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The Mary Fanton Roberts papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Mary Fanton Roberts papers, 1880-1956. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Collection includes over 200 replies (160 of which comprise the book) to Mrs. Moore's letter requesting a quotation or a bit of poetry important to the recipient; a copy of her book, "Famous Personalities and Their Philosophies," and materials relating to the speeches both Mrs. Moore and her daughter gave about this collection of letters, such as notes, clippings, etc.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents a book written by Mildred Moore entitled Famous Personalities and Their Philosophies, published in 1940 by the Bookwalter Ball Greathouse Printing Co., Indianapolis. The collection encompasses over 200 replies (160 of which are included in the book) to Mrs. Moore's letter requesting a quotation or a bit of poetry important to them. Also included are a copy of her book, Famous personalities and Their Philosophies, and materials relating to the speeches both Mrs. Moore and her daughter gave about this collection of letters.
Series 1 of the collection, the letters received in response to Mrs. Moore's inquiry, has been classified by occupation of the respondent and then arranged alphabetically by name within that classification. Apparently selected at random, the people she contacted were drawn from a wide variety of occupations and interests and include actors, athletes, community leaders, physicians, politicians, royalty, and many others. They are as diverse in background as Babe Ruth and the Prince of Wales, Huey Long and Winston Churchill. Most of the responses are signed by the individuals to whom Mrs. Moore's letter was addressed. Some of these have value as autographs, for example, Helen Keller, Marie of Roumania, and Adolph Hitler.
Series 2 is the book itself, arranged alphabetically with a page devoted to each personality. On each page are brief comments by Mrs. Moore about the person, and his or her favorite quotation and its source. When a second page has been devoted to an individual it is a reproduction of the handwritten response to Mrs. Moore's request (16 out of 160 entries). Sources of the quotations range through the centuries from Confucius to several people alive at the time of the book's publication (1940), but most frequently quoted are the Bible and the works of Shakespeare.
The material in series 3 is devoted largely to notes of Mary Lou White (Mrs. Moore's daughter) relating to the many speeches she made to women's clubs, fraternal organizations, and similar groups concerning her mother's collection, her publicity and that of her mother. There are also a few references to Elizabeth Wenger, who, according to Mary Lou White's notes, was repeating Mildred Moore's endeavor with respect to a later generation.
Series 4 contains replies to a letter requesting a favorite quotation sent to residents of Fort Wayne by Mrs. Moore. Most of these are dated 1932 1933. They have been arranged alphabetically by respondent.
The correspondents include Babe Ruth, the Prince of Wales, Winston Churchill, Huey Long, Helen Keller, Marie of Romania, and Adolf Hitler, and others, such as those listed below.
The collection is divided into four series.
Series 1: Responses to Mildred Moore's letter to famous personalities
Series 2: Publication developed from responses to letter to famous people (book)
Series 3: Development of speeches by Mary Lou White (notes)
Series 4: Responses to letters to prominent Fort Wayne area residents
Biographical / Historical:
Mildred Moore, the pen name for Mildred Galloway, later Mrs. Forest L. Moore, was born on a farm outside Cromwell, Indiana. She read constantly as a child and often wrote verse to express her feelings. Prior to November 13, 1930, when she began writing a column called "This, That And The Other" for the Cromwell Advance, a Fort Wayne newspaper, and one in Waterloo, Indiana, she had worked for several years as a secretary and bookkeeper for the Fort Wayne YMCA.
In 1931, having become interested in what motivated people and in their philosophies, Mildred Moore began to write to famous people seemingly selected at random requesting a quotation or a bit of verse that had been important to them and the development of their philosophy. The resultant book, Famous Personalities and Their Philosophies, includes 160 responses to over 200 letters to people with some claim to fame during the 1930s. Interestingly, the rate of response and acquiescence was very high with few refusals. A few indicated no favorite verse or quotation.
Mildred Moore made speeches about her collection of letters to several hundred groups in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois. Her daughter, Mary Lou White (Mrs. Charles F. White), also spoke to numerous groups about the letters after her mother's death.
Collection donated by Charles F. White, 1991, April 26.
Collection is open for research.
Probable copyright restrictions on some material in this collection.