Phillips family papers. Stephen "Stevie" Phillips (1907-1971) papers

Collection Type

  • Manuscripts


1769-1979, undated, predominant 1913-1971

Location Note

HAV-01-701-C-H-203; HAV-01-701-C-H-202; HAV-01-701-C-H-201; ·HAV-01-701-C-H-104; HAV-01-701-C-L-102\n




The Stephen "Stevie" Phillips (1907-1971) papers (MS044) reflect the life and activities of Stephen "Stevie" Phillips (1907-1971) of Salem, Massachusetts. The papers cover Phillips' childhood during World War I (1914-1918); his life as a young man studying abroad in Germany as Adolf Hitler (1889-1945; Chancellor, 1933-1945) rose to power in Nazi Germany; and his notable contributions as a philanthropist within the Salem, Massachusetts, community from the 1940s through the 1960s. The collection is arranged in ten series.

In 1996, the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation acquired the Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust for Historic Preservation House (now the Phillips House), in Salem, Massachusetts, from Bessie "Betty" Gertrude (Wright) Phillips (1906-1996), wife of Stephen "Stevie" Phillips (1907-1971). In 2006, Historic New England acquired the Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust for Historic Preservation House (now the Phillips House) at 34 Chestnut Street in Salem, Massachusetts, from the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation. The papers contained within the house at the time of Historic New England's acquisition formed the bases of the collection: Phillips family papers (now MS051). Portions of the Phillips family papers (MS051) had been divided into smaller collections and partially processed and/or inventoried by the staff of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust for Historic Preservation House (now the Phillips House): Phillips Family Papers, 1770-1909: Guide to the Collection (now MS051); Anna P. Phillips Collection (now MS043); Stephen Phillips Collection (now MS044); Inventory of Stephen Willard Phillips Papers: Unprocessed Collection (now MS046); and Duncan Family Papers: Finding Aid (now MS047 and MS048).

In 2003 Sharon Spieldenner, an intern from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, and Naomi Gray, Curator, Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust House, in Salem, Massachusetts, processed the papers associated with Stephen "Stevie" Phillips (1907-1971) and created the original finding aid for the Stephen Phillips Collection (now MS044). Spieldenner and Gray arranged the collection into ten series:

Series I. Personal papers
Subseries A. Official Records
Subseries B. Medical
Subseries C. National
Subseries D. Financial
Subseries E. Calendars and Diaries
Subseries F. Addresses and Telephone Directories
Subseries G. Stationary/Envelopes
Subseries H. Personal Notes and
Subseries I. Ephemera
Series II: Correspondence
Subseries A. Personal Correspondence 1916-1971
Subseries B. Undated Letters
Subseries C. Letters of Introduction
Subseries D. Drafts and Letters written by Stephen Phillips (1907-1971)
Subseries E. General
Subseries F. Postcards Received
Subseries G. Birthday Cards Received
Subseries H. Christmas Cards Received
Subseries I. Valentines
Subseries J. Greeting
Subseries K. Wedding Cards
Subseries L. Anniversary Cards
Subseries M. Get Well Cards
Subseries N. Invitations Received
Subseries O. Announcements
Series III: Childhood[folders arranged chronologically]
Series IV: Family[folders arranged chronologically]
Series V. School [arranged by years of attendance]
Subseries A. Tower School
Subseries B. Bowditch School
Subseries C. Milton Academy
Subseries D. Harvard
Subseries E. Harvard Graduate School
Subseries F. Radio Technician Training
Subseries G. Undated
Series VI. Organizations and clubs [folders arranged alphabetically]
Series VII. Travel [folders arranged alphabetically]
Series VIII. Photographs [folders arranged chronologically]
Series IX. Pastimes [folders arranged alphabetically]
Series X. Oversize map folders [arranged alphabetically]

When fully processed, the collection comprised 57 letter-size file boxes (approx. 23.77 linear ft.).

Update: 2013-2014
In 2013-2014, through a National Historical Publications and Records Commission grant (Award Number: NAR13-RH-50051-13: "Family Manuscript Collections: Expanding Online Access to New England Heritage Project"), twenty-six Historic New England manuscript collections of family papers were re-evaluated and processed/reprocessed to meet current archival standards and "best practices;" corresponding finding aids were created/updated to be DACS-compliant and converted into electronic Microsoft Word document form; and the finding aids were made accessible/searchable online through the use of the Minisis M2A archival database of the Minisis Collections Management System. The Stephen "Stevie" Phillips papers (MS044) were part of the grant project.

Since 2003, following the initial processing of the collection and creation of the original finding aid, additional material associated with Stephen "Stevie" Phillips (1907-1971) had been collected, but left unprocessed.

