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SIM-01: Theodora DuBois Papers, 1674-2000

Identifier: SIM-01

Scope and Contents

Please note that the finding aid is split into two sections, as the family papers in the Family Papers series of the collection are not directly related to DuBois' literary career. Materials related to DuBois & literary career are in the Theodora DuBois series. The Photographs series includes photographs related to both the Family Papers and Theodora DuBois. There are separate Biographical Notes, Scope & Content Notes and Series Descriptions for the Family Papers series.

Scope & Content Note - Theodora DuBois Papers

The Theodora DuBois Papers contain correspondence, published works, manuscripts, playbills, research notes, notebooks, business records, reviews, advertisements, scrapbooks and photographs. There are also materials related to the collection created by Theodora DuBois Paul and Eliot DuBois, DuBois' children, including biographical information and an annotated inventory of collection materials related to their mother's literary career. Theodora DuBois rarely dated her manuscripts. Some unpublished manuscripts contain her agent's information, which can usually date a manuscript as being written before or after 1952, although DuBois may have returned to her original agent very late in her life. A few others were dated from professional correspondence on the work. Where there is no way to date the manuscript, the finding aid relies upon the inventory for approximate dates.

Theodora DuBois Paul and Eliot DuBois, Theodora DuBois' children, created an annotated inventory list of collection contents that related to their mother's literary career. These materials are now located in Series 1: Theodora DuBois. This inventory is referred to as the collection inventory or index, and it is located in Oversized Box 1. The inventory's commentary provides basic plot summaries and background information for DuBois' works as well as annotations for DuBois' correspondence with her mother and other collection materials. It also includes information on various aspects of DuBois' life and career. The inventory has a table of contents, and the item list corresponds to the original box arrangement by Theodora DuBois Paul and Eliot DuBois. While the collection has been rearranged to follow a standard arrangement, the usability of the inventory has been maintained by cross-referencing the inventory's item (index) numbers for all collection materials included in the inventory's item list. If an item or folder is described in the inventory, its item number is listed in parentheses after the folder title in the Container List portion of the Finding Aid. The first number of the item (index) number is the box number and the number after the dash corresponds to its placement within the list of items for that particular box. For example, if the item number is 9-4, the commentary for the item/folder corresponds to the commentary for the 4th item in the inventory list for Box 9. If there is only one number without a dash, the commentary for the item/folder corresponds to the commentary for the inventory listing for that box number. Occasionally the item number has three digits, for example, 9- 10 [3], where the item number actually corresponds to a group of items rather than a single item. In this example, the commentary for the item number corresponds to the 3rd listing for the 10th item in the inventory for Box 9. The inventory contains commentary only for items relating to DuBois' literary career; it does not include commentary for the Family Papers or Photographs series.

The strength of the DuBois collection is in its manuscripts, published books and short stories. The collection contains 39 published books covering the period from 1930-1965. Most of these works are only available as books; only one partial manuscript (Freedom's Way) is available. The collection includes several foreign editions of DuBois' works. There are nine foreign editions books in the collections. There are also two complete foreign serializations (Freedom's Way and Armed with a New Terror) and one incomplete foreign serialization (The Wild Duck Murders) of DuBois' published books. These represent all of DuBois' published books; there are none known to be missing. While the collection includes a contract for Murdered Sleep (1938), it does not appear that Houghton-Mifflin ever published a book under this title. This contract might be related to another mystery published by Houghton-Mifflin under a different title during 1938- 1940.

The DuBois collection also contains many of the author's short stories, both as manuscripts and publications. The majority of DuBois' short stories were published in the 1920's and 1930's, before she began writing novels. There are magazines and/or clippings available for nineteen of DuBois' published short stories. Of these nineteen, seven are also available as manuscripts. There is a list of DuBois' published short stories with royalty information (See Box 17, Folder 10); from this it is known that at least seven published short stories are missing from the collection. In addition to the published short stories, there are 14 manuscripts for unpublished short stories covering the period from about 1920-1950.

