MSS 111:  Holmes-Walker Family Papers, 1843-1978 - New Bedford Whaling Museum
Inventory of the Holmes-Walker Family Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research LibraryProcessed by: Name of Processor; machine-readable finding aid created by: Jalien HollisterInventory of the Holmes-Walker Family Papers In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Table of Contents

Biographical Notes

Scope and Content Note

Information for Researchers

Related Materials

Administrative Information


Subject Headings

Inventory of the Holmes-Walker Family Papers

In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library

Holmes-Walker Family Papers
Date Span:
Holmes-Walker family
Mss Number:
Mss 111
10 linear feet
The Holmes-Walker Family Papers contain the correspondence, photographs, and ephemera documenting three generations of four women, their spouses, and friends beginning in the 1843 and ending in 1978
New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Phone: (508) 997-0046

Biographical Notes

Josiah Holmes Jr. (1812-1892) Mr. Holmes was a birthright Quaker and prominent minster in Mattapoisett. He served as selectman and on the school committee. He built whaling ships and was also a ships agent. His first wife was Abby Wood (1822-1863). Their son, Albert Wood Holmes, was born in 1852. Mr. Holmes married his second wife, Sarah A. Ogborn Underhill in 1866. They had two daughters, Mary, who died at age 17 in 1891, and Lydia (1869-1912). They had a son, Josiah III, (Josie) who died at the age of thirty in Woodville, R.I. Josiah and Sarah moved to New Bedford from Mattapoisett in 1869, and later on, Sarah A. Holmes purchased a house at 64 Russell St. New Bedford circa 1880-1885.

In 1846, Josiah Holmes Jr. and his brother, Jonathan took over the shipyard in Mattapoisett, MA started by their father Josiah Holmes Sr. in 1800, doing business as Josiah Holmes & Brother. The Civil War caused the building of ships to stop for six years. After the war, in 1868 Jonathan built a schooner and two whaling ships. He built the last Mattapoisett vessel, the Wanderer, in 1878. In 1869, Mr. Holmes succeeded Peleg Macy as owner of the coal and lumber company that eventually bore the name of his son, Albert W. Holmes.

Josiah Holmes III (dates unknown) was the son of Josiah Holmes Jr. and Sarah Ann Holmes. He died at the age of thirty in Woodville, R.I. There are no papers directly related to him but there are references to him (as Josie or Joe) in other correspondence.

Albert Wood Holmes (1852-1912) Albert W. Holmes, a native of Mattapoisett, was the son of Josiah Holmes Jr. and Abby Wood (1822-1863). Albert was a well known businessman and in 1884 became owner of a large coal company once owned by his father. The business bearing his name was located at the foot of Pine St. in New Bedford. He resided at 5 Clinton Place with his wife, the former Elizabeth Stanford Rugg, and two sons, Albert W. Holmes Jr. and Gordon Holmes. He died in 1912 from asthma.

Sarah Ann Ogborn Underhill Holmes (1828-1912) Sarah was born in Frankford, PA to Sarah Ann (Owen) and Fothergill Ogborn. She was a Quaker and was well known by the Friends in New York and Pennsylvania. Her first husband was Abraham M. Underhill. After his death, she married Josiah Holmes Jr. in 1866. Their children were Lydia Le Baron Holmes (1869-1958), Josiah III, (Josie) who died at age thirty, and Mary, who died at age 17 in 1891.

Lydia Le Baron Holmes Walker, (1869-1958) was born in Mattapoisett, MA, the daughter of Sarah A. Holmes and Josiah Holmes Jr. Lydia became the wife of William Harrison Pennock Walker (1864-1915) of Ottawa, Canada, in 1892. Early in their marriage, they resided at 64 Russell St, in New Bedford and later moved, first to New York City and then to East Orange, N.J. in 1904 or 1906 and resided there until 1912. They had two daughters: Mary Evangeline (Mrs. Harold A. Landy) (1894-1957), and Lydia (1895-1978) who was christened Lydia Mabel Walker, but took the name Le Baron after her mother in 1915.

Lydia Le Baron Holmes Walker was an avid correspondent. Her letters begin in 1886 when she was a young girl and continue with few interruptions until about 1948. She wrote the bulk of these letters to her daughters, with whom she was very close. Around 1912 or 1915, Lydia and her daughters resided in Boston at various locations. The family often vacationed in Manomet, MA where she owned a cottage called Meadowcroft.

