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Series VII. Edith Dennison Darlington Ammon Papers, 1881-1882, 1908-1919

Scope and Content Notes:

Edith "Darling" Dennison Darlington Ammon (1862-1919) was an important figure among Pittsburgh's social elite during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She was a well-traveled amateur photographer who played an active role in organizing and leading political and social events.

Edith grew up at Guyasuta and later studied at the Pittsburgh Female College, now known as Chatham University. After a formative trip to Europe with her family, she married Samuel Ammon in 1890, whose proposal she had previously rejected or deferred ten years earlier. Edith and Samuel had no children.

Edith served for several years as the president of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) of Allegheny County, and by 1908 she was leading the third largest DAR chapter in the United States. As president, Edith commanded the battle to preserve the Block House, one of the first structures of Fort Pitt built during the French and Indian War in 1764, from destruction by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. The DAR also led a campaign against Henry Frick when he planned to relocate the Block House to present day Schenley Park. The Block House remains the oldest building in western Pennsylvania. In addition to her work with the DAR, Edith served alongside H. J. Heinz as co-vice president of the 1908 general committee for Pittsburgh's sesquicentennial events.

This series contains the many letters Edith wrote to her childhood friend and Pittsburgh Female College classmate, Mittie Hemphill, while Edith traveled with her family in Europe from 1881 to 1882. As a woman in her early twenties, Edith writes from each destination, describing the hotels where she and her family stayed, fellow guests, transit, and her experiences passing through customs. Her letters detail sightseeing, particularly art galleries and churches, and her father's research endeavors at the British Museum. Of particular note are Edith's descriptions of archaeological sites in Italy and Egypt, the Salon de Paris, and her distaste for the famous Whistler paintings on display in London. Edith collected or created souvenirs, photographs and artwork during her travels, including a framed photograph of herself at the Temple of Iris in Pompeii, Italy. Mittie's letters describe events in Pittsburgh, including the health of Edith's dogs at Guyasuta and activities of mutual acquaintances in Pittsburgh, among them Minnie Renshaw, Kate McKnight, and Edith's aunt, Helen Evans. In one letter, Mittie mentions Edith's indignation that Samuel Ammon had not waited the appropriate two month grieving period before having a party; the name of the deceased is not mentioned.

Materials related to Edith's involvement in the DAR include an article she wrote for the Pittsburgh Bulletin, and a letter from Thomas P. Roberts regarding the renovations to Fort Pitt co-sponsored by the Fort Pitt Society and the DAR. The collection also includes a letter from Sydney Liggett in response to Edith's request for information about the Sharp family, and a letter from Edith's husband, Samuel A. Ammon, to Mrs. Mary Echler regarding the possession of the Whitaker graveyards. Records of Edith's stocks and bonds, and two copies of a bound volume listing the properties she inherited from her mother's estate are also present.


Box 8
Folder 1 Darlington-Hemphill correspondence envelopes, 1881-82
Folder 2 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, London, September 25, 1881
Folder 3 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, London, October 9, 1881
Folder 4 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, London, October 18-19, 1881
Folder 5 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, London, October 23, 1881
Folder 6 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, London, October 24, 1881
Folder 7 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Paris, November 7, 1881
Folder 8 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Paris, November 25, 26, 28, 1881
Folder 9 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Aix les Bains, November 30, 1881-December 2, 1881
Folder 10 Edith Dennison Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Turin, December 4, 1881
Folder 11 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Milan and Genoa, December 5, 7-8, 1881
Folder 12 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Florence, December 10-11, 1881
Folder 13 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Florence, December 14-15, 19, 1881
Folder 14 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Rome, December 24-25, 1881
Folder 15 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Rome, December 29-31, 1881 and January 1, 1882
Folder 16 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Naples, January 7-8, 1882
Folder 17 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Naples, January 12, 1882
Folder 18 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Sorrento, January 17-18, 20, 1882
Folder 19 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Ship to Alexandria, January 22-25, 1882
Folder 20 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Alexandria, January 26, 1882
Folder 21 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Alexandria, January 26, 28-30, 1882
Folder 22 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, On the Nile, January 31, 1882
Folder 23 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Cairo, March 2 and 5, 1882
Folder 24 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Paris, May 3 and 7, 1882
Folder 25 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, Paris, May 14, 1882
Folder 26 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, London, May 19-21, 1882
Folder 27 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, London, May 23, 1882
Folder 28 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, London, May 26, 1882
Folder 29 Edith Darlington to Mittie Hemphill, London, May 28, 1882
Folder 30 St. Louis World's Fair Souvenir booklets, 1904
Folder 31 Article in the Pittsburgh Bulletin, June 1911
Folder 32 Thomas P. Roberts to Edith Darlington Ammon, August 18, 1911
Folder 33 Financial papers, January 6, 1908- June 16, 1919
Folder 34 Sydney Liggett to Edith Darlington Ammon, March 16, 1916
Folder 35 Samuel A. Ammon to Mrs. Mary Echler, May 20, 1916
Folder 36 Ground leases (copy 1), April 1, 1913- April 1, 1918
Folder 37 Ground leases (copy 2), April 1, 1918- April 1, 1921
Folder 38 Photographs of the Greenhouse at Guyasuta, undated
Folder 39 Watercolors of Flowers, undated
Folder 40 DAR Insignia, Allegheny Chapter, undated
Volume 54 Pittsburgh Musical Society, 1897-1899

Scrapbook compiled by Edith Darlington who wrote to a friend on January 8, 1914, this is "a book I kept during the active life of our musical society."