Guide to the Dressler Family Collection of Alfred Williams Anthony Papers, 1802-1985, n.d. | MC112

Summary Information

Repository
Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library
Creator
Anthony family
Title
Dressler Family Collection of Alfred Williams Anthony Papers
ID
MC112
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1861-1909
Date [inclusive]
1802-1985
Extent
17.0 Linear feet
Language
English
Abstract
The collection is comprised of correspondence, journals, and assorted papers of several members of the Anthony, Waterman and Angell families of Rhode Island which document in detail family, social, educational and religious life in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, particularly in New England. Includes significant material on Alfred W. and Harriet W. Anthony, including their time in Bangor, Maine where Alfred served as pastor of the Essex Street Free Baptist Church and his involvement and activities with the Freewill Baptist denomination. Also includes their time in Germany and at Cobb Divinity School in Lewiston, Maine where Alfred served as professor of New Testament Exegesis and Criticism. Collection also contains the correspondence of Civil War soldier, Frank A. Waterman who served with the First Rhode Island Light Artillery Battery.

Preferred Citation

Dressler Family Collection of Alfred Williams Anthony Papers, Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College.

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Historical Note

Alfred Williams Anthony was born in Providence, Rhode Island on January 13, 1860. His parents were Lewis Williams and Britannia Franklin (Waterman) Anthony. He received an A.B. degree from Brown University in 1883. In 1885, he graduated from the Cobb Divinity School, then affiliated with Bates College, and received an A.M. degree from Brown in 1886.

He married Harriet Wyatt Angell in September, 1885, and they had two children, Elizabeth Williams and Alfred Williams, Jr. (Wyatt). Elizabeth graduated from Bates in 1908. After the death of his first wife in 1899, Anthony married Gertrude Brown Libbey in 1903. Daughter of Winfield Scott Libbey and Annie Shaw Libbey, she was a 1901 graduate of Bates College. They had three children, Richard Lewis, Warren Shaw and Charles Sheldon, '36.

After graduating from Cobb Divinity School in 1885, Anthony took the position of pastor of the Essex Street Free Baptist Church in Bangor, Maine. In 1887, he was elected Chair of New Testament Exegesis and Criticism at the Cobb Divinity School, a position he did not initially accept. Instead, from 1888-1890, he studied abroad at Berlin University, returning in 1890 to take the position at the Cobb Divinity School, distinguishing himself as a scholar, teacher, and administrator.

In 1893, he published two articles: "The Fourth Gospel" and "The Gospel of Peter," both of which were well received. In 1893 and 1894 he gave a lecture in the campus chapel entitled "The Newly Discovered Epistle of St. Peter," and he often delivered sermons at the Freewill Baptist churches in the area. When the Cobb Divinity School was discontinued and reformed as the Department of Religion, he was elected the Fullonton Professor of Christian Literature and Ethics at Bates College and served in that capacity for three years (1908-1911).

In 1911, Dr. Anthony officially resigned his position at Bates, after 23 years of service to the College. That same year he accepted a temporary appointment as Joint Secretary for Free Baptist and Baptist Union, a position which allowed him to facilitate a merger at the different levels of both organizations. In 1918, with most of the work on unification finished, he accepted the position of Executive Secretary for the interdenominational Home Missions Council and moved to New York with his family. He remained in that position for five years, resigning in 1923. Although semi-retired he served on several committees of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America. In 1933, after a minor stroke, he gave up his New York residence and returned to Lewiston.

An author throughout his life, Anthony wrote numerous articles and several books including An Introduction to the Life of Jesus (1896) and The Method of Jesus (1899). His last book, Bates College and Its Background, published in 1936 and written at the request of President Clifton D. Gray, detailed the beginnings and development of the College.

Anthony was also active in a variety of educational and religious organizations. He served as the corresponding secretary and treasurer of the General Conference of Freewill Baptists and was a member of the Interdenominational Commission of Maine. He also served as the director for the Maine chapter of the Religious Education Association, Chairman of the Committee on Goodwill between Jews and Christians and was a member of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America. Additionally he was President of the Board of Trustees of Storer College, located in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and served on the the boards of trustees for Bates College, Hillsdale College and Brown University.

Likewise an active civic leader, Anthony served on a variety of commissions and boards, including the Maine Charities Commission and the Lewiston School Committee. He was appointed by Governor Milliken as a member of the Police Commission for Lewiston.

Anthony was also a noted philanthropist and many institutions and organizations benefitted from his generosity. Of particular note is his donation of land which became the nucleus of the Stanton Bird Club's Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary in Lewiston.

