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Julia Finney Monroe Papers


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Biographical File


Personal Correspondence

Financial Records

Legal Records

Oberlin Associated Charities

Printed Material

Contact us about this collection

Julia Finney Monroe Papers, 1838-1921 | Oberlin College Archives

By Richard Baxstrom

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Collection Overview

Title: Julia Finney Monroe Papers, 1838-1921Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1880-1900

ID: RG 30/001

Primary Creator: Monroe, Julia Finney (1837-1930)

Extent: 0.7 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 03/27/1969. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Associated Charities of Oberlin, Charities, Finney, Charles G., 1792-1875--Archives, Monroe, James, 1821-1898--Archives, Monroe, Julia Finney, 1837-1930--Archives, Oberlin (Ohio)--History--Sources, Oberlin Industrial School

Forms of Material: diaries, manuscripts, publications, records (documents)

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The papers of Julia Finney Monroe are modest in volume and varied in terms of composition. The content of the material largely focuses on very specific aspects of Julia's life, such as her charity work and her travels to Europe and the Middle East. There are very few documents detailing Julia Finney Monroe's personal or family life, her relationship with James Monroe, or her life outside of the years 1885-1901. The travel notebooks that Julia Finney Monroe wrote in 1893 and 1900-01, and personal notebooks written between 1895 and 1911, are by far the exception. These notebooks contain Mrs. Monroe's writings on religion and her views regarding the various countries that she visited. Additionally, two letters from her brother, Frederick Norton Finney, are present, including one letter in which Mr. Finney discusses the construction of Finney Chapel.

The papers are dominated by original printed matter. The materials document her role in the Oberlin Associated Charities covering the years 1880- 1897. Included is information on the work of a multitude of sister organizations in such cities and Boston, Brooklyn, and Baltimore. Included are annual reports, correspondence, and many publications in the form of small books or pamphlets. Generally, the printed matter report on the goals and strategies of the various organizations and, in some cases, focus on the moral issues related to poverty. Although these files provide little direct insight into Julia Finney Monroe, it does provide readers with a fascinating glimpse at the organizations that she supported in her later years. Additionally, copies exist of various administrative forms, including those that were used in evaluating how best to assist people and the paperwork required to pay visits to tenants in charity-run boarding houses. A limited amount of personal correspondence regarding the charities, both written to and by Finney Monroe, is also present.

In addition to the OAC-related material, several folders of financial and legal records exist that provides genealogical data about the Finney and Monroe families. Among these records are the wills of Charles Finney, (1872) James Monroe, (1893) and Julia Finney Monroe (1907,1912), and a number of land and trust deeds to Charles Finney and to Oberlin College. This material is augmented by a number of routine records, including bank and personal ledgers, canceled checks, bills, receipts, work estimates, and income tax returns from 1917 and 1921. Of these records, the shares of stock in the Citizens National Bank and the correspondence regarding its failure in 1904 are the most noteworthy.

A late addition to the papers is the pamphlet "John Frederic Oberlin" by Florence M. Fitch.  This was Julia Finney Monroe's copy and contains handwritten notes.


Series I. Biographical File, 1930  (0.1 linear feet)

Consists of a copy of a description written by Julia Finney Monroe's stepdaughter upon her death and copies of the obituary which ran in the March, 1930 issue of the Oberlin College Alumni Magazine.

Series II. Journals/Notebooks, 1895-1911  (0.1 linear feet)

This series contains four notebooks written by Julia Finney Monroe. Two of the notebooks are personal journals, written between 1895 and 191 1. The other notebooks are travel journals describing her activities in Europe and the Middle East in 1893 and 1900-01.

Series Ill. Personal Correspondence, 1880-1920  (0.1 linear feet)

Original letters comprise this series, written both by and to Finney Monroe, including two from her brother, Frederick Norton Finney. The content of these letters range from personal issues to discussions of various charity organizations.

Series IV. Financial Records, 1838-1912  (0.2 linear feet)

A wide variety of personal financial records from both the Finney and Monroe families comprise the bulk of this series. Includes ledgers of family expenses, canceled checks, receipts, and bills.

Series V. Legal Records, 1838-1912  (0.2 linear feet)

This series contains various legal records of the Finney and Monroe families. Specifically, these records include wills, land deeds, and property appraisals.

Series VI. Oberlin Associated Charities, 1880-1910  (0.4 linear feet)

Primarily material pertaining to the OAC and many sister organizations located throughout the state of Ohio and the eastern seaboard of the United States. Files are divided into three subseries: "Correspondence," "Administrative/Financial Records," and "Publications/Printed Matter." The correspondence mainly consists of original letters written by, and sent to, Julia Finney Monroe regarding her charity work. No key correspondents are present in this series. Documents in two other folders pertain to the administration of the OAC. The publications were issued by affiliated charity organizations and deal with various aspects of charity work.

