Skip to main content

Clarence E. and Minnie McDermaid Correspondence

Identifier: MSS-2682

Scope and Contents

This collection contains personal correspondence to Clarence and Wilhelmina (Minnie) McDermaid, mostly letters from Clarence's aunt Emma O. Lundberg, a child welfare leader in Wisconsin and Washington D.C. Correspondence from Emma Lundberg mentions the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago and her employment by the New Deal Temporary Emergency Relief Administration and other national organizations concerning child welfare. She also discusses American activity in World War II and the writing process of her book, Our Concern - Every Child. Emma provides Clarence with opinions and advice on his academic career, including undergraduate schools, a graduate schooling in music, or an enlistment in the military as well as frequent comments on his hobby of gardening. Katharine Lenroot, originally employed as Emma's assistant at the Wisconsin Industrial Commission, corresponds with Clarence and Minnie, including details of the weather and "Indian summers," general daily activites, discussion of various family and friends, and details of Emma's deteriorating medical condition. She is in poor health, undergoes various tooth surgeries and is diagnosed with arteriosclerosis and a case of pneumonia during the correspondence. Emma also documents her health, family holidays, parties she attends or hosts, and trips to Superior, Wisconsin. She tells Clarence about her move from New York City to Washington D.C. in 1935. Katharine keeps in contact with the family after Emma's death in 1954.


  • 1919 - 1975


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. 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. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are responsible for using the materials in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright claimants in collection materials. Copyright for official University records is held by The University of Alabama. The library claims only physical ownership of many manuscript collections. Anyone wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of literary property rights or copyrights. Please contact Special Collections ( with questions regarding specific manuscript collections. For more information about copyright policy, please visit: Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal implications, for which the University of Alabama assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

The McDermaids are residents of Rockford, Illinois. Clarence was the son of Daniel and Minnie McDermaid and was a student in both high school and at Beloit College throughout the correspondence. His love of music, especially clarinet and piano, is a frequent topic of his correspondence with Emma.

Katharine Frederica Lenroot (1891-1982) was a child welfare leader and served as the third Chief of the United States Children's Bureau of the Department of Labor from 1934-1951 after an appointment by President Roosevelt. She is a native of Superior, Wisconsin, the daughter of Wisconsin senator Irvine L. Lenroot, and was Emma Lundberg's assistant at the Wisconsin Industrial Commission.

Emma Octavia Lundberg (1881-1954) was born in Sweden on October 8, 1881 to Frans Vilhelm Lundberg and Anna Kajsa Johanson. She emigrated from Sweden in 1884, grew up in Rockford, Illinois, and attending the University of Wisconsin at Madison, graduating with a B.A. in 1907 and a master's degree in 1908. She wrote Our Concern - Every Child and had a long career in social work. In 1914, she became the first Director of the Social Services Division of the United States Children's Bureau. Emma and Katharine resided together in Hartdale, New York from 1951 to 1954.

Biographical Information on Katharine F. Lenroot found at: and

Biographical information on Emma O. Lundberg found at:


2.1 Linear Feet (419 letters)

Language of Materials



This collection mainly contains correspondence from Emma O. Lundberg to her nephew Clarence McDermaid planning his educational path and discussing his hobbies of music and gardening, events in her everyday life, family and friends, trips, and holidays. There is a large amount of general correspondence from Katharine Lenroot to both Minnie and Clarence consisting of holiday cards and letters discussing daily events, family members, and the illnesses of Emma Lundberg. Emma Lundberg and Katharine Lenroot were both child welfare activist and were pioneers in this field. They mention the work in Washington D.C. and Wisconsin they were involved in throughout the correspondence.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Wade Hall.

Processing Information

Processed by Jamie Burke, June 2010, under revision November 2011
Guide to Clarence E. and D. Minnie McDermaid Correspondence
Finding aid created by Jamie Burke, June 2010
June 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266