Henry Shoemaker Papers, 1873-1952

HCLA 1783

Collection Overview

Title:
Henry Shoemaker papers
Dates (Inclusive):
1873-1952
Creator:
Shoemaker, Henry W.
Abstract:
Henry W. Shoemaker, born in 1880, was an author, banker, newspaper columnist, newspaper publisher, diplomat, archivist, civil servant, and collector of Pennsylvania folklore. The collection consists of correspondence, ephemera, publications, photographs, and scrapbooks documenting Shoemaker's professional and family life and personal interests.
Collection Number:
HCLA 1783
Size:
30.61 Cubic Feet
Location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the  library catalog.
Repository:
Special Collections Library. Pennsylvania State University.
Languages:
English

Biographical Note

1880 Born in New York City to Henry F. Shoemaker and Blanche Quiggle Shoemaker, February 24.

1897-1900 Attended Columbia College.

1903 Secretary of the American Legation, Costa Rica and Lisbon.

1904 Third Secretary of American Embassy, Berlin.

1905-1911 Partner of Shoemaker, Bates and Co.

1907 Married Beatrice Barclay, June 12.

1907 Joined National Guard of New York.

1908 Birth of son, Henry Francis Shoemaker.

1910 Divorced Beatrice Barclay Shoemaker.

1912 Purchased The Altoona Tribune.

1913 Married Mabelle Ord, May 10.

1915 Lieutenant-Colonel, Pennsylvania National Guard.

1915-1930 Member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

1917 Honorary Doctorate from Juniata College.

1917-1918 Member of the Commission for National Defense.

1917-1930 President, Pennsylvania Alpine Club.

1918-1930 Member of the State Forest Commission.

1919-1920 President, Huguenot Society.

1920 Purchased The Altoona Times.

1923-1930 Chairman of the Pennsylvania Historical Commission.

1924 Honorary doctorate from Franklin and Marshall College.

1924-1930 Member of the State Geographic Board.

1925-1926 President, Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies.

1930-1933 Foreign Minister to Bulgaria.

1933 Full Colonel, Officers Reserve Corps.

1935-1956 President, Pennsylvania Folklore Society.

1936 Rejoins the Pennsylvania Historical Commission.

1937-1948 State Archivist, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

1939 Awarded Order of Meritorious Service for folklore research by Governor George H. Earle.

1948-1956 State Folklorist, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

1958 Died, McElhattan, PA, July 15.

Henry W. Shoemaker was an author, banker, newspaper columnist, newspaper publisher, diplomat, archivist, civil servant, and collector of Pennsylvania folklore. Though Shoemaker had a wide variety of interests and careers, he considered collecting Pennsylvania folklore to be his real life's work. Shoemaker published over 200 books and pamphlets on Pennsylvania folklore, legends, manners, customs, wildlife, and a variety of other topics. His most popular story is The Legend of Penn's Cave, which was first published in 1902. One of his best known works is his twelve volume Pennsylvania Folklore Series (1907-1924), which contains folktales and legends of central and northern Pennsylvania. Shoemaker's publications celebrate an unspoiled, pre-industrial Pennsylvania worth saving from encroaching logging and industry. A Progressive Republican, Shoemaker was committed to the preservation of both Pennsylvania folklore and the Pennsylvanian wilderness. As a member of the State Forest Commission, Shoemaker helped to organize the state park system and preservation programs. As the chairman of the Pennsylvania Historical Commission, he arranged for over one hundred historical markers to be placed in historical sites throughout Pennsylvania to instill a sense of state pride. Shoemaker saw the preservation of folklore and forests as interconnected; he wanted Pennsylvanians to appreciate and preserve both. During his time as the American Minister to Bulgaria, Shoemaker continued to investigate and promote the study of folklore and the preservation of the environment. Shoemaker was made an honorary member of the folklore societies of Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey. He also was made a Knight of the Order of the Redeemer by the Greek government for his work on the Greek refugees in Central Pennsylvania, and King Boris of Bulgaria awarded him the Grand Cordon of the Order of Civil Merit. When Shoemaker returned to the United States in 1933, he also returned to his conservation work. In 1948 Shoemaker was appointed State Folklorist for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the first official State Folklorist position in America. During this time, Shoemaker's methods for collecting folklore came under attack by academically trained folklorists, such as Alfred L. Shoemaker and Samuel Bayard, who sought to distance themselves from amateurs. Richard Dorson called writers like Shoemaker popularizers and amateurs and their romanticized and unscientific work fakelore rather than folklore. While Shoemaker described himself as a compiler, rather than an author, his work is literary and romantic in style rather than a direct transcript of oral tales. In Popularizing Pennsylvania: Henry W. Shoemaker and the Progressive Uses of Folklore and History, Simon Bronner argues, Henry Shoemaker was more concerned about the picturesqueness and the political impact of his material than about whether it qualified as genuine folklore (Bronner, p. 74). Though criticized by academics, Shoemaker's work is still evident in central Pennsylvania; his legends are reprinted on postcards sold at tourist attractions and his books are available in local libraries.

