Glessner family papers

Inclusive Dates: 
1851–1959 (bulk 1864–1881)
Survey Repository: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

13 linear feet (32 boxes) of material consisting of incoming letters to John J. Glessner and his wife, Frances Macbeth Glessner, including letters exchanged between them, and letters from family members, business associates, and friends (primarily 1864-1881); original journals and some letters (1879–1921, 52 v.) of Mrs. Glessner with occasional entries by her husband; diary of Mrs. Glessner’s sister, Helen Macbeth (1872-1880); typed transcripts of the journals and diary (6 boxes); household account books (1870s, 17 small volumes); and a scrapbook of newsclippings (1923–1931) of the Glessner family. Correspondence relates to purchases of furniture and art, and art pottery, among many other topics. Mrs. Glessner’s journals make reference to Isaac Scott, John Quincy Adams Ward, Helen Macbeth, and other artists and artisans.

Biographical Historical Note

John Jacob Glessner, an executive with Warder, Mitchell & Co. (predecessor of International Harvester) and his wife, Frances Macbeth Glessner, moved from Springfield, Ohio, to Chicago in 1870. In 1886 they moved into a house designed for them by Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson in the prestigious Prairie Avenue neighborhood. The Glessners were active in civic affairs, and Frances Glessner was a patron of the arts.

Additional Notes

Glessner House Museum owns a digitized, searchable electronic copy of the typescript transcript of Frances Glessner’s journals.