DuBois wrote plays for both children and adults throughout her career. The collection contains approximately 33 plays for adults in Plays and 75 plays for children in Children's Plays. Many of her plays were performed locally in New York City, Staten Island or Washington, CT. A few were meant for radio and at least one was produced in Ireland. Except for a few children's plays published in John Martin's Book during 1916-1918, almost none of the plays were published. Many of her works for children date from her time spent teaching drama at the Foote School in New Haven, CT (1937-1946), and several plays were produced there as well. Some plays are earlier works (c.1914-1920) produced by the Workshop Players and/or the Clare Tree Major Theater Company. DuBois also taught in-service courses in drama for the New York City Board of Education during the 1960's, and the papers include some of her teaching notes and plays used in connection with the courses. As a whole, the plays date from about 1910 through the 1960's. There are also approximately seven playbills for her plays in Playbills.

The collection contains a large amount of juvenilia from DuBois' high school years, as she began saving her compositions at age thirteen. There is one work that predates this period, a short item called "Finding a Turtle" (1897). Most of these works are short stories; there is also one play, one essay of literary criticism and one attempt at a novel. In all, there are 23 items dating from 1906-1909. The majority of DuBois' poetry dates from just after this period, and generally covers the period of 1908 through the early 1920's. She wrote several poems during the time she spent in a tuberculosis sanatorium (1911-1912), but focused on prose after that period. The collection contains few essays; this was not a genre favored by the author and few were published.

While reviews and advertisements for her works are available, they are sparsely represented in the collection. There are reviews available for nine novels, two plays produced by the Workshop Players and one play produced in Washington, CT. There are also two advertisements in the collection, one for Freedom's Way and the other for The Emerald Crown. There are approximately fifty personal notebooks and research notebooks in the collection. Seven of these are related to Ireland and have notes related to both research and travel done there in the late 1940's and early 1950's. Others contain travel notes and research notes on various subjects including history, canoeing and medical issues (for detective stories).

There are also many items related to the financial and business aspects of DuBois' career. There is correspondence available from her agents (1926- 1978), as well as records with information on contracts, agents, publishers, copies sold and royalties. There are also handwritten accounts for her published works and these include information on agents, publishers, royalties and earnings. There is also a handwritten summary of all DuBois' financial accounts (See Box 17, Folder 12) that can be used to determine the approximate amount of her career earnings.

There is little personal correspondence in the collection. The papers include DuBois' letters to her mother (1913-1922), letters written in Munich and Cambridge (1928-1929) and a few letters from her son, Eliot DuBois, on research relating to Troy (1972).

There are several sources of biographical information in the collection; the most useful is the biography and inventory for the collection prepared by Dubois' children, Theodora DuBois Paul and Eliot DuBois (See Oversized Box 1). There are also several autobiographical pieces and newspaper stories that provide useful insight into the DuBois' life. The collection also contains memorabilia, photographs, family scrapbooks and travel scrapbooks.

Scope & Content Note - Family Papers

These are papers related to DuBois' ancestors and her contemporary family members, but not directly related to DuBois. Most materials relate to 19th century ancestors, but there are four wills for 17th and 18th century ancestors.

The family papers are arranged alphabetically by family name and then chronologically by family member. Most of the files contain correspondence received, but additional items such as business cards are also with the person's files. General family files, which contain items related to several members of the family, are placed last within each family's files. Three sets of files not directly related to any one family are placed after the alphabetical family files. These are Genealogical Papers, Anonymous Writings and Miscellaneous files.

The bulk of the material in the collection is personal correspondence from the mid to late nineteenth century. Most of the correspondence is between family members, but there are some letters from other acquaintances. The correspondence generally deals with everyday life and family matters, with few exceptions. The Halls made a Kansas land claim and H.D. Hall and Charles J. Hall spent time in Kansas in the late 1850's, and there are several items of correspondence from this time period. There are also a few letters from family members (H.D. Hall and Charles J. Hall) serving in the 13th Regiment of the New York State Infantry during 1862-3. There are also several letters from two acquaintances of Benjamin J. Brenton in the 1850's - one describes traveling in New Orleans, Vicksburg and Indiana, the other was a student at the New York Free Academy (the foundation of the City University of New York).

While the bulk of collection consists of correspondence, there are other materials in the collection. These materials include wills for Governor William Brenton (1674), Governor Samuel Cranston (1727), Jahleel Brenton (1732), Jaheel Brenton (nephew to the first) (1766), Uriah Hawkins (1837) and Eliot McCormick (1891). There are a few items related to H.D. Hall's commissions in the New York State Milita, 1836-1862, and his son Charles J. Hall's discharge from the 13th NYS Infantry Regiment in 1862. There are items related to pensions for service in both the American Revolution and the Civil War. There are also a few legal documents, including items related to Monroe Henderson's land claim in Iowa.