Lydia, (aka Lillie, Lilly, and Roundy) gave lectures on the lifestyle of the Quakers and wrote a domestic newspaper column, "The Household" for the Boston Traveler. She also published articles in House and Garden, Woman’s Home Companion, and Ladies’ Home Journal. Many of these articles were illustrated by her daughter Mary (M.E.W).

She wrote Homecraft Rugs: Their Historic Background, Romance of Stitchery and Method of Making (Frederick A. Stokes, 1929), illustrated by Mary Evangeline Walker and was also known known as a craftsperson, designer, writer and scholar. She belonged to the Pen & Brush Club of New York.

William Harrison Pennock Walker (1864-1915) was the son of Mr. H. P. Walker Sr. and his wife Mary Elizabeth. The elder Mr. Walker was a lawyer and Queen’s Counsel. William H. P. Walker was also a lawyer. William H.P. Walker corresponded with Lydia Le Baron from Canada for several years prior to their marriage in 1892. He was also known as Will, or Willie and “Brother” by his daughter Lydia. His sister was Florence Walker also known as “Flossie”. She married Charles “Charlie” Dawson.

Mr. Walker wrote “The Literature of Business” and was in New York City working for Vogue magazine when he died unexpectedly in 1915. The collection contains several stories he wrote for his children.

Mary Evangeline Walker (1894-1957) was born in New Bedford and died in Arlington, MA in 1957. According to her obituary, she received her training as an artist at the School of Applied Design for Women in New York City, the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, Columbia University, and the New York School of Art. She was known for her portraits of notable people. She maintained a studio known as the “Studio Group” which later became the “Studio Group and Art Gallery of Mary Evangeline Walker” at 31 Newberry St. in Boston. She also worked for the WPA in the Federal Art Project and belonged to the Boston Art Club, the Copley Society, and other art groups. Miss Walker traveled to England and the Continent on a private scholarship around 1924-5 to continue her art studies. She stayed for a time in Florence and Paris after her scholarship ended and returned to the United States around 1927 - 1928.

She married Harold A. Landy, a real estate broker in Boston in 1934. They had no children but they owned a dog named “Bumps” or “Bumpy” who is featured in some of their correspondence. Mr. Landy died in 1955.

Mary E. Walker was a member of the Boston Art Commission for ten years until she resigned in 1953. She apparently judged art shows in New Bedford for a time during the 1930s.

Harold Albert Landy (1894-1955) Harold A. Landy was a real estate broker with Lombard Williams Co. of Newbury St. in Boston and the secretary of the Boston Art Club in 1936. He was a Veteran of World War II. Mary and Harold resided in Boston at 69 Bay State Road.

Lydia Le Baron Walker Jr. (Lydia Mabel Walker) (1895-1978) was born in New Bedford and died in Mattapoisett in 1978. She was a prolific letter writer from an early age and was particularly interested in the theater and wrote several plays. In 1922 and 1923 she performed with the Chautauqua Theater Tour. She taught drama at Mt. Aloysius and Highland Manor Junior Colleges. She published a number of articles about other writers and theater people in the Boston Traveler, the Boston Evening Transcript and the New Yorker magazine and other newspapers. According to an article in Publisher’s Weekly printed on March 5, 1949, “Miss Walker was educated at Boston University and Radcliffe College and attended Professor Baker’s drama course. Her experience includes reviewing plays and books for the Boston Transcript, lecturing on Shakespeare, writing, directing and producing some of her own plays. Many years ago she was briefly with the Atlantic Monthly Bookshop. From 1941 to 1945 she worked at the Harvard Cooperative Society full time and from 1945 to 1948 she worked at the shop summers, teaching drama during the winters.”

In 1949 she was the buyer and manager of the Dartmouth Bookstall, Boston. Lydia Walker moved to Mattapoisett in 1964 after the widow of Jonathan Holmes died and Lydia inherited the Holmes house at 24 North Street.

Return to the Table of Contents

Scope and Content Note

The Holmes-Walker Family Papers are a collection of the correspondence, photographs and ephemera from three generations of four women and their spouses and friends beginning in the 1843 and ending in 1978.

The collection begins with Sarah A. Holmes, (1828-1912) an active Quaker lady who left some correspondence and several journals. Her photograph depicts a strong woman in her Quaker garb. Her daughter, Lydia (1869-1912), and her granddaughters, Mary Evangeline (1894-1957) and Lydia Le Baron (1895-1978), did not stay with the Society of Friends. They found themselves at the start of the twentieth century having to support themselves by doing what they were good at, which was writing, and in Mary’s case, painting and illustration. Lydia (1895-1978) was interested in the theater and writing plays.

