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William Curtis Bok and Nellie Lee Holt Bok papers


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 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

Curtis Bok, born in 1897 as William Curtis, was Edward and Mary Louise Curtis Bok’s oldest son. He attended Haverford School, the Chestnut Hill Academy, and The Hill School, a preparatory school in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. When graduated from The Hill School in 1915, he moved to Massachusetts and began studying at Williams College. He left school around 1917 to join the Navy when the United States entered World War I. By the age of 21, he had achieved the rank of lieutenant. At the end of the war, Curtis returned to Philadelphia to ponder his future. He turned down the opportunity to work in his father’s publishing company, and instead decided to study law at the University of Virginia.

When he returned to Philadelphia, Curtis worked for a short time as the assistant district attorney of Philadelphia County. He took on cases that were deemed “hopeless,” and took a special interest in the plight of prisoners. He became an Eastern State Penitentiary trustee, and even volunteered to serve a term in prison so he could experience first-hand life behind bars.

Curtis was appointed to the city's Orphans Court in 1935, then to the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. While serving locally, he oversaw what became his most famous case, Commonwealth v. Gordon, on obscenity and books. He ruled that if a controversial work had any social or redeeming values, it was not obscene. His decision still stands on the books today. He was later elected, as a Democrat, to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1958.

In 1924, Curtis married Margaret Adams Plummer; together they had a daughter, Margaret Welmeot, and two sons, Benjamin and Derek. The couple divorced in the early 1930s. He married Nellie Lee Holt, a religious educator from Nebraska in 1934, and the couple had two children, Rachael and Enid. Curtis maintained lifelong interests in music, sailing, and writing. His writing abilities and legal knowledge shined in four books--- The Backbone of the Herring; I, Too, Nicodemus; Star Wormwood; and a novel, Maria---as well as his "Judge Ulen" that he wrote for the law magazine The Shingle. He was deeply involved with the Curtis Institute of Music and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Curtis also wrote articles sailing and was a member of the United States Power Squadron, a non-profit organization that promotes boating safety and education. Curtis Bok died in 1962.

Nellie Lee Holt was born in Falls City, Nebraska, to William Robert Holt and Eve Lezetta [Giannini] Holt on February 1, 1901. The Holts were known regionally for their award-winning Berkshire hogs. Nellie Lee graduated from high school in 1917 and attended St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, where she studied piano at the school’s Conservatory of the Music. She went on to obtain a master's degree from the University of Nebraska. Her first career was as a teacher in the religious education department at Stephen’s College, Columbia, Missouri. She worked at the college from 1925 to 1934, and early on during her tenure, at the behest of the college's president, she went on a tour of Europe, Russia, the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia to meet various leaders in education and religion. While in India, she stayed in two ashrams (religious settlements) with Mohandas Gandhi, whom she interviewed.

After marrying in 1934 marriage Nellie Lee and Curtis Bok moved to Philadelphia. Nellie Lee's first foray into public service began in 1935 when she was appointed to serve on the Philadelphia County Board of Mothers' Assistance, Old Age Pension and Relief of the Blind. She resigned in 1937, the same year their first child was born. In the 1940s, she and Curtis joined the Society of Friends. Among Nellie Lee's many interests were the humanities, the education of women, music therapy, mental health reform, and, like Curtis, the treatment of prisoners. She joined numerous service organizations and helped organize the Philadelphia Fellowship Commission. In 1956, she was appointed president of The American Foundation, Inc., which was set up by Curtis's father Edward Bok. (Curtis served as secretary of the organization up to his death.) The foundation promoted educational programs for and relating to prisoners. Additionally, it supported the Mountain Lake Sanctuary in Lake Wales, Florida, which was also founded by Edward Bok. Nellie Lee's dedication to the community also extended to service with the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Award, the Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Settlement School of Music, and the National Council of Crime and Delinquency, among other organizations.

Curtis and Nellie Lee lived in several locations throughout the region, including the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, and Radnor, Pennsylvania. Later in life, Nellie Lee moved to an apartment in Center City, Philadelphia. She died in 1984.

The William Curtis Bok and Nellie Lee Holt Bok papers include sixty-nine boxes and four volumes and document the histories of the Boks and their respective families. The collection is arranged into four series, and the first two series are broken down further into subseries. Within each series or subseries, papers are arranged in rough chronological order. Almost all the papers have been re-housed into new folders, however, due to time constraints, old file folders that were in good shape were retained. Original folder titles were transferred to new folders whenever possible. The collection spons the period up to the 1990s, though Curtis died in 1962 and Nellie Lee died in 1984. Papers dating from after 1984 consist of a file from one of Nellie Lee's assistants, Ester Van Sant, and a few other items that were added to the collection by family members. Overwhelmingly, the collection is made up of correspondence, but there are also genealogical records, financial papers, school records, newspaper clippings, photographs, book manuscripts, speeches, printed material, date books and calendars, and miscellaneous ephemera.

The first series of twenty-two boxes is devoted to Curtis Bok. His papers are arranged into two subseries: Personal and Professional. These materials present a fairly complete picture of Curtis's life from his earliest days in school to his final days as a judge on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Highlights in the Personal subseries include a siginificant run of letters he wrote to his parents while in various schools, from the Haverford Academy to the University of Virginia. There are also outgoing letters and a diary he kept while serving in the U. S. Navy. Additional personal correspondence includes letters he wrote to Nellie Lee before and after their 1934 marriage. Items of interest in the Professional subseries include papers on Curtis's landmark obscenity case of the 1950s; various other opinions, decisions, and notes on court cases; and papers on his books The Backbone of the Herring; I, Too, Nicodemus; Star Wormwood; and Maria.

