Guide to the Rogers Family Letters

Hanover students in His336 "The Search for Order, 1877-1945" (Fall 2017) and His229 "Women in America" (Winter 2018), both taught by Sarah McNair Vosmeier, transcribed letters from the Rogers Family, written in the era of World War I and now held in the Hanover College Archives.  The Rogers family includes Hanover College alumni, and their home, "Bird Haven," is in Hanover, Indiana.

The original letters are available at the Duggan Library Archives, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
One set of letters concerns World War I ; the other is a sampling of letters written by women to the Rogers family.

The background information below comes from the students in His229 "Women in America."


Dorothy Kitchens was born in about 1903. (She was reported as seventeen years old in the 1920 census.)  She lived on Pearl Street in Columbus, Indiana, with her parents, Harry and Florence Kitchen.  Her father worked as a lumberman, in a sawmill.  She had a brother named James.

1920 United States Census, Columbus, Bartholomew County, Indiana, digital image s.v. "Dorothy Kitchen,"  Ancestry.com.

Dorothy O'Brien was born in about 1902.  (She was reported as eighteen years old in the 1920 census.)  She was a student at Petersburg High School (Petersburg, Indiana).  The 1917 high school yearbook includes humorous quotes such as "'Oh, joy, Carter's coming Xmas,' -- Dorothy" and "During the holidays Dorothy O'Brien was heard to say: 'Well if love makes the world go around, it sure must be going some now."  The 1916 yearbook records that on Oct. 1, 1915, she "plays the march.  We had to look two or three times for we thought sure 'Boozie' was playing."  "Henry Rogers" was in the Petersburg class of 1917.

1920 U.S. census, Petersburg, Pike, Indiana, digital image s.v. "Dorothy O'Brien," Ancestry.com.  The Oracle (Petersburg High School yearbook, 1917), p. 53, 76, available at Ancestry.com;  The Oracle (Petersburg High School yearbook, 1916), p. 39, 70, available at Ancestry.com.

Marjorie Orton was born in about 1898.  (She was reported as twelve years old in the 1910 census.)  From her letters we know that she lived in Petersburg, Indiana (or attended Petersburgh High School), that her family had moved to Logansport by 1915, and that she was a student at Western College for Women (in Oxford, Ohio) in 1916-1917.  The census places her in Washington, Indiana, in 1910.  Washington and Petersburg are about twelve miles apart, so she might have lived in Washington while attending Petersburg High School. Her father, Julius T. Orton, was a minister, which could have been her connection to Henry Carter Rogers, whose father was also a minister in Petersburg.  Her brother, Richard, was born in about 1903. (He was reported as seven in the 1910 census.)

1910 United States Census, Washington, Pike, Indiana, digital images s.v. "Margery Orton," Ancestry.com.  Minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (Philadelphia: Office of the General Assembly, 1915), 554.

Agnes Westfall was born in about 1899 to Abraham and Mary Westfall. (She was reported as eleven years old in the 1910 census.) According to the census, her father was a farmer, and one of her brothers was named Morris.  There were seven children living at home, but Agnes was the only one in school.  (Her older brothers were working for wages as farm hands.)

1910 United States Census, Johnson, Knox County, Indiana, digital image s.v. “Agnes Westfall,” Ancestry.com.


Hanover Historical Texts Project
Hanover College Department of History
Hanover College Visitor's Page

Please send comments to: historians@hanover.edu