They were well educated women and dedicated letter writers. Their letters describe their everyday activities, travels, as well as their trials and tribulations trying to obtain work and recognition in their fields. They were very social and were adept at relating their experiences. Mary’s letters to her mother during the period they were collaborating on the "Household" column in the Boston Traveler provide insight to the creative process that enabled them to succeed.

The papers in this collection have been arranged into series, with each series containing the papers and ephemera of an individual. The correspondence is arranged chronologically by the writer and then by the sender. All ephemera and related materials are included with the person to whom they are related. Researchers should note that although the final series consists of loose photographs and a leather bound photograph album, photographs found with correspondence were left where they were found.

Arrangement of Collection

Return to the Table of Contents

Access to Collections

Unrestricted. Consult librarian for an appointment.

Preferred Citation

New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 111, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]

Copyright Notice

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 United States Code 552a) governs the use of materials that document private individuals, groups, and corporations.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a reproduction if the document does not infringe the privacy rights of an individual, group, or corporation. These specified conditions of authorized use include:

- non-commercial and non-profit study, scholarship, research, or teaching
- criticism or commentary
- as a NBWM archives preservation or security copy for research use
- as a research copy for deposit in another institution

If the researcher later uses a copy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," the researcher is personally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement and agrees to indemnify the New Bedford Whaling Museum from any legal action as a result of the error. Permission to obtain a photographic, xerographic, digital, or other copy of a document does not indicate permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, sell, distribute, or prepare derivative works from the document without permission from the copyright holder and from any private individual, group, or corporation shown or otherwise recorded.

Permission to publish, exhibit, perform, reproduce, prepare derivative works from, sell, or otherwise distribute the item must be obtained separately in writing from the holder of the original copyright (or if the creator is dead, from his/her heirs) as well as from any individual(s), groups, or corporations whose name, image, recorded words, or private information (e.g. employment information) may be reproduced in the source material. The holder of the original copyright is not necessarily the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is not legally liable for copyright, privacy, or publicity infringement when materials are wrongfully used after being provided to researchers for "fair use."

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if fulfillment of the order is judged in violation of copyright or federal or state privacy law. This institution also places restrictions on the use of cameras, photocopiers, and scanners in the research room.

Return to the Table of Contents

Related Items

Mss 124: Lucy Holmes Papers, 1852-1982

Return to the Table of Contents


Papers in this collection were donated to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society in 1986 (Accession #B86-32) by the Estate of Lydia Le Baron Walker.

Processing Information

Processed by: Jalien Hollister, 2013

Encoded by: Mark Procknik, 3 July 2013

Return to the Table of Contents


Please Consult Research Library for Detailed Description of Collection

Series I: Sarah Ogborn Underhill Holmes Papers, 1828-1912 [8 inches]
Series I contains Sarah's correspondence, additional papers, two journals, a small booklet written by her, and a silhouette of her drawn by Julius White
Series II: Josiah Holmes Jr. Papers, 1882-1887 [4 items]
This series contains only a few pieces of correspondence
Series III: Albert Wood Holmes Papers, 1876, 1891, 1912 [4 items]
Series III contains only a few pieces of correspondence in addition to Albert Wood Holmes' obituary
Series IV: Mary Holmes Papers, 1876, 1883, 1886 [13 items]
This series contains a poem from Daniel Ricketson to Mary. The photograph album located in Series XI apparently belonged to Mary as well
Series V: Lydia Le Baron Holmes Walker Papers, 1881-1954 [14 inches]
Series V consists of her expansive correspondence in addition to items published by Lydia for the newspaper and magazines
Series VI: William H. P. Walker Papers, 1878, 1886-1915 [8 inches]
This series contains correspondence mostly to his family, Lydia, and his children. Also included is a manuscript of a story written for his children titled, The Doll People
Series VII: Mary Evangeline Walker Papers, circa 1900, 1911-1948 [4 linear feet]
Series VII contains Mary’s correspondence to her family and many other people. In many cases these letters are related to her art work. Mary often kept draft copies of important letters she wrote. Her letters to her mother often concern their collaborative work and her illustrations. There are letters and papers related to the art associations to which she was affiliated and her art related business papers. There is also a considerable collection of copies of her illustrations for the "Household" articles. Essays and poems written by Mary are also included. A few poems written by Mary are also included in Lydia’s papers because they were found with Lydia’s papers
Series VIII: Harold A. Landy Papers, 1936-1949, 1969 [2 inches]
This series contains letters to Mary and her family
Series IX: Lydia (Mabel) Le Baron Walker Papers, 1904-1974 [3 linear feet]
This series contains Lydia’s letters from the age of nine until the year before her death in 1978. There are numerous letters from her during her tour with the Chautauqua Theater Tour. There are a number of letters from “famous people” which she apparently collected. Part of this series includes her manuscripts for numerous plays, comedies, essays and poetry written by her. Several newspaper articles written by Lydia are also included
Series X: Correspondence and Ephemera not Associated with a Specific Individual, 1872-1979 [1.5 linear feet]
This series contains a number of letters and pieces of ephemera that were not possible to associate with a specific family member but were collected and kept
Series XI: Photographs, 1875, 1910, undated [1 linear foot]
Series XI consists of photographs that were not bound. Some of them have identification, while others do not. The photographs have been arranged by family member wherever possible. Also contained within this series is a leather bound photograph album attributed to Mary Holmes (1869-1886) containing early photographs of family members as well as members of the New Bedford community

