyft during the years 1856 to 1914, bearing on the Aldrich family in America during the 17th through the 19th centuries, and on English ancestors of earlier times.

The large section of miscellaneous items, folders 3:12 through 3:23, is explained on the folder list section of this register.

Also included in the collection are advertisements (broadsides) and newspaper review clippings concerning Mrs. De Kroyft's lecture "The Soul of Eve," 1871 through 1876, which she gave in a number of communities in upstate New York and a few adjacent states. Finally there are social calling cards, including those of Jenny Lind, the singer, and Amin Bey, Turkish Ambassador to the United States.

Legal instruments
Visiting cards
De Kroyft, Helen Aldrich, 1818-1915
Authors, American
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was the gift of Alice N. Fedder, January 21, 1993.Access
The Helen Aldrich De Kroyft 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], Helen Aldrich De Kroyft papers, D.241, 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 1Correspondence, 1844-1849
Box 1, Folder 2Correspondence, 1850-March 1851
Box 1, Folder 3Correspondence, April-December 1851
Box 1, Folder 4Correspondence, 1852
Box 1, Folder 5Correspondence, 1853-1854
Box 1, Folder 6Correspondence, 1855-1856
Box 1, Folder 7Correspondence, 1857
Box 1, Folder 8Correspondence, 1858-1859
Box 1, Folder 9Correspondence, 1860-1863
Box 1, Folder 10Correspondence, 1864
Box 1, Folder 11Correspondence, 1865
Box 1, Folder 12Correspondence, 1866-1867
Box 1, Folder 13Correspondence, 1868-1869
Box 1, Folder 14Correspondence, 1870-1880
Box 1, Folder 15Correspondence, 1881-1885
Box 2, Folder 1Correspondence, 1886-1899
Box 2, Folder 2Correspondence, 1900-1903
Box 2, Folder 3Correspondence, 1904-1909
Box 2, Folder 4Correspondence, 1910-1922
Box 2, Folder 5Correspondence, 1923
Box 2, Folder 6Correspondence, No Date
Box 2, Folder 7Correspondence, envelopes lacking letters
Box 2, Folder 8Legal and financial, 1852-1879
Box 2, Folder 9Legal and financial, 1880-1895
Box 2, Folder 10Legal and financial, 1896-1904
Box 2, Folder 11Legal and financial, 1905-1916
Box 2, Folder 12Legal and financial, 1917-1920
Box 2, Folder 13Legal and financial, 1921
Box 2, Folder 14Legal and financial, 1922-1924
Box 2, Folder 15Legal and financial, No Date
Box 2, Folder 16Legal and financial: will, 1892
Box 2, Folder 17Legal and financial: funerals, 1913-1921
Box 2, Folder 18Legal and financial: coal bills, 1915-1921
Box 2, Folder 19Legal and financial: copyrights, 1850-1906
Box 2, Folder 20Legal and financial: subscription book, 1849
Box 2, Folder 21Legal and financial: book account, 1853
Box 3, Folder 1Genealogical, 1856
Box 3, Folder 2Genealogical, 1889
Box 3, Folder 3Genealogical, 1895
Box 3, Folder 4Genealogical, 1898
Box 3, Folder 5Genealogical, 1903
Box 3, Folder 6Genealogical, 1907
Box 3, Folder 7Genealogical, 1914
Box 3, Folder 8Genealogical, No Date
Box 3, Folder 9Genealogical, No Date
Box 3, Folder 10Genealogical, No Date
Box 3, Folder 11Genealogical, No Date
Box 3, Folder 12Miscellaneous: W. De Kroyft's diary, 1839-1844
Box 3, Folder 13Miscellaneous: ceremonies, 1842-1844
3 printed programs

Box 3, Folder 14Miscellaneous: poem and invitation, 1844
Box 3, Folder 15Miscellaneous: W. De Kroyft's medical diploma, 1844
Box 3, Folder 16Miscellaneous: W. De Kroyft's obituary, 1845
Box 3, Folder 17Miscellaneous: phrenological chart, 1850
Box 3, Folder 18Miscellaneous: signature, 1874
Box 3, Folder 19Miscellaneous: Collins horoscopes, 1892-1894
Box 3, Folder 20Miscellaneous: "Greenbacks", 1901
Box 3, Folder 21Miscellaneous: photographs, M. Lincoln, 1921
Box 3, Folder 22Miscellaneous: shorthand notes, no date
Box 3, Folder 23Miscellaneous: biographical sketch, no date
Box 3, Folder 24Notices: advertising, circa 1850-1901
Box 3, Folder 25Notices: lecture tickets, 1871-1874
Box 3, Folder 26Notices: broadsides, no date
Box 3, Folder 27Notices: broadsides, Dansville, 1875
Box 3, Folder 28Notices: broadsides, Watkins, 1876
Box 3, Folder 29Notices: broadsides, Canandaigua, no date
Box 3, Folder 30Notices: news clippings, Addison and Auburn, 1874-1875
Box 3, Folder 31Notices: news clippings, Batavia, 1875
Box 3, Folder 32Notices: news clippings, Binghamton, 1874
Box 3, Folder 33Notices: news clippings, Canandaigua, 1876
Box 3, Folder 34Notices: news clippings, Corning, 1874
Box 3, Folder 35Notices: news clippings, Cortland, 1874
Box 3, Folder 36Notices: news clippings, Dansville, 1875
Box 3, Folder 37Notices: news clippings, Elmira, 1874
Box 3, Folder 38Notices: news clippings, Gloversville and Johnstown, 1875
Box 3, Folder 39Notices: news clippings, Hornellsville, 1875
Box 3, Folder 40Notices: news clippings, Ithaca, 1874
Box 3, Folder 41Notices: news clippings, New York, 1871-1872
Box 3, Folder 42Notices: news clippings, Penn Yan, 1875
Box 3, Folder 43Notices: news clippings, Schenectady, 1875
Box 3, Folder 44Notices: news clippings, Scranton, 1874
Box 3, Folder 45Notices: news clippings, Watkins, 1875
Box 3, Folder 46Notices: news clippings, Westfield, Massachusetts, 1871
Box 3, Folder 47Notices: news clippings, not identified, [?] - 1875
Box 4, Folder 1Calling cards, Jenny Lind
Box 4, Folder 2Calling cards
Box 4, Folder 3Calling cards
Box 4, Folder 4Calling cards

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