Held at: The Henry George Birthplace, Archive and Historical Research Center [Contact Us]413 South Tenth Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19147
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the The Henry George Birthplace, Archive and Historical Research Center. 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
Henry George (1839-1897) was a journalist and political economist best known for writing about and popularizing the idea of the "Single Tax." His work led to several reform movements in the Progressive Era and inspired the economic philosophy known today as "Georgism." Two of George's children, Henry George Jr. and Anna George de Mille, continued to be active in the single tax movement and promoting their father's legacy after his death in 1897.
"Henry George (1839-1897), printer-journalist, political economist, and reformer, was the most important and influential radical theorist of nineteenth century America. Born in Philadelphia in 1839, the second of ten children of Richard S. H. George and Catharine (Vallance) George, he was raised in modest circumstances and in a pious, evangelical Protestant atmosphere. After brief attendance at three schools and two years of private tutoring, George began work, at the same time embarking on a life-long regime of self-education. At 16 he shipped out as foremast boy on the vessel Hindoo, bound for Melbourne and Calcutta. On his return in 1856 he had difficulty finding work, and after [nine] months apprenticeship as a typesetter, he again left home, this time in search of new opportunities in California.
"...[T]imes were hard in [California], and George found only temporary jobs as a typesetter. He fell deeply in love with Australian-born Annie Corsina Fox (1845-1904) and, though out of work and in debt, married her in 1861; his financial burden was soon increased by the birth of two sons. By 1865 the family was near starvation, but George was beginning to build a reputation as a contributor to the local press. Over the next decade he worked as a reporter and editor for several papers, including four years (1871-1875) as editor of his own San Francisco Daily Evening Post.
"Active in local politics, he shifted his loyalties from Lincoln Republicanism to the Democrats, and became a trenchant critic of railroad and mining interests, corrupt politicians, land speculators, and labor contractors. He failed as a Democratic candidate for the state legislature, but landed the patronage job of state inspector of gas meters.
"In an 1871 pamphlet, Our Land and Land Policy, he first set out his theory of rent as the primary cause of monopoly and poverty, and advocated a single tax on land. Between 1877 and 1879 he pursued work on a major treatise, his masterpiece, Progress and Poverty. After failing to find a publisher, George [printed] five hundred copies on his own. The plates were then [sent to publisher D. Appleton & Co. in New York] and the book soon became a sensation, translated into many languages and assured George's fame. At the heart of his oft-repeated critique of Gilded Age capitalism was the conviction that rent and private land-ownership violated the hallowed principles of Jeffersonian democracy and that poverty was an affront to the moral values of Judeo-Christian culture.
"Now in demand as a writer and lecturer, George moved to New York in 1880 and soon became closely involved with the Irish nationalist community. The publication of his The Irish Land Question resulted in his being sent to Ireland and England in 1881-1882 on assignment for the radical Irish World. There he became acquainted with Michael Davitt and other leaders of the Irish Land League, and with many English socialists and radicals, including H. M. Hyndman and Helen Taylor. He returned to New York a hero, with a strong transatlantic following, and agreed to run for mayor in 1886 as the candidate of the United Labor Party. After a strenuous campaign against Democrat Abram S. Hewitt and Republican Theodore Roosevelt, George came [in] second in the poll; many supporters charged that fraud had robbed him of victory.
"George now found his own base in a national network of Single Tax clubs, and his own organ in the New York Standard (1887-1892). He toured Britain [for a third time] in 1888 and 1889, and was warmly welcomed to Australia and New Zealand in 1890. He suffered a slight stroke in the winter of 1890-1891, but continued to lecture widely and write prolifically. Among his later works are Protection or Free Trade (1886); An Open Letter to the Pope (1891), a reply to Leo XIII's encyclical The Condition of Labor; A Perplexed Philosopher (1892), a critique of Herbert Spencer; and The Science of Political Economy (1897), a grand summation of his economic and ethical ideas. In his later years George found himself more and more at odds with both socialists and mainstream labor leaders; his movement increasingly attracted middle class progressives.
