Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Della T. Lutes Papers

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Della T. Lutes Papers,
Creator: Lutes, Della T. (Della Thompson), b. 1872.
Inclusive dates: 1882-1985, and undated
Extent: 3 cubic ft. (in 3 boxes)
Abstract:
Della T. Lutes’ papers include personal items, such as an autograph album, photographs, scrapbooks, and biographical materials, including numerous obituaries. However, the majority of her papers include drafts of articles; her published articles, columns, and books; and also critical reviews of her publications.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160
Email: clarke@cmich.edu
Website: http://clarke.cmich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# 3146, 42076

Access Restrictions:

Della T. Lutes Papers are open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Della T. Lutes Papers, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement

Arrangement is chronological, then by type of material.


History

Biography:

Della Thompson Lutes was born in 1872 to Elijah and Almira F. Bogardus Thompson at Jackson, Michigan. She graduated from Jackson High School. At age 16, Lutes became a teacher in the Jackson County School District and also taught in Detroit City Schools. She wrote a book called Just Away as well as several articles for Detroit newspapers, attracting more than local interest.

In 1907, Della moved to Cooperstown, New York, to become editor of a ladies journal called American Motherhood. She later became editor of Table Talk and Today’s Housewife. In 1924, Della became housekeeping editor and director of the Proving Plant of Modern Priscilla of Boston, Massachusetts. From there, she went on to become an acknowledged authority on housekeeping topics.

Della’s best-selling book, Country Kitchens, was published in 1936. Several other popular books followed, including: Home Grown (1937), Mill Brook (1938), Gabriel’s Search (1940), and The Country School Ma’am (1941). She completed Cousin William for publication just before her demise in 1942.

Della was also a familiar contributor to many of the leading magazines of the 1930s and 1940s, such as: Reader’s Digest, The Atlantic Monthly, American Mercury, and Woman’s Day, among others.

Recognized as a writer of clarity, vigor, beauty, and humor, she brought her childhood to life for numerous readers. She was a woman of charm, a brilliant conversationalist, and was devoted to her family and friends.

On July 6, 1893, Della married Louis I. Lutes (1870-1921) in Detroit, Michigan. Together, they had two sons: Ralph (1894-1901), who died at age 7 after being accidentally shot by a classmate, and Robert B. (1897-1943), an art editor of Today’s Housewife. Upon his demise, Robert left a wife and five children.

Della T. Lutes died on July 4, 1942 of a heart attack. (This information is from the collection.)


