The Winterthur Library
The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera
Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum
5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, DE 19735
302-888-4600 or 800-448-3883
Creator: Wurts Family
Dates: 1847 – 1952 (bulk: 1900-1919)
Call No: Col. 544
Acc. No: 00x23, 16x17
Quanity: 2 cu. ft.
Location: 34 L 2, map case 3, drawer 2
Charles Stewart Wurts (1790-1859) was a prominent and prosperous wholesale dry goods merchant in Philadelphia. He was the son of Sarah Grandin (1754-1808) and John Wurtws (1744-1793). He married Mary Van Uxem (1802-1877), the daughter of Jacques Jean (James) Van Uxem (1746-1824) and Rebecca Clark (d.1806). Charles Stewart Wurts and Mary Van Uxem had four children: Louisa, Mary (circa 1838-1875), Henrietta (born around 1840, said to have died in her early 30s), and Charles Stewart Wurts II.
Charles Stewart Wurts II (1830-1907) married first Martha Haskins and, second, Mary Stewart Wood (daughter of Charles S. Wood [1800-1873]) and had at least four children: Mary, Anna R., Robert Kennedy (1872-1944) and Charles Stewart III. Charles S. Wurts II studied medicine in Paris, but did not seriously pursue a medical career after returning to America. The Wurts’summer home, located in Belvidere, New Jersey, was reminiscent of a Gothic villa.
Charles Stewart Wurts III (1869-1933) also studied medicine and practiced his profession at 1701 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. (However, his death certificate listed him as a stockbroker.) He married Elizabeth Wister in 1892. They had four children: Mary Stuart (1896-1980; middle name sometimes spelled Stewart), Charles Stewart IV (1901-1964; he used the suffix Jr.), John Wister (born 1907), and Elizabeth Fisher (1912-1970). Charles IV was a student at the Episcopal Academy, graduating in 1919. John Wister Wurts also attended Episcopal Academy. Mary Stuart Wurts married Samuel Grey Dayton.
Around 1909 Dr. and Mrs. Charles Stewart Wurts III bought and moved into a house at 926 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, a narrow four story row house, that was part of a series of buildings called “Portico Row” because of their classically canopied entrances. (Thomas Ustick Walter, a distinguished Philadelphia architect, built these houses over the course of three years, 1831-1833.) There was ample space on four floors to raise the Wurts’ four children, and the house remained in the family until Mrs. Wurts died in 1953. Over time, the Wurts’ neighborhood had changed from one where affluent middle-class families lived in elegant houses to an area where some of the houses were subdivided into small rental units.
As noted above, Mary Stuart Wurts (1896-1980) married Samuel Grey Dayton (1892-1927) on July 1, 1917. Dayton was a stockbroker. They had two children: Mary Stuart Dayton (1918-1996, married Charles Wilson McNeeley) and Samuel Grey Dayton (1921-2000). After the elder Mr. Dayton died in 1927 (in a hunting accident), his widow married George Sidney Godolphin Cavendish (1895-1973), a photographer and retired British Navy lieutenant commander, in January 1933. (Cavendish’s mother was a daughter of the 9th Duke of Leeds.) Mary Stuart Wurts Dayton Cavendish died in 1980, at her summer home in Chester, Nova Scotia. Her winter home was at Cedar Hill Farm in Media, Penn.
The younger Samuel Grey Dayton had a daughter Alice, who married Peter Strickland. In 1977, Peter and Alice Dayton Strickland bought her great-grandparents’ home at 926 Spruce Street. By 1980, the Stricklands were renting out space in the upper floors and working on restoring the building in anticipation of opening it as a house museum called the “Wurts House.” They hoped to complete their restoration work by 1988 and then to run the place as a living museum while also residing in the house. Planning to show how a well-to-do middle class family lived and furnished its home in 19th and early 20th centuries Philadelphia, the Stricklands decorated the house using period pieces from the family, donations from friends, and purchases. Some of the furniture they assembled shed light on several lesser-known furniture makers from Philadelphia. Unfortunately and for various reasons, the Wurts House project was not a successful venture.
Elizabeth Wister (1870-1952; wife of Dr. Charles Stewart Wurts III) was the daughter of Sarah Tyler Boas (1842-1922) and John W. Wister (1829-1900). John W. Wister’s mother was Sarah Logan (Fisher) Wister (1806-1891), and it may be from this that Elizabeth’s sister Sarah Logan Wister (1873-1956) decided to add Jr. to her name when she inscribed her copy books. Sarah Logan Wister married James Starr (1870-1948), and had a daughter Sarah Logan Starr (1903-1979, called Logan).
