The Dorothy Dow Butturff Papers

Dorothy Dow Butturff, White House social secretary, was born on March 1, 1904 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She attended the La Crosse State Normal School graduating in 1922. From 1923 to 1928, Mrs. Butturff taught in the Wauwatosa and Ashland, Wisconsin public school systems. The following year, she attended business courses at the La Crosse Vocational School.

Mrs. Butturff began her government career in 1930 with her appointment as a secretary in the Department of the Interior. She was transferred to the White House Social Bureau, which attended to the mail addressed to the First Lady, following President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first inauguration in 1933 and remained until 1957. From 1933 to 1945, she was assistant to Eleanor Roosevelt's personal secretary, Malvina Thompson Scheider, dividing her time between the White House and the Roosevelt home at Hyde Park, New York. Mrs. Butturff went to Hyde Park in the summer of 1938, spending part of the summers there from 1939 to 1941. She returned to assist with the flood of condolence letters regarding the death of President Roosevelt in April, 1945.

During her White House years of "life on a merry-go-round in an elevator with the Roosevelts," Mrs Butturff wrote many fascinating letters to her family detailing her varied experiences as a White House staff member. In 1984, these letters were edited by Ruth K. McClure and published as Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit: The Letters of Dorothy Dow 1933 - 1945. In 1946, she transferred to the correspondence section of the Executive Office of the President, soon moving to Office of Presidential Appointments, where she remained until her retirement in 1957.

The Dorothy Dow Butturff Papers comprise 2 boxes of her correspondence used in McClure's book, as well as other letters and related manuscript material. Box 1 consists of correspon- dence from such White House worthies as Mrs. Roosevelt; James Roosevelt; Malvina Thompson; Edith Helm; and George T. Bye, Mrs. Roosevelt's literary agent. The major portion of the correspondence deals with a book Mrs. Butturff had proposed to publish. Box 2 contains manuscript copies of Mrs. Butturff's letters as a White House social secretary from 1933 - 1945 as well as related materials (i.e., book reviews). Photographs of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt; Fala; Dorothy Dow; Malvina Thompson; Donald Dawson; the John F. Kennedys; and the Lyndon B. Johnsons are found in Box 1.

Dorothy Dow married Robert R. Butturff on October 20, 1934. He died on February 15, 1976. Mrs. Butturff resides in Silver Spring, Maryland. She has one daughter, Barbara Butturff Delaney.

Number of Boxes: 2

Size: 1.0 linear feet

Date Span: 1933 - 1985

Provenance: Acquired from Mrs. Butturff, 1985 and 1986.

The Dorothy Dow Butturff "Personal Letters of a White House Social Secretary 1933 - 1945" correspondence and manuscripts were acquired from her daughter, Mrs. Barbara Butturff Delaney, in 1986.

Processed by: Anna T. Zakarija

Date: February 24, 1986

Box 1 Folder 1
Bye, George T. - Correspondence
Date Span: 1938, August 16 - 1950, January 30; Undated
Contents: Contains correspondence (transcripts and carbons), and telegrams from George T. Bye, Eleanor Roosevelt's literary agent, to Dorothy Dow Butturff and her sister, Frances Dow Spencer, regarding the possibility of Butturff's writing a book about her days as a White House secretary.


Box 1 Folder 2
Dow [Butturff], Dorothy - Correspondence
Date Span: 1933, September - 1976, March; Undated
Contents: Contains correspondence, including carbons, from Dorothy Dow Butturff to her mother and her husband, Robert, regarding her position as one of Eleanor Roosevelt's White House secretaries.


Box 1 Folder 3
Dressler, Marie - Autograph
Date Span: Undated
Contents: Contains an autographed card from the noted American screen star, Marie Dressler, obtained during her visit to the White House during the Roosevelt Administration.


Box 1 Folder 4
Helm, Edith Burham - Correspondence
Date Span: 1934, October 25
Contents: Contains an autograph letter signed with holograph envelope from the former White House Social Secretary during the Roosevelt Administration, Edith Burham Helm, to Dorothy Dow on the occasion of the latter's engagement to Robert Butturff.


Box 1 Folder 5
Lash, Joseph - Correspondence
Date Span: 1976, February 7 - March 2
Contents: Contains 2 TLS (typed letters signed) from Joseph Lash, noted Roosevelt biographer, regarding Dorothy Dow Butturff's manuscript of her White House years, and its marketing ability in conjunction with Lash's work, Eleanor and Franklin. Also includes 2 TL (typed letter carbons) from Butturff.



Box 1 Folder 6
McClure, Ruth K. - Correspondence
Date Span: 1983, April 25 - 1984, November 27
Contents: Contains letters, contracts, and clippings from Ruth McClure, editor of Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit: The Letters of Dorothy Dow, 1933 - 1945, regarding this book.


