LUCRETIA GARFIELD Correspondence 1919-1958 Part I

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel
LUCRETIA GARFIELD Correspondence 1919-1958 Part I

LUCRETIA GARFIELD Correspondence 1919-1958 Part I
Teacher, Scouting 1918-1922

TAGS: Lucretia Garfield, Harry Augustus Garfield, Williams College, US President James A. Garfield, Girl Scouts, social service, Ethel Zande, Katherine Pettit, Evelyn K. Wells, fundraising, donations, epidemics, weaving, Kitty and Allie Ritchie

Lucretia Garfield came from a remarkable family. She was born on January 18, 1894, in Ohio, the daughter of Harry “Hal” Augustus Garfield and Belle Hartford Garfield. Harry, her father, was President of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and later headed the Federal Fuel Administration during WWI and throughout the 1918-1919 flu pandemic. Belle, her mother was a very sensitive and caring parent but was given to periods of anxiety that required extensive “rests.”

Harry was the son of the 20th President of the United States, James A. Garfield and his wife Lucretia, or “Crete” Garfield. President Garfield died at the hands of a disgruntled and narcissistic assassin.

As the daughter of Belle and Harry Garfield and granddaughter of First Lady Lucretia Garfield and James, Lucretia had a high bar to reach but she had also inherited the family tenacity and sensitivity to social need and service. Named for her grandmother, whose shortened nickname was “Crete,” she chose to be known as “Cre” and many of her letters to the staff at Pine Mountain are signed with the familiar “Cre” that she reserved for close friends.

Lucretia Garfield Comer was born in 1894. She married John Preston Comer on December 25, 1925, an Assistant Professor of Government at Williams College in Williamstown, MA. They had three children: John (“Jack”) P. Comer, Mary Laura Comer and Elizabeth Comer.

For more about Lucretia Garfield, her family and her affiliation with PMSS, go to her biography at LUCRETIA GARFIELD.

CONTENTS: LUCRETIA GARFIELD Correspondence 1919-1958 
Part I (1919-1922)

[Note: All letters from PMSS staff are carbon copies, typewritten and unsigned. The initials at the bottom left of most PMSS letters indicate the writer (along with initials of the secretary). For example “EZ” are the initials of Ethel de Long Zande, “KP” refers to Katherine Pettit and “EKW” to Evelyn K. Wells. The transcriptions are in chronological order and not necessarily in order of the image number.]

001-001d August 19, no year. Handwritten 4-page letter to Miss Wells from Helene(?) Storrow (Mrs. James J. Storrer) at “Sleepy Hill,” Lincoln, MA. [001] She is the Commission of the Massachusetts Council Girl Scouts; Mrs. Peabody suggested to her that PMSS might “enroll some(?) of the girls of your school among the Girl Scouts“; [001b] and is willing to suggest a captain(?); encloses literature; [001a] recommends Lucretia Garfield, daughter of the president of Williams College, and explains why she may be suitable; asks about financial arrangements; may be able to secure a playground worker; [001c] asks for information so she can find the appropriate person; she holds school for the training of officers and knows them well. [001d] Many women studied at Columbia and elsewhere but she knows of no list of those seeking positions. 

002 September 9, 1919. To Mrs. James J. Storrow from EZ (Ethel de Long Zande), who is interested in the Girl Scout literature and organizing the girls; only room for a volunteer; describes the girls’ needs; has met Miss Garfield; can provide living expenses only; volunteer must be adaptable to difficult weather and the “unexpected”; hopes Miss Garfield will come to PMSS soon.

003-003b September 2(?), no year. Handwritten 3-page letter to “My dear Miss Wells” from Helene(?) Storrow. [003] Refers to her previous letter; [003a] Miss Garfield asked for more information. [003b] recommends Miss Garfield.

004 September 11, 1919. To Mrs. Storrow from [unsigned], Secretary. Information has been sent and the School hopes Miss Garfield is interested.

