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Eleanor Tydings Ditzen Papers


Eleanor Tydings Ditzen Papers
Ditzen, Eleanor Davies Tydings
Collection number:
13.50 linear feet
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
State of Maryland and Historical Collections
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

Eleanor Tydings Ditzen was the daughter of Ambassador Joseph E. Davies, the step-daughter of Marjorie Merriweather Post, the wife of U. S. Senator Millard Tydings, and the mother of U. S. Senator Joseph E. Tydings. Included in this collection is documentation regarding her work with the Washington Hospital Center, which she helped to found; correspondence with various family members including those listed above; notes and drafts of her writings including her autobiography, My Golden Spoon; speeches and correspondence relating to her 1956 campaign for U. S. Senate; early school and childhood materials; writings by Millard Tydings; photographs; genealogical research; and documentation on the Tydings home of "Oakington."

Important Information for Users of the Collection


Some files are restricted. Refer to individual folder headings for more information.

Preferred citation:

Eleanor Tydings Ditzen Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Eleanor Davies was born on April 27, 1904 in Watertown, Wisconsin, to Joseph Edward Davies, a lawyer and diplomat, and Mary Emlen Knight. The family moved to Washington, D.C., in 1912 when Joseph Davies accepted a high-level post in the Wilson administration. Eleanor was educated at the Holton Arms School and Vassar College. She was very active in the social life of Washington. In 1926 she married Thomas Cheesborough of Asheville, North Carolina. This marriage produced two children, Joseph (b. 1926) and Eleanor (b. 1932), but ended in divorce in April 1935. In December of the same year Eleanor married Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland, who subsequently adopted both children.

Eleanor Tydings Ditzen became very active in social and political life of the District of Columbia and Maryland throughout the remainder of Tydings' political career, including his electoral defeat at the hands of Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his allies in 1950. She remained politically active through the 1950s and served as Adlai Stevenson's campaign manager in Maryland in the presidential election of 1956. Millard Tydings' health began to decline in the mid-1950s, and he died in 1961.

Eleanor Tydings Ditzen worked with and supported various charities, including the creation of the Washington Hospital Center. In 1965, she met the Reverend Lowell Ditzen, a national leader of the Presbyterian Church. They were married in 1966; he died in 1987. Her later years were filled with international travel, family gatherings, and parties. She died in 2006 at the age of 102.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Eleanor Tydings Ditzen Collection covers the period 1836-2001. It includes genealogical materials on Ditzen's family, her own correspondence with family and friends, and copies of her writings. It also includes a small amount of correspondence with and between several significant historical figures including Joseph Davies and Millard Tydings. Political topics include copies of and notes for Ditzen's speeches, and information about Sen. Tydings' 1950 primary election campaign. Some files include correspondence and other information about family properties in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Photographs showing family members, friends, and notable historical figures such as President Bill Clinton are also included.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Eleanor Tydings Ditzen papers were donated to the University of Maryland by Joseph Tydings on July 27, 2006.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Peter Curtis, September 2012.

Processing note:

Metal fasteners were removed and replaced with plastic clips. Acidic newspaper clippings were photocopied onto archival bond paper.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Joanne Archer, September 2012.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Genealogy and Family History, 1836-2000 and undated (0.66 linear feet)

This series is comprised largely of primary and secondary material about the Davies, Knight, and Clark families. Notes and sources for family history are also included.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Biographies, Augustin Herman, Anne Whittam, Rachel Davies, John Knight, undated series 1box 1folder 1
Clark ancestor book, 1836-2000 series 1box 1folder 2
Davies family (Oversize only), 1927-1995 series 1box 1folder 3
Davies, Joseph Edward - biographical information (1), 1937-2000 series 1box 1folder 4
Davies, Joseph Edward - biographical information (2), 1936-1958 series 1box 1folder 5
General, 1888-1999 series 1box 1folder 6
Knight, Col. J.H., 1861-1974 series 1box 2folder 1
Knight family, 2001 series 1box 2folder 2
Notes and sources (Oversize only), 1987-1995 series 1box 2folder 3
Society of the Cincinnati, 1975-1987 series 1box 2folder 4