Collection Scope and Content Note

Della T. Lutes’ papers include personal items, such as an autograph album, photographs, scrapbooks, and biographical materials, including numerous obituaries. However, the majority of her papers include drafts of articles; her published articles, columns, and books; and also critical reviews of her publications. Rejection letters and notes in the collection prove that even successful Michigan authors sometimes get turned down. The collection is organized into the series of biographical/personal or publications, then divided by type of material, and organized alphabetically, and chronologically. The Clarke Historical Library also has 22 of her books.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Lutes, Della T. (Della Thompson), b. 1872.
    • Cooking--Michigan.
    • Country life--Michigan.
    • Home economics--United States--Biography.
    • Michigan authors.
    • Women authors.
    • Home economics.
    • Sanitary engineering.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    Della T. Lutes Papers are open for research. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biographical Materials, 1908-1961
    Box   1 F   2
    Correspondence from Della T. Lutes, 1911, undated
    Box   1 F   3
    Correspondence from Bob and Cecily, 1920-1962, undated
    Box   1 F   4
    Correspondence to Mrs. Eddy from H.R. Roby, regarding Lutes' Funeral, 1942
    Box   1 F   5
    Lutes School Dedication Program, 1961
    Box   1 F   5
    Legal Papers Regarding Articles, 1936-1965
    Box   1 F   6
    Fan Mail from Very Important People (VIPs), 1914-1940
    Box   1 F   7
    Fan Mail, 1935
    Box   1 F   8
    Fan Mail, 1936
    Box   1 F   9
    Fan Mail (folder 1 of 3), 1937
    Box   1 F   10
    Fan Mail (folder 2 of 3), 1937
    Box   1 F   11
    Fan Mail (folder 3 of 3), 1937
    Box   1 F   12
    Fan Mail, 1938
    Box   1 F   13
    Fan Mail, 1939
    Box   1 F   14
    Fan Mail, 1941-1944
    Box   1 F   15
    Fan Mail, 1945-1949
    Box   1 F   16
    Fan Mail, 1950-1958
    Box   1 F   17
    Fan Mail, undated
    Box   1 F   18
    Photographs, of Della T. Lutes, undated
    Box   1 F   19
    Photographs of Della T. Lutes as Editor of Today’s Housewife and American Motherhood, undated
    Box   1 F   20
    Photographs of Della T. Lutes and her father, undated
    Box   1 F   21
    Photographs of Della T. Lutes and Ruth, undated
    Box   1 F   22
    Photographs of Della T. Lutes, used for Country School Ma'am, undated
    Box   1 F   23
    Photographs of Della T. Lutes School and Gravestone, circa 1994
    Box   1 F   24
    Photographs of Della T. Lutes with her children, undated
    Box   1 F   25
    Photographs of Della T. Lutes' Shaving Mug Collection, undated
    Box   1 F   26
    Photographs of Grandma Thompson, undated
    Box   1 F   27
    Photographs of Grandpa Thompson, undated
    Box   1 F   28
    Photographs of Modern Priscilla Proving Plant Staff, undated
    Box   1 F   29
    Photographs of Modern Priscilla Proving Plant, Interior of House, undated
    Box   1 F   30
    Photographs of Modern Priscilla Proving Plant, Exterior of House, undated
    Box   1 F   31
    Autograph Album, 1882-1890; Address Book, 1937, 1882-1890; 1937
    Box   1 F   32
    Books, A Book of Menus with Recipes, by Della T. Lutes, 1936
    Box   1 F   33
    Books, The Country Kitchen: A Classic of Cookery Literature, by Della T. Lutes, 1938, 1985
    Box   1 F   34
    Books, The Country Kitchen: A Home of Your Own, by Della T. Lutes (Signed), 1925
    Box   1 F   35
    Books, Home Grown (Jacket Cover), undated
    Box   1 F   36
    Books, The Presto Book of Menus and Recipes, by Della T. Lutes, 1930s
    Box   1 F   37
    Books, The Secret of Life, by Della T. Lutes, 1911
    Box   1 F   38
    Guest Book / Poetry / Scrapbook, 1913-1944
    Box   1 F   39
    Notebooks: 1 (folder 1 of 3), undated
    Box   1 F   40
    Notebooks: 2 (folder 2 of 3), undated
    Box   1 F   41
    Notebooks: 3 (folder 3 of 3), undated
    Box   2 F   1
    Notebooks: 4 (folder 1 of 8), undated
    Box   2 F   2
    Notebooks: 5 (folder 2 of 8), undated
    Box   2 F   3
    Notebooks: 6 (folder 3 of 8), undated
    Box   2 F   4
    Notebooks: 7 (folder 4 of 8), undated
    Box   2 F   5
    Notebooks: 8 (folder 5 of 8), undated
    Box   2 F   6
    Notebooks: 9 (folder 6 of 8), undated
    Box   2 F   7
    Notebooks: 10 (folder 7 of 8), undated
    Box   2 F   8
    Notebooks: 11 (folder 8 of 8), undated
    Box   2 F   9
    Poetry by Della T. Lutes, undated
    Box   2 F   10
    Poetry Scrapbook (Some by Della T. Lutes), undated
    Box   2 F   11
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Ainslee’s, undated
    Box   2 F   12
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in American Cookery, 1941
    Box   2 F   13
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in American Home, 1938
    Box   2 F   14
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in American Mercury, 1936-1956
    Box   2 F   15
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in American Motherhood, 1913-1919
    Box   2 F   16
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Atlantic Monthly, 1935-1941
    Box   2 F   17
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Christian Science Monitor, 1940-1942
    Box   2 F   18
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Detroit Free Press (?), 1906
    Box   2 F   19
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Farm Journal, 1936-1938