005 October 24, 1919. To Miss V.W. Buffum at Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, TN, from EZ. 

005 September 15, 1919. To Mrs. Storrow in Lincoln, MA, from EZ, who adds teaching and recreation to Garfield’s potential duties.

007 September 25, 1919. To Mrs. Zande from Lucretia Garfield. Accepts the position of Girl Scout leader and help on the playground and with teaching. Asks about dates, directions and clothing. Mrs. Storrer will be teaching Lucretia folk-dancing and singing games.

006 October 24, 1919. To Miss V.W. Buffum at Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, TN, from EZ. Asks Buffum to find someone to accompany Garfield when she arrives at Middlesborough. William Lewis will meet her with a mule. Asks about Polly Turner; encloses photos; mentions Berto.

008 September 29, 1919. To Miss Garfield in Williamstown, MA, from EZ, who welcomes her; explained the addition of housemother assistant to her duties. “You know all of us share in the home life of the children just as much as we can.” Describes clothing needs; encloses “sheet of directions” and traveling instructions. Hopes she arrives by October 16.

009 N.D. Handwritten note to Miss Lucretia Garfield from Ethel Zande. Details arrangements for meeting Garfield in Middlesborough (sic).

010 October 17, 1919. Handwritten note to Mrs. Zande from Lucretia Garfield, who must stay home a few days longer with her mother who “has had a very hard week….”

012 October 22, 1919. Typewritten letter to Mrs. Zande from Lucretia Garfield, who explains her mother’s condition; plans to take her mother to a nerve specialist in Bethel; will delay her arrival for a few weeks or more. Suggests that Zande could fill the position with someone else. Offers to arrange a meeting for the PMSS fundraiser [Angela Melville], perhaps at her own school, St. Timothy’s in Catonsville, MD.

011 October 23, 1919. To Miss Garfield from EZ. Regrets Garfield can’t arrive as scheduled.

013 October 28, 1919. To Miss Garfield from EZ, who expresses empathy, telling of a similar situation with her own mother. PMSS can hold the Scout leader position open for Garfield. Miss Buffum and Judge Marvin were disappointed when Garfield didn’t arrive and EZ suggests that Garfield’s father, a friend of the Judge, visit him. Miss Melville will be visiting Bryn Mawr but not any further south than Philadelphia.

014-014a N.D. [014] A typewritten note asking Miss Garfield for a list of her degrees or certificates and institutions for the November PMSS Notes (1920?). [014a] A brief note, apparently handwritten by Garfield, with information about her education.


016 February 16, 1921. To Mr. James Garfield in Williamstown, MA, from EZ, who thanks him for his $5 annual subscription; encloses a subscription card and literature for others.

017 March 28, 1921. Two-page letter to Lucretia Garfield in New York City from EZ, [017] who hasn’t written because of her “very broken and confused year…” Thanked her for EZ’s share of the workers’ luncheon box; interested in Garfield’s reports of Pine Mountain teas in New York. Describes PMSS’s “very good year,” including getting electric lights and a nearly finished infirmary, but the school is “desperately poor” financially; Encloses fundraising material for those who wish to be godmothers or godfathers to the children. Described Easter celebration on the campus; singing, egg-hunt, Easter service, and an Easter play. “I sometimes wonder if children even in fortunate circumstances manage to get as much beauty packed into a festival as ours do here.” [017a] EZ expresses interest in the work at Williams College; regrets how difficult it is to get “first-hand facts.” Evelyn to attend the Knoxville Conference; describes her ideas for May Day.

018 April 11, 1921. To Lucretia from EZ, who thanks Garfield for her annual subscription of $15; mumps epidemic; measles just starting; can’t afford to finish the Infirmary, so the two-room log house is the temporary hospital. 

019 May 27, 1921. To “My dear Girl,” from EZ. Appreciated scholarship donations from Garfield’s grandmother (Mrs. Mason) and Miss Lynch; mentions Kay [Katherine B.] Wright.