The first series of this collection of papers focuses on the activities of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Stewart Wurts, III and their families during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Philadelphia. It includes records from a wide variety of sources, including social groups, financial institutions, civic organizations, schools, historical societies, scientific organizations, the Franklin Institute, Laurel Hill Cemetery, churches, political groups, benevolent societies, and various businesses. In addition, there are copies of wills of prominent Philadelphia residents, as well as information on hotels and restaurants assembled from Wurts and Wister family travels, and journal articles about Philadelphia architecture and taverns. The largest group of papers relates to the Episcopal Academy, the school attended by the sons of Charles Stewart and Elizabeth Wister Wurts. Included are Commendation Day programs, academic report cards, graduation programs dating from 1913-1919, and the school’s catalog, 1915-1918. Further, the collection has reproductions of the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, distributed by John Wanamaker in celebration of Washington’s Birthday, in 1913.
Some of the papers relate to Elizabeth Wister Wurts’ family, including penmanship copy books kept by her sister Sarah Logan Wister; items from her uncles Francis and William Wister; and other items from Sarah Logan Wister and her husband James Starr.
The second series in this collection focuses on Mary Stuart Wurts Dayton Cavendish, a daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Stewart Wurts, III. Of particular interest are the letters written to her by her first husband, Samuel Grey Dayton, while he was serving in the American Army during World War I. At first he was stationed in New Jersey, but later he was sent to France. He was not able to leave France until the late spring of 1919, and he was most anxious to return to see his wife and daughter. Another large group of letters in this series was written by George Sidney Godolphin Cavendish while he was working as a photographer in Montreal in 1931-1932. He courted the widow Mary Stuart Wurts Dayton through these letters. Also included in this series are some other items pertaining to World War I, including an identification bracelet for Samuel Grey Dayton (a privately supplied one, not the official Army tag), some other miscellaneous correspondence, a few photographs (mostly with Cavendish’s letters), and an envelope advertising the 1932 Winter Olympics held in Lake Placid, New York.
Series I pertains to the Wurts family in general, and includes the earlier accession. The first box contains family papers covering social events and schooling. The second box holds papers on Philadelphia related business, organizations, institutions, architecture, religious bodies, etc. dating from the last part of the 19th century into the 20th century; and two printed wills. Box 3 holds papers on miscellaneous organizations, and information on non-Philadelphia topics. The oversize folders have papers on membership in the Academy of Natural Sciences and reproductions of the Declaration of Independence.
Series II pertains specifically to Mary Stuart Wurts Dayton Cavendish. Letters by Samuel Grey Dayton and George S. G. Cavendish are filed under their names and are arranged chronologically.
LANGUAGE OF MATERIALS
The materials are in English, German, and French.
RESTRICTIONS ON ACCESS
Collection is open to the public. Copyright restrictions may apply.
Accession 00x23: Purchased from Peter Strickland, 1999.
Accession 16x17: gift of Jack Knight
Wistar Family Papers, Col. 94;
Travel diaries of Henrietta Wurts, Doc. 1145.
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, holds additional Wurts family papers.
Cavendish, George Sidney Godolphin, 1895-1973
Cavendish, Mary Stuart Wurts Dayton, 1896-1980.
Dayton, Samuel Grey, 1892-1927
Morris, Lydia T. (Lydia Thompson), circa 1849-1932
Starr, Sarah Logan Wister, 1873-1956.
Wister, Francis, 1841-1905
Wister, William Rotch, 1827-1911
Wood, Charles S. (Charles Stewart), 1800-1873
Wurts, Charles Stewart, 1869-1933.
Wurts, Charles Stewart, Jr., 1901-1964.
Wurts, Elizabeth Wister, 1870-1953
Van Uxem Family
Academy of Music (Philadelphia, Pa.)
American Society for the Extension of University Teaching (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Bell Telephone Company of Philadelphia
Cavendish (Club: Philadelphia, Pa.)
Civil Service Reform Association of Pennsylvania
College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Episcopal Academy (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Germantown Academy (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Germantown Cricket Club (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Hasty Pudding Club (Harvard University)
Laurel Hill Cemetery (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Philadelphia Gas Works
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Public Baths Association of Philadelphia
Rittenhouse Trust Company (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Saving Fund Society of Germantown and its Vicinity (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Seaside House for Invalid Women (Atlantic City, N.J.)
University of Pennsylvania
Western Saving Fund Society of Philadelphia
Olympic Winter Games (3rd : 1932 : Lake Placid, N.Y.)