Box 1 Folder 7
Roosevelt, Eleanor - Correspondence
Date Span: 1934 - 1956, May 14; Undated
Contents: Contains correspondence, invitations, and clippings from Eleanor Roosevelt to Dorothy Dow Butturff. See itemized list below.

Item List: AC Roosevelt, Eleanor to Dorothy Dow Butturff
[1934] with envelope regarding the latter's marriage.

C The White Social Bureau "Congratulations .
. . " Contained in the above envelope. [1934].

C The Social Staff "Best Wishes to . . . "
Contained in the above envelope. [1934]

TLS Roosevelt, Eleanor to Dorothy Dow Butturff
x/13/41 with envelope and with a TLS from Malvina Thompson.

AN Roosevelt, Eleanor [April, 1945]
"Memorandum from the Desk of Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt."

ALS Roosevelt, Eleanor to Dorothy [Dow Butturff]
viii/3/45.

ALS Roosevelt, Eleanor to Dorothy [Dow Butturff]
"Monday." "Apartment 15-A . . . " [August, 1945].

ALS Roosevelt, Eleanor to Dorothy [Dow Butturff]
"August 11th." "Apartment 15-A . . . " [August, 1945]. With holograph envelope.

ALS Roosevelt, Eleanor to Dorothy [Dow Butturff]
"August 15th." 2-pages [1945, V-J Day].
ALS Roosevelt, Eleanor to Dorothy [Dow Butturff]
"August 16th." With holograph envelope. [viii/16/45].

ALS Roosevelt, Eleanor to Dorothy [Dow Butturff]
"August 26th." With holograph envelope. [viii/27/45].

ALS Roosevelt, Eleanor to Dorothy [Dow Butturff]
[in pencil] "Tell Nelly not to bother . . . " [1945].

TLS Roosevelt, Eleanor to Mr. Butturff [v/2/53]
with holograph notation and typed envelope.

TLS Roosevelt, Eleanor to Dorothy [Dow Butturff]
xii/22/53 with one holograph correction.

TLS Roosevelt, Eleanor to Dorothy [Dow Butturff]
ii/28/55. 2-pages with holograph notation.

TLS Roosevelt, Eleanor to Dorothy [Dow Butturff]
v/14/56.

AN Roosevelt, Eleanor
"Miss Dow We Resign!!! - The Whole Gang
of Us!! . . . " Includes newspaper clipping [1940].


Box 1 Folder 8
Roosevelt, Eleanor - Correspondence re FDR's death
Date Span: 1945, April 12 - June 1; Undated
Contents: Contains letters "picked at random from the thousands received by Eleanor Roosevelt after President Roosevelt's death in April, 1945."


Box 1 Folder 9
Roosevelt, Franklin Delano - Related material
Date Span: 1945, April 14 and Undated
Contents: Contains invitation to Franklin Roosevelt's funeral services in 1945, and a card printed "The President."


Box 1 Folder 10
Roosevelt, James
Date Span: 1945, August 20
Contents: Contains 1 typed letter signed from James Roosevelt to Dorothy Dow Butturff concerning his father's grave; the autographed photographs from the Library; and the matter of the stove.


Box 1 Folder 11
Thompson, Malvina - Correspondence
Date Span: 1941, August 1 - 1953; Undated
Contents: Contains 5 TL (typed letter unsigned); 5 TL (typed carbon unsigned); 12 TLS (typed letters signed); 2 ALS (autograph letters signed); 4 envelopes; and newspaper clipping from Malvina Thompson Scheider, Mrs. Roosevelt's long-time personal secretary, and with whom Dorothy Dow Butturff worked for over twelve years.


Box 1 Folder 12
Manuscript-related Material - Correspondence
Date Span: 1984, May 18 - 1985, May 17; Undated
Contents: Contains correspondence, clippings, dustjacket, and book reviews regarding Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit: The Letters of Dorothy Dow, 1933 - 1945.


Box 1 Folder 13
Christmas Cards
Date Span: 1933 - 1953; Undated
Contents: Contains Christmas greetings from the White House during the Roosevelt Administration; the Truman Administration; and signed greetings from Mrs. Roosevelt during the 1950s.


Box 1 Folder 14
Clippings
Date Span: 1933; and 1938, August 17
Contents: Contains newspaper clippings from the 1933 "Mobilization for Human Needs" Conference; and Eleanor Roosevelt's newspaper column, "My Day", the topic of which is "The South has so many Riches."


Box 1 Folder 15
Inaugurals
Date Span: 1933, March 4; 1941, January 20; and 1945; January 20
Contents: Contains a copy of Roosevelt's 1933 Inaugural Address; and invitations to the 1941 and 1945 Presidential Inaugurations.


Box 1 Folder 16
Invitations - White House and Miscellaneous
Date Span: 1934 - 1947
Contents: Contains invitations from the White House and organizations such as the Gridiron Widows to Dorothy Dow Butturff.


