DeWitt Family Archive
Record Class: Textual, Photographs, Artifacts
Date Range: 1890-1967
Provenance: The DeWitt Family Archive was donated to Truman State University by Dale DeWitt’s niece, Judy Van Dyke, in 2011.
Processed by: Amy Kruse
Abstract: John C. and Anna DeWitt were married in 1894 and moved from Humphreys, MO. to Kirksville, MO. in 1909 with their three sons, James M. DeWitt, Richard H. DeWitt, and Dale DeWitt. Most of the material from the DeWitt family archives surrounds Dale’s life experiences and includes material such as report cards, family photos, and his personal correspondence. Dale DeWitt was a member of the YMCA in Kirksville and a student at Northwestern University. Dale became a reverend, married Margaret Lane DeWitt, and they lived out the rest of their lives in New York. Rev. Dale DeWitt was an executive director of the Middle Atlantic States Region of the American Unitarian Association for almost 30 years.
Dale DeWitt’s father, John C. DeWitt, worked as a rural school teacher, a real estate agent, an insurance broker, an owner of a ready-to-wear store, a police judge, a deputy state finance commissioner and was a master of the Masons in Kirksville. His son James M. also resided in Kirksville and was the chief engineer at the International Shoe Company for 38 years. James M. DeWitt married Opal Glidewell DeWitt and they had their twins, Madge and Beverly in 1921. He was also a prominent Freemason and through his position as the Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge he became friends with Harry S. Truman. Less is known about Richard H. DeWitt; he attended Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and married Lenna Hall DeWitt. Later, they both would move to West Virginia and had two children together. The archive provides a snapshot of life in Kirksville in the early twentieth century. Most importantly, Dale DeWitt’s 1922 correspondence to his mother gives an outsider’s perspective of the turmoil in Europe after WWI.
▪ DeWitt family tree
▪ Copies of family member's death certificates (Anna, James M., John C.)
▪ Copies of family member's obituaries (Dale, Margaret, Lenna)
▪ Copy of a letter from Harry S. Truman to his wife, Bess, that mentions James M. DeWitt
▪ Copy of Harry S. Truman public reception invitation that includes James M. DeWitt's name as a part of the reception committee
▪ Copies of P.O. Selby's records that include DeWitt family members
▪ Original inventory
Series 1: Correspondence (from Dale DeWitt to his mother, 1922)
▪ New York, June 27, 1922 - Letter talking about
trip to Washington D.C. and his experience seeing Woodrow Wilson
▪ June 30, 1922 - Discussing first days on the boat going to Europe and seasickness
▪ July 2,1922 - Dale's ship ride to Europe is almost over and he talks about his plans for France
▪ Holland, July 7, 1922 - Letter from Dale talking about experiences in Holland and the details about Miss Major, a Kirksville High School teacher, who he met on the boat. He also mentions witnessing the filming of Bulldog Drummond.
▪ July 11, 1922 - Letter analyzing Dale's experiences in Germany and the aftereffects of war
▪ July 21, 1922 - Letter discussing future plans in Prague and his experiences in Berlin and Poland. He writes about art he saw in Dresden, when her heard Chancellor Worth speak, his thoughts on politics, and the aftermath of war in the countries he visited.
▪ Brno, Czechoslovakia, July 28, 1922 - Letter talking about Poland, Czechoslovakia, Prague, and details about the Christian Student Movement
▪ Budapest, August 7, 1922 - Letter discussing Dale's encounters with Hungarian Admiral Horthy, Count Apponyi Albert, and Franz Molnar
▪ August 22, 1922 - Letter from Dale to his mother discussing his travels to Paris, Munich, and Switzerland
▪ Oxford, August 25, 1922 - Letter discussing Dale's time in London and at Oxford and his future travel plans
▪ August 29, 1922 - Dale gets elected chairman of the Christian Student Movement and also discusses the group's future plans after the European trip
▪ Denmark, September 5, 1922 - Letter analyzing details from a Christian conference Dale attended before he left Europe
Series 2: Family Correspondence (John C., James M., Dale, Margaret, and Anna)
▪ June 23, 1936 - Letter to Margaret from "Dad"
DeWitt sharing memories about being young and talking about her upcoming
▪ December 21, 1937 - Letter to Dale and Margaret from "Dad" that discusses Christmas plans
▪ August 3, 1939 - Letter from Beverly to Dale and Margaret updating them on family member's health
▪ August 7, 1939 - Postcard to Dale and Margaret from "Mother" updating the couple on when they were returning home
▪ August 15, 1939 - Letter to Dale and Margaret from "Mother" discussing John C. DeWitt's heart attack and health
▪ June 20, 1940 - Letter to Margaret from "Mother" discussing a wide variety of topics from shopping to family events
▪ November 15, 1946 - Letter from Dale to Margaret updating her that his travel plans had changed
▪ March 15, 1949 - Letter from James M. DeWitt to Dale discussing a check originally enclosed in the letter relating to a sale of property
▪ February 10, 1949 - Letter to Dale from James M. DeWitt regarding the settlement of Annie's estate and includes a copy of probate court's actions and statement of receipts
▪ February 18, 1949 - Letter to Jim from Dale about the estate
▪ n.d. Letter from Jules to Dale requesting a signature
▪ n.d. Letter from Minister Jack McKarl Nielson to Rev. Dale DeWitt about a First Unitarian Church job opportunity
Series 3: Educational Materials (Dale DeWitt)
Report Card from 1907
▪ Kirksville Public School certificate of completion of sixth grade and promotion to seventh grade 1909-10
▪ Seventh Grade of Kirksville Public School Class of 1911 graduation program with Dale DeWitt name card
▪ Kirksville Public School certificate of completion of seventh grade and promotion to eighth grade 1911-12
▪ Kirksville Public School certificate of completion of eighth grade and admission to the Freshman class of high school 1912
▪ Report Card from 1912-13 - Freshman year of high school
▪ 1912-13 Report Cards: Latin, English, SOL GEOM, English History
▪ 1915-16 Report Cards: English (2), American History, Caesar
▪ College Student’s Credential Card - Nov. 2, 1916
▪ YMCA Hand-Out Card with cabinet on the back and Dale DeWitt listed as President 1917-18
▪ Northwestern University Young Men’s Christian Association Gospel program May 23-25, 1919
▪ Northwestern University Class of 1920 graduation book and class roll
Series 4: Photographs
1:4 - Images of Dale
Dale DeWitt on a beach, n.d.