The second series is comprised of forty-seven boxes that contain documents relating to the life and work of Nellie Lee Holt Bok. The material has been divided into five subseries: Early education, Stephen's College, and world tour; Correspondence; Personal; Organizations and interests; and Calendars, dayplanners, and notebooks. These papers date from her days as a religious educator at Stephen's College in the 1920s and 1930s, to her role as wife and mother, to her stint as president of Edward Bok's The American Foundation, Inc. and service with many other civic organizations from the 1950s onward. Partiocularly notable are papers related to her world tour in the first subseries. Between 1926 and 1927, she was charged by the president of Stephen's College to interview various educational leaders around the world, including Count Hermann Keyserling in Germany, founder of the School of Wisdom, and Mohandas K. Gandhi in India. Her interview with Gandhi was later published and she recalled her adventures in a manuscript she titled "The Neighborhood."

The third series contains the oldest material in the collection and is comprised of letters, family records, account books and notebooks, and clippings primarily from Nellie Lee's immediate family. There are files of papers from Nellie Lee's parents, William R. and Eva (Giannini) Holt, and various members of the Giannini family. Additionally, there are genealogical records on the Giannini, Holt, Speer, and Seymour families; clippings on the Holt family; daily journals of Laura Speer and Eva Holt; some family correspondence; and mixed family papers. There are also a few files of papers related to the Bok family and its genealogy.

The fourth and final series ( Oversized papers and printed material) consists of large family photographs and prints, sample of original art collected by the family, and a number of publications and unsorted clippings. Comprising the publications are two boxes of Mid-Week Pictorials from 1918 to 1919 and a variety of British magazines commemorating the 1937 coronation of King George VI.

I. Curtis Bok, 1905-1962; 22 boxes, 5 volumes

a. Personal, 1905-1964; 13 boxes, 5 volumes

b. Professional, 1921-1962; 9 boxes

II. Nellie Lee Holt Bok, 1897-1991; 38 boxes, 23 volumes

a. Early education, Stephens College, and World Tour, circa 1906-1991; 6 boxes, 4 volumes

b. Correspondence, 1917-1984; 12 boxes

c. Personal, circa 1900-1986; 10 boxes, 11 volumes

d. Organizations and interests, 1897-1984; 4 boxes

e. Calenders, dayplanners, and notebooks, 1920-1984; 6 boxes, 8 volumes

III. Holt, Giannini, and related families, 1836-1991; 4 boxes, 8 volumes

IV. Oversized papers and printed materials, 1856-circa 1980; 6 boxes

Gift of Dr. Enid Curtis Bok Okun, Rachael Bok Goldman, and Derek Bok, 2005.

Accession number 2005.019.

Approximately forty volumes and a number of rolled items from this collection are undergoing conservation treatments and are unavailable. Once conservation work is completed, the volumes will be returned to the collection and the finding aid will be updated.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Cary Majewicz.
Finding Aid Date
; 2011.
Processing made possible by a generous donation from Dr. Enid Curtis Bok Okun.
Access Restrictions

Some materials in the collection have been restricted due to their senstitive nature. These include: Curtis Bok mixed legal and financial papers (Box 11), Curtis Bok Estate tax return (Box 43, folder 11), and a medical notebook (Box 57, Folder 8). Please see the itemized box and folder list below for information on when these papers will be made available.

Collection Inventory

Scope and Contents note

This subseries contains a mix of papers documenting Curtis's personal relationships and interests. Boxes 1-8 contain Curtis's outgoing letters to his parents while in school, the U. S. Navy, and college, as well as to Nellie Lee from before and after their marriage. (Nellie Lee's corresponding letters to Curtis are in Boxes 35-37.) Following this are other correspondence files, including those on the American Foundation (Box 9, Folder 7), environmentalist Rachel Carson (Box 9, Folders 9-10), and the Curtis Publishing Company (Box 10, Folder 2). Beyond the correspondence, there is also material on the coronation ceremony of England's King George VI (Curtis served on the American delegation that was sent to the event), numerous papers on sailing (Box 13, Folders 1-6), and other records such as Curtis's passports, will, and obituaries (Box 13, Folders 8-12). Note that the financial and legal papers in Box 11 are closed to researchers until 2037. Please see the box and folder list below for more information.

