Special Collections Department
G. Burton Pearson,
1840 - 1999
(bulk dates 1880 - 1950)
Manuscript Collection Number: 432
Accessioned: Gift of Pearson Family, 2000 - 2001.
Extent: 6.3 linear ft. and 2 oversize boxes.
Content: Photographs, correspondence, letters, ephemera, postcards, greeting cards, clippings, books, stationery, printed materials, certificates, diplomas, journals, passport, report cards.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: October - December 2001, by Karen E. Ryder
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
George Burton Pearson, Jr., (1905-1999), was a Delaware lawyer, judge, and banker. He was educated at the Wilmington Friends School, (1918-1923), Princeton, (1924-1927), and the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned an LL.B in 1931. Judge Victor Woolley chose Burton Pearson as his first law clerk. From 1931 until 1939, Pearson worked in the Wilmington law firm of Hugh M. Morris. Pearson left private legal practice in 1939 to serve as Delaware’s first statutory Vice Chancellor. In 1946, Governor Walter W. Bacon appointed Burton Pearson Associate Judge of the Delaware Supreme Court, in which capacity he served until 1949, when he resigned to take a position at Wilmington Trust Company. He remained with Wilmington Trust Company as a Senior Vice President, Director, and Chairman of the Trust Committee until he retired.
Burton Pearson was elected President of the Delaware State Bar Association in 1950, serving until 1952. In 1951, he joined the Board of Trustees of the University of Delaware. He was a founding member and president of the Unidel Foundation, Inc., which supports many academic departments at the University by providing research funds for students. In 1988, the University awarded Judge Pearson an honorary doctorate.
Burton Pearson was born in Middletown, Delaware, where he lived with his father, G. Burton Pearson, Sr., M.D., (1869-195?), and his mother, Estelle Cochran Pearson, (1871-1947). Burton Pearson’s maternal great-grandfather was Robert Thomas Cochran, brother of John P. Cochran, who was governor of Delaware from 1875-1879. An only child, Burton Pearson apparently had strong and supportive extended family relationships, especially with his aunt, Oka Cochran Warren. He attended Middletown Public Schools until 1918, when his father relocated his medical practice to 94 East Main Street, Newark, Delaware. Burton Pearson continued to live with his parents in Newark until he married Isabella Turner in 1941. Burton and Isabella Pearson raised their two children near Wilmington, Delaware. Burton Pearson married Edith du Pont late in life, after his first wife died in 1962.
Throughout his working life, Pearson was active in the Delaware Bar Association. In 1993, Pearson contributed his oral history for the Bar History Project on the History of the Delaware Supreme Court. His hobbies ranged from history and genealogy to semantics to winetasting. Pearson served on the executive committees of the Wilmington Institute Free Library, the Tower Hill School, the Historical Society of Delaware, and the Memorial Hospital of Wilmington. He was a member of the Alliance Française of Wilmington, the Wilmington Country Club, the Society of the Cincinnati, Sons of the American Revolution, and the Society of Colonial Wars. He had a home in Montchanin, Delaware, and in the exclusive Mill Reef Club in Antigua, W.I. George Burton Pearson, Jr. died in December, 1999.
Princeton Alumni Weekly (Online Archives), Volume 1999-00, Number 17, July 5, 2000, Memorials. http://www.princeton.edu/~paw/
Winslow, Helen L., ed. The Delaware Bar in the Twentieth Century. The Delaware State Bar Association, 1994.
Note: Some biographical information is derived from the collection.
The G. Burton Pearson, Jr. Papers include personal correspondence, papers, and photographs from his birth in 1905 until shortly before his death in 1999. The Pearson papers also contain correspondence, papers, and photographs from some of Burton Pearson’s ancestors, dating from about 1840 to the 1950s. The collection has been arranged in two series: I. George Burton Pearson, Jr.’s papers; and II. Pearson family papers, which contains the papers of relatives from the Pearson, Cochran, Warren, and Hardcastle families. Family photographs and correspondence between Pearson, his parents, and his aunt, Oka Cochran Warren, between about 1880 and 1950, form the bulk of the collection.
The collection, especially the photographic series, (I.3 and II.3), is strong as a source of Delaware local and family history. For example, the collection includes photographs of members of the Pearson, Cochran, Warren, and Hardcastle families of Delaware and Maryland. Photographs of early-twentieth-century Middletown depict Delaware architecture, children at school and at play, pets, domestic life, and leisure activities. The collection contains a real estate advertisement and several photographs of the Pearson family home at 94 East Main Street, Newark, Delaware. Extensive genealogical information on the Pearson, Cochran, and Hardcastle families of Maryland and Delaware is available in the collection, (Series I.4).
