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Collection Number: 03901

Collection Title: John Brownson Ker Papers (#3901) 1779-1988

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


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Size About 1000 items (2.5 linear feet)
Abstract John Brownson Ker (1860-1916) was an attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y. He and his wife, Ellen Burke Ker, were both from Louisiana planter families. They were married in 1892. Their son David (1893-1918) served overseas in World War I. Their daughter Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn (d. 1960) was a volunteer leader in social welfare and mental health projects in the New York City area; organizer of a community development and aid to children project in Jacmel, Haiti, 1956-1959; and a press correspondent in Haiti. Correspondence and other papers of the family of John Brownson Ker and his wife Ellen Burke Ker. Early letters, 1779-1882, are of John Brownson Ker's parents and other Ker and Brownson relatives, most of whom were planters in Louisiana. Most of the earliest letters concern the lower Mississippi River area while it was under Spanish and British control. Papers, 1834-1882, are mainly correspondence of John Brownson's Ker's father, David Ker (1825-1884). Among the papers of the 1850s are bills of sale for slaves, bills for dry-goods, and bills for physician's fees. Correspondence, 1911-1959, includes a items relating to John Brownson Ker and Ellen Burke Ker and their son David Ker and daughter Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn. Many of these letters document David Ker's life, military service in France, and death in World War I. Much of Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn's correspondence concerns her views, 1957-1959, on politics and social conditions in Haiti, and her interest in psychoanalysis. Included are more than 30 items of Carl Alfred Meier, with whom she underwent analysis in Switzerland in the 1930s. There are also psychological and sociological writings of Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn, including reports on the situation in Haiti, 1957-1959; a few financial papers; six notebooks, 1901-1954, containing poems and thoughts of Ellen Burke Ker; clippings; and family photographs.
Creator Ker, John Brownson, 1860-1916.
Language English.
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Provenance
Received from David Ker Schermerhorn in February 1970 and May 1998 (Acc. 98117).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

John Brownson Ker (1860-1916) was an attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y. He and his wife, Ellen Burke Ker, were both from Louisiana planter families. They were married in 1892. Their son David (1893-1918) served overseas in World War I. Their daughter Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn (d. 1960) was a volunteer leader in social welfare and mental health projects in the New York City area; organizer of a community development and aid to children project in Jacmel, Haiti, 1956-1959; and a press correspondent in Haiti.

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Correspondence and other papers of the family of John Brownson Ker and his wife Ellen Burke Ker. Early letters, 1779-1882, are of John Brownson Ker's parents and other Ker and Brownson relatives, most of whom were planters in Louisiana. Most of the earliest letters concern the lower Mississippi River area while it was under Spanish and British control. Papers, 1834-1882, are mainly correspondence of John Brownson Ker's father, David Ker (1825-1884). Among the papers of the 1850s are bills of sale for slaves, bills for dry-goods, and bills for physician's fees. Correspondence, 1911-1959, includes a items relating to John Brownson Ker and Ellen Burke Ker and their son David Ker and daughter Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn. Many of these letters document David Ker's life, military service in France, and death in World War I. Much of Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn's correspondence concerns her views, 1957-1959, on politics and social conditions in Haiti, and her interest in psychoanalysis. Included are more than 30 items of Carl Alfred Meier, with whom she underwent analysis in Switzerland in the 1930s. There are also psychological and sociological writings of Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn, including reports on the situation in Haiti, 1957-1959; a few financial papers; six notebooks, 1901-1954, containing poems and thoughts of Ellen Burke Ker; clippings; and family photographs.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1779-1960, 1988

About 1000 items.

Arrangement: by type of material.

Correspondence, chiefly 1911-1959, and other papers of the family of John Brownson Ker (1860-1916) and his wife Ellen Burke Ker. Correspondence includes a large number of letters between John Brownson Ker and his wife Ellen, their son David Ker (1893-1918) and daughter Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn (d. 1960). In addition to correspondence there are financial papers; six notebooks, 1901-1945, of poems and thoughts of Ellen Burke Ker; psychological and sociological writings and notebooks of Elizabeth K. Schermerhorn; clippings and leaflets; and family photographs.

A major part of the correspondence concerns the life, military service, and death in World War I of David Ker (1893-1918), son of John and Ellen Ker. Included are about 50 letters comprising David Ker's correspondence with his mother, 1911-1918, and several letters, 1911-1918, from David Ker to his cousin, Pamela Thomas (later Faber).

Also included is correspondence of Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn (d. 1960), daughter of John and Ellen Ker. Much of this correspondence concerns her views, 1957-1959, on politics and social conditions in Haiti, and her interest in psychoanalysis. More than 30 letters and papers were written by Carl Alfred Meier, with whom Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn underwent analysis in Switzerland in the 1930s. Other correspondents of Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn include her mother; her husband Howard F. Schermerhorn; and Roger Baldwin, a member of the International League for the Rights of Man, 1957-1959.

