• IdentificationMidwest MS ShawF
  • TitleInventory of the Frances Wells Shaw Papers, 1866-1976, bulk 1925-1937 Midwest.MS.ShawF
  • PublisherThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • RepositoryThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • Physical Description4.4 linear feet (8 boxes, 1 oversize box)
  • Date
    • Bulk, 1925-1937
    • 1866-1976
  • Location1 31 2
  • AbstractPapers of Frances Wells Shaw of Chicago and Lake Forest, Illinois, wife of architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. Bulk consists of material related to the frequent domestic and international travels of Frances Shaw during the first half of the 20th century. Includes her diaries, travel materials and memorabilia, and photographs. Also includes correspondence to and from Frances Shaw and her daughters, plus the diaries of her brother-in-law, Charles T. Atkinson.
  • OriginationShaw, Frances Wells, 1872-1937

Gift, Susan Moon, Frances Shaw, Edward M. Ryerson, and Nora Ryerson, March 20, 2009.

The Frances Wells Shaw Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

The Frances Wells Shaw Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Frances Wells Shaw Papers, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Lenore Glanz, 2010.

Wealthy Chicago and Lake Forest traveler, poet, and playwright.

Frances Wells Shaw was born in Chicago in 1872. Her mother died when she was an infant, so her father, Moses Wells, a successful shoe manufacturer, sent for a relative to care for her and her older sister. They grew up in a house on Michigan Avenue.

Frances Wells was educated at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut. In 1893 she married Howard Van Doren Shaw, a long-time family friend and one of Chicago’s leading architects. He was later to design many homes in the Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods of Chicago, as well as of Market Square in Lake Forest, where he and Frances Shaw raised a family with three daughters.

Frances Wells Shaw and Howard Van Doren Shaw traveled together in the United States and other countries around the world. After his death in 1926, she resumed her travels, alone, going even farther from home—to the Far East. She traveled by motor car, by bus, by railroad, on cruise ships, by freight packet (down the Mississippi River), and by donkey (up Mt. Aetna). Her adventurous and interesting travels made her a well known speaker on travel topics in Chicago clubs. Many of her verses were published in Poetry magazine. She was the author of several plays. She died in 1937.

Papers of the Shaw family of Chicago and Lake Forest, mainly of Frances Wells Shaw (1872-1937), wife of architect Howard Van Doren Shaw (1869-1926).

The bulk consists of material related to the frequent domestic and international travels of Frances Shaw during the first half of the twentieth century. Includes diaries, expense accounts, brochures, guides, maps, post cards, photographs, souvenir items, scraps and notes, business and personal cards, and other ephemera collected and saved by Shaw on her trips. Some of these materials are undated but have been labeled with approximate dates.

Also, correspondence between Frances Shaw and her daughter, as well as with other family members and acquaintances. In addition, miscellaneous materials include the diaries of Shaw’s brother-in-law, some school publications, and personal photographs. Included with the collection is a brochure, “Lake Forest was founded February 21, 1861”.

Papers are organized in the following series:

Title Box Series 1: Correspondence, 1866-1937 Box 1 Series 2: Miscellany (Personal), 1899-1976 Boxes 1-2 Series 3: Travel Diaries, with Notes, Receipts, and Ephemera, 1906-1936 Boxes 2-3 Series 4: Travel Guides, 1923-1937 Boxes 3-5 Series 5: Travel Brochures, 1910-1937 Boxes 5-7 Series 6: Postcards, 1917-1936 Box 7 Series 7: Photographs, ca. 1910-1937 Boxes 8-9

  • Names
    • Atkinson, Charles Thomas, 1864-1943
    • Atkinson, Martha Wells, ca. 1868-1935
    • Haskins, Sylvia Shaw Judson, 1897-1978
    • King, Frances Theodora
    • McCutcheon, Evelyn Shaw
    • Shaw, Frances Wells, 1872-1937 -- Travel
  • Geographic Coverage
    • Canada -- Guidebooks
    • East Asia -- Guidebooks
    • Europe -- Guidebooks
    • Japan -- Guidebooks
    • Lake Forest (Ill.) -- History
    • United States -- Guidebooks
  • Subject
    • Cruise ships -- Guidebooks
    • Families -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- Sources
    • Family Papers
    • Manuscripts, American -- Illinois
    • Mothers and daughters -- United States -- Correspondence
    • Upper class -- United States -- Social life and customs
    • Women
    • Women travelers -- History -- 20th century -- Sources