Stella Skiff Jannotta Scrapbooks
Scope and Content of the Collection
Three disbound scrapbooks compiled by Stella Skiff Jannotta for her youngest son, Joseph Edwin Jannotta, in the early 1930s. Titled, “The Evolution of a Man: Joseph Edwin Jannotta, His Story in Pictures,” the volumes contain a variety of materials including photographs, correspondence, clippings, programs, and family histories. Most pages include Stella Jannotta’s extensive handwritten annotations. Topics include Joseph’s ancestry, Stella’s youth in Newton, Iowa, family births, deaths, and marriages, Alfredo’s music career, Stella’s political activities, the Jewel Tea Company, and family trips and events.
Also includes separated materials that have been removed from scrapbook pages for preservation purposes and loose materials that came with the scrapbooks. Items of interest are family land deeds, a Skiff family hair book with intricate braided hair samples, and Stella’s genealogy chart.
- Creation: 1801-1996
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1850 - 1930
- Jannotta, Stella Skiff, 1867-1954 (Person)
Materials are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The Stella Skiff Jannotta Scrapbooks are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Stella Skiff Jannotta Scrapbooks 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 Stella Skiff Jannotta and the Jannotta Family
American suffragist, eugenicist, genealogist, writer, and a member of the founding family of Jewel Tea Company.
Stella Skiff was born on October 29, 1867, in Newton, Iowa to Vernon William Skiff (1841-1926) and Mary Frances Coffin Skiff (1842-1918). She had two younger siblings, Frank Vernon and Blanche Alice Skiff. After establishing a successful dry goods business in Newton, the Skiff family moved to Chicago in 1889. Stella studied music at the Chicago Conservatory with Italian maestro Alfredo Antonio Jannotta in 1892, and was considered a promising lyric soprano. Jannotta, an Italian composer, conductor, and voice instructor, was born in Capua, Italy, on December 20, 1843. After receiving his musical education and starting a professional career in Europe, Alfredo immigrated to the United States in August 1865, settling in Boston, Massachusetts. He taught and conducted in Cincinnati, Ohio and St. Paul, Minnesota before moving to Chicago in 1888.
On July 25, 1893, Stella and Alfredo were married and took residence at the Plaza Hotel in downtown Chicago before settling in Oak Park. They had three sons: Alfred Vernon, Francis (Frank) Skiff, and Joseph Edwin. Alfredo’s declining health caused him to move to Los Angeles, California in 1905 where he continued his music career, with the family visiting him frequently from Chicago. Alfredo died in Los Angeles in April 1913.
Alfred Vernon Jannotta (Dec. 13, 1894-May 31, 1972) married Mary Broderick Lamm (1900-1988) in 1918 and had daughter Mary Frances Jannotta in 1919. Francis (Frank) Skiff Jannotta (Nov. 16, 1896-Jun. 14, 1942) married Helen Scriba in 1922 and had a son Frank. Joseph Edwin Jannotta (Oct. 26, 1898-Nov. 22, 1986) married Ramona Dalzell in 1921 and they had Stella Jr., Joseph Jr., and Edgar. Stella’s sister Blanche married Frank P. Ross in 1899. Ross, along with Stella’s brother Frank Vernon, founded the Jewel Tea Company in 1899.
In the early 1900s Stella became active in the women’s suffrage movement and in rationalist religious organizations. In 1907 Stella joined the Chicago Political Equality League (CPEL), the precursor to the Chicago League of Women Voters. Between 1913 and 1915 she organized within the CPEL and wrote several essays on eugenics and the related issues of birth control, overpopulation, prostitution, sex education, and spouse-choosing. Stella also spent a considerable amount of time researching her family history. After her mother died in 1918, Stella also began to research the Coffin, Thompson, Skiff, Starbuck, and Finley lines of her ancestry. She had two family biographies privately printed, including one for her maternal aunt Alice Virginia Coffin, a co-founder of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, a women’s organization dedicated to educational opportunities for women. Stella died in 1954.
9.8 Linear Feet (2 boxes and 6 oversize boxes)
Three disbound scrapbooks compiled by Stella Skiff Jannotta for her youngest son, Joseph Edwin Jannotta, in the early 1930s. Titled, “The Evolution of a Man: Joseph Edwin Jannotta, His Story in Pictures,” the volumes contain a variety of materials including photographs, correspondence, clippings, programs, and family histories along with Stella Jannotta’s extensive handwritten annotations. Also includes separated materials related to the family and the founding of Jewel Tea Company by the Skiff family.
Papers are organized in the following series
- Series 1: Scrapbooks, 1801-1933, bulk 1850s-1933
- Boxes 1-6
- Series 2: Separated Materials, 1812-1996
- Boxes 7-8
Collection Stack Location
1 41 1
Gift, Katie Palmer, 2016.
Catherine Grandgeorge, 2017.
- Chicago Political Equality League (Chicago, Ill.) (Organization)
- Coffin family (Family)
- Jannotta, A. Vernon (Alfred Vernon), 1894-1972 (Person)
- Delzell family (Family)
- Jannotta, Frank Skiff, 1896-1942 (Person)
- Starbuck family (Family)
- P.E.O. Sisterhood (Organization)
- Jannotta family (Family)
- Jannotta, Alfredo Antonio, 1843-1913 (Person)
- Jannotta, Joseph Edwin, 1898-1986 (Person)
- Jannotta, Stella Skiff, 1867-1954 (Person)
- Jewel Tea Company (Organization)
- Skiff family (Family)
- Thompson family (Family)
- Inventory of the Stella Skiff Jannotta Scrapbooks, 1801-1996, bulk 1850s-1930s
- Catherine Grandgeorge
- Language of description
- Script of description