Letters to parents from Haverford School, Chestnut Hill Academy, and summer camps, (1905-1910, undated).
Box 1 Folder 1
Haverford School and Chestnut Hill Academy miscellaneous letters and writings, (1907, 1908, undated).
Box 1 Folder 2
Hill School - letters to parents and report cards, (1911-1915, undated).
Box 1 Folder 3-6
Hill School form letters, mailings, and miscellaneous, (1910-1915).
Box 1 Folder 7
Hill School grade reports, (1915, undated).
Box 1 Folder 8
The Hill School News, (November 1914; January, May 1915) .
Box 2 Folder 2
The Hill Record, (November 1914-April 1915).
Box 2 Folder 2
Hill School - miscellaneous writing - "The Volunteer", (circa 1915).
Box 2 Folder 3
Handmade calender, (1915).
Box 2 Folder 4
Williams College - letters to parents, (1915-1916).
Box 2 Folder 5-6
Williams College - letters to parents, (1917, undated).
Box 3 Folder 1-2
Williams College - miscellaneous, (1916, 1917).
Box 3 Folder 3
U. S. Navy - letters to parents, (October 1917-June 1919).
Box 4 Folder 1-7
University of Virginia - letters to parents, (September 1919-May 1921).
Box 5 Folder 1-5
Letters to parents, (1922, 1924).
Box 5 Folder 6
Letters to Nellie Lee Holt, (January-July 1934).
Box 6 Folder 1-6
Letters to Nellie Lee Holt, (August 1934-November 1934, undated).
Box 7 Folder 1-7
Letters to Nellie Lee Holt Bok, (1935-1936, 1938-1940, 1942-1944, undated).
Box 8 Folder 1-2
Letters to William and Eva Holt, (1934-1937, 1939-1962, undated).
Box 8 Folder 3-6
Correspondence, (1914-1962).
Box 9 Folder 1-4
Mrs. Olga Samaroff Stowkowski, (1930-1934).
Box 9 Folder 5
Incoming letters from friends in Philadelphia on marriage, (1934).
Box 9 Folder 6
American Foundation, (1953-1958).
Box 9 Folder 7
Sweet Briar College, (1956-1957, 1959).
Box 9 Folder 8
Rachel Carson - outgoing correspondence, (1955-1958, undated).
Box 9 Folder 9
Rachel Carson - incoming correspondence, articles, clippings, (1956, 1962, 1964, bulk 1956).
Box 9 Folder 10
Curtis Publishing Company, (1960).
Box 10 Folder 1
Correspondence with Benjamin Bok, (1960).
Box 10 Folder 2
Swarthmore College honorary degree, (1960).
Box 10 Folder 3
Society of Friends, (undated).
Box 10 Folder 4
Miscellaneous correspondence, (1935, 1959-1961).
Box 10 Folder 5
War diary, (1917).
Box 10 Folder 6-8
"Coronation of King George VI", (circa 1937).
Box 10 Folder 9
Mixed legal and financial papers, (1926-1957).
Box 11 Folder 1-5
The Forum magazine, (June 1940).
Box 12 Folder 1
Curtis Publishing Company clippings, (circa 1947-circa 1969).
Box 12 Folder 2
Photographs, (circa 1930-circa 1960).
Box 12 Folder 3
Invitation to Kennedy/Johnson inauguration, (1961).
Box 12 Folder 4
Miscellaneous writings, speeches, memorials, (1939-1962).
Box 12 Folder 5
Mixed correspondence and miscellaneous, (1933-1962).
Box 12 Folder 6
Miscellaneous from folder labeled "memorabilia", (1935-1962).
Box 12 Folder 7
Miscellaneous, (circa 1936-1983).
Box 12 Folder 8
United States Power Squadron, (1949, 1954).
Box 13 Folder 1
Passage to England, (1954).
Box 13 Folder 2
Newport-Santander Race, (1957).
Box 13 Folder 3
Newport Race to Spain, (1957).
Box 13 Folder 4
Sailing, (1957-1959, undated).
Box 13 Folder 5
"Motor Boating," The Yachtsmen's Magazine, (1957).
Box 13 Folder 6
"Important papers", (1920-1959).
Box 13 Folder 7
Passports, (1946-1957).
Box 13 Folder 8
Personal calender, (1950).
Box 13 Folder 9
Will, (7 February 1961).
Box 13 Folder 10
Biographical information, (1962, undated).
Box 13 Folder 11
Tributes and obituaries, (1962-1964).
Box 13 Folder 12
Collection of newspapers from Coronation Day, 1936.
Volume 1
"Notes of the Coronation", 1936.
Volume 2
The Story of the Coronation by Randolph S. Churchill, 1953.
Volume 3
The Standard Prayer Book, 1949.
Volume 4
Curtis Bok address book, undated.
Volume 5
Scope and Contents note

The Professional subseries is made up primarily of items concerning Curtis's judicial work and his books. Curtis authored four books: The Backbone of the Herring; I, Too, Nicodemus; Star Wormwood; and Maria (published the year of his death). Related papers include correspondence, reviews, clippings, manuscript pages, and notes (Boxes 17-19). There are two boxes of articles on and by Curtis and transcripts of speeches dating from the 1930s to the 1960s (Boxes 19-20). Curtis's writing abilities are further highlighted in his "Judge Ulen" articles that were published in the law magazine The Shingle. Box 22 contains a run of the The Shingle from 1939 to 1941, with a few single issues dating from 1942 to 1961, while Box 21, Folder 1 contains some drafts of these same articles. Other materials in this subseries include notes, opinions, and decisions pertaining to several court cases Curtis oversaw; papers and clippings from his campaigns for district attorney, the Philadelphia Superior Court, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court; and items from Curtis's time on the City Planning Committee.

