The Verley Archer Collection consists of materials relating to the Vanderbilt Family Reunion held in conjunction with the Centennial Celebration of Vanderbilt University, March 16-17, 1973. Ms. Archer conducted extensive research into the genealogy of the Vanderbilt family and located descendants of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt living in 1973.
Included in the Verley Archer Collection are research notes and materials, completed questionnaires from family members, correspondence, publicity materials, and published books, all relating to the Family Reunion and Centennial Celebration.
The 21 boxes in this collection cover approximately 8.76 linear feet. The collection is arranged in 3 series: Subject Files (Series I); Vanderbilt Centennial (Series II); and Verley Archer’s Research Materials (Series III).
The Subject Files, Series 1, are the most extensive part of this collection. They consist of letters, completed questionnaires, and biographical information on most of the over 500 members of the Vanderbilt family living in 1973, as well as some earlier family members. These are arranged alphabetically by last name. Married women descendants are cross-referenced by their maiden names.
Series 2 consists of the form letter mailings sent to his Vanderbilt relatives by William H. Vanderbilt, III and their responses. Also included are publicity articles about the Vanderbilt Family Reunion and Vanderbilt University Centennial. There are lists of descendants attending the Reunion and of gifts to Vanderbilt University from the descendants. Materials related to the project administration are included as well as the printed programs commemorating the Centennial festivities. There are draft copies of the genealogical charts and the genealogical book compiled by Ms Archer. There is also a copy of her book, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, Sophia Johnson Vanderbilt, and Their Descendants, published by Vanderbilt University in 1973 and materials relating to its publication.
Ms. Archer’s research comprises Series 3. It includes photocopies of articles about the Vanderbilt family, ranging from their arrival in America in 1650 up through their activities in the early 1970’s. There are also books and newspaper articles about contemporary Vanderbilts, especially concerning their publications or publications in which they are mentioned, foundations with which they are associated, and the William K. Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, Long, Island, New York.
This collection is of special interest to those researching the Vanderbilt family and its connection with Vanderbilt University. Additionally, to quote Ms. Archer, “This has really been a study in sociology because this is such a vital, vigorous family with wide-ranging interests.”