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Virginia Uhlman Nader Papers - MS 1025
Covering more than 150 years, the combined family collection of the Uhlman, Millikin, and Baldwin families of Northwest Ohio presents a rich glimpse of the lives of an interconnected and influential family group, primarily through correspondence, but also with some financial, printed, and photographic material. Generally, the letters illustrate examples of the education, attitudes, and social lives of upper-middle- to upper-class college-age Ohioans from the turn of the 19th to the end of the 20th centuries.
As the material was organized when it was received, it is separated into the major family groupings of Uhlman, Millikin, and Baldwin, and within the groupings the letters are divided by recipient and sender. Because of the inter-related nature of the family correspondence, letters written by any individual family member might be found in groups from that individual or as a letter received by another. For instance, some wartime correspondence written by Robert Uhlman to his sister Virginia might be in his letter series or hers, letters of Fannie Augusta Uhlman Baldwin with either the Uhlman or Baldwin sections, and even letters from Fred W. Uhlman in the correspondence of Charles W. Millikin. In addition, anyone trying to track events or topics, such as the oil industry or the Millkin Hotel, would need to check multiple places within the related family groups.
One other point to keep in mind is the use of similar names through generations and across the different families, so attention needs to be paid to which individual is being referenced such as Grace May Uhlman White, Grace Millkin Uhlman, Grace Virginia Baldwin Orwig, and Grace Virginia Uhlman Nader.
The earliest letters found in the collection are those written to H.C. Uhlman, his wife, and their children. The majority of this correspondence is letters written by their daughter, Fannie Augusta ("Gussie"), while she was away attending Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio. The letters from Gussie mention her travels between home and school, financial arrangements and school bills, social activities with her friends, and general daily activities. Gussie's handwriting is sometimes difficult to read, and the ink on some of the letters has faded over time to near illegibility. Envelopes are included with most of the letters. Additional letters associated with Fannie Augusta, including her courtship letters, are found in the Baldwin section of the collection.
The correspondence written to Fred W. Uhlman, Sr. is primarily from friends of Fred whom he presumably met during his time as a student at Adelbert College, Western Reserve University. Many of the letters are from Fred’s Delta Upsilon fraternity brothers and mention arrangements for lodging at the fraternity house or other fraternity activities. Other letters are from several female friends who resided in the Avon, Albany, and Rochester areas of New York and who Fred often visited with other friends. Various letters to Fred had small rectangular cuts out of each document, usually at the top center of letterhead where an embossed emblem might have appeared. Envelopes are included with most of the letters.
The early letters from Robert to his family cover the period when he was in school at Western Reserve Academy, in Hudson, Ohio and later Cranbrook. More significant is a series of letters from 1945 while Bob was serving in the Pacific with the Marines. Of particular note is Robert’s letter of August 7, 1945 (postmarked Aug. 11) with his reactions to the news about dropping the A-bomb on Japan. In the immediate post-war period he was stationed in China during part of 1946 until discharged in mid-summer.
There is a more extensive series of letters of Fred Jr., including some written from camp, many from college at Granville, Ohio (Denison University) where he was a member of Kappa Sigma, and a significant sequence during World War II. Fred served in the Coast Guard starting in August 1942, and was posted at various duty stations in Port Arthur, Texas, New Orleans, La., Baltimore, Md., and Honolulu, where he served on the LST 69 at the time of an accidental explosion in the harbor which destroyed that vessel and several others on May 21, 1944.
The largest series of letters are those from and to Virginia. In addition to typical family correspondence there are numerous letters to her during and after the period of World War II. Of particular note are series written by friends Allan Siebens while serving as Vice Consul in China in the immediate postwar period, from John Tedesco, starting in October 1949 while serving with the American Mission for Aid to Turkey, and from Alexander J. Nader (whom she later married). His letters describe his activities while he was involved as an Orientation Officer with the U.S. Displaced Persons Commission after the war (as described in many letters, such as the letter of March 14, 1951, with another showing photos dated April 16, 1951).
The gap in letters written to Virginia between 1952 and 1970 coincides to some extent with the period during which she was married to Alexander Nader and they were living in Beirut. However, her activities during that period can be found fully described in her letters to her parents, usually signed with her nickname, Candy, which are full of accounts of life in Beirut with her young family.
