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Harvey family papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Harvey

Scope and Content of the Collection

Correspondence and personal materials related to Bennet B. Harvey, Dorothy Wegener Harvey, and their son, Bennet B. Harvey, Jr., as well as ancestors of the Harvey family, Botsford, Chapin, Fisk, Gehrke and Wegener families.

Items provide insight into upper and upper middle class Chicago family life from the late 19th century through the 1950s, particularly social activities and childhood experiences, as well as travel in and around the Mackinac Island region of Michigan. Bennet B. Harvey's long career with Rand McNally is well documented, including work with authors Mary Alice Jones, Marguerite Henry, and Thor Heyerdahl.

Harvey ancestors were early settlers in Chicago and contributed significantly to the city's development. The collection includes materials related to Turlington Harvey's wholesale lumber company, Jabez K. Botsford's hardware business and involvement with the founding of Northwestern University, and business records and publicity related to the D.B. Fisk & Co., a large, wholesale millinery business which survived the Chicago fire and was a downtown fixture for decades.

Photographs and albums include multiple generations of the Harvey, Botsford, Fisk, and Wegener families, their various residences, and travels. The series also includes staff, publicity, and other photos related to Bennet B. Harvey's career at Rand McNally, particularly his work with author Thor Heyerdahl. A variety of historical formats are represented, including well preserved autochromes in diascopes, and daguerreotypes.


  • Creation: 1800-2007
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1851 - 1984



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Harvey family papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Harvey 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 at

Biography of Harvey Family

Chicago family.

Bennet B. Harvey was born in 1903 to Robert Hatfield Harvey, a Chicago physician and businessman, and Bertha Botsford Harvey, both descendants of early Chicago families. He grew up in Chicago with his sisters Beatrice Harvey (LeForgee) and Roberta Harvey (Vilas), and attended the Chicago Latin School, the Choate School, and Princeton University. In 1930 he married Dorothy Wegener (b. 1905), daughter of Mildred and Albert Wegener. Dorothy attended the Chicago Latin School for Girls and Wellesley College, and was active in the Junior League of Chicago as a young woman. After her marriage, Dorothy was involved with the Fortnightly Club, the Contemporary Club, and also served on the board of the Visiting Nurse Association of Chicago, in addition to her Wellesley class alumni activities. Bennet and Dorothy Harvey had one son, Bennet B. Harvey, Jr., born in 1934. The family settled in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood, where Bennet and Dorothy remained until their deaths.

Bennet Harvey enjoyed a long and productive career with Rand McNally. Beginning as a production clerk in 1926, he also worked as an assistant to Vice President Fred McNally before becoming an editor with the Trade Book department. In 1946, Harvey was appointed Vice President in charge of the new Trade Publishing Division, a position he held until his retirement in 1970. Harvey worked with many of Rand McNally's most popular and beloved writers, including children’s and religious book author Mary Alice Jones, and Marguerite Henry, renowned author of Misty of Chincoteague and many other horse and animal books. In 1949 Harvey attended a lecture by Norwegian ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl, who had recently sailed a balsa raft from Peru to the Polynesian Islands to support his theories of migration and population. Harvey convinced Rand McNally to publish Heyerdahl's account of the voyage, and Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific By Raft, was a best seller for the company and brought Heyerdahl international attention and acclaim.

After his retirement in 1970, Bennet Harvey devoted much of his time to volunteering at his local church, St. Chrysostom’s, researching family history, and caring for his wife. Dorothy Harvey died in 1995, and Bennet Harvey in 1998.

Bennet Harvey, Jr. attended Chicago Latin School, Princeton University, and Harvard Law School. In 1969, he ran a campaign for a delegate seat at the Illinois Constitutional Convention. Bennet Harvey, Jr. practiced law at private firms and for the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, taught at John Marshall Law School, and currently works in private practice. He is married to Karen Harvey and has three children from a previous marriage.

Robert Hatfield Harvey was born in 1868 to Turlington W. Harvey, a Chicago lumber entrepreneur who also founded the town of Harvey, Illinois, and his first wife, Maria Hardman Harvey. In 1899 Robert Harvey married Bertha Botsford, the daughter of Bennet Buckman Botsford and Myra Fisk Botsford. Bennet Buckman Botsford was a member of the Ellsworth's Zouaves, and the son of Jabez K. Botsford, a hardware merchant who came to Chicago in 1833 and was also a founder of Northwestern University. Myra Fisk Botsford was the daughter of D.B. Fisk, also an early Chicago resident and founder of the millinery company D.B. Fisk & Co., which survived the Chicago fire and was a downtown fixture for decades.


15 Linear Feet (29 boxes, 2 oversize boxes, and 1 volume)


Collection of letters, photographs, diaries, writings, business records, and genealogical research materials centering around Chicago native and longtime Rand McNally employee Bennet B. Harvey, his wife Dorothy Wegener Harvey, their son Bennet B. Harvey, Jr., and their ancestors, many of whom were early Chicago settlers and involved in the development of the city. Families represented include Botsford, Chapin, Fisk, Gehrke, Harvey, and Wegener.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: Bennet B. Harvey Family, 1903-2007
Boxes 1-6
Series 2: Rand McNally, 1930-2002
Boxes 7-9
Series 3: Family Papers, 1800-1996
Boxes 10-18
Series 4: Photographs, 1853-1999
Boxes 19-28
Series 5: Realia and Miscellaneous, 1825-1944
Box 29

Collection Stack Location

1 21 4-5, 1 30 1-2


Gift of Bennet B. Harvey, Jr., 2011.

Processed by

Kelly Kress, 2011.


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 Harvey family papers, 1800-2007, bulk 1851-1984
Kelly Kress
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