The collection reveals much more about Burton Pearson’s relationships with his parents and his aunt, Oka Cochran Warren, than about his professional life. The Princeton materials, (F2, F3, F25 through F36, and F86), contain correspondence between Pearson, his parents, and his aunt about daily matters such as pocket money and laundry, as well as student life. One letter has a piece of the goalpost from the Princeton-Yale game of 1925 pierced through the top of it. Course notes, grade reports, exams, bills for tuition and housing, social activities, yearbooks, and photographs of Princeton colleagues are also included.
Much of the correspondence from Pearson’s mother, Estelle, and her sister, Oka, contains Christian Science messages and clippings from the Christian Science Monitor (F11). Another strength of the collection is the large assortment of valentines, Christmas cards, birthday cards, greeting cards, and photographic postcards. Some of the valentines are handmade from wallpaper scraps; there are also many examples of early-twentieth-century manufactured cards, such as Tuck’s valentines and postcards. Photographic postcards depict early-twentieth-century street scenes of Middletown, Delaware. There are several sets of photographic postcards of Europe in the 1920s and the Los Angeles Expo of 1939.
The collection includes a few pieces of correspondence between Pearson and Hugh Morris, in whose office Pearson worked from 1931 until 1939 (F5). There are several photographs of Pearson’s judical associates, including one of Judge Victor B. Woolley (F94). The oral history that Pearson contributed in 1993 for the Delaware Bar history project on the Delaware Supreme Court, along with Pearson’s revisions, is included in Series I.2 (F76 and F77). There are a small number of papers and photographs related to Pearson’s work on the Board of Trustees of the University of Delaware (F68 through F72). Pearson apparently became involved in the General Semantics movement in the late 1940s. The collection includes papers and minutes of congresses of the Institute of General Semantics, including essays by Count Korzybski, S.I. Hayakawa, and one that Pearson delivered at the Institute’s Third Congress in 1949 (F51 through F58).
I. G. Burton Pearson, Jr. Papers, 1905-1999 1. Correspondence, 1906-1995 2. Papers, c. 1910-1999 3. Photographs, 1905- c. 1990 4. Genealogical Materials, 1980s II. Pearson Family Papers, c. 1840-1950 1. Correspondence, c. 1882-1945 2. Papers, c. 1870-1940 3. Photographs, c. 1840-1950 4. Miscellaneous Newspapers, 1912-1949
Box -- Folder -- Contents
1 Series I. G. Burton Pearson, Jr. Papers, 1905-1999 Arranged in four subseries by correspondence, papers, photographs, and genealogical materials. Each subseries is arranged chronologically to highlight Pearson’s changing interests and activities. Series I.4, Genealogical Materials bridges the two series. Series I.1 Correspondence, 1906-1995 Contains personal correspondence; valentines, greeting cards and postcards, some made by Tuck’s; correspondence from college years at Princeton; letters reflecting Christian Science beliefs. F1 Childhood, 1906-1921 Princeton F2 1923-1925 F3 1926-1927 F4 Early Career, 1931-1935 Contains a letter to Hugh Morris and two cards from him. F5 Career, 1936-1939 Contains correspondence with Hugh Morris, receipts from Middletown businesses, and a letter concerning Pearson’s account at Jacob Reed’s Sons, Philadelphia. F6 Personal, 1940-1942 Contains letters and postcards from relatives to Pearson and his wife, Isabella Turner, an invitation to their wedding, and a letter (in English) from a French friend, André Aupetit, concerning the outbreak of World War II. F7 War Years, 1943-1945 Contains correspondence with the Aupetit family, clippings about the domestic wartime travel crisis, Christian Science clippings, letters on stationery from the Essex and Sussex in Spring Lake Beach, NJ, and a letter from Pearson to his mother mentioning the failing health of Judge Woolley. Family Life F8 1946-1948 Contains menus from The Inn at Buck Hill Falls in the Poconos. F9 1949-1998 Contains Delaware business ephemera and correspondence with Lord Buckhurst. F10 Miscellaneous, undated. 