Later material to Virginia includes correspondence from Alexander Nader describing his various business endeavors around the world and features a series of letters around 1975 while he was in Beirut just as the Civil War was beginning. Glimpses of Virginia's many activities come out in her correspondence ranging from a series of letters from a Rev. Varghese in India, whom she visited on one of her trips, describing conditions there in the mid 1970s, a reference to serving as a French translator for Laotian refugees in her account of activities to the Smith College Alumni Association, a thank-you note with a description of her visit to Ft. Hood, Texas, where she "drove a tank", a series of notes from Bowling Green grade-school children thanking her for a talk she presented to their class about the Middle East, and a copy of another letter written by Virginia thanking Pan Am airline for the careful treatment of sons Jeff and Larry when they flew, unaccompanied, from Detroit to Beirut to visit their father. The series of correspondence related to the years in which Larry attended school at Choate in Wallingford, Conn. includes official communications from the school, invoices for school and transportation costs, and miscellaneous items such as orders for comic book subscriptions and pulp paperbacks for Larry.
A small but significant segment of the material related to Virginia Uhlman Nader is her travel materials, which document extensive travels throughout her life, both individually and with other members of her family. International tourism in the immediate post-war period was still the world of leisure-paced luxury where travel to Europe was often by means of the cruise lines such as Holland-America Line, Cunard, Matson, etc. Through the travels of Virginia and her mother Grace we have the typical "grand tour" type of European trip encompassing Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, and Switzerland. In the period after Virginia's marriage to Alexander Nader we also get a glimpse of both the tourist side of the Middle East, such as Giza, Luxor, and Baalbek, plus the more rural and small town views of Beirut, the Bekaa Valley and rural life in Lebanon, northern Syria, Damascus, and Baghdad. Later in life Virginia's travels took her to other exotic locations such as a safari tour of Africa, a trip to India, and also to Russia. The print material, which includes brochures, itineraries, menus, and other souvenir items are treated as subject files, divided by the various trips.
These travel-related items coordinate to a great extent with the photographs and films that she took on some of the trips. While a large proportion of the photographs, both loose and in albums, show various Uhlman and related family members, the segment of the graphic holdings that document Virginia's travels are of the greatest general interest. Consisting of travel slides and some 8mm amateur film, they illustrate her trips to locations in the Mediterranean and Middle East, with extensive views of such tourist areas of the Middle East as the Pyramids at Giza, Luxor, and the ruins at Baalbek, plus rural areas of Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, and other locations around the Mediterranean. Material from this period includes film of family activities, both in Lebanon and some in Northwest Ohio, such as a visit to the Toledo Zoo. Both the slides and film have been transferred to CDs and DVDs for viewing.
Additional material in the Uhlman part of the collection includes minor legal and financial files, such as deeds for Henry C. Uhlman property in Weston, Ohio, various family wills, and lease documents for the Macy's Building and the Millikin Hotel in downtown Bowling Green, Ohio. Unfortunately, the collection doesn't provide much in the way of financial or operational information on the hotel. The financial records are also of a scattered nature, with some business account books of the H.C. Uhlman store in Weston and the later Uhlman store chain; also some personal bank, memoir, stock, and cash books. In this grouping perhaps the one that has the most personal appeal is the household account book kept by Virginia Nader with entries on daily expenses, including those associated with the care of her mother Grace, allowances for the children, and sundries.
Letters in the Millikin Family grouping are more limited in scope and include correspondence to William, Alice, Grace, Carrie, and Charles. Those letters to William H. Millikin are primarily business-related correspondence, many associated with the Millikin Hotel, the Oil Well Supply Company, property in Mexico, and family matters.
A longer series of letters written to Alice from her husband and children, include a number written by daughter Carrie from Mexico, presumably accompanying her father while he was there on business in late 1907 and early 1908. Another series of letters to Alice are from her son Charles, while visiting his father at their oil leases in Oklahoma.
Correspondence written to Grace and Charles Millikin covers the period from about 1906 until around 1920. In the letters written to Grace, while some are from her father while he was traveling on oil business, more are letters from Fred Uhlman during their courtship (many using her nickname "Wootz"), written as he travelled around to the stores of the dry-goods chain he was building. Later correspondence to Grace after the period when she was married to Fred Uhlman can be found in the Uhlman Family section of the collection. The grouping of letters to Charles Millikin start with the period when he was attending Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and continuing with a series of letters when he went into the oil drilling business with Fred W. Uhlman that also includes family news.
The family business operation of the Millikin Hotel, in Bowling Green, Ohio, is represented in a scattered fashion in various subject, legal, and financial files. While there are such items as printed articles, a history of the hotel when the property was sold, an operational summary as part of the estate of William H. Millikin, and some bills and receipts associated with expenses at the hotel, the collection is lacking substantial documentation as to the day-to-day operation. Similarly, the involvement of the Millikin family in various oil industry operations is represented in a minor way through miscellaneous documents such as cancelled checks, bills, and receipts in the financial files and a subject file on William Millikin's oil and gas operations that includes a map of the Osage-Cherokee Oil Field around Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
The Baldwin aspect of the Virginia Uhlman Nader Papers revolves around the family of Albert Byron Baldwin who married Fannie Augusta Uhlman. This part of the collection contains approximately twenty-one linear feet of materials and spans from the late nineteenth to mid twentieth centuries. Over half of the collection contains correspondence while the remainder consists of subject files, legal documents, financial documents and printed materials along with over two linear feet of photographs.
The correspondence portion of the papers mainly focuses on Albert B. Baldwin, Fannie A. Uhlman Baldwin, Henry A. Baldwin and Virginia Baldwin Orwig. There are also a few letters to the father of Albert Baldwin, Edward Baldwin, but they are mostly financial and market related. The correspondence to Albert is primarily between siblings James V. Baldwin and Harriet Baldwin Armstrong relating personal news and family matters between them. However, in his and his future wife's early correspondence from the late 1880s to mid 1890s there are a number of courtship letters between the two. Finally some other letters of interest in Albert's section of the collection are letters from his son, Henry, in the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) during World War I.
Fannie A. Uhlman Baldwin's correspondence is a majority of the correspondence segment of the collection containing almost eight linear feet of materials. There are various letters from her father, Henry C. Uhlman, from the 1880s and 1890s discussing news from home, while Fannie was away at Western College. Other letters are from friends whom she met at college. A series of 1912 letters relate to an operation she had at Lakeside Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio. A vast majority of her letters, however, are from her children Henry and Virginia discussing personal news and family matters; most importantly during the Second World War. Her daughter Virginia, living in New York at the time, discusses some war related news and the employment activities of herself and her husband, while post-war letters from Virginia talk about her frequent trips abroad to places such as Cuba and Bermuda. There is also a large collection of Christmas cards from the 1920s to the 1960s found in Fannie's correspondence.
Son Henry Baldwin's correspondence includes in large part letters from his mother and sister discussing personal news and family matters. There are also letters from various girlfriends Henry had and also letters from his friend Roland Martin who was serving in France during World War I. Other interesting letters to note is one from October 1918 from his sister mentioning the outbreak of influenza in Bowling Green, while another to Henry in June 1929 talks about Fannie and Virginia's trip to Europe in a quest to find distant relatives. Virginia's letters are similarly from family members relating the news. One from her mother in July 1933 discusses her visit to the Chicago's World Fair. Other letters include correspondence from various suitors including her future husband Benton B. Orwig.
The subject files in the collection contain mostly school papers from Fannie, Henry and Virginia Baldwin. There are also hospital papers from Albert's stay in the Toledo Hospital and the Florida Sanitarium and Virginia's stay in the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Battle Creek, Michigan. Travel papers from Fannie and Virginia's 1929 trip Europe and Virginia's later trips to South America and the West Indies are also included in the subject files.
The literary productions include a brief dairy of Virginia's from 1917 to 1920 along with a travel log from her 1929 trip to Europe. School reports of Virginia's from the 1940s are also in this part of the collection along with notes taken by Fannie A. Uhlman Baldwin on Shakespeare plays for discussion in the Shakespeare Round Table organization in Bowling Green.
A vast array of deeds and estate papers make up the legal documents portion of the collection. Deeds from the many speculative purchases made by Edward Baldwin along with the property deeds from Albert Baldwin are found in this part of the collection. Estate files exist for Edward Baldwin, Albert B. Baldwin, Fannie A. Uhlman Baldwin and other members of the Baldwin family including Edward's brother-in-law Thomas W. Taylor. Abstracts of titles, agreements, depositions, insurance policies, mortgages, summons and the wills of Albert B. Baldwin and James V. Baldwin make up the rest of the legal documents.
The financial documents segment of the papers consists of bills and receipts of Edward Baldwin, Albert B. Baldwin, Fannie A. Uhlman Baldwin and Henry A. Baldwin, most notable among these is a list of Liberty Bond purchases made by the family during World War I. There are financial summaries of the Baldwin family financial assets, income and liabilities along with income tax returns from Albert B. and Henry A. Baldwin. A ledger book kept by Virginia tracks stocks she bought, sold and held from the 1920s to the 1930s. Financial ledgers from Albert's business in Weston are found in the wrapped oversized items.
Brother-in-law to Albert B. Baldwin, Bolton S. Armstrong has a large collection of newspaper related clippings spanning from 1929 to his death in 1951 that track his business accomplishments and personal activities. There is also a memory book complied by Virginia Baldwin from 1920 to 1921 that includes news-clippings, programs, invitations, tickets, etc. The printed material portion of the collection contains miscellaneous items ranging from certificates to programs, including a large collection of invitations extended to the Baldwin family, mostly wedding invitations. The photographs in the collection are primarily family pictures of members of the Baldwin family and the family homes in Weston and Florida. The photographic items also include a large assortment of identified and unidentified pictures of friends in the collection along with school pictures.
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