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Folwell family papers

Identifier: ua-00718

Scope and Content

This collection contains the papers of the Folwell family. The bulk of the papers belonged to Mary H. Folwell, including correspondence during her time in Cuba and Trinidad keeping her brother's house while he served in the army during the Spanish-American War, reminiscences of University of Minnesota faculty and her corrections on her father's autobiography, which was published in 1933. The collection also contains a diary and outgoing correspondence of Sarah (Mrs. William Watts) Folwell, correspondence of Russell Folwell and William Bainbridge Folwell. There are also letters by Dr. William Watts Folwell to his children and a diary of letters. A coffee and tea service gifted by the University of Minnesota Board of Trustees to William and Sarah on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary (1913) was added to the collection in 2019.


  • 1898-1944


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Sketch of the Folwell Family

William Watts Folwell was the first President of the University of Minnesota (1869-1884). He met his wife Sarah Heywood at Hobart College in Geneva, New York. They were married on March 13, 1863 while Dr. Folwell was on a 10-day leave of absence from his Civil War unit. They had three children: Mary Heywood, William Bainbridge and Russell Heywood. William B. Folwell served as a Captain in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War, while his sister Mary traveled with him keeping his house in Cuba and Trinidad. Mary also attended the University of Minnesota during her father's tenure. Both Mary and William resided in Minneapolis, while Russell moved on to Chicago. After the death of Dr. Folwell in 1929, Mary and William B. moved into the family home in Minneapolis to care for their mother Sarah until her death in 1931. Mary continued to live in the family home until she passed away in 1946.


4.75 Cubic Feet (4 boxes (3 Paige; 1 flat))


Collection contains the papers of the Folwell family, including papers of William Watts Folwell, first President of the University of Minnesota.

Source of acquisition

Deposited in University Archives by Mary H. Folwell. Additional donation by Cathleen Vetica in 2019.

Related Materials in the University of Minnesota Archives

William Watts Folwell papers

Related Materials at Other Institutions

The Minnesota Historical Societyhas a collection of Folwell family papers.

University of Minnesota Faculty

  1. Folder 19 contains Mary H. Folwell's reminiscences of certain faculty members of the University of Minnesota, usually chatty informal information concerning their coming to the University, their visits to the Folwell home, their physical descriptions, family members, etc. Among those mentioned are the following:
  2. James R. Angell
  3. George P. Conger
  4. John Dewey
  5. Harlow S. Gale
  6. W.S. Hough
  7. George F. James
  8. E. Bird Johnson
  9. Richard W. Laing
  10. Edward D. Neill
  11. Cyrus Northrop
  12. Alexander T. Ormond
  13. Thomas Peebles
  14. Mrs. S.G. Smith
  15. Fred J.E. Woodbridge
Folwell family papers, 1898-1944
Alma O. Scott; updated by Karen Spilman
February 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • October 2019: Update to contents list

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area