Court decisions as attorney, (1921, 1924).
Box 14 Folder 1
Court of Common Pleas decisions, (1937, 1939).
Box 14 Folder 2
Court opinions, (1939, 1947, 1952, undated).
Box 14 Folder 3
Fitzgerald v. City of Philadelphia (loyalty oath case) - opinion and associated research, (1948, 1952-1953).
Box 14 Folder 4
Commonwealth v. Gordon (obscene books case) - opinion, (1949).
Box 14 Folder 5
Commonwealth v. Gordon (obscene books case) - notes and related opinions, (1950-1953).
Box 14 Folder 6
Commonwealth v. Gordon (obscene books case) - correspondence, (1948-1953).
Box 14 Folder 7
Commonwealth v. Gordon (obscene books case) - clippings, (1952).
Box 14 Folder 8
Famous judicial opinions, (1949-1960).
Box 14 Folder 9
Court of Quarter Session opinion, re: Judge Carroll, (1934, 1935).
Box 15 Folder 1
District attorney campaign - papers and clippings, (1935).
Box 15 Folder 2
Campaign for Superior Court - letters, clippings, speeches, and ephemera, (1943).
Box 15 Folder 3
Campaign for Pennsylvania Supreme Court - correspondence, clippings, returns, photographs, and ephemera, (1958-1959).
Box 15 Folder 4-8
Congratulatory letters on appointment to ambassador of Russia, (1936).
Box 16 Folder 1
Lady Desborough letters, (1937, 1938).
Box 16 Folder 2
Earl Warren and J. Edgar Hoover letters, (1939).
Box 16 Folder 3
University of Virginia - Dean Ribble, (1947, 1957).
Box 16 Folder 4
Rudolf Sheeler (prisoner), (1948-1951).
Box 16 Folder 5
Morris, Ernst, et al., (1957).
Box 16 Folder 6
Letters from and regarding prisoners, (1951, 1952, 1958, 1959).
Box 16 Folder 7
Robert Heineman (prisoner), (1951-1957).
Box 16 Folder 8
Philbrick - Senator McCarthy, et al., (1953).
Box 16 Folder 9
Miscellaneous correspondence, (1938-1942, 1961).
Box 16 Folder 10
The Backbone of the Herring - incoming thank you and congratulatory letters, (1941-1943, undated).
Box 17 Folder 1-2
The Backbone of the Herring - clippings and reviews, (1941-1942).
Box 17 Folder 3-4
I, Too, Nicodemus - incoming thank you and congratulatory letters, (1946-1948, undated, bulk 1946-1947).
Box 17 Folder 5
I, Too, Nicodemus - reviews and clippings, (1946-1947).
Box 17 Folder 6-7
I, Too, Nicodemus - chapter 10 manuscript (?), (undated).
Box 17 Folder 8
Star Wormwood - manuscript and notes, correspondence, reviews, and miscellaneous, (1958-1961, undated).
Box 18 Folder 1-6
Star Wormwood - clippings and letters from Canadian lawyers, (1959).
Box 19 Folder 1-2
"Maria Sullivan - old pages", (undated).
Box 19 Folder 3
Articles - published, (1935-1960).
Box 19 Folder 4
Articles - drafts or unpublished, (1943-1957, undated).
Box 19 Folder 5
Philadelphia magazine - article on Curtis Bok and obscenity, (October 1978).
Box 19 Folder 6
Speeches - New Deal lectures, (circa 1935).
Box 19 Folder 7
Speeches - Reform Congragation Kenseth Israel, (1937).
Box 19 Folder 8
Speeches - Philadelphia Award, (1947).
Box 19 Folder 9
Speeches - Delaware River Power Squadron, (1950-1952).
Box 19 Folder 10
Speeches - American Book Publishers Council, (1953).
Box 19 Folder 11
Speeches - National Book Award, (1954).
Box 19 Folder 12
Speeches - Roscoe Pound lectures, (1955).
Box 20 Folder 1
Speeches - University of Virginia lectures, (1957).
Box 20 Folder 2
Speeches - Curtis Institute of Music commencement, (1958).
Box 20 Folder 3
Speeches - Juristic Society, (1959).
Box 20 Folder 4
Speeches - Radcliffe commencement, (1960).
Box 20 Folder 5
Speeches - remarks for Alexander Hillsberg, (1961).
Box 20 Folder 6
Speeches, (1936-1960, undated).
Box 20 Folder 7-9
"Judge Ulen" articles (drafts), (1939-1945).
Box 21 Folder 1
Law articles, (1954, undated).
Box 21 Folder 2
Problems in Criminal Law, 1935 (microfilm copy), (1983).
Box 21 Folder 3
Cty Planning Committee - "Report of the Non-Partisan Citizens Committee", (1 April 1935).
Box 21 Folder 4
City Planning Committee - copy of report and related correspondence and clippings, (1935).
Box 21 Folder 5
Review of his books, (1941-1959).
Box 21 Folder 6
Civic service, (1943-1956).
Box 21 Folder 7
Papers from school children, (1946, 1950, undated).
Box 21 Folder 8
"Court is in Session" - cases for television show, (1949, 1950, undated).
Box 21 Folder 9
Miscellaneous, (1940-1962, undated).
Box 21 Folder 10
Issues of The Shingle, (1939-1941, February 1942, March 1948, March 1950, April 1958, March 1959, April 1961).
Box 22
The Legal Club of Philadelphia booklet, (1 September 1961).
Box 22
United States Board of Tax Appeals, Docket No. 66747; Girard Trust Company, et al., Executors, Estate of Edward Bok v. Commissioner of the Internal Revenue, (1936).
Box 22

Scope and Contents note

These materials document Nellie Lee's early life before her marriage to Curtis Bok in 1934. As the subseries name implies, there are three groups of papers. The first (Box 23) is made up of items from Nellie Lee's high school and college days that include writings, reports cards, a personal journal, a copy of her thesis on author Gilbert K. Chesterton, and notes on a trip to London she took in 1925. The next group (Boxes 23-25) highlights her tenure as a religious educator at Stephen's College in Columbia, Missouri. While there she helped further the school's new bible-based "Burrell Class" that was founded in 1921. Some of her lectures from the class are in Box 24, Folders 1-2. Additionally, she published articles in the Burrell Class's newsletter, The Grail (Box 25), and the school's general newsletter, Stephen's College Bulletin (Box 23, Folder 9). Making up the rest of the subseries are items related to her world tour of 1926 to 1927. Charged by the president of Stephen's College, Nellie Lee, accompanyied by her mother, set off to interview a number of educational and religious leaders across the world. During her eight-month-long tour that started in London and concluded in Japan, she visited over a dozen countries in Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Southeast Asia. Most notable among her interviews was that of Mohandas Gandhi. She spent almost two months in India and talked with Gandhi on several occasions. Her interview with him was later published in several outlets, including the New York Times. Among the papers related to this trip (Boxes 26-27) are the addresses of various locales she visits, correspondence, clippings, drafts of her article on Gandhi, a travel journal (Volume 4), and three bound volumes (1-3) containing her recollections of the entire journey entitled "The Neighborhood."

High School diploma, school and college report cards, (circa 1906-1922).
Box 23 Folder 1
Miscellaneous manuscripts, (circa 1912-1933).
Box 23 Folder 2-4
Thesis - "Gilbert K. Chesterton, A Literary Artist", (1922).
Box 23 Folder 5
Notes on trip to London, (1925).
Box 23 Folder 6
Journal, (1920-1924, 1933-1934, undated).
Box 23 Folder 7
"In Tagore's Neighborhood" - drafts and published article, (1928).
Box 23 Folder 8
Stephen's College Bulletin, (1933, 1958, 1959).
Box 23 Folder 9
Burrell Class speeches, (1933-1934, undated).
Box 24 Folder 1-2
Autobiography of religious education programs at Stephen's College, (1944).
Box 24 Folder 3
The Grail (Stephen's College, Burrell Bible Class newsletter), (1925-1933).
Box 25
World Tour - addresses [locations], (1926).
Box 26 Folder 1
World Tour - Correspondence and clippings, (1926-1927).
Box 26 Folder 2
World Tour - Miscellaneous documents, (1926-1927).
Box 26 Folder 3
World Tour - letters home, (August 1926-February 1927).
Box 26 Folder 4-7
"Burning Ghats" portfolio, (circa 1930).
Box 26 Folder 8
Drafts and published articles on Gandhi by Nellie Lee Holt, (circa 1928).
Box 27 Folder 1-2
General articles on Gandhi and India, (1984, 1959, undated).
Box 27 Folder 3
Article reprint permission, (1956).
Box 27 Folder 4
Provenance of "The Neighborhood" manuscript, (1991).
Box 27 Folder 5
Trip to India - accounts and expenses, (1925-1926).
Box 28 Folder 1
"The Neighborhood" original manuscript, (1926-1927).
Box 28 Folder 2-5
"The Neighborhood" bound manuscript, (1926-1927).
Volume 33-35
Travel diary, (1925-1926).
Volume 36
Scope and Contents note