"In 1897, aged fifty-eight and in poor health, George allowed himself to be persuaded to run again for [New York City] mayor, this time as an independent Democrat. At the very close of the campaign, on October 29th, he suffered a stroke and died; his eldest son and close collaborator, Henry George, Jr. (1862-1916), stepped in to complete the campaign, but earned only 22,000 votes. The respect and affection felt for Henry George were demonstrated in the funeral ceremonies, in which more than a hundred thousand people viewed his body and joined the procession to the burial site in Brooklyn, and in the outpouring of written tributes from around the world." (Malmgreen, 1990)
"When Henry George died in 1897, he left a wife, Annie Corsina Fox George (1845-1904), and three children: Henry George Jr. (1862-1916), Richard Fox George (1865-1912), and Anna Angela George de Mille (1877-1947). George's eldest daughter, Jennie Teresa George Atkinson (1867-1897) died...from typhoid. Two of George's children, Henry George Jr. and Anna Angela George de Mille remained active in the single tax movement long after his death.
"The eldest of the George's four children, Henry George Jr., was born in Sacramento, CA in November 1862. Following the family's move to New York City in 1880, he became a reporter for the Brooklyn Eagle. In 1884 he accompanied his father on his second lecture tour of Great Britain [to promote Progress and Poverty].
"Henry George Jr. worked as a reporter and editor for several newspapers and magazines throughout the next decade including the London Truth, The North American Review, and his father's paper, The Standard. In 1893 he moved to Jacksonville, Florida where he became the managing editor of the Florida Citizen. He returned to New York in 1897 during his father's second campaign for mayor of New York City. Henry George Jr. replaced his father as the nominee of the Democracy of Thomas Jefferson Party following George's passing in October of that same year.
"After his father's death, Henry George Jr. began working on a biography of Henry George and in 1900, Doubleday and McClure published The Life of Henry George. [From 1911 to 1913 and 1913 to 1915] he served as a Democrat in Congress representing the [17th and 21st districts] of New York. As a Congressman, George Jr. gave many speeches and sponsored several bills in favor of a single tax on land values. He did not run for reelection in 1914 and died in 1916.
"Henry George's youngest child, Anna Angela George de Mille, was born in San Francisco in 1877. She dedicated most of her life to preserving the legacy of her father and promoting his ideas. Anna George de Mille held numerous leadership roles in the single tax movement including vice president of the International Union for Land Value Taxation and Free Trade in London and director of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. She helped Oscar H. Geiger establish the Henry George School of Social Science [New York, NY] in 1932 and served as president of the board of trustees. Anna George de Mille conducted several lecture tours in connection with the single tax movement, including one in December 1946 of black universities in the Southern United States. She was a principal donor of material to the Henry George Collection at the New York Public Library.
"In the 1940s, Anna George de Mille began working on a biography of her father, Citizen of the World, which appeared serially in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology. The University of North Carolina Press published the biography in book form in 1950, edited by Don C. Shoemaker with an introduction by Anna George de Mille's daughter, the renowned dancer and choreographer Agnes George de Mille.
"Following her mother's death in 1947, Agnes George de Mille (1905-1993) donated many items and historical material from her family's collection to the Henry George School of Social Science in Philadelphia and New York. Agnes George de Mille played an essential role raising money and support for the in initial restoration of the Henry George Birthplace [in Philadelphia] in 1957." (The Henry George Birthplace, Archive, and Historical Research Center)
Quoted text from: Malmgreen, Gail. "Biographical/Historical Information." In Henry George papers. 1990. Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. Accessed May 13, 2016. http://archives.nypl.org/mss/1137.
Quoted text from: The Henry George Birthplace, Archive, and Historical Research Center. "Biographical Note." In The Henry George and Anna George De Mille Family Collection. Accessed May 13, 2016. https://hgarchives.org/historical-collections-2/the-henry-george-and-anna-george-de-mille-family-collection/.
This collection consists of correspondence, published and unpublished works, and other materials from and about Henry George, Henry George Jr., and Agnes George de Mille. There are also photographs, prints, and illustrations of the George family and of Anna George de Mille's family. Photographic materials include daguerreotypes, tintypes, gelatin prints, and cabinet cards. Some materials in the collection are photocopies, reprints, or reproductions of materials in other collections.
Of special interest in the collection are materials from Henry George Jr., including glass plate negatives, campaign materials, and letters, notes, and other materials from his trip to Japan as a special correspondent, circa 1906-1909. While stationed in Japan, George Jr. was able to travel to Russia and meet with renowned author Leo Tolstoy, who later in life had become an advocate of Georgism. A photograph of George Jr. with Tolstoy and George Jr.'s notes from his visit with Tolstoy, as well as a transcription of the notes, are available in the collection. These documents, along with other materials from the collection have been digitized and made available online on the Henry George Birthplace, Archive, and Research Center website.
