Archives and Special Collections
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Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids

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Collection Overview
Title:Louise Hall Tharp papers
Call Number:M37
Volume:1.35 cubic ft. (2 boxes)
Scope and Content Note:The collection contains Louise Hall Tharp's extensive research notes and collected material on Horace Mann (1796-1859), who was the first secretary of Massachusetts Board of Education (1837-1848) and first president of Antioch College (1853-1860), and his wife Mary Peabody. Tharp assembled the material for her book, Until Victory (1953). Included are transcribed letters; Tharp's letters of inquiry and the responses from research agencies, repositories and public offices; notes on newspaper accounts, court records, and municipal registries; newspaper clippings on Mann, Antioch College, and public schools; and pamphlets and booklets on numerous topics related to Mann or his work. The majority of the material is collected from the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Dedham Historical Society, the Brown University Archives, Antioch College, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives and Records Administration.
Historical Abstract:Louise Hall Tharp, children's author and historical biographer, was born in 1898 in Oneonta, New York, and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. After attending the Boston School of Fine Arts in 1917-1919, she worked for the Girl Scouts of America in 1925-1934. In 1940, Tharp wrote her first book, Tory Hole. In total, she wrote 17 historical novels for young people and historical biographies for older readers. In 1959, Tharp was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from Northeastern University.
Arrangement: Organized into two series: I) Subject Files and 2) Research Files.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Mann, Horace, 1796-1859
  • Mann, Mary Tyler Peabody, 1806-1887
  • Peabody, Elizabeth Palmer, 1804-1894
  • Tharp, Louise Hall, 1898-

  • Antioch College

  • Education -- History
  • Public Schools

Restrictions:The collection is unrestricted.
Processor:Finding aid prepared by George Reklaitis, May 1999

Historical Note

Louise Hall Tharp, children's author and historical biographer, was born June 19, 1898 in Oneonta, New York to Newton Marshall Hall and Louise Varney Hall.  Her father was a Congregationalist minister.  At the age of 2, the Hall family moved to Springfield, Massachusetts where Newton accepted the post of minister at the North Congregationalist Church.  From 1917-1919 Louise Hall Tharp attended the School of Fine Arts in Boston.  She began her studies with the intention of becoming an illustrator but acquired a taste for research instead.  In 1925 she married Cary Edwin Tharp, and had two sons, Cary Edwin Jr. and Marshall Allen.

Tharp's early career was spent working with the Girl Scouts of America, where she held a position on the National Brownie Committee from 1925-1934.  Her service also included a stint on the Girl Scout Council in Rochester, New York from 1927-1928.  It was during her career with the Girl Scouts that she first tried her hand in writing, editing the Girl Scout publication Trailmaker (1925-1926).

In 1940 Tharp wrote her first book, Tory Hole, at the request of her two sons who, as budding young readers, were looking for a story with plenty of action. She wrote a number of other such historical novels: Champlain, Northwest Voyagers (1944) about the famous explorer, and Company of Adventurers (1946) which told the story of the Hudson's Bay Trading Company.  Tharp made her mark as an author, however, through her numerous and highly-acclaimed historical biographies.  Her book The Peabody Sisters of Salem (1950) was written about Elizabeth, Mary, and Sophia Peabody. In 1953 Tharp continued on this theme, writing Until Victory: Horace Mann and Mary Peabody. In 1965 Tharp published possibly her most noted biography, that of Isabella Stewart Gardener the celebrated 19th century Boston art patron and socialite, Mrs. Jack.  The book was highly acclaimed and spent three months on the New York Times bestseller list.

During her many years as author, biographer, and lecturer, Louise Hall Tharp was a member of numerous organizations such as the Society of American Historians, Theta Sigma Phi, the Darien Community Association, the Darien Historical Society, and an honorary member of Delta Kappa Gamma.  In addition, she was the recipient of numerous awards.  Among these were the Delta Kappa Gamma Educator's Award (1951), the American Library Association Award (1953), and the National Educators Association Award (1953).  On June 14, 1959, Tharp was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from Northeastern University.  On this occasion, University President Carl Stephens Ell said of her, "Your biographical and historical writings have the charm of truth told simply, directly, boldly, and charitably."  Tharp received a similar honor from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Massachusetts and an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Rhode Island College.  In total, she authored 17 books.


Commire, Anne, ed. Something About the Author. Detroit: Gale Research  Company, 1972. Vol.  3. pp. 223-224.