This subseries was borne out of a run of correspondence that was found separate from the bulk of Nellie Lee's personal papers that were placed into subseries 3. The letters, many of which were in their original envelopes, have been re-housed into twelve boxes. Boxes 29-34 contain incoming and some outgoing letters between Nellie Lee and mostly family members from 1917 to 1971. Boxes 35-37 contains letters she wrote to Curtis Bok from both before and after they were married in 1934. (Curtis's corresponding letters to her are in Boxes 6-8.) The remaining letters in the subseries are a mix of business and personal correspondence, including miscellaneous family letters.

Correspondence, (1917-1936).
Box 29 Folder 1-7
Correspondence, (1937-1940).
Box 30 Folder 1-6
Correspondence, (1944-1956).
Box 31 Folder 1-12
Correspondence, (1957-1960).
Box 32 Folder 1-6
Correspondence, (1961-1964).
Box 33 Folder 1-6
Correspondence, (1965-1971, undated).
Box 34 Folder 1-8
Letters to Curtis Bok, (January-July 1934).
Box 35 Folder 1-7
Letters to Curtis Bok, (July-November 1934).
Box 36 Folder 1-6
Letters to Curtis Bok, (circa 1934-194, undated).
Box 37 Folder 1-5
Herbert (Nicholas) Kubly, (1963-1977).
Box 38 Folder 1-3
Mixed personal and business, (1912-1938).
Box 38 Folder 4-7
Mixed personal and business, (1940-1984).
Box 39 Folder 1-7
Miscellaneous family, (1934-1984).
Box 38 Folder 8
Miscellaneous family, (1934-1984).
Box 40 Folder 1-6
Scope and Contents note

This subseries is comprised of items that highlight Nellie Lee's social activities, though due to the fine line between her social and civic engagements, there is some overlap between papers in this subseries and the next ( Organizations and interests). The first few boxes contain some of Nellie Lee's speeches and writings, notably a radio series she wrote called "Women in '36" (Boxes 42-43) and a manuscript on Hulda Hoover, President Herbert Hoover's mother (Box 43), and clippings and papers pertaing to major family events, such as her 1934 wedding to Curtis Bok. (Boxes 41-42). Following these boxes are a mix of correspondence, printed materials, and other documents pertaining to Nellie Lee's social outlets, friends, and various awards she received. Among these are a few folders of papers regading donations of Bok papers and artifacts to libraries and museums, such as the Library of Congress (Box 44, Folder 6), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Box 45, Folder 5), and the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (now part of the University of Sciences, Philadelphia) (Box 46, Folder 3). Rounding out the subseries are groups of papers from other family members that Nellie Lee collected, namely Enid C. B. Schoettle, Derek Bok, Sissela Myrdal Bok, Welmoet Roland Holst, and Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist (Boxes 47-49). Box 50 contains miscellaneous printed matter (including articles on the Boks) and programs. The estate tax return in Box 43, Folder 11, is closed to researchers until 2037. Please see the box and folder list below for more information.