He was awarded an honorary D. D. from Bates in 1902, and one from Brown in 1908, and an L.L.D. from Colby College in 1914. Anthony suffered another stroke in 1938, and died at the home of his eldest son on January 20, 1939.

Scope and Content Note

The collection is comprised of correspondence, journals, and assorted papers of several members of the Anthony, Waterman and Angell families of Rhode Island which document in detail family, social, educational and religious life in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, particularly in New England. Primary correspondents are Alfred Williams Anthony and his wife, Harriet (Hattie) Wyatt (Angell) Anthony; Alfred's father and mother, Lewis Williams Anthony and Britannia (Fannie) Franklin (Waterman) Anthony; his sister, Kate Jackson Anthony; Harriet's parents, John Wilmarth Angell and Elizabeth Stillwell Angell, and Britannia F. Anthony's sister, Emily (Waterman) Tozer Anthony. Other correspondents include various aunts, uncles, cousins, other relatives and friends, as well as Alfred and Harriet's daughter, Elisabeth (Lisa) Williams (Anthony) Dexter who annotated many of the letters and envelopes with notes regarding content, context, author, and date.

There is significant material on Alfred and Harriet Anthony, including their time in Bangor, Maine where Alfred served as pastor of the Essex Street Free Baptist Church; his involvement and activities with the Freewill Baptist denomination and their time spent in England and Germany where Anthony studied prior to beginning his position as professor of New Testament Exegesis and Criticism at Cobb Divinity School in Lewiston, Maine. The collection also contains information on their family and social life, and interactions and events with Bates College students and faculty as well as with the local community.

Other material of note is the correspondence of Civil War soldier, Frank A. Waterman, who served with the First Rhode Island Light Artillery Battery.

Organization and Arrangement

This collection is organized into three series: I. Family correspondence; II. Correspondence with others; and III. Other family materials.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston, Maine, 04240
207-786-6354
muskie@bates.edu

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.

Acquisition and Custody Information

Ownership of the papers has been with various family members including Elisabeth Willson Anthony Dressler, Richard W. and Robert A. Dressler and finally with Claire Dressler, Richard W. Dressler's daughter. Accession No.: 2010-141.

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Related Materials

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Bates College (Lewiston, Me.)--Faculty
  • Cobb Divinity School
  • Free Will Baptists (1780?-1911)
  • United States. Army. Rhode Island Light Artillery Regiment, 1st (1861-1865)

Geographic Name(s)

  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Personal Name(s)

  • Anthony, Alfred Williams, 1860-1939--Correspondence

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Collection Inventory

 MC112/01 Family correspondence 1802-1973, n.d.   12.0 Linear feet

Scope and Content Note

This series contains a large body of correspondence which documents the family, social, educational and religious lives of many members of the Anthony, Waterman and Angell families.

Includes correspondence from Alfred P. Waterman describing his experiences in California and Nevada during the gold rush and Frank A. Waterman's Civil War letters detailing his experiences serving with the First Rhode Island Light Artillery. Also contains letters detailing the activities and events of Lewis W. and Britannia F. Anthony including his work and involvement with the Freewill Baptists and the Roger Williams Church; his hunting and fishing trips with family and friends, particularly to Katahdin Iron Works; the deaths of two of their children as well as that of Britannia and his marriages to Emily Waterman Tozer and Lucinda Preble. Also includes letters describing Kate J. Anthony including her role as family caretaker and her interest in mission work, poetry writing and family genealogy.

Many of the letters chronicle the lives of Alfred and Harriet Anthony, particulary from the time of their marriage in 1885 until her death in 1899. Topics include their activities and duties while pastoring the Essex Street Free Baptist Church in Bangor, ME; his work with the Freewill Baptist denomination; preaching and speaking engagements at other churches and venues and his writings for various denominational publications. Also contains detailed information about their time spent in England and Germany including living arrangements and daily activities; travels into the countryside; outings to museums and concerts; German life and politics and information on the activities and workings of the American Church in Berlin. Also includes Alfred's appointment and tenure as professor of New Testament Exegesis and Criticism at Cobb Divinity School; interactions and activities with Bates College faculty and administrators including Oren B. Cheney; their involvement with the local community; and the building of their home at 336 College Street and of Roger Williams Hall which became the new home of Cobb Divinity School. Other topics include the growth, development and activities of their three children--Elisabeth, Lewis Wilmarth and Alfred Wyatt; visitis with family and friends; Harriet's interest in nature and botany; details of their home life such as the crops they raised, the hiring of help, and entertaining the Divinity School students. Also includes descriptions of Alfred's trip to Egypt and Palestine following the deaths of his son Lewis and wife Harriet and of a later trip to Europe in 1928.

