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Winterbotham-Shaw Family Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Winterbotham-Shaw

Scope and Content of the Collection

A collection of personal and family correspondence among Shaw and Winterbotham family members including Theodora W. Brown, Alfred, Joseph and Rue Shaw, mother Anne Reynolds Winterbotham, father John H. Winterbotham, and cousin Frederick Winterbotham. Also, three postcards from Alexander Calder and a letter from Jean Dubuffet to Rue W. Shaw. Besides correspondence, there are clippings, including obituaries of Alfred and Rue Shaw; probate documents concerning Alfred Shaw’s estate; a youthful oil portrait of Rue Shaw and a sketchbook of hers; a group of Shaw family stories and sketches, and some miscellaneous memorabilia.

A substantial part of the collection consists of historical and genealogical material collected by Theodora W. Brown for a study of the Winterbotham family, which she kept in three large folder-notebooks. Roughly arranged are genealogical charts, clippings, letters, notes, photocopies, photographs and other miscellany.


  • Creation: 1909-1991



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

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

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Winterbotham-Shaw 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 Winterbotham and Shaw families

Prominent Chicago families.

Chicago architect Alfred Phillips Shaw, the son of Enoch Shaw of Ireland and Ellen Phillips of Boston, was born in 1895. He studied in the atelier of the Boston Architectural Club, and then worked in both Boston and New York. In 1922 Shaw was recruited by Ernest Graham’s firm in Chicago, where he was a junior partner from 1933 until 1937. Later he formed several partnerships, the last of which was Alfred Shaw and Associates where he was president until his death.

Alfred Shaw left his mark on the city skyline and in the business and high-rise apartment districts along North Lakeshore Drive. Among the many buildings he designed and supervised were the Merchandise Mart, the Civic Opera House, the original McCormick Place, the interior of the Museum of Science and Industry and the Morton Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Besides his professional activities, Shaw painted and drew, wrote poetry, traveled widely, and read and wrote extensively. In 1932 he married Rue Winterbotham of Chicago and together they became prominent in the Chicago social and arts community. Alfred and Rue Shaw had two sons: Joseph, who became an archeologist, and Patrick, an architect.

The Winterbothams were an English family, emigrating to Connecticut in 1811. The branch of the family of this collection was headed by John Humphrey Winterbotham, who married Mahala Rosencrans. They were the parents of Joseph, who married Genevieve Baldwin, who became the parents of John (“Jack”) Humphrey Winterbotham, who married Anne Reynolds in 1900. John and Anne were the parents of Theodora Winterbotham Brown (born 1902), and Rue Winterbotham Shaw (born 1905).

Theodora Winterbotham, known as “Dodo,” married twice, the second time to Amos Brown from Boston. She was a passionate collector of Winterbotham genealogical material, and until her death corresponded on the subject with family members in the U.S. and abroad.

Theodora and her sister Rue came from a family long identified with furthering the arts in Chicago. For thirty-nine years Rue Winterbotham Shaw was the president of the Arts Club of Chicago. She was a life member of the Art Institute and for many years was a member of its twentieth century painting and sculpture committee. Rue Shaw brought many artists, musicians and lecturers of international importance to the city, including Alexander Calder, with whom she became friends. She supported contemporary art, was an active organizer of major art exhibitions, and she successfully commissioned architect Mies van der Rohe to design the Arts Club’s interior when it moved to East Ontario Street.

Alfred P. Shaw died in 1970 and Rue Winterbotham Shaw died in 1979.


0.8 Linear Feet (2 boxes)


Correspondence, documents and miscellaneous items relating to the families of Rue Winterbotham Shaw and Alfred Phillips Shaw. Includes letters of Rue W. Shaw and Alfred P. Shaw to their son Joseph W. Shaw, correspondence to and from Theodora Winterbotham Brown and letters of other Winterbotham family members. Also, three large folder-notebooks of miscellaneous genealogical material amassed by Theodora Winterbotham Brown regarding the history of the Winterbotham, Baldwin and Rosencrans families. Also, clippings, documents, memorabilia and a few photographs.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Correspondence, 1929-1991
Box 1
Series 2: Miscellaneous, 1915-1985
Box 1
Series 3: Photographs, 1909-1979
Box 2
Series 4: Genealogical Material
Box 2

Collection Stack Location

1 36 5


Gift, Joseph Winterbotham Shaw, 1995.

Related Material

For further history of the Winterbotham and Shaw families, see publication entitled The Chicago Winterbothams and the Boston Shaws, 1800-2005, compiled by Joseph Winterbotham Shaw, Toronto, Canada, 2005 (available in the Winterbotham-Shaw Information File, Special Collections Department, Newberry Library, and also in the Newberry Library's General Collections, Call Number: folio CS71.W784 2005).

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2010.

Inventory of the Winterbotham-Shaw Family Papers, 1909-1991
Virginia Hay Smith
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