Miscellaneous clippings, some on family members, (1915, 1937-1975).
Box 41 Folder 1
Speeches and writings, (1929-1934, 1956-1965, 1981).
Box 41 Folder 2
Letters of appreciation received at Stephen's College, (1928-1934).
Box 41 Folder 3
Wedding annoucement, Chicago Tribune, (9 October 1934).
Box 41 Folder 4
Wedding preparation papers, (1934).
Box 41 Folder 5
Wedding clippings, (1934).
Box 42 Folder 1
Letters of appreciation received in Philadelphia, including wedding newspaper clippings, (1934-1945, undated).
Box 42 Folder 2
Letters of appreciation received in Philadelphia, (1934-1945, 1959, 1968, 1976, 1983, undated).
Box 42 Folder 3
Invitations to family events, (1934, 1945, undated).
Box 42 Folder 4
Financial notes, (circa 1939-circa 1980).
Box 42 Folder 5
Stowkowski Trust, (1935-1985).
Box 42 Folder 6
Stowkowski Trust - Mr. and Mrs. Willem H. Thorbecke, (1967-1982).
Box 42 Folder 7
"Women in '36" - radio talks for Franklin Roosevelt, (1936).
Box 43 Folder 1 Box 42 Folder 8
Clippings on Curtis Bok, (1937-1941).
Box 43 Folder 2
"Hulda Hoover" manuscript and copies of letters from Herbert Hoover, (1940).
Box 43 Folder 3
Curtis Bok - American Law Institute speech and Youth In Crime, (1940, 1954, 1980).
Box 43 Folder 4
G. H. Katz, MD, (1947-1972).
Box 43 Folder 5
Miscellaneous notes, clippings, and ephemera, (1955, undated).
Box 43 Folder 6
Kelly family - correspondence concerning wedding gift, (1956).
Box 43 Folder 7
Passports, (1957, 1953, 1963, 1980).
Box 43 Folder 8
Efram Zimbalist, (1958, 1972, 1974, 1975).
Box 43 Folder 9
Te Ata and Ataloa, (1959-1976).
Box 43 Folder 10
Curtis Bok Estate tax return, (1961).
Box 43 Folder 11
Clippings on Eleanor Roosevelt, (1962).
Box 43 Folder 12
Stuart J. Freeman, (1962-1963).
Box 43 Folder 13
Collection on Curtis Bok's Maria - correspondence, reviews, typescripts, (1962-1965).
Box 43 Folder 14-16 Box 44 Folder 1
Alfred A. Knopf Incorporated, (1962-1979).
Box 44 Folder 2
American Legion - Curtis Bok Memorial Post no. 45, (1964).
Box 44 Folder 3
American Friends of the Hebrew University award, (1964).
Box 44 Folder 4
Gift of Edward Bok papers to the Library of Congress, (1964-1970).
Box 44 Folder 5
Anthony McNulty - correspondence regarding "job pursuit, Inquirer, robbery", (1965).
Box 44 Folder 6
Mr. and Mrs. Edward H. Stinnes, (1966-1980).
Box 44 Folder 7
Jane Hill Meyer, (1967-1980).
Box 44 Folder 8
Francis Bosworth, (1967-1982).
Box 44 Folder 9
Margaret Margrave, (1967-1984).
Box 45 Folder 1
Honorary degree from LaSalle College, (1968).
Box 45 Folder 2
Pauline G. Boss, (1968-1982).
Box 45 Folder 3
Travel photographs and slides, (1977-1978, undated).
Box 45 Folder 5
Bok pictures at Museum of Art, Philadelphia, and 330 Spruce Street, (1967-1978).
Box 45 Folder 5
Buert and Cory SerVaas [Curtis Publishing Company], (1970-1973).
Box 45 Folder 6
Letter of support for Steven Morrison, conscientious objector, (1971, 1972).
Box 45 Folder 7
Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania award, (1973).
Box 45 Folder 8
Golden Plate award, (1974).
Box 45 Folder 9
Self-written biography, (1974).
Box 45 Folder 10
Awards and recognitions, (1974, 1983).
Box 45 Folder 11
Claudine Carlson, (1974-1985).
Box 45 Folder 12
Paul Good - book on landmark court decisions, including chapter on Curtis Bok regarding censorship, (1976).
Box 45 Folder 13
Samuel T. Freeman and Company - consignment of President's letters, (1976).
Box 46 Folder 1
Philadelphia College of Pharmacy - gift of antique mortar, (1976).
Box 46 Folder 2
Bicentennial ceremonies - copies of speeches and prayers, (1976).
Box 46 Folder 3
Portrait of Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist to children, step-children, grandchildren, and step-grandchildren, (1978-1984).
Box 46 Folder 4
Nellie Lee Bok interviewed by Walter Phillips, (12 December 1979).
Box 46 Folder 5
Painting - Italian nativity, re: conservation, (1980).
Box 46 Folder 6
80th birthday celebaration, (1981).
Box 46 Folder 7
Miscellaneous, (1918-1967, undated).
Box 46 Folder 8-9
Ester Van Sant papers, (1984-1986).
Box 46 Folder 10
Family photographs and images, (circa 1900-circa 1960).
Box 46 Folder 11
Derek Bok papers, (1947-1984).
Box 47 Folder 1
Enid C. B. Schoettle - "drawings and notes from childhood", (1943-1945).
Box 47 Folder 2-3
Enid C. B. Schoettle papers, school brochures, and newspapers clippings, (1944-1968, 1985, undated).
Box 47 Folder 4-7
Rachel Carson papers, (1965-1975, undated).
Box 47 Folder 8
Sissela Myrdal Bok papers, (1967-1979, 1984, undated).
Box 47 Folder 9
Correspondence from Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist, (1936, 1937, 1953, 1956, undated).
Box 48 Folder 1
Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist - trip to Rome, (1953, 1954).
Box 48 Folder 2
Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist - commencement address given to Curtis Institute of Music, (1959, 1960).
Box 48 Folder 3
Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist correspondence (alphabetically arranged by author), (1957-1969).
Box 48 Folder 4-11
Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist - obituaries and remembrances, (1966-1970).
Box 48 Folder 12
Welmoet Roland Holst papers, (1940, 1963-1976).
Box 48 Folder 13
Curtis Bok memorial service, (1962).
Box 49 Folder 1
Incoming letters on Curtis Bok's passing (alphabetically arranged by author), (1962).
Box 49 Folder 2-7
Published articles, (1921-1924).
Box 50 Folder 1
Printed matter containing articles about the Boks, (1928-1982).
Box 50 Folder 2
Programs and booklets from dinner honoring Frank Lloyd Wright, (1951).
Box 50 Folder 3
Philadelphia magazine containing article on Nellie Lee Bok, (1979).
Box 50 Folder 4
Miscellaneous printed matter and programs, (1927-1961).
Box 50 Folder 5-6
"A Rosy Path: A Dickens Birthday Book", 1904.
Volume 6
"The Biography of our Baby", 1906.
Volume 7
"My Graduation Days" scrapbook, 1922.
Volume 8
"The Bride. Her book'”, 1934.
Volume 9
"The Bride's Book", 1934.
Volume 10
"Comment – Meant for Nellie Lee Holt" scrapbook, 1934.
Volume 11
Nellie Lee Holt Bok scrapbook, 1942-1958.
Volume 12
Nellie Lee Holt Bok Stephens College Alumnae Association membership certificate, 1970.
Volume 13
American Academy of Achievement "Banquet of the Golden Plate" souvenir book, 1974.
Volume 14
Nellie Lee Holt Bok honorary doctorate diploma from Lake Erie College (1974), 1974.
Volume 15
Nellie Lee Holt Bok Curtis Institute of Music Alumni Association certificate, 1977.
Volume 16
Scope and Contents note

The papers in this subseries document Nellie Lee's civic ventures and lifelong crusades, such as prison and mental health reform. It contains papers pertaining to The American Foundation, which was founded by Edward Bok and of which Nellie Lee served as president for a time (Box 51). There are numerous files of papers on music therapy, particularly a program founded by Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins in the 1970s, as well as papers on general music education and piano lessons (Boxes 52-53). The last box in this subseries, Box 54, contains an assortment of papers and printed material on mental health reform, Quakers, crime prevention, business and religious leadership, and agriculture. There is also a file of papers from the Philadelphia Fellowship Commission, which Nellie Lee helped establish (Box 54, Folder 4).