The series also contains Elisabeth W. Anthony's correspondence during her tenure as instructor at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, NH. (1908-1909) and later letters written after her marriage to Robert C. Dexter. Also includes the correspondence of many aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives including Britannia F. (Baxter) Waterman Patt, Lewis A. Waterman, Anna L. Nichols, Abbie E. Anthony, Mary E. Anthony, Anne S. Angell, Edgar Anthony, Frank W. Anthony and Jerusha (Jessie) Anthony Jackson which primarily concern various family matters and events.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged in chronolgical order.

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 MC112/02 Correspondence with others 1842-1965   3.0 Linear feet

Scope and Content Note

This series contains correspondence of friends and acquaintances with several family members including Alfred Williams Anthony, Harriet Wyatt Anthony, Kate J. Anthony, Lewis Williams Anthony and Elisabeth Anthony Dexter.

Alfred W. Anthony correspondence includes Anthony's letters to his Cobb Divinity School classmates--Arthur E. Cox, Francis L. Hayes, Charles E. Mason and Olin H. Tracy. Class letters include discussions of theological and denominational issues, his experiences as pastor of the Essex Street Free Baptist Church in Bangor, Maine, his work within the Freewill Baptist denomination and with other churches as well as his time spent studying in Germany. Correspondence also includes many letters of condolence on the deaths of his mother, Britannia F. W. Anthony, his son, Lewis Wilmarth Anthony and his wife, Harriet W. Anthony. Other correspondence concerns his book, "An Introduction to the Life of Jesus." Some letters are in German.

Harriet W. Anthony correspondence includes letters from various friends some of which are in German. Of note is the correspondence between Harriet and Minnie Gardner, the Anthony family's housekeeper who married Bates College student, Chesman Chadwick Spratt, class of 1893. Many of these letters contain information about Bates people and events as well as the local community.

Other correspondence in this series include letters to Kate J. Anthony, some of which concern her mission work and to Elisabeth Anthony Dexter from people who knew her mother including Emma Clark Rand, Caroline Chase Milliken and Harry W. Rowe. Also includes letters to Lewis W. Anthony from several people including Benjamin F. Hayes and Herbert Purinton and a few letters to Emily Waterman, Frank A. Waterman and to John and Elizabeth Angell.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged in alphabetical order by family member and then correspondent.

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 MC112/03 Other family materials 1827-1985, n.d.   2.0 Linear feet

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of several journals authored by Alfred Williams Anthony, Britannia F. Waterman Anthony and Lewis A. Waterman. Also contains an assortment of family material including programs, newsclippings, poems, and compostions.

Organization and Arrangement

Organized into two subseries: Journals and Other papers.

 MC112/03.01 Journals 1865-1888   0.5 Linear feet

Scope and Content Note

Consists of nine journals most of which were written by Alfred Williams Anthony (1876-1877, 1879, 1881) and containing daily events as well as listings of books read and loaned; letters written and received and accounts of his finances. Two of the journals contain notes on trips he took, one to Washington DC with H. W. Preston in 1880 and one to California in 1882. Also contains a journal written by Britannia F. Waterman Anthony (1876-1877) and another by Lewis A. Waterman, written while in the Signal Corps and travelling with the troops through the West to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, June 29-November 9, 1865.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by author and then chronologically.

 MC112/03.02 Other papers 1827-1985, n.d.   1.5 Linear feet

Scope and Content Note

Contains a wide variety of material including programs and invitations for Brown University and Delta Kappa Epsilon events; material on Cobb Divinity School and Roger Williams Hall at Bates College; Dexter family material; and weekly calendars for Essex Street Free Baptist church in Bangor, Maine. Also includes notes and news clippings on family genealogy and other subjects; and notes by Elisabeth Anthony Dexter on some of the family letters. Other material includes extracts of letters from J. Foster Jenkins to his Brown University classmate, Frank W. Anthony; garden register possibly belonging to James Anthony and silhouettes of Harriet Wyatt Angell and Anne S. Angell. Also includes poems by Kate J. Anthony and a booklet of poems by Alfred W. Anthony entitled "A Remembrance of June and Other Verses;"compositions and stories by Harriet W. Anthony, Alfred P. Waterman and Britannia F. Waterman and a tribute to Jan Masaryk by Robert C. Dexter.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

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