020 July 12, 1921. To Lucretia from EZ, who asked if she had paid a $12.30 bill; received clothing and toys from a donor in Williamstown.

021-021f July 26, 1921. Eight-page handwritten letter to Mrs. Zande from Lucretia. [021] Assures Zande that her bill was paid. [021a] Enjoyed visiting with Kay and Ethel Wright, who won’t be returning to PMSS next year [021b] but Kay will be returning. [021c] Garfield is still indefinite about returning to PMSS; [021d] is interested in serving at the extension center. [021e] She may be able to come to PMSS if her parents go abroad [021f] and fill in for a few months. [021g] Confirms Grandmother Mason’s address.

022 N.D. Typewritten note from EKW (Evelyn K. Wells), who asks about assigning Lucretia Garfield the playground. A handwritten unsigned note answers, “Yes….” 

023-023c August 24, 1921. Three-page handwritten letter to Mrs. Zande from Lucretia Garfield, [023a] Gives the dates when she can work: October 2 until January [023b] when her parents are abroad. [023c] The Institute is nearly over now.

024 [no image available]

025 September 10, 1921. Two-page handwritten letter to Mrs. Zande from Garfield. Will arrive in Bristol on September 14 to return to PMSS with Kay. [025a] Closing and signature.


068 February 23, 1922. To Lucretia from [unsigned]. Mrs. Zande is in Louisville; “overjoyed your two anonymous contributors”; enclosing literature. “I feel sure Mrs. Zande will want to buy a bond with this money, for large sums ought to be invested at once rather than spent.” Mentions Delia’s twins, Cooley [Olive Coolidge], Emily Chichester and Mr. Sharp.

069-069a March 8, 1922. Two-page letter to Lucretia in Williamstown, MA, from EZ, [069] who had been in Frankfort concerning the road; “I am glad you got the idea of our protest ‘across’ at Savannah….”; pinned tenderfoot badges on the girls’ troop at Line Fork. Mentions “better babies posters”; Mrs. Alderman’s application and her possible salary; “…annual running expenses are over $50,000 this year, as they were last year. About a fourth comes in from annual pledges.” [069a] Refers to speaking trips as “cultivating” new friends who may become large contributors later. The contributions from the trips at least pay for travel expenses, but sometimes more. The other income is from mailed literature (other than Notes) once or twice a year, associations and individuals, individual letters sent to mailing list friends, and letters to new people. “The income from our endowment will amount now to $1,275.00 a year. This is a help, but you see it is not nearly as much as it ought to be.” Mentions Aunt Sal and Berto.

026 April 10, 1922. To Lucretia from EZ, who thanked her for the books and described how they are needed. Enjoying Miss (Olive) Coolidge, who can stay for May Day; EZ passed her second-class Girl Scout tests.

027 April 15, 1922. To Lucretia in Williamstown, MA, from EZ. Encloses the week’s form letter [Dear Friend letter?]; received $1000 gift for the Demonstration Cottage (Practice House?), where Miss Atkins and two girls will live. Atkins will teach Domestic Science at the high school which gives the girls units of credit for their work; same with the boys under Mr. [Leon] Deschamps in Forestry and Orcharding.

028 April 15, 1922. To Lucretia from EZ. Appreciates $15 gift; describes springtime at PMSS. The children are eating rice and cocoa for four weeks to save money for the Polish children. “…[W]e are so glad to have them realize in their own persons the sufferings of others.”

029 April 19, 1922. To “My dear Miss Garfield” from KP (Katherine Pettit), who thanks Garfield for money for the blanket; mentions Miss Doughty’s blanket; Miss [Daisy] Bilbrey leaves June 1st and her replacement will need to learn to weave blankets appropriately; mentions Garfield coming to PMSS in September; asks if Garfield knows a weaver for PMSS and someone to take charge of Line Fork. Miss Atkins is staying and will “have a well-organized household Economics Department.”