1 F11 Christian Science, 1931-1943 Contains inspirational letters and clippings from Pearson’s mother, Estelle Cochran Pearson. F12 Postcards, 1908-1918 Some contain scenes of early Middletown. F13 Valentines, 1906-1915 Contains many examples of valentines, ranging from homemade to Tuck’s. F14 Graduation and Greeting Cards, 1920-1935 F15 Birthday and Greeting Cards, 1939-1942 F16 Birthday and Anniversary Cards, 1943-1945 Birth Congratulations F17 1945 Cards, tags from gifts and flower arrangements congratulating the Pearsons on the birth of their first child. F18 September-October, 1945 F19 October-November, 1945 F20 Birthday and Greeting Cards, 1946-1995 F21 Cards, undated Includes one Tuck’s Christmas card. 1 Series I.2. Papers, c. 1910-1999 Contains administrative records and ephemera from Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania; papers and correspondence from the Institute for General Semantics; the Supreme Court of Delaware History sponsored by the Delaware Bar History Project; and the University of Delaware Board of Trustees. F22 Childhood, c. 1910-1919 Includes Pearson’s composition book from Middletown grammar school. Wilmington Friends School F23 1921-23 Includes programs, grades, and diploma from Wilmington Friends School. F24 Whittier Miscellany, 1922 Princeton F25 Administrative, 1922-1931 F26 Ephemera, 1923-1927 Includes address books, leather bound mementos of “Class Day, 1927,” campus songbook, and a pocket sized Princeton Handbook. F27 Freshman Herald, 1927 2 F28 Schoolwork Prints, Part 1 F29 Schoolwork Prints, Part 2 F30 Class Notes 1, Government F31 Class Notes 2, Art History F32 Class Notes 3, Architecture 304 F33 Class Notes 4, Architecture 303 F34 Nassau Literary Magazine, 1925 F35 Nassau Herald, 1927 F36 Twenty-Year Reunion, 1947 F37 Passport, 1927-1928 University of Pennsylvania F38 Administrative, 1928-1934 Includes letters of admission, grades, financial papers. F39 Coursework and Exams, 1929-1931 F40 Commencement, 1931 F41 Erskine School, 1929-1940 Isabella Turner Pearson attended this school, located in Boston, MA. F42 Selective Service, 1940 F43 Legal Stationery, undated F44 Address Books, undated F45 Maps, 1915-1941 Includes four topographical maps of Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey. F46 Law Career, 1927-1949 Includes copies of correspondence relating to Pearson’s appointment as Vice-Chancellor of Delaware. 2 F47 “Disposition of Unclaimed Trust Funds,” Trusts and Estates, 1943 Copy of a legal journal containing the above article written by Pearson. F48 Law Quarterly Review, 1946 F49 Tribute to Judge Woolley, 1938-1945 Includes correspondence with Judge Woolley about the Society of Colonial Wars, copies of tributes to Judge Woolley given by Hugh Morris and James Morford. F50 Patent Law Association, undated Semantics 3 F51 Papers by Korzybski, 1936-1946 F52 Reviews, 1934-1943 F53 Applied Papers, 1934-1949 F54 Papers by S.I. Hayakawa, 1938-1943 F55 Monographs, 1939-1942 F56 Institute for General Semantics, 1937-1950 F57 Congresses, 1935, 1941 F58 Third Congress, 1948-1949 Includes “Semantics and the Law,” written by Pearson. F59 Delaware Tercentenary Day Assembly, 1938 Includes a paper titled “Beginnings of Delaware” delivered by Hugh Morris at University of Delaware. F60 GBP Judiciary License Plate, 1942 F61 Wilmington Trust, 1954, 1964 F62 The Queen’s Garden Party, 1966 F63 Dechert Price & Rhoads, 1975 Autographed copy, “For Edie and Burt,” of Dechert Price & Rhoads: A Law Firm Centennial, 1975 by Robert V. Massey, Jr. F64 The Hagley Cookbook, 1983 3 F65 Miscellaneous Activities, 1923-1999 Includes certificate of membership in Wilmington Country Club; Alumni Bulletin Wilmington Friends School; Crusade for Freedom; Republican Medal. F66 Winetasting 2 items: Guide and Cellar Book from Concorde Air France wine country