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Margaret Noyes Goldsmith Papers

An inventory of her papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: LR
Date: 21 Oct 2009

Biographical History

While several generations of the Noyes family are represented in this collection, the main focus is on the lives of Margaret Noyes Goldsmith and her parents. Margaret Noyes Goldsmith (1907-1994) was the daughter of Charles Rutherford Noyes and Gertrude Hayes Noyes, Gertrude being the daughter of John Humphrey Noyes, founder of the Oneida Community in 1848.

Gertrude Hayes Noyes was born in 1871 to John Humphrey Noyes and presumably his wife Harriet Holten. Gertrude spent the first 12 years of her life in the Oneida Community before moving to Niagara Falls to live with her father between 1884 and 1888. She would graduate from Teacher’s College (later part of Columbia University) in 1892, becoming a kindergarten teacher. In 1898 she married her cousin Charles. From then on Gertrude traveled extensively with her husband throughout much of his military career, which included active duty in the Spanish-American War, the Boxer Rebellion in China and World War I. Her letters detail her experiences in manila, the Philippine Islands, Nagasaki and various states in America. When Charles retired in 1923, the family settled permanently in Kenwood, NY. Gertrude spent her later life giving lectures and writing stories- some which were published- on her many experiences as an army wife. She died at the age of 79 in 1951.

Charles Rutherford Noyes was born in 1858 to a privileged family (his father Horatio S. Noyes was first cousin to President Rutherford B. Hayes), growing up in a small town near Boston. His parents were not members of the Oneida Community- on the contrary they disapproved of the social experiment. Charles entered the West Point Military Academy in 1875 and graduated with good standing in 1879. He met his cousin Gertrude for the first time in 1897, and by the time they married in 1898 Charles was 40 years old and had already spent time in the west as a lieutenant of the U.S. Ninth Infantry. Shortly after their marriage, Charles was sent off to San Fernando and later Manila for duty in the Spanish-American War from 1898-1899. He would later be severely wounded in the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1901. Charles retired from his military career in 1923 after 40 years of service in the U.S. Army. He died at the age of 71 in 1929.

Gertrude and Charles had four children. John (1901-1956), the eldest, would follow in his father’s footsteps, graduating from West Point and embarking on a military career that would tragically end in 1956 when he was killed in a plane accident while developing roads in remote parts of Alaska. Richard (1905-?) became a private pilot and engineer, having three sons. Charles (1914-1989) was the youngest, born on Governor’s Island where the family lived for two years before the outbreak of WWI. Charles graduated from Syracuse University and was later accepted into the army where he was sent to the University of Chicago. He became a meteorologist as well as an officer, doing active service in WWII. He married and had two daughters, moving back to Kenwood in his later years to do social work. He died at the age of 75 in 1989.

Margaret was the only daughter and second youngest in the family. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1907 but the family made many frequent moves due to army reallocation which included living in Texas, Chicago and the Philippines by the time Margaret was 5 years old. In 1916, after spending two year on Governor’s Island, NY, her father was sent to Mexico, and since the family couldn’t follow him they settled for awhile in Kenwood, NY where Margaret became familiar with the Oneida Community Mansion House. When WWI broke out in 1917 the family was on the move again, transferring from army post to army post until around 1920 when they finally settled down for good in Kenwood. Margaret graduated from Sherrill High School in 1925 and went on to Cornell University graduating in 1929. She married Wallace Moffatt Goldsmith in 1937. They had a daughter, Anita, who would become a professional medical photographer. Margaret retired to the Oneida Community Mansion House in 1985, spending much of her later years transcribing letters between her parents and other family members while also writing memoirs of her own childhood and memories of the Oneida Community. She died at the age of 91 in 1994.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Margaret Noyes Goldsmith Papers reflect the experiences of late 19th century and early 20th century life, both for Oneida Community members and descendants, and for military families. The collection includes correspondence and other records of the Noyes family and other various families related to the Oneida Community. While the collection includes records between 1844 and 1991, there is a concentration in the period 1875-1950.

