Special Collections Department
Teresa Vielé Scrapbooks
Manuscript Collection Number: 288
Accessioned: Gift of the Moyerman family, 1972
Extent: Two volumes.
Content: Two scrapbooks containing letters, newspaper clippings, legal documents, invitations,
announcements, calling cards, fern specimens and other items.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: September 1993 by Kelly Baum.
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
In June 1871, Teresa Vielé won custody of her two youngest children only to have that court order postponed until October. On October 2, 1871, the divorce trial resumed but soon afterwards the Vielés withdrew their mutual charges and the children were divided among them.
Mrs. Vielé seems to have been very involved socially, as were many 19th century, upper-middle class women. She was a member of the American Ladies Aid Association for Cuban Women and Children which raised money and supplies for victims of the Cuban revolution. As a participant in the Southern Relief Association, Teresa Vielé was a member of the Committee on Public Places of Amusement. She also apparently had political interest in Mr. George Francis Train, a candidate in the 1872 presidential election. George Train was a member of the Train Ligue which campaigned on the promise of an equal distribution of political power for all women, men, and ethnicities and supported women's suffrage.
Perhaps documentation of her divorce drama appealed to Mrs. Vielé's literary instincts. Hers was a creative family. She had authored Following the drum: a glimpse of frontier life (1858), based on her experiences as a military spouse during her husband's tour in the American Southwest and fighting in the Mexican War. The General (1825-1902) published Hand-book for active service; containing practical instructions in campaign duties (1861). Their youngest son, Egbert Jr., accompanied his mother to France after the divorce and later changed his name to Francis Vielé-Griffin (1864-1937), gaining renown as a French symbolist poet. Older son Herman Knickerbocker Vielé (1856-1908) achieved fame as a novelist, playwright, and artist in New York, and was best known for Last of the Knickerbockers a Comedy Romance (1901). Teresa Vielé died in Paris in 1906 and was buried in Père-Lachaise Cemetery.
Sources:Viele, Teresa Griffin. Following the drum : a glimpse of frontier life. Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, 1984.
Biographical information also derived from material in the collection.
Scope and Content Note
The Vielé scrapbooks provide insight into the social conventions of 19th century upper-middle class women, such as writing letters and calling on friends or involving oneself in charities. The material also documents public reaction to divorce and issues of child custody, notably in a case where the woman sought separation as well as the husband.
1 Volume I. General dates July 1870-October 1870.
Volume II. General dates May 1871-October 1871.
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