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Henrietta Cholmeley-Jones Papers

An inventory of her papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: circa 1980

Biographical History

Henrietta Howard Boit Sturgis Cholmeley-Jones (1896-1985) was an American author and artist. Born October 29, 1896 in Murray Hill, Manhattan, to Tate Robert Sturgis (of Boston and Philadelphia and New York), and Marion Sharpless (of "Laburnums", Chelton Hills, Philadelphia), she graduated from The Chapin School in 1914 and went on to study art with Frederick Theodore Weber. In June 1920, she married E.O. (Edward Owen) Nigel Cholmeley-Jones, former lieutenant in the American Expeditionary Forces and advertising representative for Current Literature, McClure's Magazine, Paul Block and Associates, and the National Geographic. For most of her life she and her husband lived in Westport and Norwalk, Connecticut.

For five years Cholmeley-Jones was a supervisor of the WPA Westport Art Project. She was active in both World Wars, as chairman of civilian groups (in Philadelphia, New York and Westport), and she was a member of the Temple of Religion committee of the World's Fair in New York. She was a member of the National Society of Colonial Dames, DAR, Society of Mayflower Descendants, Society of Daughters of Holland Dames, Huguenot Society, New York Women Poets, Pen and Brush, American Poetry League, Alumnae Association of Chapin School Ltd., and a former member of the New York Junior League. She was an Honorary Trustee of the Kips Bay Boys Club Inc. of New York City, having been one of its founders in 1915. Among her many community activities, both in New York prior to 1931 and in Connecticut thereafter, she was a chairman for Weekday Religious Education in the Greater New York Federation of Churches and spoke on religion on the New York City radio stations of 1929-1931.

A prize-winning poet, her poems have been published in nearly fifty American publications including over twenty books; she was also an essayist/ commentator on current events. With her two sons Edward and Richard Cholmeley-Jones, she authored Slow Advance (1914-1944), a book of war poems. Her pictures, done in nine media including drypoint etching, have been exhibited over ninety times - in both New York and Connecticut - including a one-woman show in 1959 in Westport, Connecticut. She was also interested in automatic writing and produced numerous examples during her life.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Henrietta Cholmeley-Jones Papers consist of her autobiography, biographical material, incoming and outgoing correspondence, legal material, subject files, works (literary and artistic), published material, memorabilia, automatic writings, and printed materials.

The collection begins with Autobiographical and Biographical materials begin the collection. The former consists of a copy of "In Anecdotage," her autobiography; the latter includes Cholmeley-Jones' listings in several national and international biographic dictionaries.

Correspondence is divided into incoming (1894-1970) and outgoing sections. Incoming includes a small amount of family material as well as exchanges with, among others, Cornelia Skinner, Governor John Lodge and Dorothy Bird. If an exchange arrived securely fastened, both incoming and outgoing correspondence have been placed, together, in Incoming. Outgoing correspondence (1946-1964) consists only of those letters belonging to no existing exchange in Incoming.

Legal material consists solely of a certification of executrices, 1934, for the Marion Sturgis Estate.

The Subject file consists of printed material and correspondence related to Cholmeley-Jones' projects and organizations. An especially strong file is that referring to the WPA Art project for Westport, Connecticut. Correspondence, 1936-1938, financial records, news clippings, notes, photographs, printed material and reports demonstrate the extent to which this town was involved with the project. The Works section is subdivided into

Works comprises General Writings, Diaries, Drawings, Music Scores, Poems and Radio Speeches. General writings are arranged alphabetically by title and range in date from 1919 to 1976. The 1919 item is a dramatization of Henry Van Dyke's "First Christmas Tree" with music and stage directions by H.H.B. Sturgis. Many of the writings are undated. Diaries date from 1913 to 1965-6 but are for scattered years, no runs exist in this collection. Loose drawings are either undated or represent the years 1914-16. The 8 music scores are arranged in alphabetical order. Again most are undated save for "Reverie", 1932 and "Victory Song", 1942. Poems are also arranged in alphabetical order by title. Those which have been combined under a collective title precede the general alphabetical arrangement. Thus: Intimate Circuit, More Than Pattern, Sequence of Seven Sonnets to my Mother (1931-7) and World War, 1914-1944 precede the single poems which are not listed individually. The last section of works, Radio Speeches, is arranged by date in one folder.

Published materials will be found separately by type and authorship. Articles, poems and newsclips are each divided by Cholmeley-Jones as author or subject. Included also in this section is a copy of Slow Advance, 1914-1944, war poems by H. Sturgis, Edward Sturgis and Richard Gilder Cholmeley-Jones.

With the Memorabilia it is possible to scan Cholmeley-Jones' heritage and interests. A general family scrapbook is followed by Henrietta Howard Boit Sturgis' baby book, memory books, awards, photographs and a 50th wedding anniversary book, prepared for Henrietta and Nigel Cholmeley-Jones. Also included here are vols. 1, 3 and 4 of the Theatre books, one on William Gillette, the other containing sketches and writings produced under the name "Rita Sturgis." Finally, there are the drypoint etching plates made for Christmas or greeting cards, and a magazine of 36 slides, part recording Cholmeley-Jones' art exhibition, October 1959, the rest showing the interior of her cherished home, Underdene (Connecticut).

Boxes 13 and 14 contain Automatic Writings. Writings which were specifically labeled as to communicator have been placed in an alphabetical sequence following a general chronological run. Titled Works produced by automatic writings are next, including Bow to the Duke and Paris Secret.

Lastly are the Published volumes containing Cholmeley-Jones' works or her additions, as letters, poems, photographs, drawings or clippings.

Arrangement of the Collection

The arrangement of the collection follows as closely as possible the system originally designed by Mrs. Cholmeley-Jones.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Cholmeley-Jones, Henrietta Howard Boit (Sturgis) Archives.

Corporate Bodies

Federal Art Project.
United States., Works Progress Administration.


Art and state -- United States.
Federal aid to the arts -- United States.
Spirit writings.
Women artists -- United States.
Women authors, American.
Women poets, American.

Genres and Forms

Automatic writing.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Drawings (visual works)
Speeches (documents)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Henrietta Cholmeley-Jones Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents


Biographical material

Incoming correspondence

Outgoing correspondence

Legal material

Subject file


Published material


Automatic writings

Printed materials