Lydia Howard de Roth Collection, 1904-1970, MS 1906

Finding Aid to the Lydia Howard de Roth Collection, MS 1906

H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society

 

Collection summary

 

Title

Lydia Howard de Roth Collection.

Creator

De Roth, Lydia Howard, 1891-1971.

Call number

MS 1906

Inclusive dates

1836-1970

Bulk dates

1916-1963

Extent

3 boxes, 49 folders, 1 oversize.

Abstract

Series I: Civil Service work, 1909-1963; II: Personal papers, 1836-1970; III: Poetry, 1846-1961; IV: Newspaper clippings, 1904-1969; V: Oversize, 1938-1958.

Administrative summary

 

Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library

Maryland Historical Society

201 W. Monument St.

Baltimore, MD 21201

www.mdhs.org

specialcollections@mdhs.org

Access restrictions

Open to the public without restrictions.

Use restrictions

Permission to quote must be received in writing from the Special Collections Librarian.

Provenance

Gift of the estate of Lydia Howard de Roth, 1972.

Accession number

64118

Processing note

Collection processed and finding aid created by Lara Westwood, January, 2013.

 

Biographical Note

Lydia Howard de Roth dedicated her life to civil service, working as an air raid warden in London, teaching air raid safety in the United States, and eventually aiding in the start-up of a Civil Defense in Brazil.

De Roth, nee de Ford, was born and raised in Baltimore to a wealthy family, related to Francis Scott Key and John Eager Howard. An active society member, she and her sister, Nancy, garnered many articles in the society papers of Baltimore newspapers. She attended Bryn Mawr School, and her talent in sculpture allowed her to attend the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute, where she won several awards for her work.

Post-graduation, she worked as a clerk at two Baltimore companies before beginning at the monograph section of the Military Intelligence Department. Soon after starting there, she married Herbert C. de Roth, who worked for the First National Bank of Boston. His position took the de Roths across the globe.

While stationed abroad with her husband, she continued her civil defense work. During World War II, she worked as an air raid warden in the Chelsea neighborhood in London, England from 1939 to 1941, and experienced the blitz by the Luftwaffe first hand. She later wrote a training handbook for air raid wardens and was appointed to Civil Defense consultant to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in 1941 upon her return to the United States. She taught seminars on air raid safety and precautions in New England and Maryland and advised local governments on what to do in the event of an attack. After some years of living in Boston and New York City, her husband was assigned to represent the bank in Brazil. There she found that no civil defense system was in place, so she worked with officials in Rio de Janeiro to build one.

She returned to New York City, where she died in 1970. She is buried in Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore.

Scope and Content

The collection contains material pertaining to de Roth’s career in civil service, as well as her passion for the arts, history, and Baltimore society. Of particular interest may be her diary that she kept during her service as an air raid warden in London. She also wrote a manual on air raid warden training based on her experiences. Many poems from friends and family are included, especially many works written by her sister, Nancy Venable. The poetry ranges from religious subjects to reflections on World War II, and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It appears that de Roth attempted to create an anthology of poetry written about the London Blitz. She also kept an extensive record of newspaper clippings about her family, including events commemorating Francis Scott Key and members of the Howard family, Baltimore history and society, and general news. Some of the correspondence related to her work in Brazil is written in Portuguese.

The collection is divided into series based on content. Series I documents de Roth’s personal history and civil service work. Series II focuses personal papers and ephemera collected by de Roth. Series III contains works of poetry by various authors, including her husband Herbert C. de Roth, her sister Nancy Venable, and family friend, William Force Stead. Series IV holds a large number of photocopied newspaper clippings on a variety of topics. Series V is oversized and holds two certificates.

Container List

Contents

Dates

Folder

Box

Series I: Civil Service Work, 1909-1963

 

 

 

Lydia de Roth newspaper clippings

No date, 1915-1941

1

1

Identification cards

No date-1959

2

1

Bryn Mawr College matriculation exam scores

1909

3

1

Certificates and awards

1916-1962

4

1

Letters of recommendation

1917-1918

5

1

Early civil service work papers

1918-1920

6

1

Chelsea Air Raid Wardens correspondence

No date, 1940-1941

7

1

Air raid warden training material

No date

8

1

Air raid warden/civil defense training event newspaper clippings

No date, 1941-1943

9

1

Air raid warden/civil defense training events

1941-1943

10

1

Diary of Lydia de Roth: A London Warden

1939-1941

11

1

Diary of Lydia de Roth: A London Warden

1939-1941

12

1

Accounts of London air raids/the Blitz

No date-1945

13

1

Blitz Anthology

No date

14

2

Annotated copy of “Digging for Mrs. Miller: some experiences of an air-warden” by John Strachey

1941

15

2

Letters of introduction

1941

16

2

Massachusetts Committee on Public Safety work

1941-1944

17

2

Brazilian Civil Defense correspondence

1944-1945

18

2

Brazilian Civil Defense correspondence

1945

19

2

Brazilian Civil Defense newspaper clippings

1945

20

2

Travel papers

1946-1955

21

2

Series II: Personal Papers, 1836-1970

 

 

 

Engagement letters

No date, 1922

22

2

Miscellaneous correspondence

No date-1965

23

2

Letters from Nancy Venable

No date

24

2

Letters from H. F. French

1941

25

2

Miscellaneous notes and envelopes

No date, 1944

26

2

French ledger book

1836

27

2

Walking matches

1889-1891

28

2

Miscellaneous ephemera

No date

29

2

Hampton House ephemera and clippings

No date

30

2

Friends of American Museum in Britain

1963

31

2

St. James Church (New York, N.Y.) ephemera

1964-1970

32

2

Winston Churchill memorial service church programs (New York, N.Y)

1965

33

2

Series III: Poetry, 1846-1961

 

 

 

Poems by H. C. de Roth

1949-1955

34

2

Poems by Lydia de Roth

No date, 1940-1949

35

2

Poems for Lydia de Roth

No date

36

2

Poems by Howard Hollingsworth

1916-1917

37

2

Miscellaneous poems

1846-1941

38

2

Poems by Hilda Reid

1940-1964

39

2

Poems by Nancy Venable

No date-1961

40

2

Poems by William Force Stead

No date

41

2

Series IV: Newspaper Clippings, 1904-1969

 

 

 

Family newspaper clippings

No date, 1904-1969

42

3

Howard house sale newspaper clippings

No date, 1920-1925

43

3

Francis Scott Key newspaper clippings and events

No date, 1935-1968

44

3

Society newspaper clippings

No date, 1906-1962

45

3

Society newspaper clippings

1963-1967

46

3

Baltimore newspaper clippings

No date, 1904-1921

47

3

Baltimore newspaper clippings

1930-1969

48

3

Miscellaneous newspaper clippings

No date, 1943-1963

49

3

Series V: Oversize, 1938-1958

 

 

 

Awards and certificates

1938, 1958

Oversize

 

    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
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