Vaux Family papers
Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Vaux family was deeply involved with Quaker and Native American affairs throughout much of the 19th and early 20th centuries. George Vaux, Sr. was involved in Quaker activity through the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and other Quaker meetings throughout the world, including Antigua and London. Both George Vaux, Jr. and Mary Morris Vaux Walcott, his sister, served as commissioners for the U.S. Board of Indian Commissioners. The United States Congress established this organization as a part of the Department of the Interior in 1869 to watch over federal policies regarding Native Americans and to make certain that treaty obligations were fulfilled, especially in reference to supply deliveries. An overarching goal of the U.S. Board of Indian Commissioners involved preparing the Native American population for assimilation into mainstream society. George Vaux, III worked as the treasurer of the Indian Committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
George Vaux, Sr. (also known as George Vaux VIII (1832-1915)), served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Swatara Coal Company. He served for one year as President of Friends Historical Society, and also as an unofficial correspondent for the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and London Yearly Meeting. George Vaux, Sr. married Sarah H. Morris; their children were George Vaux, Jr., (also known as George Vaux IX), and Mary Morris Vaux Walcott.
George Vaux, Jr. (1863-1927) was born on December 18, 1863, and obtained his education from Haverford College. Graduating in 1884, he received his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, he worked as a lawyer for P. Pemberton Morris, focusing much of his interest on the areas of prison reform and penology. He served as an inspector on the board of the Eastern Penitentiary. He was also involved in the House of Refuge in Philadelphia which became Sleighton Farms when it was relocated to Glen Mills in 1910. In 1906, he was appointed by Theodore Roosevelt to serve on the Board of Indian Commissioners. He became the Commission's chairman in 1913, and held the post until his death in 1927. He also served as a board member of the Academy of Natural Sciences from 1894 until his death. In addition to his interests in prison reform and Native American issues, George Vaux, Jr. also studied mineralogy and glacial activities. His interests in Friends' education spurred his involvement in the Friends' Select School; also Westtown School, Haverford College, and the establishment of what is now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. On April 2, 1907, George Vaux, Jr. married Mary Walsh James. They had two sons. George Vaux, Jr. died on October 24, 1927 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, at the age of 64.
Mary Morris Vaux Walcott (1860-1940) was born on July 31, 1860. She was educated at the Friends Select School of Philadelphia. In 1914, she married Charles Doolittle Walcott, an invertebrate paleontologist who discovered fossils in Burgess Shale in British Columbia, and served as the secretary of the Smithsonian Institute from 1907 to 1927. In 1927, both her brother, George Vaux, Jr., and her husband died. Following her brother's death, Mary M.V. Walcott was appointed to the Board of Indian Commissioners, serving until 1932. Mary Walcott was an artist and naturalist known for her watercolor paintings of wildflowers. An avid mountain climber, in 1900 she was the first woman to climb Mt. Stephens in British Columbia. She also joined the Society of Woman Geographers, and was elected president in 1933. She died on August 22, 1940, in New Brunswick, Canada, at the age of 80.
George Vaux III, also known as George Vaux X, (1909-1996) was a 1930 graduate of Haverford College. He was Treasurer of the Indian Committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and Chairman of the Friends Historical Commission. He was also involved in the preservation of Quaker buildings and landmarks across the Philadelphia region.
This Vaux Family papers are comprised of correspondence, reports, photographs, and administrative records primarily related to Native American affairs and Quaker meetings. The collection is divided into four series: "George Vaux, Sr.;" "George Vaux, Jr.: United States Board of Indian Commissioners;" "Mary Morris Vaux Walcott: United States Board of Indian Commissioners;" and "George Vaux III."
The "George Vaux, Sr." series includes many of his collected records related to Quaker meetings and history. Spanning from 1708 to 1910, this series includes Quaker meeting minutes from places such as Antigua, London, and Philadelphia. Also included are the Quaker publications The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Discipline and Thomas Parker's The Book of Discipline. A 1782 land title has been included with this series, and although the document is not directly related to him, George Sr. was greatly interested in collecting material related to Quakerism in Philadelphia. Therefore, it was kept within this series.