During the 2013-2014 collection reprocessing/updating, the 2003 arrangement scheme was updated; most of the original folder titles were maintained (appropriate headings and folder titles were supplied, as applicable); related folders were combined or rearranged, as applicable; the accumulated unprocessed material was incorporated into the collection; and the collection was rehoused into legal-size, acid-free folders and cartons. Most of the papers throughout the collection were removed from envelopes (if applicable), unfolded, and flattened; most oversize material was rehoused appropriately (or interleafed within file boxes, as applicable); and a few fragile and vulnerable items were placed in enclosures or interleafed within folders, as appropriate. The scope and content notes were updated to reflect changes; additional research was added to the biographical/historical sketch, and related collections held by Historic New England and other repositories were researched and noted. Folders and boxes were numbered, labeled, barcoded, and stored accordingly. A DACS-compliant, electronic 2010-2013 Microsoft Word document finding aid was created (with corresponding paper finding aid) and entered into the collection record in the Minisis M2A online database.

NOTE: Processing/updating the collection and making the finding aid accessible online were made possible through grants from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (Award Number: NAR13-RH-50051-13), the Bedford Family Foundation, and an anonymous donor.


Descriptive Terms

appointment books
birth certificates
clippings (information artifacts)
clubs (associations)
dance cards
death certificates
estate records
greeting cards
financial records
ledgers (account books)
legal documents
marriage certificates
medical records
property records
personal papers

Physical Description

14.0 linear feet (14 cartons, plus 11 oversize folders)

Finding Aid Info

An electronic finding aid is available through Historic New England's Collections Access Portal. A paper finding aid is available in the Library and Archives.

Custodial History

·2006: Acquisition of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust for Historic Preservation House (now the Phillips House), in Salem, Massachusetts, and all of its contents to Historic New England from the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation

Collection Code


Collection Name

Phillips family papers. Stephen "Stevie" Phillips (1907-1971) papers

Date of Acquisition


Reference Code



Address books; cards; club and committee records; correspondence; diaries; ephemera; estate records; financial records; invitations; legal documents; notebooks; passports; postcards; printed material; property records; school papers; scrapbooks; travel material; etc.; reflecting the personal interests, professional life, and social activities of Stephen "Stevie" Phillips (1907-1971) of Salem, Massachusetts.

Credit Line

Acquired from the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation, 2006


Alaska (United States)
Allagash (Aroostook county, Maine)
Boston (Suffolk county, Massachusetts)
California (United States)
Cambridge (Middlesex county, Massachusetts)
Danvers (Essex county, Massachusetts)
England (United Kingdom) [country]
Hawaii (United States)
Henniker (Merrimack county, New Hampshire)
Lawrence (Essex county, Massachusetts)
Marblehead (Essex county, Massachusetts)
New London (Merrimack county, New Hampshire)
New York state (United States)
Oregon (United States)
Peabody (Essex county, Massachusetts)
Salem (Essex county, Massachusetts)
Saranac Lake (Franklin county, New York state)
South Pacific Ocean [general region]
Sunapee (Sullivan county, New Hampshire)

Record Details

Material Type

personal papers

Other People

Coyle, Emily
Phillips, Anna Pingree Wheatland, 1870-1938
Phillips, Bessie "Betty" Gertrude (Wright), 1906-1996
Phillips, Stephen Willard, 1873-1955
Phillips, Stephen, 1907-1971
Stone, Diana
Wheatland, Ann Maria Pingree, 1846-1927

Other Organizations

American Stationary Company (Peru, Indiana)
American Unitarian Association
Appalachian Mountain Club
Audubon Society of Portland
Boston City Club (Boston, Mass.)
Bowditch School
Chestnut Street Association
Christian Churches of Salem
Club of Odd Volumes
Essex Institute
First Church (Salem, Mass)
First Ironworks Association
Globe Newspaper Co.
Governor Dummer Academy
Harvard University
Historic Salem Incorporated
House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association
King's Chapel (Boston, Mass.)
Mack Industrial School (Salem, Mass.)
Marine Society at Salem
Massachusetts Horticultural Society
Massachusetts Historical Society
Massachusetts. National Guard
Massachusetts Tuberculosis League Incorporated
Milton Academy (Milton, Mass.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
National Geographic Society (U.S.)
New England College
New England Home for the Deaf (Danvers, Mass.)
North Shore Medical Center Salem Hospital
Peabody Essex Museum
Peabody Museum of Salem
Salem Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis (Salem, Mass.)
Salem Athenaeum
Salem Country Club (Salem, Mass.)
Salem Debutante Society (Salem, Mass.)
Salem Female Charitable Society (Salem, Mass.)
Salem Squash Club (Salem, Mass.)
Sons of the American Revolution
Tower School (Salem, Mass.)
Union Club of Boston
Unitarian Historical Society (Boston, Mass.)
Unitarian Layman's League
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship
Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead (Marblehead, Mass.)
Young Men's Christian associations


World War II


·The collection is available for research. Arrangements to access the collection must be made in advance. Restrictions apply; arrangements to access the collection must be made in advance.
·The majority of the collection is unrestricted, except for #C.6.18-C.6.31 and OB.2.15, which are restricted and closed to research until January 1, 2062.
·Note: due to aging materials and condition of the materials, the whole of the collection requires handling with care.

