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Drew Family Manuscript Collection [DOC MSS 21]

Identifier: DOC MSS 21

Scope and Contents

The Drew Family Manuscript Collection provides a window onto the lives of a not wholly ordinary American family from the late nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century. The bulk of the material consists of correspondence from the 1920s to the 1950s that followed three ambitious women of the family who moved from St. Louis to New York seeking their fortunes. They were Dorothy Hart Drew, later a noted portrait painter, her sister Lorna, child prodigy pianist and later composer, and their mother

Anna Hart Drew, niece of American sculptor Joel Tanner Hart and herself a teacher of piano. The collection also gives some insight into the professional lives of Dorothy and Lorna, who struggled to build their careers in the midst of depression and war.

The Biography Series contains copies of clippings and biographical notices regarding Dorothy Drew. This material forms the basis of the Biographical Sketch in this finding aid.

The Correspondence Series consists of letters to and from various family members and friends. Most are addressed to Dorothy Drew, her sister Lorna, and/or their mother Anna Hart Drew from Dorothy and Lorna's half-sister Helen (Mrs. Frank A.) Borgsteadt, Mrs. Drew's daughter by her first marriage. Mrs. Drew's son by this marriage, Harold Cross, also contributes some letters, several of which comment on the activities of his wife, St. Louis-based poet Kathryn Cross. There is also a number of letters sent between Dr. Francis Webb Drew and Mrs. Drew during their long-distance courtship between 1903 and 1905. The correspondence covers such subjects as financial trouble, personal problems, career and family developments, the family's faith in Christian Science, and social issues such as wartime OPA rent controls and the threat of Communism.

The Ephemera and Photographs Series contain memorabilia of the family life of the Drews as well as evidence of Dorothy and

Lorna's budding careers. The Clippings and Publications Series

gives further information on Dorothy's professional life. The Scrapbooks Series contains fragments documenting Lorna's years as a child prodigy along with a bound volume chronicling Dorothy's first years of life. The Postcards Series contains many valuable views of St. Louis during the early part of this century.


  • 1890-1996


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Please contact the Saint Louis University Archives for details.


2.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Drew Family Manuscript Collection comprises correspondence, clippings, ephemera, photographs, postcards, and scrapbooks kept by American portrait artist Dorothy Hart Drew, her sister Lorna, and her mother Anna Hart Drew as mementos of their family members, of their own lives, and of their careers. The collection was acquired by the Saint Louis University Archives in May 1995 from Charles Apfelbaum Rare Books and Manuscripts after the death of the Missouri-born painter, whose early artistic aspirations were nurtured at Soldan High School in St. Louis. The bulk of the material consists of letters to Dorothy Drew, her sister Lorna Drew, a concert pianist and composer, and/or their mother Anna Hart Drew, a piano teacher, from their Borgsteadt relatives in St. Louis while the two younger Drews were pursuing careers in New York from the late 1920s through the mid-1950s. This correspondence gives a good idea of the daily lives of Americans during the years of the Depression and World War II, as well as a glimpse of the financial hardships and personal difficulties faced by women who attempted to carve out careers in the arts during these unsettled times. The work of Dorothy and Lorna, unfortunately, is not reflected very extensively in the letters, although the ephemera, clippings, photographs, publications, and scrapbooks do chronicle some of their professional efforts. The collection is organized into 10 series: 1. Biography; 2. Clippings; 3. compositions; 4. Correspondence; 5. Ephemera; 6. Legal Documents; 7. Photographs; 8. Postcards; 9. Publications; and 10.. Scrapbooks.

Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum Rare Manuscripts and Archives

Physical Description

1,600 items other_unmapped

Drew Family Manuscript Collection [DOC MSS 21]DOC MSS 21
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Repository Details

Part of the Saint Louis University Archives Repository

Pius XII Memorial Library
3650 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis Missouri 63108 United States