Series 2: Personal, 1904-2001 and undated (3.00 linear feet)

Series 2 includes Ditzen's baby book; biographical files on both of her parents; extensive correspondence including much with her family, some with the general public; large sections concerning the death Millard Tydings; and responses to her autobiography. It includes a diary for the year 1960. The final section includes information on a number of family properties including a yacht and real property in both Maryland and the District of Columbia.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Baby book (Oversize only), 1904-1912 series 2box 1folder 1
Biographical material- Emlen Davies, 1906-1971 series 2box 1folder 2
Biographical material- Joseph E. Davies, 1916-1999 series 2box 1folder 3
Birthday celebration, 70th, 1974 series 2box 1folder 4
Church and religion, 1997-2000 series 2box 1folder 5
Correspondence - Clinton White House, 1994-1997 series 2box 1folder 6
Correspondence - family (1), 1917-1925 series 2box 2folder 1
Correspondence - family (2), 1935-1936 series 2box 2folder 2
Correspondence - family (3), 1937 series 2box 2folder 3
Correspondence - family (4), 1937 series 2box 2folder 4
Correspondence - family (5), 1938 series 2box 2folder 5
Correspondence - family (6), 1939 series 2box 3folder 1
Correspondence - family (7), 1943-1948 series 2box 3folder 2
Correspondence - family (8), 1949-1950 series 2box 3folder 3
Correspondence - family (9), 1952-1956 series 2box 3folder 4
Correspondence - family (10), 1958-2001 series 2box 3folder 5
Correspondence - family- weddings, 1985-1997 series 2box 3folder 6
Correspondence- general (1), 1935-1998 series 2box 3folder 7
Correspondence- general (2), 1999-2000 series 2box 3folder 8
Correspondence- general- important parties, 1958-2002 series 2box 4folder 1
Correspondence- "letters from Mabel", undated series 2box 4folder 2
Correspondence- Queen Mother, 2001 series 2box 4folder 3
Correspondence- reaction to death of Millard Tydings (1), 1961 series 2box 4folder 4
Correspondence- reaction to death of Millard Tydings (2), 1961 series 2box 4folder 5
Correspondence- reaction to death of Millard Tydings (3), 1961 series 2box 5folder 1
Correspondence- reaction to death of Millard Tydings (4), 1961 series 2box 5folder 2
Correspondence- reaction to death of Millard Tydings (5), 1961 series 2box 5folder 3
Correspondence- response to My Golden Spoon (1), 1996-1997 series 2box 5folder 4
Correspondence- response to My Golden Spoon (2), 1997-1999 series 2box 5folder 5
Correspondence- response to My Golden Spoon (3), 1997-1998 series 2box 6folder 1
Diary, 1960 series 2box 6folder 2
Family yacht, 1984-1994 series 2box 6folder 3
Property- Oakington- assessment and valuation, 1966-1980 [Restricted] series 2box 6folder 4
Property- Oakington- court documents, 1977 [Restricted] series 2box 6folder 5
Property- Oakington- financial records (1), 1966-1982 [Restricted] series 2box 6folder 6
Property- Oakington- financial records (2), 1966-1986 [Restricted] series 2box 6folder 7
Property- Oakington- inventories (1), 1966-1970 series 2box 7folder 1
Property- Oakington- inventories (2), 1972-1981 series 2box 7folder 2
Property- Oakington- legal and tax documents, 1976-1982 [Restricted] series 2box 7folder 3
Property- Oakington- possible future use, 1975 series 2box 7folder 4
Property- Oakington- sale document, 1981 [Restricted] series 2box 7folder 5
Property- Oakington-specifications (Oversize only), 1935-1936 [Restricted] series 2box 7folder 6
Property- Tregaron, 1941-1999 series 2box 7folder 7
Wedding gift list, 1935, 1935 series 2box 7folder 8