Architecture – Pennsylvania - Philadelphia
Associations, institutions, etc. – Pennsylvania – Philadelphia
Banks – Pennsylvania – Philadelphia
Hospitals – Pennsylvania - Philadelphia
Learned institutions and societies – Pennsylvania – Philadelphia
Taverns (Inns) – Pennsylvania – Philadelphia
Women – Societies and clubs
World War, 1914-1918 - Propaganda.
World War, 1914-1918 – Soldiers – Correspondence.
World War, 1914-1918 – United States.
Philadelphia (Pa.) – Intellectual life
Philadelphia (Pa.) – Politics and government
Philadelphia (Pa.) – Social life and customs
Location: 34 L 2, map case 3, drawer 2
Series I: Wurts family (acc. 00x23)
Folder 1: Charles Stewart Wurts, Coat of Arms (3 copies, one colored); these were possibly bookplates
Folder 2: Ulster County Bank, Kingston, New York, notice to Maurice Wurts, Rondout, N.Y., Oct. 12, 1847. A note made by Robert Gosman payable at the Ulster County Bank and endorsed by Wurts has been protested for non-payment and the bank expects Wurts to pay. Signed by notary public J.S. Evans.
Maurice Wurts (1783-1854) was the brother of Charles Stewart Wurts (1790-1859).
Folder 3: Wurts family post cards, family invitations. Includes
notice that Anna R. Wurts has passed her examinations for the year 1889-1890 and will be promoted. (School is not named.)
invitation to Katherine and Lewis Ziegler’s Valentine party, sent to John Wurts, no year (a children’s party);
an Easter postcard;
a postcard of a lily pond, with women in a canoe;
and other items
Folder 4: Princeton University commencement program, for Charles Stewart Wurts IV (Jr.), 1923
Folder 5: Notes concerning the Van Uxem Family, 1923, by Francis Van Uxem. Also copy of family record for Jacques Jean Van Uxem, who married Rebecca Clark in 1779.
Folder 6: Copy books (three in number): writing exercises of Sarah Logan Wister, Jr., plus hand-written scenes from an unnamed play based on “Beauty and the Beast” (but with 19th century references, such as a riding habit from Worth and a Saratoga trunk)
Sarah Logan Wister (1873-1956) was the daughter of Sarah Tyler Boas (1842-1922) and John W. Wister (1829-1900). Her sister Elizabeth married Dr. Charles Stewart Wurts III. Sarah married James Starr (1870-1948), and had a daughter Sarah Logan Starr (1903-1979).
Folder 7: Business cards of Francis Wister, stock and note broker, Philadelphis
Folder 8: Philadelphia Gas Works: William Wister’s gas bills, 1866-1873; Wister lived on Wister Street in Germantown; three of the bills are printed with a view of the Gas Office building;
Citizens’ Meeting Committee: circular letter requesting donation to “fight to prevent the theft of the Gas Works,” 1905;
Folder 9: “Chart of the Descendants of John Wister, (1708-1789)” (partial chart)
Folder 10: University of Pennsylvania, 1888-1941: invitations, ticket to cricket match, 1891 class ode, etc.
4 invitations are from the Wistar Party [see A Centenary of the Wistar Party, by Hampton Carson, 1918; no copy in this collection];
An invitation to tea, 2 wedding invitations;
A celebration of the introduction of the rose Grande Duchesse Charlotte, 1941;
invitation to presentation of Gimbel Philadelphia Award, 1944
Folder 12: Academy of Music: program for the “Silver Jubilee of His Britannic Majesty King George V, 1935”
Folder 13: Swedish Colonial Society, various invitations, 1938;
American Swedish Historical Foundation, ball invitation, 1948
Folder 14: Balls: Bachelor’s, 1859;
Germantown Academy, 1860 (centennial celebration, not a ball);
German-American Charity Ball, 1905
Folder 15: The Weekly Roster of the Medical Organizations of Philadelphia, 26 May 1906, 9 March 1907
Folder 16: College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 1903-1907: notices of meetings, ballot, lecture notice
Folder 17: The Philadelphia Orchestra, 1901: concert series announcements
Folder 18: The Assemblies: 1896, 1899, 1906: invitations
Folder 19: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1929, n.d.: invitations to an entertainment (“A Florentine Episode Pantomime”) and to an exhibit opening
Folder 20: Clubs: The Hasty Pudding, 1881 (text of the farce “Poison”);
Germantown Cricket, 1915 (bills for James Starr)
Folder 21: Episcopal Academy: academic reports, Wurts, 1909-1912; S. Wurts and J. Wurts, 1916;
Also includes a hand-written poem which begins “The windflower and the violet, they perished…,” presumably written by one of the Wurts boys
Folder 22: Episcopal Academy: Commendation Day programs, 1909-1915
Folder 23: Episcopal Academy: activities & graduation, 1913-1919: play programs, commencement programs, athletic programs, class day programs, etc.
