Sheldon Family [RG2038.AM]


RG2038.AM:  Sheldon Family

Papers:  1890-1958

Nebraska City, Otoe County, Neb.; Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.:  Educators; social activists

Size:  5.75 cu. ft.; 10 boxes


Margaret Eleanor Thompson Sheldon was born into a pioneer home at Nebraska City, Nebraska on June 4, 1861. Her parents, William J. and Jane (Hilliard) Thompson, were married in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but eventually made their way to Nebraska City. Margaret had an interest in education at an early age, and began teaching at the age of fifteen. Soon after, she attended Crete Academy to prepare herself for Doane College in Crete, Nebraska. She graduated from Doane College in 1886 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Upon graduation she became an instructor in Mathematics and Dean of Women at Doane College. She would remain on the Doane faculty for twenty-one years. In 1897 she received her masters degree in English Literature from the University of Nebraska, and became professor of English Literature at Doane College.

In September 1907, Margaret Thompson married Addison E. Sheldon, whom she had known for many years. They both attended Columbia University to obtain their Ph.D. degrees. In 1908 Mrs. Sheldon became active in Women’s Club and social movements. In 1917 she was elected president of the Nebraska Federation of Women’s Clubs. During the World War she registered the women of the state to help support the United States. She was a member of the Women’s Committee, State Council of Defense. She was active in the campaign for women’s suffrage, and was a member of the Children’s Code Commission in 1919.

Margaret Sheldon was founder of the Native Sons and Daughters of Nebraska in 1924, and was active in many civic groups including the Nebraska Legislative Ladies League and the Tuesday Review Club. She was past state director of the League of Women Voters, and was active in the American Association of University Women. Though Margaret Sheldon was very busy, she still found the time to travel around Europe in the summer of 1927. Another interest Margaret had aside from her various clubs, was birds. She was very interested in them, and took time to band birds, and write observations of their activities in her notebooks.

Mrs. Sheldon worked in the Congregational church, and served on the boards of Doane College and Lincoln’s Y.M.C.A. Margaret Sheldon died suddenly while on vacation in Tucson, Arizona on February 20, 1942. She is buried in Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Ruth Sheldon, daughter of Margaret and Addison Sheldon, was born in Chadron, Nebraska on November 24, 1895 and moved to Lincoln, Nebraska during her childhood. Ruth attended public schools in Lincoln, Nebraska. She went on to attend the University of Nebraska to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics in 1920. In addition, Ruth received a M.A. at Columbia University in food and nutrition, and worked an additional year at the Teacher’s College.

Ruth was a teacher for three years in schools around Nebraska, and taught Home Economics in a public school in Oakland, California. She was the head of the Home Economics Department of Maryville College in Tennessee. She was a Volunteer Canteen Worker for the Red Cross, and taught Red Cross Canteen Classes during World War II.

She took part in many committees during the war, including the District of Columbia Wartime Nutrition Committee, and Wartime Committee for the U.S. Government on Demonstration of Food Conservation. She spoke to various womenís clubs and other groups on canning, herbs, and other subjects dealing with home economics. Ruth served as the Home Service Director of the Washington Gas Light Company. She tested recipes, helped distribute bulletins to the customers, and answered their questions about recipes.

Margaret and Ruth Sheldon were both very active in community service in Nebraska and elsewhere.


The collection includes manuscript material arranged in four series: 1) Margaret Sheldon; 2) Ruth Sheldon; 3) Rolland Sheldon; 4) Miscellaneous

Series 1 consists of the papers of Margaret Sheldon. Correspondence is a very large part of Margaret Sheldon’s papers including some family letters and letters between Margaret and her many acquaintances through her various clubs. In addition to correspondence, this series includes the vast writings of Margaret Sheldon, including her notes from when she taught at Doane College, along with other writings she did during her life. Many of these writings relate to various Nebraska history talks that she gave to various clubs and organizations. Also, since Margaret had an interest in birds, several folders are dedicated to her aviary studies and her dedication to the work associated with her bird banding and observations. The series also contains Margaretís work with Doaneís trustees and alumni. Finally, some biographical information about Margaret is included.

Note: Some correspondence, publications and other items relating to Margaret Sheldon’s work with the Nebraska Federation of Women’s Clubs, Native Sons and Daughters of Nebraska, and American Association of University Women have been added to those organizations records.

Series 2 consists of the papers of Ruth Sheldon. The majority of Ruth Sheldon’s papers deal with her education. The series contains her class notes from lectures and home economics courses. The series also contains recipes and food-related publications compiled by Ruth along with some biographical information.

Series 3, Rolland Sheldon, contains a few items relating to the father of Addison Sheldon. The materials consist of a Book of Sermons and a notebook that belonged to Rolland Sheldon.