Several members of the family were writers. The collection contains several handwritten items by H.D. Hall, Monroe Henderson and school assignments by Benjamin J. Brenton. There are also two scrapbooks of literary works by Eliot McCormick that were published in newspapers.

The collection includes very little in relation to the service of family members in the New York State Legislature. Monroe Henderson represented the 1st Senatorial District in the New York State Senate during 1861-1863 and there is evidence to suggest that H.D. Hall served in the Assembly during this period. There is correspondence relating to Henderson's poor health in this period, but nothing relating to his service in the Senate. There are a few items related to Hall's service including a seating plan of the Assembly Chamber (1862) and a few bills that he apparently sponsored in the Assembly.

The collection contains only a few business related items. There is a notification of a change of business address for H.D. Hall, who was a dentist (1848). James J. Brenton founded the Long Island Democrat weekly newspaper in 1835. The paper continued publication until 1912, but the Brenton family no longer published it after 1884, when Lewis Wood became the proprietor and publisher. The collection includes a few 1831 items related to James J. Brenton's search for equipment or personnel with which to start the paper. Long Island Democrat is available in its entirety on microfilm at the Hempstead Public Library and the Queensborough Public Library. The Queensborough Public Library holds the Brenton's business records for the Long Island Democrat and also holds some additional Brenton family papers, particularly for James J. Brenton.

There are indications that several family members were abolitionists, but the collection contains nothing outside of a map published by abolitionists in Brooklyn relating to the Kansas-Nebraska Act.


  • Creation: 1674 - 2000

Biographical / Historical

The material in the biographical note is drawn from materials written by DuBois' children, Theodora DuBois Paul and Eliot DuBois. Theodora DuBois Paul and Eliot DuBois wrote "Biographical Notes on Theodora DuBois," and also created an annotated inventory of items now housed in the collection.

Theodora DuBois was born Theodora Brenton Eliot McCormick in Brooklyn on September 14, 1890 to Eliot McCormick (1849-1891) and Laura Case Brenton McCormick (1869-1923). DuBois' father died when she was a year old, and she was christened at his funeral. While Eliot's will provided for the family, the yearly income was probably not sufficient for Laura to support herself and Theodora alone. Laura remarried in 1897 and her second husband, Charles MacDonald (1857-1945), was a lawyer and Wall Street broker. He had a son, Sam (1886-1965), from a previous marriage, and together the couple had one child that survived infancy, Howard (1898- 1965).

The remarriage of DuBois' mother created family tensions and unhappiness for DuBois. The McCormick family disliked MacDonald and did not support the marriage. In addition, Eliot McCormick's will had left money in trust for DuBois under the trusteeship of his brother-in-law, Edgar Abbot. MacDonald immediately sued to gain control of DuBois' money and later arranged to use $5000 of that money to purchase Seven Pines, a large home in Yonkers, in 1900. MacDonald's suit was ultimately unsuccessful, but it lasted several years. This situation created a split between the MacDonalds and the McCormicks. Although DuBois continued to visit her father's relatives, her stepfather and mother were not on good terms with them. DuBois' relationship with her stepfather grew worse as she grew older, as she felt he was overbearing, controlling and prone to anger. DuBois hated her stepfather and became protective of her mother, although she clearly loved her husband despite his faults. This poor relationship with her stepfather is also reflected in DuBois' writing, both in recurring themes and in the portrayal of villains.