Box 1 Folder 17
Miscellaneous Materials
Date Span: 1981
Contents: Contains an envelope with 4 matchbooks inclosed. The envelope is marked as follows: "Hawaii = 1981 - Sept. - (?)"


Box 1 Folder 19
Photographs
Date Span: 1934 (?) - 1967
Contents: Contains various White House photographs. See item list below.

Item List:
Packet 1 Contains 8 photographs of Eleanor Roosevelt (in swimsuit); Sistie and Buzzie Roosevelt; Dorothy Dow Butturff; Malvina Thompson; Earl Miller; Maude Gray; and the chauffeur's daughter at Hyde Park.

Packet 2 Contains 1 photograph of Dorothy Dow Butturff (in swimsuit) at Hyde Park.

Packet 3 Contains 1 photograph signed from Eleanor Roosevelt to Dorothy Dow Butturff, and used in the latter's book.

Packet 4 Contains 1 photograph of Dorothy Dow Butturff in 1936, and used in her book.

Packet 5 Contains 1 early kodacolor print of Franklin Roosevelt's funeral cortege in April, 1945.

Packet 6 Contains 1 photograph signed from Donald Dawson, President Truman's personal assistant. Also includes a January 16, 1953 Government Standard newspaper clipping.

Packet 7 Contains 1 photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt in 1951 at Val-Kill cottage.

Packet 8 Contains 1 photograph of the John F. Kennedy Family in a church setting.

Packet 9 Contains a color photograph of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Family in 1967.

Packet 10 Contains an artistic plate depicting a fanciful scene of a Notre Dame gargoyle.


Box 1 Folder 19
Press Releases
Date Span: 1945, April 17 and May 8
Contents: Contains 2 press releases regarding V-E Day.


Box 2 Folder 1
"Personal Letters . . . " Manuscript - Typed Carbon - I
Date Span: 1933 - 1945
Contents: Contains a 115-page typed carbon manuscript Dorothy Dow's "Personal Letters of a White House Social Secretary 1933 - 1945" with holograph corrections and notations.


Box 2 Folder 2
"Personal Letters . . . " Manuscript - Typed Carbon -II
Date Span: 1933 - 1945
Contents: Contains a 134-page typed carbon manuscript of Dorothy Dow's "Personal Letters of a White House Social Secretary 1933 - 1945" with holograph notations and corrections.


Box 2 Folder 3
"Personal Letters . . . " Manuscript - Typed Carbon-III
Date Span: 1933 - 1945
Contents: Contains a 152-page typed carbon manuscript of Dorothy Dow's "Personal Letters of a White House Social Secretary 1933 - 1945" with holograph notations and corrections.


Box 2 Folder 4
Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit . . . - Manuscript - Part I
Date Span: [1984, October 21]
Contents: Contains a 91-page typed manuscript (copy only) of Ruth McClure's edited book, Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit: The Letters of Dorothy Dow 1933 -1945 (Part I), with some holograph corrections and notations as well as a TLS (typed letter signed) from McClure.


Box 2 Folder 5
Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit . . . - Manuscript - Part II
Date Span: [1984, October 21]
Contents: Contains an 82-page typed manuscript (copy only) of Ruth McClure's edited book, Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit: The Letters of Dorothy Dow 1933 - 1945 (Part II), with some holograph notations and corrections.


Box 2 Folder 6
Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit . . . - Manuscript - Part III Date Span: [1984, October 21]
Contents: Contains a 118-page typed manuscript (copy only) of Ruth McClure's edited book, Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit: The Letters of Dorothy Dow 1933 - 1945 (Part III), with some holograph corrections and notations.


Box 2 Folder 7
Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit . . . - Correspondence Date Span: 1976, January 28 - 1983, April 5
Contents: Contains correspondence from Ruth K. McClure; Tom Macgillivray; Dorothy Dow Butturff (see also Joseph Lash file in this collection); Maurine Beasley (University of Maryland); and Emily L. Wright (Department of Interior). Also includes xeroxes of photos used in book.


Box 2 Folder 8
Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit . . . - Manuscript Miscellany Date Span: Undated
Contents: Contains various miscellaneous typed manuscript sections of Ruth McClure's edited book, Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit: The Letters of Dorothy Dow 1933 -1945, such as footnote revisions, appendices, and photo credits.


Box 2 Folder 9
"Why Was ER an Inspiration to Others?" - Speeches
Date Span: 1984, October 15 and Undated
Contents: Contains a 5-page typed carbon manuscript and a 4-page typed manuscript with holograph notations and corrections of Ruth McClure's speeches regarding Eleanor Roosevelt and her contribution. Also includes programs from the "ER Centennial Celebration".



Box 2 Folder 10
Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit - Book Reviews
Date Span: 1984 - 1985
Contents: Contains newspaper clippings and various xeroxes of book reviews regarding McClure's edited book, Eleanor Roosevelt, An Eager Spirit: The Letters of Dorothy Dow 1933 - 1945.



Return to Collection List
Return to Finding Aids
Return to Special Collections Home Page