Return to the Table of Contents

Subject Headings

American Artists Professional League
Arlington Galleries
Armstrong, Cecil F., d. 1934
Art Association of Newport (RI)
Artists Union of Boston (Mass.)
Baker, George P.
Bay State Artists Guild
Benet, William Rose
Bishop Slattery
Boston (Mass.)
Boston Art Club
Boston Society of Independent Artists
Boston Stock Company
Brush and Chisel Club
Bunting, Anna C.
Cambridge Civic Theatre
Cambridge School of Drama
Chautauqua Theatre Tour
Cooke, Bella
Cottage City, (Mass.)
Dawson, Charles A.
E. Schoepflin & Co.
Federal Art Project
Fenway Studios
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
Frick Art Library
Germany--Description and travel
Grey, Zane
Guerber, Helene A.
Habberly, Lloyd
Haileberry (Canada)--Description and travel
Harvard University
Highland Manor Junior College
Holmes family
Holmes, Abbie
Holmes, Albert Wood, 1822-1863
Holmes, Annabelle
Holmes, Elizabeth
Holmes, Jonathan
Holmes, Josiah Jr., 1812-1892
Holmes, Josie (Josiah III)
Holmes, Judge Lemuel Le Baron, 1852-1907
Holmes, Lydia Le Baron (Walker), 1869-1958
Holmes, Mary, 1869-1886
Holmes, Sarah A. (Ogborn) (Underhill), 1828-1912
Huntington, B. G.
Huntington, Solace
Italy--Description and travel
Ives, Charles, 1874-1954
Kenniston, (Penn.)
Landy, Harold A., d. 1958
Le Baron, Emily
LeBaron family
League of Women Artists and Designers
Lodge, Henry C.
London (England)--Description and travel
Manumentm (Mass.)
Massachusetts Public Works of Art
Mattapoisett (Mass.)
McClure, Harriet H.
McKinstry, Elizabeth
McKinstry, Hugh
Merrywood School of Music
Monhegan Island Summer School (Me.)
Mt. Aloysius Junior College
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of the City of New York
New Bedford (Mass.)
New York (N.Y.)--Description and travel
Orth, Catherine E.
Orth, Naomi
Orth, Paul
O’Neill, Eugene
Paris (France)
Parkhurst, Mrs. H. E. (Abby Glidden)
Pearce, G. Girdwood
Princeton University Library
Quaker Meetings
Reddie, Archibald F.
Reddie, Elizabeth
Reddie, Fergus
Rhode Island School of Design
Ricketson, Angeline
Ricketson, Daniel, 1813-1898
Riverside Cemetery, Fairhaven (Mass.)
S. S. Mc Clure
Saint Paul’s School (N.H.)
Sanders Theatre, Boston (Mass.)
Sarton, May
Sears, Roebuck Art Galleries
Seymour, William
Stetson, Harlan
Studio Group of Mary Evangeline Walker
Studio Players
Tooze, Leslie Orland, d. 1918
Tooze, Lt. Lamar
Underhill, Abraham M.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States. Works Progress Administration of Massachusetts
Van Doren, Harold
W. S. Budworth & Son
Walker family
Walker, Florence (Dawson)
Walker, Lydia Le Baron Holmes, 1869-1958
Walker, Lydia Le Baron, 1895-1978
Walker, Lydia Mabel Le Baron Walker, 1895-1978
Walker, Mary Evangeline, 1894-1957
Walker, Mary Evangeline, 1894-1957
Walker, William H. P. Jr., 1864-1915
Walker, William H.P. Sr.
Yale Puppeteers

Return to the Table of Contents