The "George Vaux Jr.: United States Board of Indian Commissioners" series includes correspondence and administrative, governmental, and photographic records related to his role as Commissioner in Indian Affairs within the Department of the Interior. His "Administrative Materials" include surveys of Native Americans, which hold information regarding education, land ownership, funding, health, population, Advisory Council Meeting Minutes, maps, and official rosters from 1906 to 1927. The "Reports" include Department of the Interior Reports, Acts of Congress, Appropriation Bills, and reports pertaining to tribes of North and South Dakota. George Jr.'s "Correspondence" contains letters to and from the Department of the Interior officials and indigenous nations from 1910 to 1927. It should be noted that within the "Mary Vaux Walcott: United States Board of Indian Commissions" series are additional letters to George Vaux, Jr. from the time when he served as Chairman of the board, that Mary herself collected. His "Photographs" include a photo album from a trip taken to Native American reservations in the Southwest in 1917 and 1918, and two other unidentified photographs of George Jr. with indigenous nations. Also of note in this series is George Jr.'s appointment as a Commissioner to the United States Board of Indian Commissioners signed by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.
"Mary Vaux Walcott: United States Board of Indian Commissions" is the third series in the collection, ranging in date from 1916 to 1932. Within this series are three sub-series which include "Administrative Materials," "Collected Letters," and "Miscellaneous." The first sub-series "Administrative Materials" is comprised of the following: a 1932 annual report; information on the 1916 Lake Mohonk Conference on the Indian and other Dependent Peoples; and other assorted documents, including reports, handbooks, correspondence, pamphlets, newsletters, clippings and materials related to the United States Board of Indian Commissions. Within "Collected Letters," researchers will find letters from Board members F.H. Abbott, Edward Ayer (Commissioner of the Board), Franklin H. Lane, and William H. Ketchum. These letters are largely written to George Vaux, Jr. at the time when he served as Chairman of the board. "Miscellaneous" consists of stationery collected by Mary Vaux Walcott, as well as a title from September 15th, 1917, to property on Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia.
The final series in the collection is the "George Vaux III" series. Within this series are the following three sub-series: "Friends Indian Committee Materials," "Quaker Materials," and "Collected Materials." Researchers will find within the first sub-series, "Friends Indian Committee Materials," records from 1938 through the late 1960s. Included are deposits and contributions from 1938; information on Indian Committee Salary and Wage Taxes for 1966; and documents pertaining to the financial holdings of the committee during the 1960s. The sub-series "Quaker Materials," consists of records George Vaux III collected regarding the preservation of Quaker buildings and landmarks in Philadelphia, Quaker Missions in the Virgin Islands, and the Friends World Committee Conference. Completing this series is "Collected Material" which dates from 1897 through 1995. Included in this sub-series are documents related to the 12th Street Meeting House (1897-1973), Thomas O. Hiscott Writings and Manuscripts, as well as a postage stamp collection.
This collection may be of special interest to researchers who are studying both the history and recent state of affairs of Native Americans in the United States. Of note in the collection are original Department of Interior documents, first hand written accounts, and letters. Also, of great note are surveys, which provide valuable information from the early 1920s regarding the health, education, population, and land ownership of Native Americans, as well as maps and photographs.
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources's "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.
This collection was minimally processed in 2009-2011, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.
Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 23 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 2-3 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, replace acidic folders or complete any preservation work.
Processed by Leslie O'Neill and Forrest Wright; completed December, 2009.
- Vaux, George, III, 1909-1996
- Vaux, George, Jr., 1863-1927
- Walcott, Mary Vaux, 1860-1940
- Vaux, George, 1832-1915
- American Friends Service Committee
- Friends Historical Association
- Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Indian Committee
- United States. Board of Indian Commissioners
- Quaker women
- Indians of North America
- Indians of North America -- Government relations
- Society of Friends
- Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Leslie O'Neill and Forrest Wright
- Finding Aid Date
- December, 2009
- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).
33 Photographs taken in Hominy, Pawhuska, and Gray Horse, Oklahoma, during June, 1916.
After the powwow at Hominy; On the road to Hominy; The Maxwell in the mud on the road to Hominy; McDowell hauling the Vim out of a mud hole on the road to Hominy; The Vim being switched out for a Ford, near Gray Horse; Chief A-she-ge-he's house, Hominy; Chief A-she-ge-he's daughter and her baby, Hominy; Chief A-she-ge-he and Malcolm McDowell, Hominy; Chief A-she-ge-he et al.
