Rebecca Latimer Papers

Finding aid created by Mills College staff using RecordEXPRESS
Mills College
Special Collections, F. W. Olin Library
5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, California 94613
510.430.2047
special_collections@mills.edu
https://inside.mills.edu/academics/library/special_collections/
2020


Descriptive Summary

Title: Rebecca Latimer Papers
Dates: 1914-2000
Collection Number: Consult repository
Creator/Collector: Latimer, Rebecca H.
Extent: 50 linear feet
Repository: Mills College
Oakland, California 94613
Abstract: The Rebecca Latimer Papers documents the professional career of writer, Rebecca Latimer. The bulk of the collection contains typescript manuscripts of substantial autobiographical works and juvenile fiction, and periodical articles published in the 1950s and 1960s. Most of these articles are of episodes in Turkey. Additionally, the collection contains Latimer’s lifetime collection of correspondence.
Language of Material: English

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Contact the Special Collections Curator, F. W. Olin Library, Mills College for copyright and permission to publish information.

Preferred Citation

Rebecca Latimer Papers. Mills College

Acquisition Information

Donated to Mills College in 2000.

Biography/Administrative History

Rebecca McRae Haigh Latimer was born in Rutherford, New Jersey on September 9, 1905. She was taught by an aunt until entering public school at the seventh grade level in Essex Fells and graduated from high school in Cranford in three years at the age of sixteen. By 1929 she had surprised herself by marrying a “newly-minted” Foreign Service officer, Frederick P. Latimer, Jr., and setting off for Latin America. As the wife of a Foreign Service officer, Rebecca Latimer spent most of twenty-five years abroad: El Salvador (1929-1931), Estonia (1931-1933), Finland (1933-1936), Turkey (1936-1941 and 1950-1954), Honduras (1941-1943), and Panama (1946-1950). From 1946 to 1950 they were stationed in the United States, mainly in Washington, D.C. and Princeton, N.J. She found that a Foreign Service wife was as much occupied with official duties as was her husband and as confined within rigid protocols, and that writing for publication was not approved behavior. She continued to develop manuscripts for future publication and meanwhile kept up her copious journals, filled with personal and cultural observations. She wrote extensively of everyone she met (and even of strangers observed, whose natures she would attempt to imagine or intuit) all her life. Bex and Fred Latimer were not typical of State Department people in foreign posts. They were intensely curious about the countries they lived in and interested in meeting and knowing their inhabitants, whereas most of their colleagues limited their social life to themselves and other Americans. Rebecca spoke French, German, Spanish and Turkish. Expectably, their political views were much more liberal than those of their colleagues. Their move to Sonoma, California in the late 1970s was made in order to be closer to their two sons. They became deeply involved in that community. Rebecca Latimer was nominated “Sonoma Treasure” for 1999 by five of her numerous local friends. She died on August 10, 2000, a month before her 95th birthday.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Rebecca Latimer Papers documents the professional career of writer, Rebecca Latimer. The bulk of the collection contains typescript manuscripts of substantial autobiographical works and juvenile fiction, and periodical articles published in the 1950s and 1960s. Most of these articles are of episodes in Turkey. Additionally, the collection contains Latimer’s lifetime collection of correspondence. Record Group I, Journals and Ephemera, consists of early ephemera such as mementos, personal journals and diaries documenting girlhood, courtship, and marriage, daily records recording appointments and engagements, travel logs, and dream books. Record Group II, Manuscripts and Publications, consists of book and periodical publications, drafts, background material, research and notes, chronologies, and production and marketing of Rebecca Latimer’s published and unpublished works. Record Group III, Foreign Service, consists of short prose, correspondence, diplomatic ephemera, photographs, chronologies of events, historical notes, and long excerpts from other authors. Record Group IV, United States Residency, consists of material reflecting daily life, extracts from journals and chronologies from day books, and correspondence. Record Group V, Subject Files, consists of material reflecting Latimer’s wide range of interests and concerns, in the form of articles and clippings, correspondence, informational or descriptive pieces and extended quotes. Record Group VI, Rough Record, consists of material reflecting daily life, including activist correspondence, citizen letters to Washington administration (including to President Clinton), ambassadors, congresspeople, editors of local and national news organs, chambers of commerce, the City of Sonoma, chief of police, media, bookstores and theaters, and quotidian letters of courtesy or complaint about products and services. Record Group VII, Correspondence, consists of original correspondence to Rebecca (with her commentary) with occasional photographs, articles and clippings. Record Group VIII, Frederick P. Latimer, Jr. Papers, consists of various papers of Rebecca’s husband, Fred, primarily correspondence, diaries and a few photographs, beginning with his childhood and foreign service career. Record Group IX, Audiovisual Material, consists primarily of Rebecca’s oral journals and manuscripts and includes interviews with her, and interviews of others on themes of bodily and spiritual well-being. Record Group X, Index Cards, consists of notes or records of subjects (including people and places) for the process of writing, indicies of published works, bibliographies, and records of personal or professional correspondence. Record Group XI, Images, consists primarily of photographs and painted portraits of Rebecca Latimer. Record Group XII, Emily Paret Haigh Papers, consists of papers from Rebecca’s mother, Emily Story Paret Haigh. Collection inventory available upon request.

Indexing Terms

Women authors
Latimer, Rebecca H.
Manuscripts
Diplomats' spouses

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