Series 4 is composed of a few folders of miscellaneous materials presumably collected by Margaret and/or Ruth Sheldon. The materials consist mostly of newspaper clippings on various subjects. Also included is a folder about the Sheldon Family Association.


Series 1 – Margaret Sheldon

Box 1


    1. Personal correspondence, 1908-1914

    1. Personal correspondence, 1917

    1. Personal correspondence, 1918, Jan.-Mar.

    1. Personal correspondence, 1918, Apr.-Dec.

    1. Personal correspondence, 1919, Jan.-Apr.

    1. Personal correspondence, 1919, May-Sept.

    1. Personal correspondence, 1919, Oct.

    1. Personal correspondence, 1919, Nov.-Dec.

    1. Personal correspondence, 1920, Jan.-Mar.

    1. Personal correspondence, 1920, Apr.-May

    1. Personal correspondence, 1920, June-Dec.

    1. Personal correspondence, 1921, Jan.-Apr.

    1. Personal correspondence, 1921, May-Dec.

    1. Personal correspondence, 1922

    1. Personal correspondence, 1923-1929

    1. Personal correspondence, 1930-1932

    1. Personal correspondence, 1932-1934

    1. Personal correspondence, 1935-1939

    1. Personal correspondence, 1940-1942

    1. Personal correspondence, undated

    1. Farm correspondence, 1917

    1. Farm correspondence, 1937-1940

    1. Financial and legal papers

    1. Address book

    1. Journals, 1915-1936

Box 2


    1. Writings, 1898

    1. Writings, 1901-1907

    1. Writings, 1909-1915

    1. Writings, 1919-1923

    1. Writings, 1925-1931

    1. Writings, 1932-1942

    1. Writings, undated

Box 3


    1. Writings, undated

    1. Writings, undated

    1. Writings, undated

    1. Writings: Stories, speeches and notes, assorted

    1. Birds, 1907-1929

Box 4


    1. Birds, 1913-1924

    1. Birds, 1921-1935

    1. Birds, 1922-1928

    1. Bird banding, 1930

    1. Birds, 1935

    1. Birds, 1937-1942

Box 5


    1. Doane College – Nebraska History lectures, 1890-1926

    1. Doane College – Nebraska History lectures, 1925-1926

    1. Doane College – Nebraska History lectures

    1. Doane College – Addresses; Board of Trustee Minutes, financial forms

    1. Doane College – Alumni addresses

    1. Doane College – Misc., 1938-1955

    1. Doane College – Letters regarding graduation ceremonies, 1940-1941

    1. Writings, misc.

Box 6


    1. Journal

    1. Date book, 1917-1930

    1. Travel, 1927

    1. Biographical information about Margaret Sheldon

    1. Scrapbook (see oversize vol. 1)

    1. Scrapbook – Holiday greeting cards (see oversize vol. 2)

Series 2 – Ruth Sheldon

    1. Correspondence, 1921-1955

    1. Class notes, 1906-1907

    1. Class notes, 1906-1908

    1. Class notes, 1918

    1. Class notes, 1919-1920

    1. Class notes, 1920

    1. Class notes, 1920

    1. Class notes, undated

    1. Class notes, undated

    1. Class notes, undated

    1. Class notes and notebook, undated

    1. Home Economics books, 1917-1918

    1. Home Economics books, 1917-1918

    1. Home Economics books, 1918

    1. Art and drawings (see also OB019)

    1. Biographical information

Box 7


    1. Biographical information, clippings

    1. Recipes, Salads

    1. Recipes, Sandwiches, soup and chicken

    1. Recipes, Menus and meals

    1. Recipes, 1926-1941

    1. Recipes, undated

    1. Recipes, undated

Box 8


    1. Recipes, undated

    1. Recipe scrapbook material

      Cook book, handwritten [see oversize]

    1. Publications, health and nutrition

    1. Publications, health and nutrition

    1. Publications, food safety and preservation

Box 9


    1. Publications, meat

    1. Publications, Home Service

    1. Publications, American Home Economics Association directories, 1958-1962

    1. Publications, promotional advertisements (see also OB019)

    1. Publications, misc.

    1. Travel, Royal Blue Line

    1. Miscellaneous

Series 3 – Rolland Sheldon

    1. Lecture notes

    1. Book of Sermons

Series 4 – Miscellaneous

Box 10


    1. Sheldon Family Association

    1. Random lists and farming information, 1917-1940

    1. Newspaper clippings, 1919-1930

    1. Newspaper clippings, 1927-1941



Birds — Bird banding — Nebraska

Birds — Bird watching — Nebraska

Doane College (Crete, Neb.)

Education — Nebraska

Home Economics — Recipes

Local history

Sheldon, Margaret Eleanor (Thompson), 1861-1942

Sheldon, Ruth, 1895-

Universities and colleges — Nebraska

Women — Societies and clubs

Women — Suffrage


10-19-2005   HP/tmm

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