From 1897-1900, the family lived in Manhattan and DuBois attended the Barnard School for Girls, where she made friends and took part in various classes and activities. The move to Yonkers in 1900 was difficult for DuBois as it socially isolated the family. In Yonkers, DuBois attended the Halsted School and received a classical education. She also began writing and saving her compositions when she was thirteen. She was accepted to Vassar in 1909, but her parents did not support her attendance. She planned to attend after she reached the age of majority in 1911, but was diagnosed with tuberculosis shortly after her birthday and spent several months in a sanatorium. She wrote a great deal of poetry during her illness, but dedicated herself to prose thereafter. She remained at home at Seven Pines for several additional years, and continued writing prose and drama. She also produced several plays with the help of friends. The first of these, The Forty Thieves, was produced for the Halsted School Alumnae Association with good results. After this, Dubois and her friends organized The Workshop Players, one of the first small community theaters for children. Many of the children's plays produced during this period, including The Sleeping Beauty, The King of Caramand and Aladdin were later produced in New York by the Clare Tree Major Theater Company. Several plays, including The Christmas Shepherds, The Tables, Damon & Pythias and Grandmother's Wand were published in John Martin's Magazine, a children's magazine, between 1916 and 1918. DuBois also attended the Dartmouth Summer School for Drama in 1916 and co-authored Amateur and Educational Dramatics (1917) with Evelyne Hilliard and Kate Oglebay. She met Delafield DuBois while visiting the Abbots (the family of her father's sister) in Connecticut in 1917, and they were married the following year. Delafield DuBois was ten years older than DuBois. He had graduated from Harvard (1903) and was employed as an electrical engineer for Safety Cable Company but also pursued other research interests. After their marriage, Theodora DuBois did not return to Seven Pines except briefly to visit her mother, who died of cancer in 1923.

The DuBois' moved to Dongan Hills on Staten Island. The couple had two children, Theodora in 1919 and Eliot in 1922. Dubois continued writing short stories and plays. Her first published short story, "Thursday and the King and Queen," was published in Women's Home Companion in 1920 and she continued to publish short stories throughout the 1920's. In 1928, Delafield DuBois left his job to pursue research and the family went to Europe for 18 months, spending time in Munich, Cambridge, Italy and Ireland. The experiences from this travel informed many of DuBois' future works.

The Depression brought changes for the DuBois family and to DuBois' career. As demand for her short stories declined, DuBois tried writing novels and the first, The Devil's Spoon, was published in 1930. The family moved to Connecticut during this period in order to economize. Delafield DuBois had obtained a fellowship at Yale Medical School and the family lived in Washington, CT from 1931-34. During this period DuBois chiefly wrote plays, including Rocks and Rills and The Noble Free. The former was a large-scale production written for the celebration of Washington's tercentenary. In 1934, the family moved to New Haven where they lived until Delafield DuBois' retirement after the end of World War II (1946). This was a prolific period for DuBois. She wrote several successful detective novels including Armed with a New Terror (1936). A total of twenty of her detective stories were published during 1941-1954, and many were translated and published abroad. DuBois was always interested in the stage, and taught drama at the Foote School in New Haven and produced several children's plays for the school. She also wrote books and stories for children including Diana Can Do It (1937) and Heroes in Plenty (1945), the latter inspired by two English children who were sponsored by the DuBois family during World War II.

Delafield DuBois' retirement allowed the Dubois' to travel, and this experience influenced much of DuBois' later work. The Dubois' bought a boat, Sea Wind, and spent nine months of each of the three successive years sailing. A number of DuBois' novels are based upon her sailing experiences including Rogue's Coat (1949), Sarah Hall's Sea God (1952) and We Merrily Put to Sea (1950), a children's book.

The DuBois' returned to Dongan Hills on Staten Island in the early 1950's. The family also traveled to Ireland and spent time on the Shannon River, the Grand Canal and in Dublin. A number of DuBois' later works were influenced by her experiences in Ireland including The Cavalier's Corpse (1952), The Emerald Crown (1955), he Love of Fingin O'LeaT (1957) and The High King's Daughter (1965), a book for young adults. The last three books were historical novels; DuBois wrote several in the 1950's and 1960's including Freedom's Way (1953), Captive of Rome (1962) and Tiger Burning Bright (1964), another book for young adults. She wrote other works of juvenile fiction during this period, including Rich Boy, Poor Boy (1951) and Dangerous Rescue (1964). She also wrote several mysteries set on Staten Island - High Tension (1951), Solution T-25 (1951), Foul Play (1952), The Listener (1953) and Seeing Red (1954) - and co-authored a history, The Staten Island Patroons (1961), with Dorothy Valentine Smith.