Description Level


Location Note

HAV-01-701-C-H-203; HAV-01-701-C-H-202; HAV-01-701-C-H-201; ·HAV-01-701-C-H-104; HAV-01-701-C-L-102

Accruals Note

Accruals are not expected.

Language Note

Materials are in English; some in French, German, and Latin

Preferred Citation

[Item identification] Phillips family papers. Stephen "Stevie" Phillips (1907-1971) papers (MS044). Historic New England, Library and Archives.

Processing Information

·2003: Originally processed by the Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust for Historic Preservation House, Salem, Massachusetts: Sharon Spieldenner, intern, and Naomi Gray, curator

·2014 August: Updated by Historic New England, Library and Archives: Zoe Quinn, assistant archivist; with assistance from Alyssa Ramirez, assistant archivist; Bridgette A. Woodall, project archivist; Megan E. Gallagher, intern; and Jennifer Pustz, museum historian

Rules and Conventions

Finding aid is DACS-compliant

Related Items

Phillips family papers. Anna Pingree (Wheatland) Phillips (1870-1938) papers
Phillips family papers. Stephen Henry Phillips (1823-1897) papers
Phillips family papers. Stephen Willard Phillips (1873-1955) papers
Phillips family papers. James Duncan Phillips (1876-1954) papers
Phillips family papers. Margaret (Duncan) Phillips (1847-1926) papers
Phillips family papers. Nannie Jencks (Borden) Phillips (1877-1963) papers
Phillips family papers. Stephen Clarendon Phillips (1801-1857) papers
Phillips family papers. Papers of other Phillips family members
Phillips family film collection, 1925-mid-1940s

Historical/Biographical Note

Historical/Biographical Note

Stephen "Stevie" Phillips (1907-1971), son of Stephen Willard Phillips (1873-1955) and Anna Pingree (Wheatland) Phillips (1870-1938), was born on September 27, 1907 in Salem, Massachusetts. Stephen, or "Stevie", as he was affectionately referred to by family and friends, attended the Tower School in Salem, Massachusetts, and the Bowditch School (Salem Public School) until 1920. From 1920 to 1925, he attended Milton Academy and went on to Harvard College, graduating in 1929. In 1930, Stephen enrolled in the Graduate Program of Arts and Sciences at Harvard to study archaeology and anthropology. During this time, he studied abroad in Frieburg and Munich, Germany. In November 1930, Phillips reluctantly ended his studies in Europe and returned home at his parents' request. However, he returned to Germany in 1932 to participate in an archaeology excavation (in Yugoslavia) through the American School of Prehistoric Research in Berlin. The endeavor was cut short after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis in July of 1932. Due to his illness, Phillips spent several years at tuberculosis sanatoriums in Switzerland and in the United States. His personal correspondence indicates that he worked closely with tuberculosis specialists at the Saranac Laboratory for the Study of Tuberculosis in Saranac Lake, New York, in an effort to discover a cure. In 1938 and 1939, Phillips was appointed Research Assistant in Archaeology at the Peabody Museum in Salem, and, in later years, held positions of Chair and Trustee. In 1942, Phillips married Bessie "Betty" Wright (1906-1996), an educator from Pennsylvania. They lived in Salem at 30 Chestnut Street with their three adopted children, Jane, Margaret, and Anne.

Throughout his life, Phillips traveled extensively. As a child, he took steamship cruises to Canada and Europe with his parents and often spent summers in New Hampshire and Maine. In his early adult years, he traveled across the United States and Canada by car and train, exploring the Northwest Territories, the Southwest, and California. From 1942 through the 1960s, Phillips traveled with his wife, Bessie "Betty" (Wright) Phillips (1906-1996), to Hawaii and the South Sea Islands. Phillips was active in a variety of organizations and charities, such as the First Church of Salem (Unitarian Church), the New England Home for the Deaf, the Peabody Museum, the Essex Institute, and New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire. He was actively involved in the preservation of Salem's heritage and contributed much of his time and energy to the Chestnut Street Association as well as other local historical institutions. Phillips was known for his love of technological gadgets, such as movie cameras, radios, compasses, and watches, and he had a particular fondness for his 1929 Model A Ford. Stephen Phillips (1907-1971) died on January 15, 1971 at the age of 63.



The collection is arranged in ten series: Series I. Activities, hobbies, and pastimes. Series II. Cards, correspondence and related. Series III. Clubs and organizations. Series IV. Financial records. Series V. Legal documents. Series VI. Other papers. Series VII. Printed material. Series VIII. Property and estate records. Series IX. School papers. Series X. Travel papers.

*Collection housing/storage code: #x.x=file box (i.e., #1.2= file box 1, folder 2); C=carton; FB=folio box; FF=fragile files; MB=multi-purpose box; OB=oversize box/folder; OV=oversize volume; VF=vertical files/flat files