Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Lacy Family Papers, 1893-1926

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, November 2011

Summary Information
Title: Lacy family papers
Creator: Lacy family
Inclusive dates: 1893-1926
Bulk dates: 1897-1907
Extent: 0.75 linear feet
Abstract:
The Lacy family papers consist primarily of correspondence written by railroad engineer Robert L. Lacy to his parents and sister in Baltimore, Maryland, while he was a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and during the first years of his professional career. Robert discussed his studies, life in Boston and Tennessee, and occasionally gave his opinions on international politics.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1995, 2013. M-3200.1, M-4957.2.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Lacy Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged into two series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Ephemera

The Correspondence series is arranged chronologically.


Biography

Robert L. Lacy, the son of Benjamin and Emma Lacy of Baltimore, Maryland, was born in November 1876 in Maryland, and studied at Johns Hopkins University in the early 1890s. In 1896, he moved to Boston to pursue coursework in civil engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied for several years. Following his graduation, he worked for the Southern Railway Company in Marion County, Tennessee, and elsewhere throughout the South before eventually returning to Baltimore. He had one sister, Helen. On April 8, 1925, he married a woman named Dorothy, with whom he had at least two children, Louise and Richard.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Lacy family papers consist primarily of correspondence written by railroad engineer Robert L. Lacy to his parents and sister in Baltimore, Maryland, while he was a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and during the first years of his professional career.

The Correspondence series comprises the bulk of the collection. The first few letters are personal notes between Benjamin Lacy and Reverend Maltbie Davenport Babcock, both of Baltimore. The bulk of the material is dated between 1896, when Robert L. Lacy first moved to Boston, and 1907, when he was working at Oates Island, Tennessee, for the Southern Railway Company. In his letters from Boston, Robert told his parents of his daily life, and often shared stories about his landlady, fellow boarders, and other acquaintances; he also frequently reflected on his studies, a New Year celebration with the Technology Club, and on at least one occasion he shared his grades. Though predominately preoccupied by his social life, he occasionally mentioned politics, and in one letter mentioned placing a bet against the outbreak of war with Spain, which he discussed at length (March 14, 1898). Later, he explored the consequences of postwar United States actions in the Philippines and the effects of the Russo-Japanese War. After beginning his engineering career, he wrote mainly about his work and his places of residence, including South Carolina and Virginia; between 1905 and 1906, he spent most of his time on Oates Island, in southern Tennessee. Among the later letters was one written by Robert's future wife Dorothy about their upcoming wedding (April 5, 1925), and two written to the couple during their honeymoon in Bermuda that May.

The Ephemera series holds three greeting cards presented to Robert L. Lacy after 1925, celebrating the birth of a new baby (1928), Valentine's Day, and Easter. The series also contains a urinalysis report for "Mr. Lacy" from 1903, a photograph of a tree-lined river, and a printed poem entitled "The Lily of the Valley."

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Boston (Mass.)--History.
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Civil Engineering.
    • Railroad engineers.
    • Southern Railway (U.S.)
    Contributors:
    • Babcock, Maltbie D. (Maltbie Davenport), 1858-1901.
    • Lacy, Benjamin, b. 1840.
    • Lacy, Robert L., b. 1876.
    Genre Terms:
    • Greeting cards.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Poems.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
     
    Correspondence [series]
    Box   1 Folders   1-17
     February 1, 1893-December 31, 1906
    Box   2 Folders   1-4
     January 9, 1907-April 2, 1926, and  undated
     
    Ephemera [series]
    Box   2 Folder   5
     1903 and  undated