The American Foundation - "Weyer Report", (1955).
Box 51 Folder 1
The American Foundation - reports to the board, (1962-1964, undated).
Box 51 Folder 2
The American Foundation papers, including those on Bok Tower Carillon, (1964-1984).
Box 51 Folder 3
Ronald Barnes - correspodence regarding Bok Tower Carillon, (1964-1980).
Box 51 Folder 4
Ester Lupe - American Foundation, (1965-1973).
Box 51 Folder 5
Brees Carillon Library - Barnes Collection, (1966-1980).
Box 51 Folder 6
The American Foundation - mailings to board members, (1978-1979, 1981).
Box 51 Folder 7
The American Foundation - miscellaneous, (1965-1984).
Box 51 Folder 7
Nordoff-Robbins [music therapy], (1969-1974).
Box 52 Folder 1-2
Paul Nordoff correspondence and papers, (1974-1977).
Box 52 Folder 3
Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Tour, New Zealand, August-October 1974, (1975, undated).
Box 52 Folder 4
Sabina Nordoff [Mrs. Paul Nordoff], (1975-1982, undated).
Box 52 Folder 5
Clive and Carol Robbins music therapy, (1977-1978).
Box 52 Folder 6
Paul Nordoff will and related papers, (1977-1981).
Box 52 Folder 7
Rollins College - Annie Russell, (1897, 1981-1983).
Box 53 Folder 1
Alexander Hillsberg, musician, (1948-1971).
Box 53 Folder 2
Nadia Chilkovsky Nahumck [Philadelphia Dance Academy], (1956-1983).
Box 53 Folder 3
Benjamin Boretz, music critic, The Nation - collection of columns, (1962-1963).
Box 53 Folder 4
Curtis Institute of Music 50th anniversary, (1974-1978, bulk 1975).
Box 53 Folder 5
Committee for "William Penn" opera, (1975, 1982).
Box 53 Folder 6
Martha Hitchins and Phyllis Drake, musicians, (1979-1981).
Box 53 Folder 7
Piano lessons - "Pianumbrella Book" by Jeanne Behrend, (circa 1981).
Box 53 Folder 8
Piano lessons - letters and publications from Jeanne Behrend, (1981).
Box 53 Folder 9
"Peace Child" - children's musical celebration, (1983).
Box 53 Folder 10
Music organizations - miscellaneous, (1958-1981).
Box 53 Folder 11
Women voter organizations, (1925).
Box 54 Folder 1
Quaker material, (1942, 1958).
Box 54 Folder 2
Papers and clippings from miscellaneous organizations, (1942-1975).
Box 54 Folder 3
Fellowship Commission, (1949-1966).
Box 54 Folder 4
Mental health reform - miscellaneous, (1961-1967).
Box 54 Folder 5
Agriservices Foundation - David E. Ensminger, (1964-1983).
Box 54 Folder 6-7
Prison law and reform - miscellaneous, (1966-1980).
Box 54 Folder 8
Lady Bird Johnson and crime prevention, (1967-1968).
Box 54 Folder 9
Wesley Wiksell, Lousiana State University - prison reform, (1972).
Box 54 Folder 10
W. Horsley Gantt, The Pavlovian Society, (1977).
Box 54 Folder 11
Judge Hastie award committee, (1979).
Box 54 Folder 12
Brother Daniel Burke, LaSalle College, (1979-1984).
Box 54 Folder 13
Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania, (1983).
Box 54 Folder 14
"Blocs" - Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools, (1983-1984).
Box 54 Folder 15
Scope and Contents note

The final subseries is comprised of various notebooks, date books, and dayplanners that Nellie Lee kept during her life. There are several "Communications" notebooks from the 1980s in which Nellie Lee recorded all her daily transactions with people in person, by mail, and by phone. A notebook containing medical data is closed to researchers until 2062. Please see the box and folder list below for more information.

Notebooks, (1920, undated).
Box 55 Folder 1
Notes on literature, writings, speeches, (circa 1932-1955, undated).
Box 55 Folder 2
Calendar pages and miscellaneous notes, (1959-circa 1964).
Box 55 Folder 3-4
Invitations book [disbound], (1962-1982).
Box 55 Folder 5
Calendar, notes on family, personal notes, (circa 1965-circa 1978).
Box 55 Folder 6
Calendar pages, addresses, notes on houses and employees, (1966-circa 1980).
Box 55 Folder 7-8 Box 56 Folder 1
Addresses, notes, ephemera, (1975-1976, 1979-1980, undated).
Box 56 Folder 2-4
Dayplanners, (1961-1963, 1979-1982, 1984).
Box 57 Folder 1-5
Notebooks [logs of daily tasks], (October 1983-October 1984).
Box 57 Folder 6-7
Medical notebook, (1984).
Box 57 Folder 8
Pocket calendars, (1944-1980).
Box 58
Miscellaneous - Rolodex, card files, and audio cassette tapes, (1975, 1976, undated).
Box 59
"Communications" notebooks, (1980-1983).
Box 60
Nellie Lee Holt Bok appointment book, 1922-1935.
Volume 17
Nellie Lee Holt Bok appointment book, circa 1935.
Volume 18
Nellie Lee Holt Bok invitation book, 1934-1940.
Volume 19
Nellie Lee Holt Bok dinner party record, 1937-1949.
Volume 20
Nellie Lee Holt Bok invitation book, 1942-1946.
Volume 21
Nellie Lee Holt Bok invitation book, 1947-1950.
Volume 22
Nellie Lee Holt Bok invitation book, 1951-1956.
Volume 23
Nellie Lee Holt Bok datebook, circa 1953.
Volume 24

Scope and Contents note

The oldest papers in the collection are in this third series which focuses primarily on Nellie Lee's immediate family, the Holts and Gianninis. Th Holts of Nebraska originated from a family that started in New Haven, Connecticut; while the Gianninis were from Virginia, but traced their roots back to Italy. Among papers from the Giannini family are early accounts and correpondence dating from the mid to late nineteenth century (Box 61, folders 1-5). A few letters are in Italian. Holt family papers take up the bulk of Boxes 62 and 63 and include William R. Holt's (Nellie Lee's father) record of family-prized pedigreed Berkshire hogs (Box 62, Folder 6), Eva Holt's (Nellie Lee's mother) travel journal from when she chaperoned Nellie's Lee's world tour of 1926 to 1927 (Box 62, Folder 9), and another journal of a trip to Europe made by Nellie Lee, Eve Holt, and Nellie Lee's aunt Laura Speer in 1963 (Box 63, Folder 5). Also among these files are family records; genealogical notes on the Holts, Gianninis, Speers, Seymours, and Eatons; other journals, correspondence, calendars, and clippings. Box 64 contains three folders of papers on the Bok and related families and two folders of mixed family papers.