039 April 20, 1922. Typewritten letter to Mrs. Zande from Lucretia Garfield. Mr. E.I. Goodrich of Williamstown, MA, offers 2 dozen army coats to PMSS.

030 April 28, 1922. To Lucretia at Bryn Mawr Club, NYC, from EZ. Kitty [Ritchie] and Allie [Ritchie] are going with the Deschamps; EZ hopes that someone will accompany them when they return; “I will talk to both the girls about talking with strangers so that if they find themselves alone at any time they will act with the necessary reserve. I believe they would anyway for the Ritchies I know are extremely careful in training their children in such ways.”; Boy Scouts have begun in Lynch; May Day is coming and 15 children will be baptized; Coolly will be at PMSS until May 1.

031-031c April 29, 1922. Four-page handwritten letter to “Coolly” [Miss Olive Coolidge] from Lucretia Garfield. [030] Encloses a note from Miss Clark about uniforms; [031a] Will order hat; will send $150 to Zande; railroad fares; [031b] Deschamps travel itinerary; Kay to meet them at Penn Station in NY. [031c] Asks to be met at Boston’s wharf.

032 April 28, 1922. Typewritten letter with a header for The Scout Shop in Boston, MA, to Miss Garfield in NYC from Helen Clark, Shop Manager. Will mail uniforms to Miss Coolidge.

033 May 6, 1922. To Lucretia from EZ, who has received the $150 check for Mr. Deschamps. “We miss Coolly so. She is a rare girl and I would like to live next door to her all my life!”

034 May 13, 1922. To Miss Garfield from EZ. Encloses $5 check from Ruth L. Greeley for the girls’ travel expenses.

035 May 22, 1922. To Lucretia at the Girl Scout Training Camp in Plymouth, MA, from EZ. The “campaign is…going admirably…. We are all so eager to hear…what impression (the girls) make and the way the world impresses them.” Sent literature to Mrs. Love; Marguerite hasn’t the scholarship to go abroad with Mrs. Campbell; Evelyn is in Bermuda; love to you and Kay. 

036 June 14, 1922. To “My Dear Miss Garfield” in Williamstown, MA, from KP. Writes about the woven blanket order and that the blankets are for instruction in old dye recipes and patterns and are not made fast enough to sell. Tell Justus the news from PMSS; Cam Smith, who was shot, has died and his funeral was held in Aunt Sal’s [Sally Dixon Creech] front yard.

037 June 29, 1922. To Lucretia from [unsigned, likely EZ]. Ask Garfield to arrange for Miss Mabel Sidelinger in Noblesboro, ME, to bring the girls back. Would like to have the coats from Mr. Goodrich; letters from the girls and “Justus” indicate that they are having a “wonderful time.” “You have been doing a lot for Pine Mountaineers lately,” including hosting Angela Melville. Mentions Harriet Butler at Big Laurel and Miss Dunbar; encloses Mrs. Dutch’s check for the girls’ travel.

038 June 23, 1922. Typewritten letter to Mrs. Zande from Lucretia Garfield. Kitty [Ritchie] and Allie [Allie Ritchie] are at Bonnie Brae; will do sightseeing in Boston with Garfield; Angela Melville visited; will ask Mrs. Clendennin to take them for a few days to see NY; visited with Justus; explains when she will be able to return to PMSS; mentions Miss Nelson, Kay, Mrs. Colgin, and her brother Stanton, who is studying medicine. 

040 July 19, 1922. To Lucretia from EZ. Miss [Marguerite] Butler’s trip and need for funds, which Garfield offered to raise.

041 July 27, 1922. Typewritten letter to Mrs. Zande from Lucretia Garfield. Arrangements for Kitty [Kitty Ritchie] and Allie’s [Allie Ritchie] return to PMSS; Allie’s reaction to New York; Garfield’s brother Stanton’s wedding plans; the Institute. In a handwritten postscript, Garfield suggests a nature group for the Scouts led by Kitty and Allie.