DuBois began to experience professional difficulties during the 1950's. She changed agents early in 1952, leaving Paul R. Reynolds, who had been her agent since the 1910's, and going to McIntosh & Otis. This was partially because a cousin by marriage, Mary Abbot, was a partner in McIntosh & Otis, but also because the Reynolds agency encouraged her to write a historical novel on Ireland, Where the Blackthorn Grows, which was rejected by publishers. There were also problems associated with the publication of Seeing Red (1954). Seeing Red was part of the series of McNeill mystery stories that had begun with Armed with a New Terror (1936). The book was a sequel to Murder Strikes an Atomic Unit (1946), which dealt with the theft of atomic secrets. The plot of Seeing Red involves the appearance of the McNeill's as suspects before the House Un-American Activities Committee. DuBois had been appalled when she had gone to Washington to research and observe the committee and portrayed it negatively in the book. The caused backlash against her and the book's publisher, Doubleday, received angry letters on the issue, although DuBois was not informed of them at the time due to health problems. Doubleday did not publish any additional McNeill mysteries after this incident, although they had previously published several of DuBois' books as part of their Crime Club.

DuBois' career went into decline in the 1960's for both personal and professional reasons. DuBois was concerned for her husband's health during the sixties, particularly as he had been diagnosed with cancer in 1954. Delafield Dubois died in 1964 and during that same year Theodora DuBois began to go blind. Dubois' failing eyesight caused professional difficulties, particularly as it affected her ability to do research, although she continued to create manuscripts using a tape recorder and a stenographer. But her career's decline was also due to changing tastes and trends in fiction. Fiction became more explicit in its treatment of sex and violence; a trend disliked by DuBois. DuBois also enjoyed writing historical novels, but except for Freedom's Way (1953), which made the New York Times Best Seller list, the novels were not particularly successful. The style and subject matter of her works became less popular over time. Ultimately, her last published works were released during 1964-1965, and included The Late Bride, The High King's Daughter and Shannon Terror.

Despite these personal and professional setbacks, DuBois continued writing and the collection contains several unpublished manuscripts written in her later years. She attempted another historical novel, New York is Ruled by the Sword, but publishers did not feel there was interest in the local history of New York City to justify publication and she never completed the novel. She also continued to write plays, and it is possible that one or two were produced on Irish radio in the late 1960's. DuBois started her last book, a history on her ancestor Roger Williams, in 1984, but it was never finished. She died in New York City on February 1, 1986.

Biographical Sketch - Family Papers

Theodora McCormick DuBois was a descendent of Governor William Brenton of Rhode Island through her mother, Laura Case Brenton. Governor William Brenton was born in Hammersmith, England, in 1610. He came to Boston in 1633 and was among the original settlers of Newport, RI, in 1637. The Brentons were a prominent Rhode Island family and their descendants are related to both Governor Samuel Cranston and to Roger Williams. The Brenton family had been loyalist during the American Revolution, and some family members fled to England and Nova Scotia. Others stayed in Rhode Island, but the family lost its most valuable estates during the war. The family papers deal with several generations of the Brenton family and related families including the Hall, Henderson and Hawkins families. The James J. Brenton family ultimately settled in Jamaica, NY in the 19th century, probably in the 1820's. Other related families, including the Hendersons and Halls, are associated with both the Jamaica, NY and the Utica, NY areas.

The following persons are included in the collection. There are separate files for several family members, but these include correspondence from other family members. Bolded names are direct lineal relations of Theodora McCormick DuBois.


Persons in this section are Laura Case Brenton's paternal relatives, members of her immediate family or her nephews. Laura Case Brenton (McCormick) (MacDonald) is Theodora DuBois' mother. • Governor William Brenton, 1610-1674. Governor Brenton was born in Hammersmith, England in 1610. The Brenton family was prominent in England, and William Brenton came to Boston in 1633 and was among the original settlers of Newport, RI, in 1637. He served as a government official in both Rhode Island and Boston. He married Martha Burton and had nine (possibly ten) children.

• Jahleel Brenton, 1655-1732. Jahleel Brenton was Governor William Brenton's eldest son. He died unmarried in 1732.

• Jahleel Brenton, 1691-1767. Jahleel Brenton was the nephew of Jahleel Brenton (1655-1732) and the grandson of Governor William Brenton. Jahleel Brenton married twice (Frances Cranston, daughter of Samuel Cranston, in 1715, and then Mary Hart, in 1744), and had 22 children.

• Governor Samuel Cranston, 1659-1727. Samuel Cranston was governor of Rhode Island from 1698-1727. His daughter, Frances Cranston (1694- 1740), married Jahleel Brenton (1691-1767).

