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Papers of Leila Howard (Griswold) Codman (1856-1910)

Description

Leila Codman's correspondence includes a large quantity of letters she received during her marriage to Ogden Codman, Jr. There are congratulatory letters received on the occasion of her engagement to Ogden in October 1904. The remaining letters are mainly from members of the Codman family, with whom she had a very warm relationship. Leila's mother-in- law, Sarah Bradlee Codman, wrote lengthy letters almost daily. In them, she described all of the Codman family activities. Thomas Newbold Codman, Leila's brother-in-law, also corresponded frequently; the two shared an interest in automobiles. While touring France, Tom, Sarah, and the family drove Leila's car for the winter, so there would be no import duty on it when it was shipped back to the United States for her. Leila's two children wrote to their mother while away at boarding schools in Massachusetts. The financial records give an account of the large inheritance she received from her first husband, Henry Walter Webb. They include estimates of her yearly income from investments to lists of stocks purchased. The inventory of furniture is a complete listing of her furniture, paintings, and objects d'art in her home, "Beechwood," in Scarborough. Notations of which pieces she intended to keep appear in the right-hand column. Leila's legal papers are mainly concerned with wills and estates and include a number of persons from whom she inherited money. Elaborate descriptions of her wedding can be found in her newspaper clippings.

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Details

Collection Name
Codman family papers
Collection Code
MS001
Dates
1888-1911, undated
Collection Type
Manuscripts
Description Level
Series
GUSN
293745
Reference Code
MS001.14

Historical/Biographical Note

Leila Howard Griswold Codman, daughter of John Griswold of Troy, New York, was born in 1856. She married Henry Walter Webb in 1886 and bore him two children: Henry Walter Webb, Jr. and John Griswold Webb. The latter was named after his maternal grandfather John Griswold, who ran for governor of New York on the Republican ticket in the late 1860s. He was a highly successful business entrepreneur and amassed a fortune manufacturing wire. He left his daughter an inheritance of several million dollars. Leila and Henry Walter Webb resided at "Beechwood" in Scarborough, a large estate with a commanding view of the Hudson River. Her husband was the brother of G. Creighton Webb, Louis Webb, and Dr. Seward Webb, who married Eliza Osgood Vanderbilt. Henry Walter Webb was the third vice-president of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad. Webb's health declined in the New York Central Railway strike in the late 1890s. He died in 1900, leaving his wife a sizeable inheritance. Leila met Ogden Codman, Jr. through his work as an architect. He designed a house for her at 15 East 51st Street in New York City. The two were married on 20 October 1904, at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Scarborough. The simple ceremony was attended by the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, among others. Leila and Ogden sailed the following day for Europe on the liner Cedric, and their honeymoon lasted six months. Returning the following spring, they moved into the home he had designed for her. During their six years of marriage, the couple travelled extensively in Europe and enjoyed a very close relationship. Leila died of complications following surgery on 21 January 1910.

Arrangement

The series is arranged in four subseries.

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