▪ Dale rowing a boat, n.d.
▪ Dale with a pipe and sailors hat on a boat, n.d.
▪ Young Dale in front a cottage with the inscription “this is a good picture of the cottage we had this year,” n.d.
▪ Dale sitting working at a desk with the inscription “taken at my house” on the back, n.d.
▪ Dale playing ping pong, n.d.
▪ Dale DeWitt in front of an altar, n.d.(2)
▪ Dale on a deck of the boat, n.d. (4)
▪ Dale DeWitt Graduation Photo,1920
▪ Dale working at his desk, n.d.
▪ Dale and two unidentified men, n.d.
▪ Dale and unidentified woman, n.d.
▪ Dale, peers and a graduate without hats “19” on the back, n.d.
▪ Dale, peers and a graduate with hats “19” on the back, n.d.
1:5 - Family Photos
▪ Photo of
Anna, John C., James M., Opal, Beverly and Madge with an inscription on the back
“Grandpa mom Heflion 11/ Anna DeWitt, John + Opal, + the twins Madge + Beverly”
▪ John C. and grandchild, n.d.
▪ John C., James M., and grandchild, n.d.
▪ Baby Madge and Beverly, n.d.
▪ Madge, Beverly, and unidentified woman, n.d.
▪ Family photo including 6 people and Dale, n.d.
▪ Photo of a man and a woman in a field, n.d.
▪ Dale with most likely James M. and Richard H. on horses, n.d.
▪ Family photo postcard including 7 people sitting down mailed to Mrs. J.C. Dewitt with inscription on the back from 1913
▪ Beverly, Madge, and an unidentified boy, n.d.
▪ Unidentified woman holding a small boy, n.d.
▪ Anna with a small boy, n.d.
▪ Two unidentified women in swimsuits, n.d.
▪ Unidentified woman on a beach, n.d.
▪ Dale and unidentified women in reclining chairs on a boat, n.d.
▪ Young Dale and 8 other family members, n.d.
▪ The family walking up a ramp to get on a boat, n.d.
▪ Family photograph at a restaurant including Dale, n.d.
▪ Dale, James M. and Richard H. in uniforms, n.d.
▪ John C. and Anna in front of a home with an unidentified woman, n.d.
1:6 - Camp Photos
Waiting line of 18 young boys, n.d.
▪ Circle of young boys playfully throwing another boy in the air, n.d.
▪ Young boys in uniforms in a pyramid formation, n.d.
▪ Dale and four other boys in a pyramid, n.d.
▪ Scrapbook page n.d.
▪ Group photo of young boys
▪ Image of the backs of four boys
▪ Boys eating at table outside (2)
▪ Unidentified boy playing the trumpet
▪ Boys outside a cabin
▪ Young Dale playing with two other boys
▪ Group photo with the American Flag
▪ Boys in a pyramid formation
▪ Group swimming photo
▪ Boys in line waiting for food
▪ Boy's/men's club YMCA photo with signs for Texas and KSNS, n.d.
1:7 - Unidentified Photos
Portrait of unidentified woman in a cameo folder, n.d.
▪ Photograph of unidentified young girl, n.d.
▪ Tintype of unidentified girl, n.d.
▪ Young boy (possibly Dale DeWitt) with chicken and chicks n.d.
▪ Unidentified boys, n.d. (5)
▪ School photo of unidentified boy, n.d. (2)
▪ Portrait of young man (possibly John C. DeWitt), n.d.
▪ Portrait of unidentified bride, n.d.
▪ Group photo of seven women and three men, n.d.
▪ Film/Negative of Pier 84 west 44 street, n.d.
▪ Film/Negative of canal and architecture, n.d.
▪ Picture of living room with inscription “Living room - also need for living room”, n.d.
▪ Photo of a home/business, n.d.
▪ Photo of home with a little boy on the grass and a woman in a lawn chair, n.d.
▪ Photo of a home, n.d.
▪ Floating Hospital on the water, n.d.
▪ Class Photo from Humphreys School Room 2, n.d.
Series 5: Miscellaneous
Certificate of Baptism for Dale DeWitt - February 3, 1901
▪ Completion Postcard of the Bohemian (Czech) National Alliance of America - May 30, 1917
▪ Dale DeWitt’s Selective Service Proclamation Registration Card - February 16, 1942
▪ Dale DeWitt’s Notice of Classification for the NY Local Board No.12 - October 7, 1942
▪ Dale DeWitt’s Notice of Classification for the NY Local Board No.12 - January 14, 1943
▪ Newspaper clipping of Lenna Hall and R.H. DeWitt’s engagement
▪ Handwritten balances booklet January 2, 1967
▪ Handwritten balance and tally pages related to unknown business
▪ Settlement Papers for James M. DeWitt becoming the Executor of the Estate of Annie DeWitt
Newspaper clipping of J.M. Dewitt’s Obituary
▪ Dale DeWitt’s Funeral Program
▪ DeWitt Family Coat of Arms
For information concerning this collection contact: email@example.com