    Box   2 F   20
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Farmer's Wife, 1939
    Box   2 F   21
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Ford News, 1941, undated
    Box   2 F   22
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Forum, 1935-1938
    Box   2 F   23
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Gourmet, 1942-1943
    Box   2 F   24
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Parents Magazine, 1938
    Box   2 F   25
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Pictorial Review, 1938-1939
    Box   2 F   26
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Priscilla Proving Plant, Today's Housewife Testing Home, 1920s
    Box   2 F   27
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Reader's Digest, 1933-1955, 1961
    Box   2 F   28
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Saturday Review of Literature, 1937-1941
    Box   2 F   29
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Scholastic: The American High School Weekly, 1940
    Box   2 F   30
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Table Talk, 1918-1920
    Box   2 F   31
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Vogue, 1938
    Box   2 F   32
    Published Articles by Della T. Lutes in Woman's Day, 1938-1942, 1963
    Box   2 F   33
    Published Materials, Miscellaneous Articles, 1906-1958, undated
    Box   2 F   34
    Published Materials, Newspaper Clippings (Of Articles by Della T. Lutes), 1917-1963 (Scattered)
    Box   2 F   35
    Published Materials, Short Talks, 1925, 1930-1932
    Box   2 F   36
    Radio Programs, "Breakfast Old Style", 1947
    Box   2 F   37
    Radio Programs, "Of Men and Books (Regarding Country School Ma'am)", 1941
    Box   2 F   38
    Scrapbook (Includes the Obituary of Della T. Lutes’ Son, Robert B. Lutes), 1938-1941
    Box   2 F   38
    Scrapbook of Michigan Historical Newspaper Clippings, undated
    Box   3 F   1
    Articles, "A Christmas Wish," Broadside, undated
    Box   3 F   2
    Articles, "Thanksgiving," Broadside, undated
    Box   3 F   3
    Articles, "Adelaide," Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   4
    Articles, "Aunt Hanner's Barbycue," Carbon, 1942
    Box   3 F   5
    Articles, Country School Ma'am, Omitted Text, undated
    Box   3 F   6
    Articles, Cousin William, Play Script by Jerry Emerson, undated
    Box   3 F   7
    Articles, "Cruces," Typed (With Rejection Letter), 1941
    Box   3 F   8
    Articles, "Do You Remember the Book Agent?," Typed (With Rejection Letter), 1941
    Box   3 F   9
    Articles, "Down to Earth," Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   10
    Articles, "East Wind," Typed (With Rejection Letter), 1941
    Box   3 F   11
    Articles, "Eight, Eighteen,and Eighty," Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   12
    Articles, "Eight, Eighteen,and Eighty, Part 2," Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   13
    Articles, Synopsis of the Remainder of "Eight, Eighteen,and Eighty, Part 2," Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   14
    Articles, "Father," Typed (With Rejection Notes), 1941
    Box   3 F   15
    Articles, "Father and the Bright Young Men," Typed (With Rejection Notes), 1941
    Box   3 F   16
    Articles, "Flood and Flavor," Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   17
    Articles, "Greg's Mill," Chapters 1-2, Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   18
    Articles, "Greg's Mill," Chapters 3-6, Handwritten with Corrections, undated
    Box   3 F   19
    Articles, "Greg's Mill," Corrected Carbons, undated
    Box   3 F   20
    Articles, "Greg's Mill," Omitted Text, undated
    Box   3 F   21
    Articles, "The Haunted House," Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   22
    Articles, "The Haunted House," (Cut out of Cousin William), Corrected Carbons, undated
    Box   3 F   23
    Articles, "Here's Rosemary For Remembrance," Typed (With a Letter), 1942
    Box   3 F   24
    Articles, "The Home Town Paper," Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   25
    Articles, "Jude, The Rebel," Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   26
    Articles, "King of the World, Queen of the Blood," Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   27
    Articles, "The Lasting Things," Corrected, Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   28
    Articles, "The Miracle of Homemade Bread," Carbon, 1941
    Box   3 F   29
    Articles, "Neglected Folklore," Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   30
    Articles, "Ol' Lucius," Typed, circa 1939
    Box   3 F   31
    Articles, "Patriarch," Typed, circa 1938
    Box   3 F   32
    Articles, "Relief," Typed (with a Rejection Letter), 1941
    Box   3 F   33
    Articles, "Rosy - A Country Cow," and "Rosy Goes Maternal," Typed, circa 1939 or 1940
    Box   3 F   34
    Articles, "Rosy - A Country Cow," and "Rosy Goes Maternal," Typed, circa 1939 or 1940
    Box   3 F   35
    Articles, "They Moved to Town," Carbon, 1939
    Box   3 F   36
    Articles, "Unforgettable Character," Typed, undated
    Box   3 F   37
    Articles, "Valentine for '4'," Carbon, 1942
    Box   3 F   38
    Articles, "Was Father a Gourmet?," Typed (With Rejection Notes), 1941
    Box   3 F   39
    Articles, "Was Father a Gourmet?," Typed (With Rejection Notes), 1941
    Box   3 F   40
    Articles, "Wenona," Typed, 1939
    Box   3 F   41
    Articles, "Whittaker," Carbon, 1938