• Samuel Brenton, 1733-1797. Samuel Brenton was the 11th child of Jaheel Brenton (1691-1727). He married Susan Cook. They had five children, but only two married. Elizabeth married William G. Shaw and Abby married John Mumford.

• Benjamin Brenton, 1737 or 1738-1830. Benjamin Brenton was the 14th child of Jahleel Brenton (1691-1767). He was a loyalist and fled to Nova Scotia during the American Revolution, and so lost his estate. He married Rachel Cook, sister to Susan Cook, in 1764 and had 10-13 children.

• Rebecca Brenton. 1770s-? Rebecca Brenton was the daughter of Benjamin Brenton and the sister of James Brenton.

• James Brenton, 1777-1816. James Brenton was the sixth or seventh child of Benjamin Brenton. He married Sarah Buckman and had four children.

• Elizabeth Cook Brenton, 1779-1870. Elizabeth Cook Brenton was the eighth child of Benjamin Brenton and the sister of James Brenton.

• Sarah Atherton Brenton (Jackson), 1780's-?. Sarah Atherson Brenton was the tenth child of Benjamin Brenton and the sister of James Brenton. • Admiral Sir Jahleel Brenton, 1770-1844. Admiral Sir Jahleel Brenton was the son of Rear-Admiral Jahleel Brenton (1729-1802), who was the 8th child of Jahleel Brenton (1691-1767). Rear-Admiral Jahleel Brenton lost his estate due to his support of the British during the American Revolution and was forced to flee Rhode Island, ultimately going to England. Both served in the British Navy and Admiral Sir Jahleel Brenton was awarded a baronetcy for his naval service.

• Harriet Brenton, 1788-1863. Harriet Brenton was a granddaughter of Jahleel Brenton (1691-1767) through his son James Brenton (1735-1798). She was also the second wife of her cousin, Admiral Sir Jahleel Brenton.

• Elizabeth Brenton (Shaw), 1764-1838. Elizabeth Brenton was the daughter of Samuel Brenton. She married William G. Shaw (1769-1865).

• James Jahleel Brenton, 1806-1881. James Jahleel Brenton was the first child of James Brenton and the great-grandfather of Theodora DuBois. He was originally named Jahleel and changed his name later to James. James J. Brenton started the Long Island Democrat in 1835 and at the time of his death was the oldest editor on Long Island and Treasurer of the village of Jamaica, NY. He was also a prominent Mason and a Warden of the Grace Episcopal Church in Jamaica. He married Elizabeth Eldred in 1831 and had three children.

• Elizabeth Eldred (Brenton), 1808-1875. Elizabeth Eldred (Brenton) was the great-grandmother of Theodora DuBois. She married James Jahleel Brenton in 1831.

• Harriet Maria Brenton (Hazard), 1810-1885. Harriet Maria Brenton was the sister of James Jahleel Brenton and the second child of James Brenton. She married William Hazard and had three children. Of these, Elizabeth Brenton Hazard and Harriet Maria Hazard survived to adulthood.

• Benjamin Jahleel Brenton, 1832-1911. Benjamin Jahleel Brenton was the first child of James Jahleel Brenton and the grandfather of Theodora DuBois. He was a clerk in a pharmacy and also assisted in the creation of perfumes and mouthwashes. He is also noted as being a merchant and an accountant. He married Orvetta Hall in 1861 and had four children.

• Orvetta Hall (Brenton), 1844-1928. See listing under the Hall family. • James Eldred Brenton, c.1834-1884. James Eldred Brenton was the second child of James Jahleel Brenton and the brother of Benjamin J. Brenton. He was one of the owners and an editor of the Long Island Democrat, which his father, James J. Brenton, had established in 1835. James E. Brenton may have taken over as editor of the paper after his father's death in 1881.

• Sarah Elizabeth Brenton. c.1843-1907. Sarah Elizabeth Brenton was the third child of James Jahleel Brenton and sister to Benjamin J. Brenton.

• Elizabeth Brenton Hazard (Wells), 1837-? Elizabeth Brenton Hazard was the daughter of Harriet Maria Brenton Hazard and William Hazard. She married John Henry Wells.

• Harriet Maria Hazard (Clarke), 1842-1901. Harriet Maria Hazard was the daughter of Harriet Maria Brenton Hazard and William Hazard. She married John G. Clarke in 1869 and had six children. The birth of the first, Mary (b 1870), is mentioned in her letters to her sister Elizabeth.