The collection is arranged into five series:
I. Correspondence, published, unpublished, and reproduced works by Henry George
II. Correspondence, published, unpublished, and reproduced works by Henry George, Jr.
III. Correspondence, published, unpublished works, and reproduced works by Anna George de Mille
IV. Correspondence, published, unpublished and reproduced works by Agnes George de Mille
V. Photographs, prints, and illustrations of the George family
An item-level listing of materials for this collection is available online at: https://hgarchives.org/historical-collections-2/the-henry-george-and-anna-george-de-mille-family-collection/.
There are also various objects and artifacts associated with this collection that were not included as part of the survey.
Most materials were a gift of Agnes George de Mille, circa 1950. A few additional materials have been added over time by others.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact The Henry George Birthplace, Archive and Historical Research Center directly for more information.
- De Mille, Agnes
- De Mille, Anna George, 1877-1947
- George family
- George, Henry, 1839-1897
- George, Henry, 1862-1916
- The Henry George Birthplace, Archive and Historical Research Center
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories using data provided by the Henry George Birthplace, Archive, and Historical Research Center
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact The Henry George Birthplace, Archive and Historical Research Center for information about accessing this collection.
Series I. Correspondence, published, unpublished, and reproduced works by Henry George is divided into three subseries: A. Correspondence; B. Speeches, published and unpublished works; and C. Poems and tributes to Henry George.
The correspondence is sorted chronologically and spans the dates 1855 to 1896. A few of the letters are photocopies, the originals of which are part of the Henry George papers at the New York Public Library.
The speeches and published and unpublished works are sorted chronologically and include works created by George from 1855 to 1897. Many of the documents in this section are typed drafts of editorials and articles that appeared in Henry George's newspaper, The Standard and elsewhere. Some contain handwritten notes and/or are signed. Several documents in this subseries are reprints of George's work that span the early 1900s to 2000s.
The poems and tributes to Henry George span 1887 to 1923, some of which are copies of the originals.
Some of George's campaign materials are on display throughout the Henry George Birthplace, Archive, and Historical Research Center.
Series II. Correspondence, published, unpublished, and reproduced works by Henry George, Jr. is divided into four subseries: A. Correspondence, 1881-1911; B. Published and unpublished works, 1892-1914; C. From Henry George Jr.'s Asia tour, 1909; and D. Published and unpublished material about Henry George Jr. Materials are sorted chronologically within each subseries.
Subseries B. Published and unpublished works includes about five scrapbooks with newspaper clippings relating to Henry George Jr.'s life and the biography of his father that he wrote, 1900, as well as clippings of articles he wrote for publications such as Boyce's Weekly, 1903, and The North American, 1899-1905.
Series III. Correspondence, published, unpublished works, and reproduced works by Anna George de Mille is divided into three subseries: A. Correspondence, 1902-1947; B. Published and unpublished works, 1897-1946; and C. Documents pertaining to Henry George: Citizen of the World, 1950-1981, a biography of George written by de Mille in 1950. Materials are sorted chronologically within each subseries.
Series IV. Correspondence, published, unpublished and reproduced works by Agnes George de Mille is divided into three subseries: A. Correspondence, 1955, undated; B. Published and unpublished works by Agnes George de Mille, 1979, 1997, undated; and C. Published and unpublished works about Agnes George de Mille, 1962-circa 1995. Materials are sorted chronologically within each subseries.
Series V. Photographs, prints, and illustrations of the George family is divided into eight subseries: A. Henry George, circa 1844-1897; B. Annie Corsina Fox George, circa 1860-1890s; C. Henry George Jr., circa 1867-1909; D. Richard (Dick) George, circa 1867-circa 1900; E. Jennie Teresa George, circa 1869-1897; F. Anna Angela George de Mille, 1892-early 1900s; G. Henry George with his children and grandchildren, circa 1869-1897; and H. Other family members, circa 1930s, undated.
Subseries H. Other family members includes images of Henry George's maternal grandparents parents, and oldest sister, Caroline George, as well as images of Henry George Jr.'s son, Henry George III.
There are also some daguerreotypes, tintypes, and other photographs associated with this series. These images are on display throughout the Henry George Birthplace, Archive, and Historical Research Center and depict various family members and friends.