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Adeline Lobdell Atwater Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Atwater

Scope and Content of the Collection

A collection of Adeline Atwater’s manuscript stories and articles, most of which are undated but appear to have been written between 1932 and 1956. Also, a 1941 Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway brochure and a facsimile photograph of Atwater’s parents, the Lobdells.

Among the works are two extensive pieces of interest. First, in 1932 Atwater kept a diary (extant in typescript) in the months prior to her marriage to Harold Pynchon, which details the life of a society woman in Chicago in the depression years. Secondly, the collection contains an undated typescript entitled Autobiography of an Extravert. This long work depicts pictures of life in turn-of-the-century Chicago; witnesses the Iroquois Theatre fire when Atwater was a girl; discusses her children’s education in the Montessori Method in 1918; portrays life in Washington, D.C. in 1919, and Atwater’s work with the National Woman’s Party, including a character sketch of the founder of the NWP, Alice Paul; and details getting a divorce in Reno, Nevada, circa 1920; It also describes artists and their activities in New York City during the twenties; 1920’s travel with Helena Rubinstein to Paris; and the Hollywood scene of 1930. The autobiography ends with Atwater’s marriage to Harold Pynchon in 1932.


  • Creation: approximately 1932-1956



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

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

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Adeline Lobdell Atwater 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 Adeline Lobdell Atwater

Author, art dealer and collector.

Adeline Lobdell, born in 1887 and raised in Chicago, was educated at local seminaries and briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago. As a young woman she traveled widely before her first marriage to Henry Atwater. The couple, with their two daughters Barbara and Edith, settled in Washington, D.C. during World War I. There Adeline L. Atwater joined the National Women’s Party (NWP) due to her enthusiasm for the cause of women’s suffrage. By July of 1919 she became the representative from Illinois on the NWP National Advisory Council.

After the war, the Atwaters divorced. In 1921, Adeline Atwater moved to New York City to become director of the New Gallery, which specialized in contemporary art. Always interested in modern art, she continued a successful ten-year career managing several other galleries and acting as curator for individual artists’ exhibits. Atwater’s second career was as an author, and in 1931 she published a work of fiction entitled The Marriage of Don Quixote. In 1932, Atwater married Harold C. Pynchon and began concentrating on her writing. Some of her short stories and articles appeared in such publications as Red Book Magazine, New York Herald Tribune Magazine, and The Midwest Review of Literature.

Besides her literary work, Adeline Atwater Pynchon was active in various charitable organizations as well as serving as president of the Society of Midland Authors. She died in Chicago in 1975.


0.8 Linear Feet (2 boxes)


Literary works of Adeline L. Atwater Pynchon, author, art dealer and collector. Also, a 1941 brochure for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and a photograph of Atwater’s parents.


The works are arranged alphabetically by title, followed by the brochure and photograph.

Collection Stack Location

1 4 1


Gift of Barbara Atwater Maher (Mrs. Philip Mayer), 1975.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2006.

Inventory of the Adeline Lobdell Atwater Papers, approximately 1932-1956
Virginia Hay Smith
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