• John Brenton, d 1870. John Brenton was some relation to the Brenton family in England. He is mentioned as a cousin in some of the Hazard letters.

• Theodora Brenton (Gardiner), 1863-1883. Theodora Brenton was the first child of Benjamin Jahleel Brenton and aunt to Theodora DuBois. She died in childbirth in 1883.

• Laura Case Brenton (McCormick MacDonald), 1869-1923. Laura Case Brenton was the second child of Benjamin J. Brenton. Laura married Eliot McCormick in 1888 and they had one child, Theodora McCormick (DuBois) in 1890. Laura married Charles MacDonald in 1897 after the death of her first husband and they had one surviving son, Howard Brenton MacDonald (1898-1965). Laura died of cancer in 1923.

• Mabel Brenton (Skidmore), 1872-1896. Mabel Brenton was the third child of Benjamin J. Brenton and aunt to Theodora McCormick DuBois. Mabel died in childbirth in 1896.

• Cranston Brenton, 1874-? Cranston Brenton was the fourth child of Benjamin J. Brenton. He married Elizabeth Curtis and had one child, Jonathan "Billy" Brenton. He was a minister in the Episcopal Church until his divorce. He was educated at Trinity College in Hartford, CT and later became a Professor of English Literature at the school. • Jonathan "Billy" Brenton, c.1906-?. Jonathan Brenton was the son of Cranston Brenton and a first cousin to Theodora McCormick Dubois. His name was later changed to William. He attended Princeton University and also worked as an actor. He died relatively young, perhaps in his late twenties.

• Florence Brenton. It cannot be determined how Florence Brenton is related to the Brenton family. The only Florence in any family is Florence Hall, sister to Orvetta Hall (Brenton).


Persons in these families are related to Theodora DuBois through her maternal grandmother, Orvetta Hall (Brenton). Bolded names are direct lineal relations of Theodora McCormick DuBois.

• Uriah Hawkins, 1758-1840. Uriah Hawkins was the great-grandfather of Orvetta Hall (Brenton). Hawkins served in the American Revolutionary War from 1775-1780 and was involved in the Battles of Trenton, Princeton and Monmouth. Likely he served for Rhode Island, as this was his place of residence during the war. He began as a private and rose to a rank of Sergeant Major, and was eligible to receive a pension for his service.

• Elizabeth Hawkins (Henderson), 1798-1859. Elizabeth Hawkins was the daughter of Uriah Hawkins and Mary Keith. She married Thomas Henderson in 1815.

• Thomas Henderson, 1782-1821. Thomas Henderson was the grandfather of Orvetta Hall. He was born in Glasgow, and died at sea in 1821.

• Thomas James Monroe Henderson, 1818-1899. Monroe Henderson was the uncle of Orvetta Hall and the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Henderson. He served as a state senator representing the 1st senatorial district in the New York State Senate, 1861-1863. His health was poor during part of 1862- 1863; it is not clear that he ran for re-election. His obituary lists as having been a prominent Republican in Queens County around 1860.

• Mary Jane Henderson (Hall), 1816-1860. Mary Jane Henderson was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Henderson, and sister to Monroe Henderson. She married Henry Dwight (H.D.) Hall in 1839 and was the mother of Orvetta Hall. She was also the great-grandmother of Theodora DuBois. • Henry Dwight (H.D.) Hall, 1808-1895. H.D. Hall was the father of Orvetta Hall and the great-grandfather of Theodora DuBois. He was a dentist, a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and records in the collection show that he had served as an assistant surgeon, a paymaster and a judge advocate in the New York State Militia during the 1830's and 1840's. He spent time in Kansas in the late 1850's as the family had a land claim there. He also had a commission as an assistant surgeon with the 13th Regiment of the New York State Infantry during 1862-1863. There is also some evidence that he served in the New York State Legislature sometime during 1861-1863.

• Florence Hall (Harris), 1842-1906. Florence Hall was the first child of H.D. Hall and great-aunt to Theodora DuBois. She married Charles H. Harris but had no surviving children.

• Orvetta Hall (Brenton), 1844-1928. Orvetta Hall (Brenton) was the daughter of H.D. Hall and the grandmother of Theodora DuBois. She married Benjamin J. Brenton in 1862.

