Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online

For Participating Institutions

Robert Cloutman and Elisabeth Anthony Dexter papers (Ms.2005.029)

Brown University Library

Box A
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: Manuscripts: 401-863-3723; University Archives: 401-863-2148
Email: Manuscripts: hay@brown.edu; University Archives: archives@brown.edu

Scope & content

The Dexter Papers represent three distinct aspects of Robert C. and Elisabeth A. Dexter’s lives and research.

The first series comprises correspondence, photographs and writings relating to the couple’s refugee work for the Unitarian Service Committee (USC) during World War II, including manuscript copies of Robert’s History of the Unitarian Service Committee and Elisabeth’s Last Port of Freedom. The USC cooperated with contemporary aid organizations to assist refugees in their flight out of occupied Europe. Along with Waitstill and Martha Sharp the Dexters played an integral role in defining the USC’s refugee mission, and the material in this series reflects the Committee members’ struggle to convert their religious convictions into humanitarian action. In addition to the more than fifty folders of correspondence are internal memos, financial documents, procedural memos, news clippings and photographs relating to the USC’s wartime effort.

The second and third series contain academic research undertaken by Robert and Elisabeth in their respective fields of sociology and history. The manuscript of Robert Dexter’s unpublished dissertation, Habitant Transplanted: a study of the French-Canadian in New England (Clark University, 1923) comprises the second series, along with several essays, one letter and a small amount of biographical material.

The third series includes research notes and manuscript copies of Elisabeth’s published works, Colonial Women of Affairs (1924) and Career Women of America, 1776-1840 (1951, 1973). Also included are extensive research notes, photocopies, and correspondence representing nearly twenty years’ work on her unpublished biography of Charlotte (Charpentier/Carpenter) Scott, the wife of Sir Walter Scott. One bound manuscript along with multiple manuscript drafts and fragments occupy two boxes of this series.

The fourth series is a substantial collection of the papers of Baptist minister Alfred Williams Anthony (1860-1939), father of Elisabeth Dexter. This collection includes his personal and professional correspondence, journals, photographs and writings. Anthony wrote extensively on financial planning for charitable organizations as well as on religious, literary and sociological topics. He traveled widely as a Baptist missionary and the series contains many snapshots from his 1910 tour of Burma (Myanmar) and India. In addition the series contains personal items and documents relating to both the Anthony and Angell Families of Rhode Island (Albert’s first wife was Harriet Angell).