Contemporary Authors. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1967. Vols. 1-4. 1st rev.

Tharp, Louise Hall. Mrs. Jack. Boston: Little Brown and Co., 1968. [N5220 .G26 T47 1968]

------------------ The Peabody Sisters of Salem. Boston: Little Brown and Co., 1950. [CS71. P35 1950x]

------------------ Tory Hole. Boston: Little Brown and Co., 1940.

------------------ Until Victory: Horace Mann and Mary Peabody. Boston, Little Brown and Co., 1953. [LB695 .M35 T5]

Ell, Carl Stephens.  "Honorary Degree Recipients." Office of the President (Ell), Records, 1883-1974. (A 2).  Northeastern University Libraries Archives and Special Collection Department. Box 27, folder 473.
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1. Subject Files, 1607-1950
Volume:0.55 cubic ft.


The subject files contain Louise Hall Tharp's research materials on Horace Mann's life and include information on the people Mann knew or dealt with, law cases he participated in, the Mann family, and issues or activities in which Mann was involved.  Also included is a bibliography on Mann compiled by Tharp, a Mann family genealogy, notes from newspaper articles mentioning Mann, numerous photographs from the Mann and Peabody families, and information and letters from Antioch College where Horace Mann was the first president.
1After Mary1859-1887
1Allen, Ira1853-1859
1Edwards Papers1853-1858
1Rebecca, Letters from Sophia1855-1858
1Barnard, Henry1842
1Craig, Austin: Descriptionn.d.
1Dedham Historical Society: Bills1847-1852
1Dix, Dorthea: Normal School1841
1Draper, Lyman: To Mann1843-1858
1Election Figures1848
1Emmons, Nathaniel1800-1861
1Finances: Mills, etc.1852-1854
1Franklin, MA1811
1Haven, Sam: The Marshallsn.d.
Law Cases
1Drayton Case, Giles Case1830-1862
Mann, Horace
1Diary: Massachusetts Historical Society1837-1843
1Early Family Life1798-1817
1Family Genealogy1607-1902
1"Fourth Oration"1842
1Letters from Sisters, Re: Marriage and Biography1843-1854
1Mann, Lydia1798-1856
Mann, Mary Peabody
1Correspondence, Mrs. Seward1850-1861
1Massachusetts Historical Society, Uncategorized Materials1808-1852
1Nieces and Nephews1839-1856
1Papers: Library of Congress1837-1862
1Politics and Finances1846-1862
1"Thoughts on Women"1853
1To Charlotte Messer1829-1853
1To Elizabeth Peabody1833-1849
1To his boys1852
1To Sydney Williams and Mary Messer1832-1852
1West Newtonn.d., 1857
1Messer, Charlotte1830-1852
1Boston Advertiser and Boston Transcript1830-1852
1Liberator Providence Papers1837-1854
1Packard, Frederick: Library Controversy1838
1Parker, Theodore: Letter Books1843-1854
1Mann Familyn.d.
1Peabody Familyn.d.
1Sarmiento, Domingo1853-1865
1Worcester Asylum1830-1838
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2. Research Materials, 1817-1958
Volume:0.8 cubic ft.


The research materials file is comprised of three types of files.  The first consists of a collection of Horace Mann's correspondence transcribed by Louise Hall Tharp and her notes on this material.  There is also a collection of similar correspondence which Tharp did not use in her book.  The Mann correspondence is organized chronologically.  Also included in this series are Tharp's research notes organized by chapter.  Material does not appear for all the chapters.  Finally, the research materials file contains Tharp's own letters of inquiry and related responses from research and government agencies, public offices, archives and repositories.  These letters are grouped by subject heading as originally designated by the author.  A separate folder contains a number of newspaper and magazine clippings collected by Tharp on Mann.
1Antioch: Milk Sickness1948-1951
11, 2, 31833-1955
14 and 5, Litchfield1817-1868
112, 13, 141834-1837
116 and 171839
119 and 20, Diary of the Child1843-1848
122 and 231848-1952
127 and 281853-1958
1-2Correspondence and Notes (10 folders)1830-1865
2Eagle and City Mfg. Co.1949
2 Eagleswood, NJ1950
2Lee, R.H.: Research Notes1951
2Mann and Tharp1950-1952
2Mann: Passport1952
2Massachusetts Militia1950
2Newspaper Clippings1880-1950
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