Series 3: Political, 1932-1999 and undated (1.01 linear feet)

This series includes files covering several important political battles which Ditzen either observed or took part in. These include the 1950 Maryland senatorial campaign in which her husband Millard Tydings lost the primary election to forces led by Senator Joseph McCarthy; and the 1956 Maryland senatorial campaign, in which Tydings was forced to withdraw due to poor health and Ditzen came very close to taking over the candidacy. It also includes file of letters between Joseph Davies and Millard Tydings on World War II-era international matters.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Democratic Party materials, 1950s, 1950-1951 series 3box 1folder 1
Federal hospital legislation, 1944-1954 series 3box 1folder 2
Joseph Tydings, 1995-1999 series 3box 1folder 3
McCarthy/Tydings conflict, 1950 (1), 1950 series 3box 1folder 4
McCarthy/Tydings conflict, 1950 (2), 1950-1952 series 3box 1folder 5
Milllard E. Tydings (1), 1936-1991 series 3box 1folder 6
Milllard E. Tydings (2), 1932-1956 series 3box 1folder 7
Millard E. Tydings- biography by Caroline Keith, 1987-1993 series 3box 2folder 1
Millard Tydings, Joseph Davies- correspondence, 1935-1945 series 3box 2folder 2
Millard E. Tydings- memorials, reminiscences, 1969-1999 series 3box 2folder 3
Senatorial campaign, 1956- correspondence (1), 1956 series 3box 2folder 4
Senatorial campaign, 1956- correspondence (2), 1956 series 3box 2folder 5
Senatorial campaign, 1956- press coverage, 1956 series 3box 3folder 1
Trips to Hawaii, Philippines, 1937-1998 series 3box 3folder 2

Series 4: Organizations, 1945-2001 and undated (0.875 linear feet)

This series includes information on many of the schools, hospitals, and other institutions which Ditzen supported and worked with.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Harford Day School, 1997-1998 series 4box 1folder 1
Holton Arms School, 1998-1999 series 4box 1folder 2
National Presbyterian Church, 1996-1998 series 4box 1folder 3
St. John's College, 1980-1999 series 4box 1folder 4
Various (1), 1945-2001 series 4box 1folder 5
Various (2), 1957-1999 series 4box 1folder 6
Vassar College, 1997-1999 series 4box 1folder 7
Washington Hospital Center (1), 1967-1998 series 4box 2folder 1
Washington Hospital Center (2), 1999 series 4box 2folder 2
Washington International School, 1998-2000 series 4box 2folder 3

Series 5: Writings, 1913-2001 and undated (4.25 linear feet)

