University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Ayer Family Papers

1859 - 1940
(bulk dates 1860 - 1880, 1920 - 1935)

Manuscript Collection Number: 152
Accessioned: Gift of the Moyerman Family, 1972.
Extent: 2.5 linear ft. (1,984 items, 7 notebooks)
Content: Correspondence, legal papers, pamphlets, church papers and publications, diaries, ledger.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 1990-1991 by Lori A. Bridgers.

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Table of Contents

Biographical Note

Joseph Cullen Ayer (10/15/1839-1918), commonly called Cullen, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was educated at Harvard (1859-1860) and served as a Lieutenant in the 18th Regiment Massachusetts Infantry during the Civil War from 1861-1864. Trained as a lawyer, Ayer began a career as a businessman in Boston following his military service. He subsequently was involved in land speculation in Tennessee and in mine speculation in New Zealand. Ayer married Caroline (Carrie) E. Roberts (6/22/1840-1890) on December 25, 1860. Although Carrie and Cullen produced three children--John Lovering (1862), Joseph Cullen, Jr. (1866), and Francis (1874-1877)--the two seldom lived together during their married life and eventually separated. Carrie worked by necessity to support her children as a matron and cook at the Peeksville Military Academy in Peeksville, New York, and at other jobs.

Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr. (1866-1944), the second son of Joseph and Carrie Ayer, was educated in theology and philosophy at Harvard (AB, 1887), and in Europe at Leipzig (PhD, 1893). Ayer had a long career as a clergyman and theologian and served as Rector of St. Peter's Chapel, Osterville, Mass. (ca. 1903-1913); Rector of St. Philip's Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1929-1936); and as Professor of Theology at the Philadelphia Divinity School of the Protestant Episcopal Church (1913-1936).

Scope and Content Note

The Ayer Family Papers document the lives of two generations of the Ayer family of Massachusetts, and later Pennsylvania. The papers are arranged in two series. Series I consists of correspondence between Caroline E. Roberts and Joseph Cullen Ayer. The bulk of this series dates from 1860-1880. Series II contains correspondence and other papers of Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr., the second son of Caroline and Joseph Cullen Ayer, who was an Episcopal minister and Professor of Theology. Bulk dates of this series are 1920-1935.

Series Outline

I.  Caroline E. Roberts - Joseph Cullen Ayer Correspondence, 1859-1894

II. Joesph Cullen Ayer, Jr., Papers

	1.  Professional Papers, 1908-1940
	2.  Personal Correspondence, 1910-1940
	3.  Family Correspondence, 1880-1938
	4.  Miscellaneous
	5.  Receipts
	6.  Notebooks, 1876-1933

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

Boxes 1 - 4
F. 1 - F. 51


     1859-1894, n.d.  Correspondence between Carrie E. Roberts and Joseph
Cullen Ayer.  The correspondence consists primarily of letters from Carrie to
Cullen and concerns their marriage, children, and related matters.  Also
included are letters to and from the Ayer children to their parents, letters
from other relatives, and a few business letters.  Although Joseph Cullen Ayer
served nearly three years in military service during the Civil War, only two
letters written by him during this period are present (1862: September 11;
1863: July 23).

                                                  (444 items)


     The correspondence and other papers of Reverend Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr. 
Includes papers relating to his professional duties as a minister and as a
Professor of Theology, as well as personal and family papers.

Boxes 5 - 6

F. 52 - F. 84

Ser. II. 1.  Professional Correspondence

     1908-1940, n.d.  Consists of letters concerning Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr.'s
position as Rector of St. Peter's Chapel, Osterville, Mass.; St. Philip's
Church, Philadelphia, PA; and  Professor of Theology at the Philadelphia
Divinity School of the Protestant Episcopal Church.  Also includes letters
from other clergy on matters of Church polity, doctrine, and creed; matters
concerning the existence of the Divinity School; and his pension.  Also
includes letters to and from parishioners, students, faculty, and various
organizations.  Primary correspondents include:  William Stetson Merrill, Dean
George Bartlett, and Edward A. Pedrette.  

