Skip to main content

Witkowsky Family Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-098

Scope and Content of the Collection

Variety of papers from and about the Witkowsky family of Chicago.

Papers include unsigned valentines with intricate paper cutouts and bas-relief imprinted envelopes, addressed to Pauline, James, or Esther Witkowsky. One valentine is dated 1875; the others are undated and are estimated to be from the 1840s to the 1870s. There is one letter from Pauline (age 13) to her betrothed (Conrad, age 19) while he was in California in 1858; among other topics, she mentions the ship Austria which was lost at sea and had friends and relations on board, and also remarks that the Lincoln-Douglas debates were coming to an end.

The 20th century materials include official papers, poems, and remembrances from Alan D. Whitney (nee Witkowsky), a cousin of James Witkowsky, from his experiences during World War I when he served seven months in the War Trade Board and five months in the Army SOS in Washington, D.C. A final folder includes remembrances and memorial to Esther Witkowsky, who graduated from Vassar College in 1886 and who spoke at the Jewish Women's Congress held in Chicago, September 1893.


  • Creation: 1840-1942



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Witkowsky Family Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Witkowsky 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 Witkowsky Family

Family who settled in Chicago in the 1840s.

Pauline (born September 1845 in Germany; immigrated in 1848) married Conrad Witkowsky in 1864. They had a son and two daughters: Esther (ca. 1865-1942), James (ca. 1866-1950), and Amy (ca. 1868-1934). James Witkowsky married Flora Mayer, daughter of banker Leopold Mayer. It appears that Esther and Amy never married.

James Witkowsky's cousin and executor to his will, Alan, D. Whitney, was an investment banker and advisor in Winnetka, Illinois. In his World War I military papers he is Pvt. Alan D. Witkowsky; at some point after his service his name was legally changed to Alan D. Whitney. He died in 1984 at the age of 90.


0.1 Linear Feet (4 folders)


Assortment of material related to the Witkowsky family of Chicago: mid-19th century valentines addressed to Esther, James, and Pauline Witkowsky of Chicago; an 1858 letter from Pauline mentioning the Lincoln-Douglas debates; and a 1942 tribute to Esther from Vassar classmates, class of 1886. Also material relating to the World War I military service of Alan Witkowsky (name changed to Whitney).


Papers are arranged chronologically.

Collection Stack Location

1 1 2


Gift, Mr. and Mrs. Alan D. Whitney, 1960, 1986.

Processed by

Alison Hinderliter, 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 Witkowsky Family Papers, 1840-1942
Alison Hinderliter
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