The collection is divided into eight sections based on subject or material type. These sections are further organized into categories, either alphabetically or chronologically. The first four sections include Margaret Noyes Goldsmith, Charles Rutherford Noyes, Gertrude Hayes Noyes and Correspondence subject files. The last four sections deal with material type: Newspaper clippings, Photographs, Printed material, and Scrapbooks.

The Margaret Noyes Goldsmith section includes correspondence, mainly in the period 1920-1950. A good majority of correspondence is between Margaret and her mother, Gertrude Hayes Noyes. Various memorabilia is also included and memoirs written by Margaret on her childhood and early adult life.

The Charles Rutherford Noyes section includes some biographical material compiled by Margaret, focused mainly on his long military career. There is correspondence with various members of the Noyes family and the majority of letters, photocopied from the originals, detail Noyes' years as a cadet at West Point Military Academy at West Point, NY. These date 1875-1879. Journals are also included, concentrating on Noyes' West Point years but also continuing with his later military career in Mexico, Manila, China, the Philippines, etc. Other memorabilia includes lecture notes, essays and grades from West Point Academy.

The Gertrude Hayes Noyes section includes biographical material compiled by Margaret as well, and correspondence with members of the Noyes family. The majority of correspondence is between Gertrude and her husband Charles R. Noyes, detailing life for military wives and families during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Gertrude's journals reflect many of her childhood experiences growing up in the Oneida Community and her life in Niagara Falls soon after. There are in addition many of Gertrude's writings, including essays, short stories and memoirs based on her own experiences.

Correspondence subject files consists primarily of correspondence and other records for various members of the Noyes family and other related family and friends connected with Margaret, her mother and father. Of interest is the material it contains on Gertrude's mother and grandmothers who would have seen the early days of the Oneida Community. There are several early family registers detailing members of the Community from the mid-1800's. It also includes records of Margaret's three brothers, John, Richard and Charles.

Newspaper clippings include documentation of the military life of Charles R. Noyes and the conflicts that he was involved in, such as the Spanish American War and the Boxer Rebellion in China.

Photographs are of Margaret, her immediate and extended family, and miscellaneous photos.

Printed material includes several Oneida Community publications and an official 1879 register published by the West Point Military Academy which has been transferred to the SCRC rare book collection.

Scrapbooks contain photographs and notes on the early founders of the Oneida Community, including John Humphrey Noyes, as well as the Noyes' family life.

Arrangement of the Collection

Most series are arranged alphabetically. However there are some sections under Correspondence and Journals that are arranged chronologically.


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.

Related Material

Some material has been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging, including the West Point publication titled Official Register of the Officers and Cadets of the U.S. Military Academy dated June 1875 , and one issue of the Oneida Community Quadrangle dated

See also Oneida Community Collection and the Constance Pierrepont Noyes Robertson Papers.

Subject Headings


Allen family
Goldsmith family.
Goldsmith, Margaret Noyes.
Noyes family.
Noyes, Charles Rutherford.
Noyes, Gertrude Hayes Smith.
Noyes, Horatio S.
Noyes, John Humphrey, 1811-1886.
Noyes, Pierrepont, b. 1870.

Corporate Bodies

Oneida Community.
United States -- Army -- Military life.
United States Military Academy.


Kappa Alpha Theta.
Oneida Community.
Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Campaigns -- Cuba.
Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Campaigns -- Philippines.
Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Personal narratives, American.
War and families.
Women and war -- 20th century.
Women and war -- United States.


China -- History -- Boxer Rebellion, 1899-1901

Genres and Forms

Lecture notes.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Drafts (documents)
Notes (documents)
Serials (publications)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Margaret Noyes Goldsmith Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Anita M. Allen, daughter of Margaret Noyes Goldsmith, 2 Sep 2009.

Table of Contents

Goldsmith, Margaret Noyes

Noyes, Charles Rutherford

Noyes, Gertrude Hayes

Correspondence- subject files

Newspaper clippings


Printed material