Guide to the Katharine Alvord (1861-1963) Papers

Collection Title: Katharine Alvord (1861-1963) Papers
Dates: 1880-1969
Identification: 31/6/16
Creator: Alvord, Katharine Louise, 1861-1963
Extent: 1 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: A graduate of Northwestern University, Katharine Alvord returned to NU as a drama teacher in 1894. The Katharine Alvord Papers, comprising one half-size box, span the years from 1880 through 1969 although most materials date from the period 1880-1881. Included in the series are biographical materials pertaining to Alvord and Randolph; correspondence between the two in both holographic form and typescript copies; clippings of reviews and notices of performances relating to Alvord's stage career; Alvord's original poetry and writings; her annotated copy of Henry James', Daisy Miller; and correspondence between Alvord's grand-niece, Caroline M. Daniels, and the Chicago Tribune concerning publication of the Alvord-Randolph correspondence.
Acquisition Information: Caroline M. Daniels donated these papers to the Northwestern University Library on August 14, 1969. The University Archives accessioned the series in 1974 as #74-59.
Processing Information: Margaret Faverty; November 4, 1982.
Separated Materials: One photograph has been separated to the Katharine Alvord file in the University Archives Photograph Collection.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

Katharine Louise Alvord was born in Geneseo, Illinois in 1861 and spent much of her early life with her parents and sister in Cairo, Illinois. A graduate of Northwestern University, Alvord returned to NU as a drama teacher in 1894. Alvord never married.

She attended the Northwestern University Preparatory School between 1878 and 1879 and from 1879 to 1880 she studied rhetoric and elocution under Professor Robert M. Cumnock at Northwestern University. Alvord returned to Cairo in June, 1880 where she resided until July, 1881 when she moved to Chicago with her family.

Alvord was a member of the Louis James Company, a performing troupe, from 1890 to 1894. The group toured the country performing Greek dramas and Shakespearian plays with Kate often cited as the outstanding actress. She returned to Northwestern as a teacher of Dramatic Art and Presentation in the Cumnock School of Oratory in 1894-1895. She later returned to the stage to present programs of dramatic readings. Alvord never married. She died in November, 1963 at age 102 in Chicago's Beckwith Nursing Home.

Frederick W. Randolph was born in 1860. He was the son of Charles Randolph, Secretary of the Chicago Board of Trade, and lived with his parents and two sisters in South Evanston, Illinois. Randolph entered Northwestern University in 1877 and after two years of classes there became a student at Chicago's Union College of Law. His efforts to obtain degrees from both Northwestern and Union College in the same year were unsuccessful and in 1881 he was awarded a Bachelor of Law degree only. In 1880 he became a member of Sigma Chi fraternity.

In the summer of 1880 Randolph worked as an assistant special agent for the Tenth Census of United States. He worked part-time for his father at the Board of Trade in the summer of 1881. Randolph moved in the fall of 1881 to Lake Benton, Minnesota where he became the village lawyer. On March 12, 1882 he died from coal suffocation caused by a faulty stove in his office/apartment. Memorial services were held in the Randolph home in Evanston on March 15 followed by interment at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.

Alvord and Randolph met at Northwestern between 1878 and 1880. They became close friends and maintained an intimate correspondence.

Scope and Content

The Katharine Alvord Papers, comprising one half-size box, span the years from 1880 through 1969 although most materials date from the period 1880-1881. Included in the series are biographical materials pertaining to Alvord and Randolph; correspondence between the two in both holographic form and typescript copies; clippings of reviews and notices of performances relating to Alvord's stage career; Alvord's original poetry and writings; her annotated copy of Henry James', Daisy Miller; and correspondence between Alvord's grand-niece, Caroline M. Daniels, and the Chicago Tribune concerning publication of the Alvord-Randolph correspondence.

The Alvord-Randolph correspondence spans the period from June, 1880 through July, 1881. It documents the development of their close relationship as well as illustrates their attitudes towards education and careers. Alvord and Randolph often noted values that they held in opposition to prevailing cultural norms. The correspondence is notable for its reflection of the resulting tension between individual and social concerns. Finally, Randolph's letters, including several sketches, provide sometimes graphic insights into student life at Northwestern.

Subjects

Personal Name

Lee, John R. (John Robert), 1923-1976--Archives

Randolph, Frederick W., 1860-1882

Subjects

Drama--Study and teaching


Container List / Contents

  • Biographical Materials, 1880-1963Box 1, Folder 1
  • Correspondence: Randolph to Alvord; (Holographic), June, 1880 July, 1881Box 1, Folder 2
  • Correspondence: Alvord to Randolph; (Holographic), October 1880-July, 1881Box 1, Folder 3
  • Correspondence: (Typescript copies of holographs), June, 1880-July, 1881Box 1, Folder 4
  • Katharine Alvord: Reviews and Notices of Performances, ca. 1890-1891Box 1, Folder 5
  • Katharine Alvord: Poetry and Writings, n.d.Box 1, Folder 6
  • Henry James, "Daisy Miller", 1878Box 1, Folder 7
  • Caroline M. Daniels–Chicago Tribune Correspondence, 1964, 1969Box 1, Folder 8