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Collection Overview

The documents of the Henry Shoemaker Papers consist of correspondence, ephemera, publications, photographs, and scrapbooks. The majority of the materials concern the life of Henry W. Shoemaker, author, civil servant, diplomat, and newspaper publisher. The collection contains materials relating to Shoemaker's family, friends, business associates, and the many organizations he was affiliated with.

The collection reflects the varied nature of Shoemaker's interests and careers. It documents Shoemaker's life as an author, newspaper publisher, banker, folklorist, conservationist, and diplomat, as well as his interest in promoting and protecting historical sites and traditions in Pennsylvania. The biographical note above provides a brief outline of the major events in Shoemaker's life.

The first series of the collection, Correspondence, documents Shoemaker's varied interests and careers. Correspondence consists primarily of letters written to Shoemaker and copies of his replies. This series also contains several letters addressed to his wife Mrs. Maybelle Shoemaker. The letters concern Shoemaker's business and personal life in addition to his involvement with a large number of organizations as diverse as the Russian Wolfhound Club of America and the State Geographic Board.

Correspondents include his Aunt Ella, David T. Abercrombie (of Abercrombie and Fitch), Jos. Arbuckle (editor of the Altoona Tribune), Martin Grove Brumbaugh (Pennsylvania governor), John Hall Chatham (folklore source), James Henry Darlington (Episcopal Bishop of Harrisburg, Pa.), George Patterson Donehoo (Pennsylvania state librarian), John Arden Ferguson (forester), Cyrus T. Fox, John Churchill French (folklore source), George Bird Grinnell (nature writer), Hilda Hauri (business secretary?), A. Lawrence Kocher (Penn State professor of architecture), Enos M. Jones, William McCormick, Robert W. L. Moyer (business associate), Fred Lewis Pattee (Penn State professor of English), Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker (Pennsylvania governor), Gifford Pinchot (Pennsylvania governor), Cordelia Quiggle (grandmother), James W. Quiggle 2nd (uncle), W. H. Schwartz (Altoona Tribune), Ernest Thompson Seton (author), Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff (sister and poet), G. Scott Smith, and Edwin Erle Sparks (Penn State president).

The second series of the collection, Ephemera, consists of the letter copybook of Henry F. Shoemaker, Henry W. Shoemaker's father, the Peter Shoemaker and Affiliated Line Family Tree, and library request forms for Shoemaker's books. Also included are programs and bulletins for festivals, expositions, and church services.

The third series of the collection, Publications, is comprised of copies, proofs, and drafts of Shoemaker's books and speeches, the 1900 Columbia College Yearbook, and a copy of Early History and River Transportation Pittsburgh. A report of the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies and a report of the Pennsylvania State Geographic Board also are included.

The fourth series of the collection, Photographs, consists of photographs of Shoemaker; his summer estate in Riverside, Connecticut; his estate Restless Oaks in McElhattan, Pennsylvania; and images of Henry F. Shoemaker, Henry W. Shoemaker's father. This series also includes several unidentified photographs of men, women, and children.

The fifth series of the collection, Scrapbooks, includes three scrapbooks. The scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings, magazine clippings, Shoemaker's own editorials on a variety of subjects, poetry of his sister, Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff, and comics.

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Collection Arrangement

The materials of this collection are arranged into five series: Correspondence, Ephemera, Publications, Photographs, and Scrapbooks.

The letters located in the first series, Correspondence, are arranged chronologically. The second series, Ephemera, is arranged chronologically and by format. The third series, Publications, is arranged chronologically and by format. The fourth series, Photographs, is arranged by subject. The fifth series, Scrapbooks, is arranged in original order.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Henry Shoemaker Papers, HCLA 1783, Special Collections Library, Pennsylvania State University.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections staff.

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Collection Inventory

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