This series contains Ditzen's writings, including material from her childhood such as a 1914 composition book from the Holton Arms School. Included are works of fiction such as "Ghosts in the Garden," an unpublished novel, plays, short stories, speeches, and poetry. Copies of her autobiography My Golden Spoon, unbound and occasionally annotated, make up a large portion of the series. Also included in this series are the writings of others, including Millard Tydings. His work includes poetry, plays, reminisces, and a diary of a trip to the Philippines in 1946.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
A Tissue of Lies - UMCP paper on McCarthyism, 1989 series 5box 1folder 1
Childhood, 1913-1914 series 5box 1folder 2
Composition book, Holton Arms School, 1914 series 5box 1folder 3
Fiction- Ghosts in the Garden- copy 1, 2000 series 5box 1folder 4
Fiction- Ghosts in the Garden, undated series 5box 1folder 5
Fiction- Ghosts in the Garden- publication research, 1999-2000 series 5box 2folder 1
Fiction- notes on a play about Sen. McCarthy, undated series 5box 2folder 2
Fiction- play material written while attending Vassar College, 1921-1925 series 5box 2folder 3
Fiction- plays and short stories, 1921-1946 series 5box 2folder 4
Fiction- stories for great grandchildren, 1990 series 5box 2folder 5
Fiction- plays- Mother's Murders, 1941 series 5box 2folder 6
Without Banners, 1943 series 5box 2folder 7
Historical notes and observations, 1941, 1941 series 5box 3folder 1
How to be the greatest father, undated series 5box 3folder 2
Memories and notes on Joseph E. Davies, 1938-1985 series 5box 3folder 3
My Golden Spoon- complete draft- c. 1, 1996 series 5box 3folder 4
My Golden Spoon- complete draft- c. 2, 1996 series 5box 3folder 5
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1912-1920, undated series 5box 4folder 1
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1930s, undated series 5box 4folder 2
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1935-1938, undated series 5box 4folder 3
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1935-1939, 1939-1951 series 5box 4folder 4
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1935-1939 (1), undated series 5box 4folder 5
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1935-1939 (2), 1996 series 5box 5folder 1
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1935-1939 (3), undated series 5box 5folder 2
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1938-1939, undated series 5box 5folder 3
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1941-1943, undated series 5box 5folder 4
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1940-1949 (1), undated series 5box 6folder 1
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1940-1949 (2), undated series 5box 6folder 2
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1940-1949 (3), undated series 5box 6folder 3
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1940-1949 (4), undated series 5box 6folder 4
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1945-1948- additional material, undated series 5box 6folder 5
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1950-1954, undated series 5box 7folder 1
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1950-1987, undated series 5box 7folder 2
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1950s, undated series 5box 7folder 3
My Golden Spoon- drafts, 1959-1987, undated series 5box 7folder 4
My Golden Spoon- promotions and speeches, 1997-2000 series 5box 7folder 5
My Golden Spoon- publishing and distribution, 1997-1999 series 5box 7folder 6
My Golden Spoon- research notes, 1940s, undated series 5box 7folder 7
My Golden Spoon- reviews, 1997-1998 series 5box 8folder 1
My Golden Spoon- unedited drafts- Part I, undated series 5box 8folder 2
My Golden Spoon- unedited drafts- 1935-1939, undated series 5box 8folder 3
My Golden Spoon- unedited drafts- 1940-1949, undated series 5box 8folder 4
Poems- Oakington poem, 1936 series 5box 8folder 5
Speeches- atomic energy 1/28/1946, 1946 series 5box 8folder 6
Speeches- My Ninety Years in Washington, Sulgrave Club, undated series 5box 8folder 7
Poems on Millard Tydings's death, Feb. 1961, 1961 series 5box 8folder 8
Political and campaign speeches and speech materials, 1928-1982 series 5box 8folder 9
Speeches and notes for speeches (1), 1938-1953 series 5box 9folder 1
Speeches and notes for speeches (2), 1959-1985 series 5box 9folder 2
Speeches and notes for speeches (3), 1947-2001 series 5box 9folder 3
Vassar College papers and notes, 1921-1925 series 5box 9folder 4
Gerald Edward's poem at Florence Dewey's death, 1999 series 5box 10folder 1
Mikulski, Barbara- Tydings tribute, 1990 series 5box 10folder 2
Millard Tydings diary of Phillippines trip [original], 1946 series 5box 10folder 3
Millard Tydings diary of Phillippines trip [photocopy], 1946 series 5box 10folder 4
Millard E. Tydings- disarmament speech, 1946, 1946 series 5box 10folder 5
Millard E. Tydings- poems, undated series 5box 10folder 6
Millard E. Tydings- poems of World War I (Oversize only), undated series 5box 10folder 7
Millard E. Tydings- reminiscences, plays, 1948-1955 series 5box 10folder 8
Millard E. Tydings- various topics, 1924-1950 series 5box 10folder 9
Rambling through the West by Wm. B. Gross, 1934 series 5box 10folder 10
Weaver, Larry A., Joseph E. Davies and the American Mission to Moscow, 1998 series 5box 10folder 11

Series 6: Photographs, 1898-2001 and undated (0.875 linear feet)