                                                  (507 items)

Boxes 7 - 8

F. 85 - F. 124

Ser. II. 2.  Personal Correspondence

     1910-1940, n.d.  Consists of personal correspondence with friends,
professional associations, merchants, and private contractors.  Much
correspondence concerns his summer home and vacations in Randolph, New
Hampshire, primarily directed to Charles E. Hunt, the gardner for the summer
house, and John H. Boothman, proprietor of Mt. Crescent House in Randolph. 
Also includes extensive correspondence with William (Billie) Stetson Merrill
(a second cousin) and his brother John W. Merrill.  Also includes one letter
from George A. Barton, of Florida.

                                                  (602 items)
Box 9

Ser. II. 3.  Family Correspondence

F. 125 - F. 127.  1880-1930.  John L. Roberts Correspondence.  Correspondence
regarding the estate of John L. Roberts (maternal grandfather of Rev. J. C.
Ayer) and its distribution.  Includes copy of will, court papers, accounting
sheets, and letters to George B. Dewson, lawyer, concerning income of Boston
real estate.
                                                  (35 items)

F. 128 - F. 129.  1916-1918.  Joseph Cullen Ayer.  Letters to Rev. J. C. Ayer
from his father, during the latter's time in the National Soldier's Home,
Tennessee, until his death in 1918.
                                                  (30 items)

F. 130 - F. 131.  1921-1922, 1936.  Caroline Ayer.  Letters to and from
Caroline Ayer, daughter of Rev. J. C. Ayer.  Concerns work at Vassar College
and her various beaux.
                                                  (13 items)

F. 132 - F. 133.  ca. 1920-1939.  Lewis C. Cassidy.  A suitor of Caroline, ca.
                                                  (25 items)

F. 134.  1929.  Carl W. Ziegler.  A suitor of Caroline, 1929. 
                                                  (5 items)

F. 135 - F. 141.  1881-1937.  John Lovering Ayer, (1862-1918).  Correspondence
to and from John L. Ayer, the older brother of Rev. J. C. Ayer.  John changed
his name to Guy Carleton Lee, ca. 1894.  As John L. Ayer, he was a practicing
lawyer primarily in Portland, Oregon.  As Guy Carleton Lee, he was a
professional editor for a publishing company.  He moved to Carlisle, PA, ca.
                                                  (83 items)

F. 142.  1921-1938.  Miscellaneous correspondence.  Letters from cousins,
aunts, other relatives of Rev. J. C. Ayer.  Includes one letter to Richard
Ayer, the son of Rev. Joseph Cullen Ayer.
                                                  (12 items)

Box 10

Ser. II. 4.  Miscellaneous.

F. 143 - F. 145.  Announcements, publications, pamphlets associated with
Philadelphia Divinity School and St. Philip's Church.
                                                  (40 items)

F. 146.  Examination Sheets.  Autograph and typed exam questions for various
classes in theology which Rev. J. C. Ayer taught.
                                                  (16 items)

F. 147 - F. 148.  Pamphlets.  Various pamphlets, printed announcements and
related material for churches, conventions, cemetery regulations, etc.
                                                  (22 items)

F. 149.  Calendars.  Church calendars listing holy days, feast days, passages
from the Bible, Psalms, etc.  Four different styles of calendars, all dated
1933, and a partial order form.
                                                  (5 items)

F. 150 - F. 151.  General.  Map, advertisement for Holderness Boy's School,
information about various associations, tax form, etc.
                                                  (23 items)

Ser. II. 5.  Receipts.

F. 152 - F. 155

     Receipts and bills from booksellers, publishers, insurance companies,
charities, contract work, auto companies, seed companies, etc.
                                                  (122 items)

Box 11

Ser. II. 6.  Notebooks.

F. 156 - F. 160.  Diaries.  1904, 1918, 1922, 1930, 1933.  All belonged to
Rev. J. C. Ayer.  All are only partially filled with entries.  All published
by Standard Diary Co., with a calendar of the year, moon & sun calendars,
charts, tables of measures, city populations, postage rates, pages for
memoranda, accounts, addresses & lists, etc.

F. 161.  Autograph Book.  1876-1878.  Book belonged to John L. Ayer.  Contains
messages and signatures of friends, relatives, fellow students.  Three photos.

F. 162.  Ledger.  1903-1918.  Ledger & account book from St. Peter's Chapel,
Osterville, Mass. where Rev. J. C. Ayer was rector.

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