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Welling Family Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Welling

Scope and Content of the Collection

Correspondence, military, and legal records of the Welling family. Also, accounts of Chicago society activities, particularly during the early 20th century.

Collection contains significant accounts, written by Harriet Walker Welling, of early 20th century society functions in Chicago. These writings include descriptions of early Chicago, of Casino Club socials, and of Chicago notables (Edith Rockefeller McCormick and George Voevodsky). Additionally, there is correspondence detailing Harriet Walker Welling's contributions to the Smithsonian Institution, the Chicago Historical Society, the Athenaeum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The collection also includes records pertaining to John C. Welling and his son, John P. Welling. These records include the memorial book made upon John C. Welling's death, John P. Welling's military records, and records related to the legal ownership of John C. Welling's British Columbia lumber property. Some photographs are present.


  • Creation: 1899-1988



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Welling Family Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Welling Family Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of the Welling Family

John Calvin Welling was born on February 24, 1840 in Trenton, New Jersey. He went into the grain and lumber business in 1858, but shortly thereafter joined the military, where he remained until 1866. After being honorably discharged, Welling became employed by the Illinois Central Railroad Company's financial division. In 1874, he relocated to Chicago to become the Illinois Central Railroad Company's assistant treasurer, and it was here that Welling met and married his wife, Charlotte Paul.

Their son, John Paul Welling, was born in 1880 in Chicago and remained a lifelong Chicagoan. He was drafted into military service during World War I, but was honorably discharged in December 1918.

He and his wife, Harriet Walker Welling, remained active participants in Chicago society functions until their deaths, respectively in 1957 and 1989. Socially, Harriet Walker Welling was a prominent member of the selective Casino Club; politically, she supported many liberal causes, including women's suffrage and aid for China during the 1930s. She also was a generous patron of the Chicago Historical Society, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Athenaeum, donating antique furniture to each.


0.4 Linear Feet (1 box)


Correspondence, writings and documents relating to Harriet W. Welling, her husband John P. Welling, and his father, John C. Welling. Harriet Welling material includes memoirs of her life in Chicago, and histories of Chicago clubs; John P. Welling material includes military records from his service in World War I.


Arranged alphabetically.

Collection Stack Location

1 36 1


Gift, Harriet Walker Welling, 1988.

Processed by

Alexandra Zukas, 2010.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Inventory of the Welling Family Papers, 1899-1988
Alexandra Zukas
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States