• Charles Jeremiah Hall, c. 1845-? Charles J. Hall was the son of H.D. Hall. Little can be determined about him except that he served for 3 months in the 13th Regiment of the New York State Infantry for in 1862. At that time, he was eighteen years of age and a student. Letters to Monroe Henderson indicate that he eventually studied medicine at the University of Michigan (c.1868-1870) and became a doctor.


The McCormick and Abbot families are related to Theodora DuBois' father, Eliot McCormick, and his sister, Isabell McCormick (Abbot). The MacDonalds include DuBois' stepfather, Charles, and her half-brother, Howard. The DuBois family includes DuBois' in-laws, her husband, Delafield DuBois, and their children, Eliot and Theodora DuBois (Paul). Bolded names are direct lineal relations of Theodora DuBois.

• John McCormick,J 1818-1889. John McCormick was the grandfather of Theodora DuBois. He worked in insurance and was the secretary of the Atlantic Dock Company. He had belonged to the Merchant's Exchange in New York City. He married Caroline Pillsbury.

• Eliot McCormick, 1845-1891. Eliot McCormick was the father of Theodora McCormick (DuBois). Eliot had served on the editorial staff of both the Observer and the Christian Union. He also wrote numerous literary works, including children's stories, which were printed in such publications as Wide Awake. Eliot also worked in the insurance business and McCormick was elected Secretary of the Atlantic Dock Company after the death of his father. He also was involved in many charitable causes.

• Isabell McCormick (Abbot). Isabell McCormick was the sister to Eliot McCormick and aunt to Theodora DuBois. She married Edgar Abbot. They had at least two children, Carol (d. 1888) and Dorothy.

• Edgar Abbot. Edgar Abbot was husband to Isabell McCormick (Abbot).

• Dorothy Abbot (Loomis). Dorothy Abbot (Loomis) was the daughter of Isabell McCormick (Abbot) and the cousin of Theodora DuBois.

• Charles MacDonald, 1857-1945. Charles MacDonald was stepfather to Theodora DuBois. He was also a lawyer and a Wall Street stockbroker.

• Howard MacDonald, 1898-1965. Howard MacDonald was the son of Charles MacDonald and Laura Case Brenton. He was Theodora DuBois' half-brother.

• Delafield DuBois, 1880-1964. Delafield DuBois was the husband of Theodora McCormick (DuBois). They married in 1918 and had two children. DuBois graduated from Harvard (1903) and was an electrical engineer. He worked for the Safety Cable Company in Bayonne, NJ during the 1920's. He is also remembered for research that he and his cousin, Eugene DuBois, conducted to develop a formula to measure the skin's surface area (1916).

• Floyd R. DuBois. Floyd R. DuBois was the brother of Delafield DuBois.

• Mildred DuBois. Mildred DuBois was the sister of Delafield DuBois. She spent time in France with the YMCA during World War I.

• Theodora DuBois (Paul), b. 1919. Theodora DuBois (Paul) is the daughter of Theodora and Delafield DuBois.

• Eliot DuBois, 1922-1997. Eliot DuBois is the son of Theodora and Delafield DuBois.

A NOTE ON OTHER FAMILIES There is information included in the genealogy notes within the papers to trace the relationship of other families, such as the Halliburtons, to the Brenton family. A particularly useful source for tracing these relationships is in Box 19, Folder 24. There is some correspondence from these cousins in the collection. There is also some genealogical information on families related to the Henderson and Hall families in the collection.


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Language of Materials



Theodora DuBois (1890-1986) was the author of popular juvenile fiction. Her family had long-standing connections to Staten Island and she was a resident for much of her adult life. The collection consists mainly of DuBois's writings (including autobiographical materials) and publications. It also includes genealogical materials relating to the DuBois, Abbot, Brenton, McCormick, Hall and Henderson families and a biography of DuBois written by her children. In addition, the collection includes personal photographs, family correspondence, wills, journals, research notebooks and scrapbooks.


The Theodora DuBois Papers are divided into four series:

THEODORA DUBOIS Biographical Materials Correspondence Writings Playbills Research Notes & Notebooks Professional Contracts & Financial Statements Reviews Advertisements Scrapbooks Memorabilia

FAMILY PAPERS Brenton Cranston DuBois Hall Harris Hazard Hawkins Henderson McCormick MacDonald Shaw Genealogical Materials Anonymous Writings Miscellaneous



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