Series VII. Printed Material, n.d. (1 folder)

            (added as a late accretion, January 2002)

This series contains one item, the pamphlet "John Frederic Oberlin" by Florence M. Fitch.  This copy contains Julia Finney Monroe's handwritten notes.

Collection Historical Note

Julia Finney, the daughter of Oberlin College's second president Charles Grandison Finney (1792-1875) and Lydia Root Finney (1804-1837), was born on My 16, 1837. She studied in the Oberlin College Ladies' Preparatory Department in 1849 and 1853, taking the Young Ladies' Course. In 1865, at the age of 28, Miss Finney married James Monroe (1821-1898, Oberlin College, A.B. 1846, B.D. 1849, A.M. 1850), then the United States consul to Rio de Janeiro.  She was Monroe's second wife; four offspring were produced in his first marriage to Elizabeth Maxwell (m.1849, d.1862).  James Monroe's career as an Oberlin professor and trustee, a U.S. consul, and a U.S. Congressman (1871-81) from Ohio is well known. In the life of Oberlin, Julia Finney Monroe was engaged in a wide variety of related political and intellectual activities, and was, as described years later by her step-daughter, "the perfect Victorian woman."

In addition to managing the domestic side of the Monroe household, Julia Finney Monroe pursued a number of civic and charitable interests.  For example, in 1885 Mrs. Monroe founded the Oberlin Industrial School that trained young women to sew and knit. From 1894 to 1900 she served on the Women's Board of Managers at Oberlin, a group that supervised women students. Always concerned with poverty, she was also deeply involved in the Oberlin Charities Association (OAC), an organization that attempted to address the needs of the poor through job training and other programs; and she was active in many other church and community organizations.

Julia Finney Monroe was a fixture in the Oberlin community for many years, remaining active and popular into her later years. She outlived her husband by 32 years but never remarried, devoting herself to activism and family. She traveled widely, to the Middle East in 1893 and in Europe in the years after James Monroe's death. As she grew older Finney Monroe began to spend the winter months in Florida to escape Ohio's cold winters and it was in Florida, at the age of 93, that Julia Finney Monroe passed away in February, 1930.

Subject/Index Terms

Associated Charities of Oberlin
Finney, Charles G., 1792-1875--Archives
Monroe, James, 1821-1898--Archives
Monroe, Julia Finney, 1837-1930--Archives
Oberlin (Ohio)--History--Sources
Oberlin Industrial School

Administrative Information

Repository: Oberlin College Archives

Accruals: Accessions: 73, 1978/43, 2002/4.

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted.

Acquisition Method: The Papers of Julia Finney Monroe were received under two separate accessions in 1966 and 1978. The archives took possession of a trunk marked "James Monroe" found in Bosworth Hall in 1966 which contained several publications pertaining to various charity organizations that belonged to his wife. In 1978 one carton containing various personal effects belonging to Julia Finney Monroe was located by the Oberlin College library staff in the Carnegie building and turned over to the archives at that time.  Julia Finney Monroe's copy of "John Frederic Oberlin" by Florence M. Fitch was received from the Oberlin College Library's Department of Special Collections in 2002.

Related Materials: Other information present in the college archives pertaining to Julia Finney Monroe includes Julia Finney Monroe's student file (from the Oberlin Academy) and James Monroe's staff and student files (28). Correspondence (letters to) are in the Monroe Papers (30/22), Fairchild Papers (2/3/1), King Papers (2/6/1), and in the Papers of the Oberlin Industrial School (31/6/16). The March, 1930 issue, Vol. 26, No. 6, of the Oberlin College Alumni Magazine contains an obituary on Julia Finney Monroe.

Finding Aid Revision History: Processed by Richard Baxstrom, 1992.  Revised by Eric D. Miller, July 1996; Melissa Gottwald, January 2002.

Other URL: http://www.oberlin.edu/archive/archon_pdfs/Monroe_Julia_Inventory.pdf

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Biographical File],
[Series II: Journals/Notebooks],
[Series III: Personal Correspondence],
[Series IV: Financial Records],
[Series V: Legal Records],
[Series VI: Oberlin Associated Charities],
[Series VII: Printed Material],

Series VI: Oberlin Associated CharitiesAdd to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Publications/Printed Matter, 1880-1897Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Biographical File],
[Series II: Journals/Notebooks],
[Series III: Personal Correspondence],
[Series IV: Financial Records],
[Series V: Legal Records],
[Series VI: Oberlin Associated Charities],
[Series VII: Printed Material],

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