Verley Archer Collection
Scope and Content Note
Included in the Verley Archer Collection are research notes and materials, completed questionnaires from family members, correspondence, publicity materials, and published books, all relating to the Family Reunion and Centennial Celebration.
The 21 boxes in this collection cover approximately 8.76 linear feet. The collection is arranged in 3 series: Subject Files (Series 1); Vanderbilt Centennial (series 2); and Verley Archer’s Research Materials (Series 3).
The Subject Files, Series 1, are the most extensive part of this collection. They consist of letters, completed questionnaires, and biographical information on most of the over 500 members of the Vanderbilt family living in 1973, as well as some earlier family members. These are arranged alphabetically by last name. Married women descendants are cross-referenced by their maiden names.
Series 2 consists of the form letter mailings sent to his Vanderbilt relatives by William H. Vanderbilt, III and their responses. Also included are publicity articles about the Vanderbilt Family Reunion and Vanderbilt University Centennial. There are lists of descendants attending the Reunion and of gifts to Vanderbilt University from the descendants. Materials related to the project administration are included as well as the printed programs commemorating the Centennial festivities. There are draft copies of the genealogical charts and the genealogical book compiled by Ms Archer. There is also a copy of her book, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, Sophia Johnson Vanderbilt, and Their Descendants, published by Vanderbilt University in 1973 and materials relating to its publication.
Ms. Archer’s research comprises Series 3. It includes photocopies of articles about the Vanderbilt family, ranging from their arrival in America in 1650 up through their activities in the early 1970’s. There are also books and newspaper articles about contemporary Vanderbilts, especially concerning their publications or publications in which they are mentioned, foundations with which they are associated, and the William K. Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, Long, Island, New York.
This collection is of special interest to those researching the Vanderbilt family and its connection with Vanderbilt University. Additionally, to quote Ms. Archer, “This has really been a study in sociology because this is such a vital, vigorous family with wide-ranging interests”
Language of Materials
After the war, Ms. Archer took a journalism course at the University of Dayton and for the next several years she worked as a fund-raiser and writer for trade journals in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, and New York. In 1958, she returned to Tennessee and was hired by Vanderbilt University, first working in the Economic Development Office, and two years later, transferring to the Office of Alumni and Development.
Because of her fund-raising activities for this office, Ms. Archer became interested in the Vanderbilt family. By 1968, with the support of Chancellor Alexander Heard, she had embarked upon her genealogical researches which culminated in the publication in 1973 by Vanderbilt University of her Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, Sophia Johnson Vanderbilt, and Their Descendants. While she was involved in the writing of this book and in preparations for the Vanderbilt Centennial, Ms. Archer was also enrolled at Peabody College, graduating in 1974 with a B.S. degree.
She continued to work in the Alumni and Development Office at Vanderbilt until failing health forced her to retire in 1979. Even then, she continued to work from home for Vanderbilt University as a consultant on genealogy of the Vanderbilt family. Ms. Archer died December 20, 1982.
8.76 Linear Feet
- Finding Aid for the Verley Archer Collection
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States