Folder 1: Episcopal Academy: catalog, 1915-1918
Folder 2: The Rittenhouse Trust Company, Philadelphia: brochure about services
Folder 3: Western Saving Fund Society, Philadelphia, 1902-1906: notices for managers’ meetings, 1902 annual report, statement for Jan. 1, 1903
Folder 4: Saving Fund Society of Germantown: annual statements, 1941-1942
Folder 5: The American Society for the Extension of University Teaching, 1903-1906: announcements, invitation to a lecture
Folder 6: Civil Service Reform Association: annual report, etc., 1905-1906
Folder 7: Religious material:
Philadelphia Sabbath Association reports, 1906-1907;
card for the King’s Daughters;
card for Mizpah Presbyterian Church, 8th and Wolf Streets
notice of summer services at Lemon Hill in Fairmount Park, circa 1905;
invitation to meeting of American Sunday-School Union, 1906;
The Sunday School World, April 1906;
Church Vocabulary, no date, published by Church of St. Luke and The Epiphany, Philadelphia
Folder 8: Political groups in Philadelphia, 1905-1906:
Committee of Seventy,
8th Ward Committee City Party,
Folder 9: Benevolent societies, 1902-1925:
Pennsylvania Prison Society,
Children’s Aid Society of Pennsylvania,
Society for Organizing Charity,
Foster Home Association, 1904;
Philadelphia Home for Incurables, 1906;
Southern Home for Destitute Children, 1905;
Philadelphia Boys Club, 1906;
Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor, 1925;
Bedford Street Mission,
Pennsylvania Society to Protect Children from Cruelty;
Folder 10: Bell Telephone Company of Philadelphia: contract for service at 1701 Walnut St. (no customer name given, but this was the address of the physician’s office of Charles Stewart Wurts II), 1902
Folder 11: Companies in Philadelphia, 1902-1906:
Pennsylvania Company for Insurance on Lives,
Reliance Insurance Co.,
United Gas Improvement Co.
Folder 12: Associations:
The Cavendish, 1903-1904 (women’s whist club);
Public Baths Association of Philadelphia, report, 1905
Folder 13: Historical Organizations:
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, meeting notices, 1906-1907; State Society of the Cincinnati of Pennsylvania, dinner program, 1914;
Sons of the Revolution, address by Charles Henry Jones, 1909;
Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, ball invitation, 1891;
Booklet: Historic Pilgrimage to some of the earliest forges and furnaces along Manatawny and French Creeks, no date
Folder 14: Franklin Institute, Philadelphia: announcements of lecture series, monthly bulletins, 1902-1907
Folder 15: Scientific societies, 1906-1907:
American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1906:
Zoological Society, 1898;
Philadelphia Natural History Society, 1906-1907;
Academy of Natural Sciences, 1907;
Wagner Free Institute of Science, 1906
Folder 16: Hospitals:
Howard Hospital, 1904;
The Pennsylvania Epileptic Hospital and Colony Farm, 1905
Folder 17: Architecture and taverns of Philadelphia (journal articles, circa 1920-1950s)
Folder 18: “Laurel Hill Cemetery of Philadelphia” [circa 1905?]
Folder 19: Wills and estate reords, Printed:
Lydia T. Morris (d. 1932), and
Charles S. Wood (died 1873, father of Mary Stewart Wood, wife of Charles Stewart Wurts II) (auditor’s report, April 1881, includes parts of his will)
Lydia Thompson Morris (Dec. 22, 1849-Jan. 1932) was the daughter of Rebecca Thompson and Isaac Paschall Morris, who were Quakers. Lydia lived at Compton in Chestnut Hill. She was buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery. Sarah Logan Wistar Starr and her daughter Logan Starr are mentioned in the will, but Lydia’s relation to these women is not known.
Charles Stewart Wood, a merchant, was born in New Jersey in 1800, the son of Elizabeth Bacon and Richard Wood (1755-1822). He married Juliana Fitz Randolph, and they had several children, including Mary Stewart [also spelled Stuart] Wood, who married Charles Stewart Wurts.
