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Goodman Family Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Goodman Family

Scope and Content of the Collection

Correspondence, personal diaries, travel diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, genealogical research, and other materials related to Goodman family members and ancestors.

Correspondence is primarily personal, between family members and friends. Letters between Marjorie Sawyer Goodman Graff and her mother Marjorie Robbins Goodman Hopkins are voluminous and detailed regarding home and family life in the 1940s and 1950s. Letters between Kenneth Sawyer Goodman Dewey and his father Charles Dewey address issues of parental expectations. Correspondence and other materials in the Kenneth Sawyer Goodman Dewey series detail his involvement with the performance art world of 1960s Europe and New York City. The Goodman family were avid travelers, and there are numerous travel diaries kept by William O. Goodman, Kenneth Sawyer Goodman, Marjorie Robbins Goodman Hopkins and Marjorie Sawyer Goodman Graff, documenting trips to Cuba, Florida, Japan, Egypt, and various locations in Europe.

Materials in the Other Family series include correspondence, genealogies, and family history research from Goodman family members and ancestors, and also the Robbins & Johnston families, Marjorie Robbins Goodman Hopkins' ancestors. There is also the correspondence and travel diaries of Philo Wilbor, a close friend of William O. Goodman. Correspondence from Charles S. Dewey Jr. contains his observations on the people and culture of China while he was stationed there with the OSS. There are also multiple envelopes addressed in calligraphy by children's book illustrator Jose Aruego, as well as some sketches and drawings.

Photographs, photo albums, and slides are primarily of family and friends, and document home life, parties, and residences, particularly High Time Farm. There is also an abundance of travel photos and slides, including photos of William O. Goodman and his family's trip to Egypt in 1907, as well as trips by other family members to various locations in Europe throughout the 1930s-1960s.


  • Creation: 1795-2003
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1880 - 1995



Materials are in English.


The Goodman Family Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Goodman 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 Goodman Family

Marjorie Sawyer Goodman Graff

Socialite, designer, daughter of Chicago playwright Kenneth Sawyer Goodman.

Marjorie Sawyer Goodman Graff was born in 1914 in Chicago to Kenneth Sawyer Goodman and Marjorie Robbins Goodman. Goodman was the only son of Chicago lumber magnate William O. Goodman and Erna Malvina Sawyer, and a noted figure in the Little Theatre movement in Chicago. He died suddenly of pneumonia in1918. The Goodman Theatre in Chicago was founded in his honor. In 1928 Marjorie Robbins Goodman married James M. Hopkins.

Marjorie S. G. Graff attended St. Timothy’s, an all-girls Catholic boarding school in Maryland. After graduating she spent a year in Florence, Italy where she studied painting, art history, and book binding. In 1932, the same year as her debut to society, she inherited her father’s estate. She married Charles S. Dewey Jr., brother of her close friend Louise Dewey, in 1933.

Charles S. Dewey, Jr. was the son of Charles S. Dewey Sr., a diplomat and one time U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. During World War II Dewey Jr. was with the Office of Strategic Services [OSS] in China and was awarded the Medal of Freedom. Later he worked as an investment advisor in the energy field. After their marriage they first lived in South Bend, Indiana, then two years later moved to 1349 Astor Street in Chicago’s Gold Coast. In 1940 they moved to Far Hills, New Jersey where they purchased the estate High Time Farm. They also maintained an apartment in New York City.

Marjorie Graff had a wide range of interests and talents. She was a freelance interior decorator and designer, and during the mid-1940s was part owner of a ski resort in Canada. She also was a patron of the arts and was active on many boards and committees such as the New Jersey State Museum, the Newberry Library, and helped establish the dance collection at the New York Public Library Center for Performing Arts.

Charles and Marjorie Dewey had four children, Kenneth, Ariane, Christopher, and Suzette. They divorced in 1955. Dewey passed away in 1974.

In 1957 Marjorie married Robert D. Graff, whom she met while serving on the Junior Council of the Museum of Modern Art. Graff was a television producer at NBC, and later co-founded the independent production company Sextant Films with Robert Ginna. The company made one feature film, Young Cassidy, a biographical drama based on the life of Irish playwright Sean O’Casey. Graff continued to work in the documentary film field, producing films for television.

Kenneth S. G. Dewey was involved with the world of performance art and “happenings” during the 1960s, first in Europe and later in New York City. He was friends with many notable personalities in this milieu including Carloee Schneeman, Yoko Ono, and Ann Halprin. Later in his career he worked for the New York State Council on the Arts where he helmed several notable projects including the Hudson River Troubadour Project and Selma Last Year. He died in a plane crash in 1972.

Ariane Dewey became a children’s book illustrator, often collaborating with her husband Jose Aruego. They eventually divorced, but continued to work together. Christopher Dewey has worked as an independent film producer, and Suzette “Suki” Dewey is active in the arts and supports environmental causes.

Marjorie and Robert Graff continued to split their time between New Jersey and New York City, and together pursued their mutual interests in collecting books, contemporary and folk art as well as breeding pedigree dogs. Marjorie Sawyer Goodman Graff died in 2009.

Marjorie Robbins Goodman Hopkins

Chicago socialite, philanthropist, and book author.

Marjorie Robbins Goodman Hopkins was born in 1887, the daughter of Henry Spence Robbins and Frances Johnstone Robbins. She married Kenneth Sawyer Goodman in 1912, and they couple had two daughters, Marjorie Sawyer Goodman and Kay Goodman. After Kenneth Sawyer Goodman's death in 1918, she traveled extensively and remained active in Chicago society and philanthropic circles while raising her two daughters. She married Chicago businessman James M. Hopkins in 1928. Marjorie Hopkins maintained a close relationship with her oldest daughter Marjorie Sawyer Goodman Graff, providing much emotional and financial support, and was an active and involved grandparent. In 1947 she co-authored a book of parenting tips, including recipes for children, titled Food and Fun for Daughter and Son. She died in 1971.

Marjorie Robbins Goodman Hopkins' youngest daughter, Kay, an accomplished equestrian, married Garfield King in 1939 and had one daughter, Sheila. Kay Garfield King died unexpectedly in 1942 at the age of 22. Sheila King married American Sufi poet and scholar Lex Hixon in 1965.


26.5 Linear Feet (52 boxes, 3 record cartons, and 2 volumes)


Papers, letters, photograph albums, cards, genealogical materials, diaries, and travel memorabilia from the family of Marjorie Sawyer Goodman Graff, daughter of playwright Kenneth Sawyer Goodman, and her mother, Marjorie Robbins Hopkins.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Marjorie Sawyer Goodman Graff, 1925-2003
Boxes 1-16
Series 2: Marjorie Robbins Goodman Hopkins, 1905-1971
Boxes 17-26
Series 3: Kenneth Sawyer Goodman, 1884-1919
Box 27
Series 4: Kenneth Sawyer Goodman Dewey, 1945-1987
Boxes 28-29
Series 5: William O. and Erna Goodman, 1879-1943
Boxes 30-32
Series 6: Other Family, 1795-1995
Boxes 33-36
Series 7: Photographs, 1860s-2000s
Boxes 37-40
Series 8: Photo Albums, Stereo Slides, and Negatives, 1870s-1986
Boxes 41-54

Collection Stack Location

1 20 3-4


Gift of Ariane Dewey Dannasch, Christopher C. Dewey, and Suzette Graff Dewey in 2010, with subsequent additions in 2011.

Processed by

Lisa Janssen and Kelly Kress, 2013, 2015.

Inventory of the Goodman Family Papers, 1795-2003, bulk 1880-1995
Lisa Janssen and 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