Correspondence, 1779-1882, includes letters of John Brownson Ker's parents, David Ker (1825-1884) and Elizabeth Brownson Ker, and other ancestors, relatives, and connections, most of whom were planters in Louisiana. The earliest letters, 1779-1830, are papers of James Stelle, his wife Margaret Watts Stelle, and father-in-law Stephen Watts. These people are ancestors of Elizabeth Brownson Ker's mother, Caroline Stelle Brownson. Most of the letters concern the lower Mississippi River area while it was under Spanish and British control. Papers, 1834-1882, are mainly correspondence of David Ker. Among the correspondents are his wife and daughters, his parents, his grandmother, his son John Brownson Ker. Among the papers of the 1850s are bills of sale for slaves, bills for dry-goods, and bills for physician's fees.

Most of the writings are psychological and sociological writings of Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn. Reports on the situation in Haiti, 1957-1959, are filed in folder 22. Included are evidence against the New York Times's reporting there and material on Project Jacmel. Other writings include short stories and longer fiction and writings by others.

Folder 1

Biographical and genealogical data #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 1

Folder 2

1779-1849 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 2

Folder 3

1850-1854 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 3

Folder 4

1855-1859 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 4

Folder 5

1860-1883 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 5

Folder 6

1885-1891 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 6

Folder 7

1892-1909 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 7

Folder 8

1911-1917 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 8

Folder 9

1918 January-April #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 9

Folder 10

1918 May-August #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 10

Folder 11

1918 September-December and undated 1918 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 11

Folder 12

1919-1926 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 12

Folder 13

1930-1948 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 13

Folder 14

1950-1957 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 14

Folder 15

1958 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 15

Folder 16

1959-1960 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 16

Folder 17-19

Folder 17

Folder 18

Folder 19

Undated letters and papers and fragments #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 17-19

Folder 20

"Psychological Revolutionaries" #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 20

Folder 21

"Beyond Nihilism" #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 21

Folder 22

Reports on Haiti, 1957-1959 #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 22

Folder 23-26

Folder 23

Folder 24

Folder 25

Folder 26

Writings by Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 23-26

Folder 27-28

Folder 27

Folder 28

Short stories and fiction by Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 27-28

Folder 29

Writings by others #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 29

Folder 30

Clippings: David Ker (1893-1918) #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 30

Folder 31

Clippings: Psychology #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 31

Folder 32

Clippings: Haiti #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 32

Folder 33

Clippings: Fountain House #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 33

Folder 34

Obituaries #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 34

Folder 35

Miscellaneous clippings #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 35

Folder 35a

Addition of May 1989 (Acc. 89041). Fountain House brochure and Sotheby's catalog. #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 35a

Folder 36

Volume 1. Ellen Burke Ker. 1901-1945. Poems, meditations, thoughts. Copies of letters and clippings up to 1951. First pages missing. No apparent order. #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 36

Folder 37-41

Folder 37

Folder 38

Folder 39

Folder 40

Folder 41

Volumes 2-6. Ellen Burke Ker. January 1950-September 1954, with overlapping. Occasional thoughts writing on the backs of check stubs in used checkbooks. Also clippings on MacArthur incident (in volume 3) and presidential campaign of 1952 (in volume 4). #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 37-41

Folder 42

Volume 7. Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn. August-December 1919. Occasion diary of trip to France to see her brother David's grave. #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 42

Folder 43

Volume 8. Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn. Undated notebook containing psychology notes and expense accounts. #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 43

Folder 44

Volume 9. Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn. Undated notebook and occasional diary entries. Thoughts and notes on trips to Europe. Several pages in the style of her mother. #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 44

Folder 45

Volume 10. Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn. April 1937-November 1940. Notebook of descriptions of her dreams. #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 45

Folder 46

Volume 11. Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn. Envelopes containing note cards on psychology, myths, and religion, plus part of bibliography of same subjects. #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 46

Folder 47

Volume 12. Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn. Notes on Spengler's The Decline of the West. #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 47

Folder 48

Volume 13. Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn. Notes on psychological subjects. #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 48

Folder 49

Volume 14. Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn. Miscellaneous notes, 3 pages. #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 49

Folder 50

Volume 15. Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn. Scratchbook with notes on Cuba. #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 50

Folder 51-54

Folder 51

Folder 52

Folder 53

Folder 54

Volumes 16-19. Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn. Memo pad and notebooks containing notes on Haiti, 1957-1959. #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 51-54

Folder 1/P-3901

Photographs of David Ker (1893-1918) #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 1/P-3901

Folder 2/P-3901

Photographs of Elizabeth Ker Schermerhorn (d. 1960) #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 2/P-3901

Folder 3/P-3901

Family photographs #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 3/P-3901

Folder 4/P-3901

Miscellaneous photographs #03901, Series: "Papers, 1779-1960, 1988 " Folder 4/P-3901

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Items separated include: P-3901/1-4.

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