tour; “Chevalier du Tastevin” certificate, 1971. F67 Delaware History, 1986 University of Delaware F68 Inauguration of President Russel C. Jones, 1987 F69 Diploma, 1988 F70 Honorary Doctor of Laws, 1988 F71 Honorary Degree Sandra Day O’Connor, 1990 F72 Board of Trustees, 1987-1995 F73 Mill Reef Club, 1988-1989 F74 Memorial Session Chancellor William Marvel, 1992 F75 Salute to Elbert N. Carvel, 1993 Delaware Bar History Project F76 Oral Interview 1 (First Draft), 1993 F77 Oral Interview 2 (Revision), 1993 4 F78 Notes and Correspondence, 1993-1994 F79 Miscellaneous Papers, various dates Includes Delaware ephemera, Boy Scouts of America War Service Medal, 1918; Pearson’s Pennsylvania RR ticket from 1931; French francs. Series I.3 Photographs, 1904-c. 1990 Contains snapshots; European travel photographs and photographic postcards; and professional portraits from Wilmington studios such as Cummings and Sanborn. F80 Childhood Baby Portraits, 1905-1906 F81 Childhood Portraits, 1906-1911 F82 Childhood Photograph Album F83 Photographs of friends, c. 1910-1925 Includes many photographs of pets, some Middletown outdoor scenes. F84 Youth Portraits, c. 1920s F85 Young Adult Portraits, 1924-1927 Includes four copies of a Cummings photograph, dated 1926. Handwritten on the back cover of one is “G. Burton Pearson, Jr. July 1924 – Beedle Officer at Marshalltown, Del –” F86 Princeton, 1924-1927 F87 European Trip, 1927 Photographic Postcards F88 France, 1920s F89 Europe (Germany, Belgium), 1920s F90 England, 1920s F91 Expo Los Angeles, 1939 F92 Park Von Sanssouci, 1920s Twenty professional photographs of German tourist attractions. F93 Judge Pearson Portraits, c. 1940-1990 F94 Judicial Associates Includes an autographed portrait of Judge Woolley dated 1933. F95 Leisure Activities, c. 1930s-1940s F96 Vacations, c. 1940s-1950s Includes photographs of Xanadu, Irenée du Pont’s estate in Cuba. F97 Family Portraits and Snapshots, 1940s-1960s F98 State Department Dinner, 1978 F99 Family Life, c. 1970s-1990s F100 Two Photographs “Explosives Department, 1940-1944”; group portrait, possibly University of Delaware Trustees, by Willard Stewart, (c. 1950?). 4 Series I.4 Genealogical Materials, 1980s Includes obituaries, family correspondence specifically related to genealogy, a mid- nineteenth-century Delaware deed, professional prepared genealogies for the Pearson and Cochran families, and information on the Alrich family reunion. F101 Research Notes and Charts Obituary for Robert Thomas Cochran; Hardcastle and Bromwell genealogies. F102 Genealogical and Historical Sketch Pearson Family, 1984 F103 Cochran Family Notebook, 1986 F104 Hardcastle Family Bible Three xeroxed copies of family genealogy pages from the bible. F105 Cochran Family Crest F106 Ancestral Lives of George Burton Pearson, Jr. F107 Alrich Reunion, 1986 F108 Ambruster Deed, 1864 Series II. Pearson Family Papers, c. 1840-1950 Includes correspondence, papers, and photographs of Pearson, Cochran, Hardcastle, Matlack, and Warren families, ancestors and relatives of G. Burton Pearson, Jr. Series II.1 Correspondence, c. 1882-1945 George Burton Pearson, Sr. 5 F109 Courtship, 1889-1900 Contains letters of Estelle Cochran and George Burton Pearson, Sr. F110 Marriage, 1900 F111 Estelle Cochran Pearson, 1902-1918 F112 Family, 1923-1941 F113 Family, 1942-1945 F114 Undated F115 Cochran Family, 1882-1908 F116 Cochran Family, 1910-1943 Contains photographic postcards depicting Middletown, DE, and Trenton, NJ, 1920s. F117 Hardcastle Family, 1901 Two letters mention Christian Science. Series II.2 Papers, c. 1870-1940 George Burton Pearson, Sr. F118 Pearson Diary, 1895 Diary kept by George Burton Pearson, Sr., while a student at Harvard Medical School. F119 “On the Training of Parents,” The Outlook, 1907 Two-part magazine article, annotated, possibly by George Burton Pearson, Sr. F120 Miscellaneous, c. 1918-1945 Contains Estelle Pearson’s World War II Ration Book, and a 1918 real estate advertisement for 94 E. Main Street, Newark, DE, the Pearson’s home. F121 