Gordon family papers, 1810-1968.

Creator: Gordon family.
Collection number: 2235
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Abstract: Gordon family of Savannah, Ga., included W. W. Gordon, cotton merchant; his wife, Eleanor Lytle Kinzie Gordon (Nelly); her mother, Juliette Magill Kinzie (Mrs. John) of Chicago, author; and their children, especially G. Arthur Gordon, cotton merchant; Juliette Gordon Low (Daisy), founder of the Girl Scouts; and Mabel Gordon Leigh. Many items relate to W. W. Gordon’s family life, Confederate Army service, cotton trade activities, and military and diplomatic service during the Spanish American War. Correspondence and account books relate to W. W. Gordon & Company and its predecessor firms. Family materials include much correspondence between Nelly and her mother in Chicago. During the Civil War, these letters show the fear of family members separated by the struggle.Also included are several letters documenting the great Chicago fire of 1871 and its aftermath and letters relating to Nelly’s difficult relationship with Daisy, who struggled with deafness as a child. G. Arthur Gordon papers reflect his cotton merchant activities; interests in politics, including correspondence with brother-in-law, Richard Wayne Parker, lawyer and long-time New Jersey congressman; Gordon’s civic and the Georgia State Troops involvement;and his position as chief family confidant. While there are some Juliette Gordon Low papers relating to the Girl Scouts, among them correspondence with Robert Baden-Powell, most items relating to Daisy document her life in England, her unhappy marriage to William Mackay Low (Willie), and the economic consequences of his death as the couple contemplated divorce.Mabel Gordon Leigh papers relate chiefly to family affairs and to her World War I relief activities. Margaret Gordon Seiler (Peggy), daughter of George Arthur Gordon, and her husband, the Reverend Robert S. Seiler, are represented by letters relating to their posting to Manila, Philippines, with Church World Service, 1963-1968.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Correspondence in Sub Series 1.7 depict G. Arthur Gordon’s civic work beginning in 1915, including his participation in the Negro Industrial Employment Exchange, an employment agency for cotton pickers, maids, cooks, and delivery boys.