Gianinni family legal papers, (1836-1860).
Box 61 Folder 1
Gianinni family accounts and insurance policies.
Box 61 Folder 2
M. Gianinni account book, (1841, 1843).
Box 61 Folder 3
Gianinni family letters, including letters from Italy, 1850-1857, 1896, 1900, 1951, undated).
Box 61 Folder 4
Miscellaneous Gianinni family papers, (1854-1948).
Box 61 Folder 5
Gianinni, Holt, and Speer family records, (1866-1953, undated).
Box 61 Folder 6
Gianinni, Speer, and Seymour family clippings, (circa 1915-circa 1920).
Box 61 Folder 7
Isabella Gianinni Anderson papers, (1929-1984).
Box 61 Folder 8
Isabella Gianinni Anderson copies of will, (1962, 1965, 1969).
Box 61 Folder 9
Gianinni, Seymour, and Eaton genealogical records, (circa 1930).
Box 62 Folder 1-2
Laura Speer letters to Nellie Lee Bok, (circa 1964-1967).
Box 62 Folder 3
Laura Speer daily journals, (1955-1959, 1961-1962).
Box 62 Folder 4-5
William R. Holt record of pedigreed Berkshires, (1899-1912).
Box 62 Folder 6
William R. Holt letters and booklets, (1910, 1952, 1953).
Box 62 Folder 7
William R. Holt obituary, letters, pictures, (1951).
Box 62 Folder 8
Eva Holt travel journal, (1926-1927).
Box 62 Folder 9
Eva Holt daily journals, (1923-1938, 1942-1962).
Box 63 Folder 1-2
Eva Holt invitations log, (1955-1964).
Box 63 Folder 3
Eva Holt calendar, (1967-1968).
Box 63 Folder 4
"Trip to Europe" [Eva Holt, Laura Speer, Nellie Lee Bok], (1963).
Box 63 Folder 5
Eva Holt letters to Nellie Lee Bok, (1964-1967).
Box 63 Folder 6
Newspaper articles on Holt family, (1934-1982).
Box 63 Folder 7
Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist letter to Holt family, (1934-1957, undated).
Box 63 Folder 8-9
Regarding Holt family papers at Nebraska State Historical Society, (1973-1980).
Box 63 Folder 10
Bok and deMeester cousins, (1965, 1968, undated).
Box 64 Folder 1
Bok family genealogy, (1977-1979, undated).
Box 64 Folder 2
Curtis Kise paper, "My Family Roots", (1991).
Box 64 Folder 3
Mixed family papers, (1901-1972).
Box 64 Folder 4-5
Family Bible of John White Holt, 1871.
Volume 25
History of Holt and Atchinson Counties, Missouri, 1882.
Volume 26
The Seymour Family by A. Audrey Locke, 1914.
Volume 27
History of Richardson County, Nebraska by Lewis S. Edwards, 1917.
Volume 28
William Robert Holt memorial book, 1953.
Volume 29
Laura Speer memorial book, 1971.
Volume 30
Eva Holt memorial book, 1972.
Volume 31
Isabelle Anderson memorial book, 1984.
Volume 32

Scope and Contents note

Comprising this final series of five boxes are large family photographs, oversized original art and prints, clippings, and printed matter. Images of members of the Bok family span Boxes 65 and 66. Box 65 also contains contemporary images of the Bok Tower in Lake Wales, Florida, as well as clippings on the Curtis Institute of Music from the 1970s. Other items in Box 66 include three folders that house a variety of British magazines commemorating the coronation of King George VI in 1937. Boxes 67 and 68 contain Mid-Week Pictorials, a magazine once published by the New York Times, dating from 28 March 1918 to 19 June 1919. The final box of the collection contains unsorted clippings, most of which appear to pertain to Curtis Bok's career or Bok family achievements.

Original prints and artwork, (1856, 1877, 1950, undated).
Box 65 Folder 1-2
Mary Curtis Bok, photograph of painting, (undated).
Box 65 Folder 3
Bok Tower - prints, photographs, newspaper article, (1920, 1971, undated).
Box 65 Folder 4-5
Clippings - Curtis Institute of Music, (1972-1975).
Box 65 Folder 6-8
Nellie Lee Bok, photograph, (undated).
Box 65 Folder 9
Family photographs, (circa 1898, undated).
Box 66 Folder 1
Mary Curtis Zimbalist Bok birthday posters, (undated).
Box 66 Folder 2
King George VI coronation - The Sphere: Coronation record number, (1937).
Box 66 Folder 3
King George VI coronation - commemorative magazines, (1937).
Box 66 Folder 4
King George VI coronation - commemorative newspaper articles, (1937).
Box 66 Folder 5
Mid-Week Pictorials, published by the New York Times, (28 March 1918-19 June 1919).
Box 67-68
Unsorted clippings pertaining to members of the Bok family, (circa 1930-circa 1980).
Box 69
Independent Order of Good Templars certificate; David R. Holt certificate (copy), 1864, 1869.
Box 70 Folder 1
Curtis Bok diplomas and certificates, 1921-1960, undated.
Box 70 Folder 2-5
Nellie Lee Holt Bok diplomas and certificates, 1914-1983.
Box 70 Folder 6
Enid Bok diplomas, 1956, 1960.
Box 70 Folder 7
"Scene on the Delaware River at Philadelphia during the severe winter of 1856" print, undated.
Box 70 Folder 8

Print, Suggest