Moravian Seminary, 1887-1888 Estelle Cochran’s report cards (4 items); four pages of stories written by anonymous child(ren). F122 Carlyle Birthday Book, 1887 F123 Warren Family, 1906-1920 Miscellaneous papers and letters belonging to Oka Cochran Warren, Pearson’s aunt; includes prayer book, “Daily Strength for Daily Needs.” F124 Mrs. E. P. Matlack Will, 1910 Mentions Outcalt, Cook, Connable family names, relatives of the Pearsons. F125 Matlack Scrapbook, c. 1850-1998 Marbled leather cover, very poor condition, many items laid in. Includes Cincinnati and New York newspaper clippings of fiction, morals, Civil War, Lincoln assassination; letters from Alice Outcalt of Selma, Ohio about a trip to Los Angeles in 1885; programs, cards, and recipes.5 Series II.3. Photographs, c. 1840-1950 Pearson Family F126 Portraits, 1860s-1890s Studio portraits of George Burton Pearson, Sr., family of origin. Studios include Elmer Chickering, Boston; Gilbert & Bacon, Philadelphia; and Perkins, Baltimore. F127 Portraits, 1900s-1917 Most are from Taylor “Orr” Studio, Elberton, GA. George Burton Pearson, Sr., Portraits 6 F128 1897-1915 F129 1940s-1950s George Burton Pearson, Sr., Family F130 Estelle Cochran Pearson, undated Photo by Gutekunst, Philadelphia. F131 Postcards Album Photographic postcards of Pearson, Jr., and birth announcements, 1905. F132 Estelle and Pearson, Jr., 1905-1916 F133 Family Portraits, 1907-1915 F134 Family Snapshots, 1900-1930s F135 Homes, 1920s-1950s Includes photographs of 94 E. Main St., Newark, DE. F136 Family Transportation, 1899-1920s Horse and buggy, automobiles, Pearson, Sr. with auto outside 94 E. Main Street, Newark, DE, c. 1920. Hardcastle Family F137 Sally Hardcastle, 1840s Contains a hand colored photograph by J.H. Young, Baltimore. F138 Robert Emmet and Anna Maria Bromwell Hardcastle, 1870s Five items, two by Gutekunst, Philadelphia. F139 Family Portraits, 1880s-1920s Contains two Bachrach studio portraits F140 Tintype, poor condition, Preston Hardcastle family F141 Leisure Snapshots, c. 1880s-1920s F142 Cochran/Hardcastle Album, undated Approximately 3-1/2” x 5”, leather bound, “Photographs” printed on spine; contains photos of Robert Thomas Cochran, brother of Delaware governor John P. Cochran, original photograph of Sally Hardcastle (see F137). Cochran Family 6 F143 Portraits, c. 1850-1910 Studios include J. Paul Brown, M. & W. Garrett, both of Wilmington, DE, Gutekunst, Philadelphia; Dana, New York, NY. F144 Thomas and Margaret Hardcastle Cochran, c. 1860-1910 Contains 1 tintype; Dana “carbonette”; Carl, Washington, DC; two Cummings. F145 Cochran Sisters, (Estelle, Oka, Corinne), c. 1880s F146 Portraits, c. 1890 Eight items, including four cyanotypes. F147 Cochran, Hardcastle, Pearson family gathering, c. 1900 Eight items. Family members gathered on what is probably the back porch of the Cochran family home in Middletown, DE. One photo shows a domestic servant. F148 Extended Family Portraits and Snapshots, c. 1880s-1940s F149 Framed Portrait, undated Labeled on back, Cummings Studio, Wilmington, DE. F150 Home on Crawford Street, Middletown, 1908 F151 Middletown Scenes, 1909-1914 Contains photographs of blizzard of 1909-1910; children playing; students at Middletown Public School, 1914. F152 Warren Family Home, c. 1910 Snapshots of interiors, domestic servants, pets. F153 Matlack, Outcalt, Cook Family Members, undated F154 Negatives, undated, poor condition F155 Miscellaneous Contains portraits and snapshots of unidentified people; several studio portraits including one signed “Wright & Cook” Philadelphia. 7 Oversize Box (.3 linear ft.) Oversize documents and photos removed from Boxes 1-6. OS1 F156 Titanic, 1912 F157 Paris-Soir, 1938 F158 Engagement and Wedding of Pearson and Isabella Turner, 1941 F159 World War II F160 Pearson appointment as Judge Rodney’s Successor, 1946 F161 Estelle Cochran Pearson Obituaries, 1947 F162 Pearson Resignation from Judiciary, 1949 OS2 Oversize Mss Box Oversize material removed from Boxes 1-6.
Last modified: 01/19/11