Series 6 includes photographs of Ditzen's ancestors, family members, family properties, and many photographs of her, Millard Tydings, Lowell Ditzen, and political leaders such as Bill and Hillary Clinton.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Costume ball at Oakington, 1981 series 6box 1folder 1
Eleanor Tydings (1), 1937-1942 series 6box 1folder 2
Eleanor Tydings (2), 1950-2001 series 6box 1folder 3
Eleanor Tydings- photocopies, 1898-1938 series 6box 1folder 4
Joseph E. Davies (1), 1936-1967 series 6box 1folder 5
Joseph E. Davies (2), undated series 6box 1folder 6
Eleanor Tydings and Clinton White House, 1994-2001 series 6box 1folder 7
Millard and Eleanor Tydings, 1935-1959 series 6box 1folder 8
Millard E. Tydings, 1918-1950 series 6box 1folder 9
Millard E. Tydings Centennial celebration, 1991 series 6box 1folder 10
Property- Oakington, undated series 6box 1folder 11
Grave of Edward Davies in Wales, undated series 6box 2folder 1
Family graveyard in Wales, undated series 6box 2folder 2
Family farm in Wales, undated series 6box 2folder 3
Paynter farm in Wales, undated series 6box 2folder 4
Davies family, undated series 6box 2folder 5
Davies family, undated series 6box 2folder 6
Desk of Eleanor Tydings, undated series 6box 2folder 7
James Knight, undated series 6box 2folder 8
Fishing lodge of Col. J.H. Knight, undated series 6box 2folder 9
Photos in frames, circa 1850- c. 1870 series 6box 2folder 10
Elizabeth Kettle Clark, 1875 series 6box 2folder 11
Mary Emlen Knight Davies and Ella Boudlin Witham Clark, 1870-1888 series 6box 2folder 12
Col. J.H. Knight and Rahel Paynter Davies, undated series 6box 2folder 13
Paynter family tree (microfiche), undated series 6box 2folder 14
Trecaron, Wales, undated series 6box 2folder 15
Brooke Lee, 3 1/2, 1999 series 6box 2folder 16
Dinner party, undated series 6box 2folder 17
Sea Cloud, undated series 6box 2folder 18
Millard E. Tydings in Maryland House of Delegates, undated series 6box 2folder 19
Abigail Kawananakoa, 1930-1937 series 6box 2folder 20
Osami Nagano with military police, undated series 6box 2folder 21
Tregaron, 1948 series 6box 2folder 22
Women of Achievement Antiques Show, 1998 series 6box 2folder 23
Trip to Vassar, 1997 series 6box 2folder 24
Laying cornerstone of Washington Hospital Center, undated series 6box 2folder 25
Copy of daguerreotype of great-grandmother, undated series 6box 2folder 26
Joseph E. Davies, undated series 6box 2folder 27
Christening Atlantic Clipper airplane, 1939 series 6box 2folder 28

Series 7: Audiovisual Materials, 1980-1998 (0.50 linear feet.)

This series includes two items: an audiotape recording of a speech Ditzen gave about a family property in 1980, and a video cassette of a speech she made at the Washington Hospital Center in 1998.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Speech by Mrs. Eleanor Tydings Ditzen -- Washington Hospital Center (Videotape), 1998 series 7box 1folder 1
Speech by Mrs. Russell Lowell Ditzen -- "The Story of OakingtonThe Story of Maryland" -- National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (Audiotape), 1980 series 7box 1folder 2

Related Material

In addition to the copies in this collection, the complete published edition of Eleanor Tydings Ditzens autobiography, My Golden Spoon: Memoirs of a Capital Lady is available in the Marylandia collection (Maryland Stacks E748.T93 D58 1997).

For additional information relating to this collection, see the papers of Millard E. Tydings, Ms.Ditzen's second husband; and the Joseph D. Tydings papers, compiled by her son.

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.


Publications about Eleanor Davies Tydings: