The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid

Olive A. Colton Papers, 1867-1961

MSS-008

Size: 4 linear ft.

Provenance: Olive Colton donated a scrapbook to the University of Toledo Libraries in 1936; the rest of the collection was accessioned later.

Access: Open

Related Collections: Toledo Woman Suffrage Association Papers, MSS-091.

Processing Note:  Postcard Collection was processed separately from the rest

Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code.  The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.

Completed by:  Paul Gifford, December 1985.  Revised and updated by Laura Micham and Marsha Weatherspoon, 1998.

Biographical Sketch

Olive A. Colton was born in Toledo in 1873 and died there in 1972. She was the daughter of Abram W. Colton (1834-1909), president and general manager of the Lake Erie Transportation Company and officer of other transportation firms, and Catherine (Van Home) Colton, a descendant of the prominent Knickerbocker family of New York. Her only sister, Cornelia, wife of E. Griswold Hollister, was a leader in Republican politics and the musical life of Toledo.

Olive Colton attended the Smead School for Girls, majoring in history, and for many years remained active in the Smead School Associations. She traveled in Europe frequently and developed an extensive collection of postcards. One of her early interests was in the “romance of royalty,” the title of her first published work (1908). Her interest in woman suffrage appears to date from the beginning of her friendship with Amy G. Maher in the 1910s.

A founder of the League of Women Voters of Toledo in 1921, she served as president twice and in 1930 was elected honorary president for life. She appears to have been a member of the National Woman’s Party during the 1930s. She participated in Carrie Chapman Catt’s National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War’s conferences in Washington from 1925 to 1933. She was also a delegate to Mrs. Catt’s Woman’s Centennial Congress in 1940.

As a public speaker, Miss Colton gave talks for the Child and Family Agency and during World War II, for the Toledo chapter of the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies.

During the late 1940s, she made donations to Albert Einstein’s Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, to the American Association for the United Nations, the Committee for the Marshall Plan, and to other causes.

Miss Colton’s essays display a variety of intellectual interests: peace, women’s suffrage and rights, and Emerson and his association with the Berkshire Mountain region. She remained a Progressive long after the Progressive Era. In her old age, her political philosophy remained to the left of center.

Scope and Content Note

Olive Colton was best known as a suffragist and reformer. Her personal interests, however, were rather varied: travel, postcard and autograph collecting, the opera and theater, royalty, Emerson, besides women’s and other social issues. This collection documents those interests and activities.

Postcards form approximately two-thirds of the content of the collection. These date from the 1890s to the 1950s and represent the usual local attractions, such as buildings and landscapes, from all over Europe and America, as well as a number of works of art. A number of early-2Oth-century postcards depict European royalty. Many were sent to Miss Colton by her correspondents, but the notes on them generally contain little substantive information. The scrapbooks are filled with postcards and clippings related to travel.

Of interest to researchers of life in 19th-century Toledo are Miss Colton’s memoir of her childhood, the narrative sketch of her family, and the photographs of her early homes. The ephemera in the collection, such as political handbills, programs, ribbons, also include several items of interest.

Researchers will probably be drawn to this collection primarily because of Miss Colton’s suffragist activities. However, they will find little material generated before 1919 to document her activities in this area. Her correspondence dates mainly from the 1920s to the 1940s. Prominent correspondents include Carrie Chapman Catt, Florence E. Allen, Mrs. Brand Whitlock, and Edith Cunningham. It is useful in documenting Miss Colton’s positions on legislative issues, her choice of public speakers, her philanthropy, and her activity in organizations under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt. The collection does contain a variety of material relating to Mrs. Catt: articles written by her, reports of the Carrie Chapman Catt Memorial Fund, and reports of the Conferences on the Cause and Cure of War, which was headed by Mrs. Catt. Finally, the collection has material useful for the study of the League of Women Voters of Toledo.

Folder List

Box

Folder

Arrangement

 

 

Correspondence

1

1

    1909-34

 

2

    1935-45

 

3

    1946-61 and undated

 

4

    Autograph collection

 

5

    Letter, Susan B. Anthony to Albert E. Macomber, Aug. 8, 1867, with a
    presentation to Olive Colton by Irving E. Macomber

 

6

Toledo Consumer League

 

7

Genealogical material

 

8

Photographs

 

9

Ephemera and memorabilia

 

10

"A Pre-Scientific Childhood," a Memoir

 

11

Miscellaneous articles and notes by Olive Colton

 

12

Articles by and about Carrie Chapman Catt

 

13

Clippings

   

Pamphlets and Broadsides

 

14

Miscellaneous

 

15

League of Women Voters

 

16

National Woman's Party

 

17

National America Women Suffrage Association, 1938

 

18

Emerson, 1937 and 1940

 

19

Various Essays, 1936, 1938, 1948, 1953

 

20

Political Essays, 1942-1943

 

21

Reports on the cause and care of War, 1925 and 1926

 

22

Reports on the cause and care of War, 1928 and 1930

 

23

Reports on the cause and care of War, 1931 and 1933

 

24

Women's Centennial Congress, 1940

 

25

Monograph, The Romance of Royalty, 1908

 

26

Genealogy, Joris Janzen Van Horne and his Descendants, 1911

2

 

Scrapbooks, 1-6

3*

 

Postcards

   

United States

   

    Alaska

   

    Arizona

   

    California

   

    Colorado

   

    Connecticut

   

    District of Columbia

   

    Florida

4*

 

    Florida, cont.

   

    Georgia

   

    Hawaii

   

    Idaho

   

    Illinois

   

    Indiana

   

    Kentucky

   

    Louisiana

   

    Maine

   

    Maryland

   

    Massachusetts

5*

 

    Massachusetts cont.

   

    Missouri

   

    Michigan

   

    Minnesota

   

    New Hampshire

   

    New Jersey

   

    New Mexico

   

    New York

6*

 

    New York cont.

   

    North Carolina

   

    Ohio

   

    Oklahoma

   

    Oregon

   

    Pennsylvania

   

    Rhode Island

   

    South Dakota

   

    Tennessee

7*

 

    Utah

   

    Vermont

   

    Virginia

   

    Wisconsin

   

    Wyoming

   

Other countries

   

    Algeria

   

    Argentina

   

    Austria

   

    Bahamas

   

    Bermuda

   

    Brazil

   

    Canada

   

    Chile

   

    Cuba

   

    Cyprus

   

    Czechoslovakia

   

    Egypt

   

    England

   

    France

8*

 

    France (cont.)

   

    Germany

   

    Greece

9*

 

    Holland

   

    Hungary

   

    Italy

   

    Jamaica

   

    Japan

   

    Lebanon

   

    Madeira

   

    Malta

   

    Mexico

   

    Monaco

   

    Palestine

   

    Panama

   

    Portugal

   

    Spain

   

    Switzerland

   

    Trinidad

   

    Tunisia

   

    Turkey

   

    Uruguay

10*

 

    Wales

   

    Yugoslavia

   

    Steamships

   

    Royalty and Nobility

   

    Photo portraits

   

Art

   

    Art objects

   

    Engravings and woodcuts

   

    Furniture

   

    Mosaics

   

    Paintings

   

    Relief sculpture

   

    Sculpture

   

    Tapestry and rugs

   

    Miscellaneous

Last Updated: 1/3/12