Girls' dormitory, Pawhuska School; The Vaux; Main Street in Pawhuska; Hour when feast was held, Pawhuska; Agency building, Pawhuska; Street in Pawhuska; Peyote church at Fred Lookout's near Pawhuska; Fred Lookout's house near Pawhuska: Fred Lookout Jr., Malcolm McDowell, Julie Pryor Lookout, Fred Lookout; Fred Lookout Jr., Malcolm McDowell, Juliet Pryor Lookout, Fred Lookout; A white man's farmhouse adjoining Indian Village, Pawhuska; At the feast, Pawhuska; Men talking after the feast, Pawhuska; Cutting up beef for the feast, Pawhuska; John Bird and Malcolm McDowell; Mac and the Fairies; Pawhuska from the Indian School; Bacon Rind, et al.; John Logan; Bacon Rind's cottage near Pawhuska: Arthur B., Malcolm McDowell, J. George Wright, Miss Wright, Mrs. Bacon Rind; Old Bare Legs; Old Agency building, Pawhuska; At the feast, Pawhuska; Triangle building, Pawhuska; Schoolhouse boys' dormitory, Pawhuska Indian School
Albuquerque, NM, February 22-26, 1917. 5 photos.
Isleta, NM, February 26, 1917. 11 photos: homes, schoolhouse, church, Maria Delores Zuni Abeita (wife of Pablo Abeita).
San Felipe, NM, February 23, 1917. 3 photos: homes, church.
Santo Domingo, NM, February 23, 1917. 5 photos: church, town, the Estufa.
Laguna, NM, February 27-March 1, 1917. 16 photos: houses; "Rock groove worn by girls' feet going to the Spring"; church; council house; Frank Paisano, Chief Toribio, Chief Charlie Kie; Superintendent Lonergan, Father Schuster; Charles Kie and Bessie Sarracino Kie.
Paguale, NM, February 27, 1917. 1 photo.
Acoma, NM, February 28, 1917. 19 photos: Locomotive Rock, Enchanted Mesa, "Rocky Mountain Canaries", The Rock of Acoma, the Water Hole, cliffs, the Defile, church and cloisters, the town as seen from the belltower.
Petrified Forest, AZ, March 2, 1917. 11 photos: natural bridge, painted desert.
Grand Canyon, AZ, March 4-5, 1917. 20 photos: Major Powell Monument, Hermit Trail, Wapiole Spring, mules, Colorado River, "On the Plateau".
The Ojai, CA, March 17, 1917. 3 photos: Felingarten, picnic.
Camulos Ranch, Santa Barbara, CA, March 17, 1917. 2 photos.
Green River, WY, April 6, 1918. 3 photos.
Portland, OR, April 9-10, 1918. 5 photos: bridges, "at Chemawa", "The Boys".
Newbury, OR, April 11, 1918. 3 photos: Friends "Church"; Pacific College; J.H. Bartlett and L. Pennington.
Columbia River, OR, April 9-10, 1918. 6 photos: "Ship Knees", Multnomah Falls, Horsetail Falls.
Cushman School, OR, April 10, 1918. 1 photo.
Cushman School, Tacoma, WA, April 12, 1918. 4 photos.
St. George's School, WA, April 13, 1918. 5 photos: The Boys, The Girls, The Sisters, school buildings.
Nisqually, WA, April 14, 1918. 5 photos: Catholic church, Presbyterian church, "Comrades".
Seattle, WA, April 16, 1918. 1 photo.
Tulalip, WA, April 17-18, 1918. 11 photos: William Shelton, schoolhouse, totem poles, large stump, superintendent's house and the hospital.
Lummi, WA, April 18, 1918. 3 photos: schoolhouse, "waiting for the council".
Vancouver, BC, Canada, April 22, 1918. 3 photos.
"On the C.P.R." April 23-24, 1918. 5 photos: railroad.
Banff, Alberta, Canada, April 24, 1918. 10 photos: mountain goats, buffalo.
No caption. Man with two women and eleven children of various ages.
Folder 1: Uncaptioned photographs. Quarry or Granary, Oil Rigs, Trains, Scenery, Various images of people and houses. Unknown locations; dates unknown. 65 photos. Postcard with picture of Native American children, written by Mabelle Spencer to Mrs. Vaux, 1932.
Folder 2: Uncaptioned photographs. Native Americans and Reservations, a Town, Grass Structures, Horse Race. Unknown locations; dates unknown. 40 photos.
Folder 3: Wisconsin and Michigan: La Pointe and Madeline Island, WI; Odanah, WI; Birch, WI; The Hayward School, WI. Baraga, MI; Lac du Flambeau, WI; Reserve, WI; Post, WI; Red Cliff Reservation, WI. 62 photos. Mohonk, NY: 1 photo.
Folder 4: Southwest. Duplicates from photo album (see Box 15). 19 photos.
These materials arrived at Haverford bundled into envelopes and folders. Due to minimal processing time constraints, these bundles were not sorted, and have been retained in their entirety to preserve original order.