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Dwight St. John Bobb (1876-1946) and Family Collection

Identifier: 31/6/113

Scope and Contents

This collection is divided into two principal sections, Biographical Materials and Photographs and Correspondence.

The Biographical Materials and Photographs include items dating between the years 1865 and 1999. Folders of like items are arranged by topical headings and are followed by a photo album and two binders of photographs. The bulk of the materials in this portion of the collection contains records that document Dwight St. John Bobb’s paternal ancestry.

The first box of the collection contains matriculation records, various biographical profiles, and obituaries. Also included are wedding announcements and greeting cards accumulated by Bobb during his lifetime. Additional material documents Bobb’s genealogy, including photographs of his parents and photographs and biographical records pertaining to other ancestors. A compact disc holding digitized copies of the photographs in the Reuben and Amanda Bobb Family photograph album is included at the end of Box 1.

Box 2 of the collection holds the Reuben and Amanda Bobb Family photograph album. This album, dating apparently from the early years of the 20th century, primarily consists of photographs of Reuben and Amanda Bobb and their children, Eldora, Ida Mae, Clyde, and Boyd. The album also contains photographs of some of these childrens’ spouses along with images of members of the Grigsby family, into which Ida Mae married. The photographs are labeled with their subjects’ names when known.

The two binders of photographs are contained in Box 3. The first binder, labeled Bobb Family Photographs Book 1, contains materials spanning from approximately 1880 to 1952, with the exception of the genealogical records, which were obtained in 2013. It is divided into sections pertaining to the Reager family, the Bobb family, Reuben and Amanda Bobb, Milly Eldora Bobb, Ida Mae Bobb, and Boyd Byron Bobb. Found within these sections are genealogical records, cabinet cards and mounted photographs of family members, enlarged copies of many of the photographs, and newspaper clippings featuring obituaries and marriage announcements. All photographs are labeled with the names of the subjects though few are dated. Correspondence of Ida Mae Grigsby will be found at the end of the binder.

The contents of the second binder, labeled Bobb Family Photographs Book 2, cover the years from approximately 1864 to 1925, excepting the genealogical records which date from 2013. The binder holds photographs but also includes correspondence and financial records as well as other documents. The photographs include 11 cabinet cards and 5 tintypes along with enlarged copies of the same. They depict members of the Bobb family, including Dr. Daniel Bingaman Bobb and Arminda F. St. John, the parents of Dwight St. John Bobb. There are letters and 33 postcards receieved by Reuben Bobb, Ida Mae Bobb, and Ruby Ruth Grigsby. In addition, there are genealogical records, the personal expense ledger of Reuben Bobb, and copies of Reuben Bobb’s Civil War records.

The Correspondence Files span the period 1897-1929. Each folder contains one letter, as well as its associated envelope along with any material that was included with the correspondence of that date, such as programs and lecture advertisements. The folders are arranged chronologically. Bobb wrote the majority of the letters during his years as an undergraduate at Northwestern. These Northwestern letters are all addressed to his father Daniel and the date pattern indicates that writing home each Sunday was a habit for him.

The letters not only provide insight into the life of Bobb, but also afford a glimpse into the nature of college life in the late nineteenth century. Particularly notable are the letters of April 25 and 28, 1898, documenting Bobb's concerns pertaining to military service during the Spanish American War. The letter dated December 12, 1897, provides a detailed account of a Frances Willard lecture and reflects the esteem in which she was held by the local community. Additionally, the letters illustrate the mundane activities associated with college attendance. Examples include the letter dated March 16, 1898, describing Bobb’s desire to take part-time work as a night clerk at the Greenwood Inn, and his concerns about balancing the demands of that position with his schoolwork. Many letters, much like the one of February 7, 1898, describe Bobb’s academic life and the stress surrounding examinations and course assignments. Evidence of homesickness can be found in letters such as that of January 2, 1898, in which Bobb regrets no longer being able to ride horses back home in Dakota, Illinois. Other letters address experiences unique to Northwestern at that time, including the letter of December 26, 1897, which indicates that Bobb came down with a severe cold due to a lack of heat during the winter.

Included at the end of the Dwight St. John Bobb Papers is a compact disc which contains JPEG-format digitized images of all of the letters contained in this collection as well as digitized photographs and documents that supplement the material in the biographical files.


  • 1864 - 2012


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


4 Boxes

Language of Materials



Dwight St. John Bobb was born on July 19, 1876 in Dakota, Illinois, the son of Daniel Bobb, a physician, and his wife Arminda St. John. The Dwight St. John Bobb and Family Collection fills four boxes and contains material spanning the years 1865 to 2012. The collection is divided into two subsections, Biographical Materials and Photographs and Correspondence.


The Biographical Materials and Photographs folders are arranged in alphabetical order by topical headings, followed by a photo album and two binders of photographs. Correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Source of Acquisition

The Dwight St. John Bobb papers were donated to the University Archives by Eloise and Jerry Rollo Grigsby on May 4, 2012 (accession number 12-79), on November 5, 2013 as (accession number 14-1) and in December, 2013 (accession number 14-2).

Guide to the Dwight St. John Bobb (1876-1946) and Family Collection
James Golinkoff and Ari Sillman, May 2012; Updated by Harriet Colie, February 2013.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US