Folder 1: Hotels and restaurants: menus and other notices, 1891, 1892:
Harven’s Hotel, Arrow Head Tea Room (Halls, Pa.), Grand Union Hotel (Saratoga Springs), S.S. Kaiser Wilhelm II, hotels in Lucerne, Switzerland
Folder 2: Schools: Cheyney School summer announcement 1905;
Saint Peter’s Choir School, Philadelphia, closing exercises, 1952
Folder 3: Seaside House for Invalid Women, Atlantic City, annual report, 1906
Folder 4: Arundel Society, London: notice of change in publication, 1893
Folder 5: Publications and books: notices about publications from various publishers, 1906
Folder 6: “The Importance of Sanitary Treatment of Sewage,” an address by Samuel G. Dixon, of Penn., 1906
Folder 7: Advertisements of various companies, 1906:
F.P. Garrettson and Co. (teas, coffee, olive oil, Virginia hams, New York and Newport, R.I.;
Buckleys Drug Store (no place, perhaps Philadelphia),
Rio Chemical Co. (New York),
Denver Chemical Mfg. Co. (New York)
Folder 8: Italian companies:
Aemilia Ars (embroidery on linen, Bologna),
Industrie Femminili Italiane (Women’s Handicrafts Co., Rome);
Guglielmo Boncinelli (old jewelry, miniatures, etc.)
Oversize folders (in map case):
Folder 1: Academy of Natural Sciences: membership certificate of Elizabeth Wister Wurts, 1924
Folder 2: Reproduction of the original draft of the American Declaration of Independence, distributed by John Wanamaker, February 22, 1913 (5 copies)
Series II: Mary Stuart Wurts Dayton Cavendish papers (acc. 16x17)
Folder 9: American Ambulance Field Service: pledge card
Folder 10: American Expeditionary Forces Christmas package coupon
Folder 11: Cavendish, George S. G.: estate of Alice C. Grey Leaming
[Mrs. Leaming (1873-1958) was the aunt of Samuel Grey Dayton (1892-1927).]
Folder 12: Cavendish, George S. G.: gift enclosure cards and greeting cards
Folder 13: Cavendish, George S. G.: letters to him
Folders 14-17: Cavendish, George S. G.: letters to Mary Stuart Wurts (Mrs. S. G.) Dayton: no year, Nov. 1931-April 1932
[note: one of the letters from Feb. 1932 is on an envelope advertising the Winter Olympic games to be held in Lake Placid]
Folders 1-2: Cavendish, George S. G.: letters to Mary Stuart Wurts (Mrs. S. G.) Dayton: May-Dec. 1932
Folder 3: Cavendish, George S. G.: letters to Mary Stuart Wurts Cavendish, 1936-1966
Folder 4: Cavendish, George S. G.: receipt book, no year; and sample stationery
Folder 5: Dayton, Mary Stuart: letters to her
[daughter of Mary Stuart Wurts and Samuel Grey Dayton]
Folder 6: Dayton, Samuel Grey: identification bracelet
[not an official U.S. Army identification tag, but a privately supplied one, made of sterling silver, from Caldwell]
Folder 7: Dayton, Samuel Grey: letters from non-family members
Folders 8-11: Dayton, Samuel Grey: letters and telegrams to Mary Stuart Wurts Dayton, no dates, 1917-Aug. 1918
Folders 1-5: Dayton, Samuel Grey: letters and telegrams to Mary Stuart Wurts Dayton, Sept. 1918-May 1919
Folder 6: Dayton, Samuel Grey: letters and telegrams to Mary Stuart Wurts Dayton, 1923, 1925
Folder 7: Dayton, Samuel Grey: will, 1913 (voided Dec. 20, 1917)
Folder 8: Dayton, Samuel Grey, Jr.: letter to him
Folder 9: Knitting instructions
Folder 10: Postcards and greeting cards without messages
Folder 11: Photographs and a tintype [not identified]
Tintype has a photographer’s label on the back, but it is difficult to read
Folder 12: “A Roast to the Kaiser”
Folder 13: Voorhees, J. Dayton: correspondence, including a letter to Mary S. Wurts, 1917, from S. Grey Dayton
Folder 14: Wells, Margaret: receipt
[her relationship to others represented in this collection is unknown]
Folder 15: Wurts: Mary Stuart (later Mrs. Dayton and Mrs. Cavendish): letters to her, not from her husbands
Folder 16: Wurts: Mary Stuart: letters to S. Grey Dayton, 1918 and no date
Folder 17: Wurts: Mary Stuart: marriage certificates, 1917, 1933; and her obituary, 1980