042 August 4, 1922. To Miss Garfield from KP. Thanks for helping fund Marguerite Butler’s trip to Denmark; Miss Butler’s plans for the fair; Mr. Browning and Emily will help; Miss Sidelinger and the girls have returned, accompanied by Emily Storer, who visited the Medical Settlement.

043 [duplicate of 041] 

044 N.D. Carbon copy of a typewritten list of questions for Scout leaders who wish to attend a training course.

047 August 8, 1922. Typewritten letter to Mrs. Zande from Lucretia Garfield. Encloses a form to be sent to all Girl Scout leaders of the Cumberland Valley (see 045). Tells of activities in Williamstown: dinner parties, lectures. Asks about a house & housekeeper to hold the weekend training course in Cumberland.

045 August 8, 1922. (see 047) Carbon copy of a typewritten letter with Mrs. Zande’s name and address added by Lucretia Garfield. Describes weekend training courses that were held for Scout officers in various Massachusetts locations. Garfield plans a course in Cumberland Valley as soon as she returns to PMSS. Miss Cora Nelson and Miss Katherine Wright will be there. Encloses question sheet.

048 August 9, 1922. Typewritten letter to Miss Pettit from Lucretia Garfield. Received news that the girls returned to PMSS safely and of Miss Storer’s visit; plans to attend the Girl Scout conference in Cincinnati at the National Training Camp.

046 August 14, 1922. To Lucretia from EZ. Asks updates of Garfield’s weekend training plan; agrees on a girls’ nature walk led by Kitty [Kitty Ritchie] and Allie [Allie Ritchie]; suggests training a staff worker to be a scout leader under Garfield as help when Garfield is absent.

050-050a August 19, 1922. Two-page typewritten letter to Mrs. Zande from Lucretia Garfield. [050] Agrees to the training of a new worker to act as leader of the PMSS Girl Scouts under Garfield’s supervision. P.S., Miss Laura Dixon, Principal of the Center School, West Hartford, CT, [050a] offers to visit or work at PMSS next summer.

051 August 22, 1922. To Lucretia from [unsigned, likely EZ]. The new teacher is too busy to assist with Scouting work. Discusses fundraising; received $500 from Mrs. Storrow [Helen Osborne Storrow] , which EZ will use for academic salaries and endowment. Interested in Garfield’s recommendation of Miss Laura Dixon; asks for Garfield’s notes on the International Institute of Politics.

052 August 22, 1922. To Lucretia from [unsigned]. Verification of the mailing list sent by Garfield reveals two names who have never given, four who have given to Angela [Melville] for Line Fork in 1920, and an annual subscriber. The others are not on PMSS’s list. 

053 September 18, 1922. To Lucretia from EKW (Evelyn K. Wells), who is looking forward to Garfield’s return before the Fair; new head of the Smith Community Life School; opinion of Zane Grey; Mrs. Zande is interested in hiring Mrs. Ralph Tucker; EKW’s sister, Mrs. Holt, drove through Williamstown.

054 CROSS REFERENCE SHEET for Garfield, Lucretia. See; Tucker, Mrs. Ralph. in Applicants – [?].

055 October 23, 1922. To “Lucretia and Kay” from [truncated]. Mrs. [Dudley] Blossom of Cleveland sent a donation of $1000 as a result of Garfield’s fundraising. “S.O.S letters” written by Kay collected about $2310 to be spent on salaries, insurance, debts and to the “Colter people” who have been sending fresh food for 6 months, even though PMSS hasn’t been paying for it. Medical Settlement has no water and has to get it from neighbor Ben Lewis. Miss Wood is “having Scouts” and may be hired to be Garfield’s assistant scout leader. [truncated].

GALLERY: LUCRETIA GARFIELD Correspondence 1919-1958 
Part I (1919-1922)

See Also:
LUCRETIA GARFIELD Correspondence 1919-1958 Part II
– Biography