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Guide to the Compton Family Papers,​ 1908-​1928

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Overview of the Collection

Repository:
Special Collections & Archives
McIntyre Library
University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
P.O. Box 4004
105 Garfield Ave.
Eau Claire, WI 54702 – 4004
(715) 836-2739
https://library.uwec.edu/archives/

Reference Code: USGZE UHC325

Accession Number: 09-009

Collection Number: UHC325

Creators: Compton Family (Tomah, Wis.)

Title: Compton Family Papers

Dates: 1908-1928

Quantity: 3.0 linear foot (9 archives boxes)

Location of Collection: A9/1b

Languages: Collection materials are in English.

Summary: The collection is comprised primarily of correspondence from Donald “Don” E. Compton, Charles “Chuck” Compton, and Ruth Compton to their parents L. M. (Lindley M.) and Elva Compton (Tomah, Wis.) L.M. Compton was the first superintendent of the Tomah Indian Industrial School in Tomah, Wis. The largest part of the collection consists of letters from Don to his parents. There is also World War I era correspondence from Don who was a Lieutenant Junior in the U.S. Navy. These personal writings discuss social and cultural life and family dynamics in the early 1900’s.

Biographical / Historical Note

L.M. (Lindley M.) Compton was the first superintendent of the Tomah Indian Industrial School in Tomah, Wis. He was born in the late 1800’s and died circa 1928. He was married to Elva Compton, and they had three children: Donald “Don” E. Compton, Charles “Chuck” Compton, and Ruth Compton. It appears that the family owned property in Indiana and Louisiana, but their primary residence in the early 20th Century was Tomah, Wis.

Donald “Don” E. Compton was the elder son of L.M and Elva Compton. He attended school at the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) in Indiana in 1915. He later joined the U.S. Navy in 1917. While in the U.S. Navy he went from Ensign to Lieutenant Junior and served in Europe during World War I. After his service in the U.S. Navy he returned to Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Don worked at the YMCA in Indiana for some time and may have been an architect. In 1927, Don marries Mary Sale and made residency in Indiana.

Charles “Chuck” Compton (b. 1906- d. 1986) was the second child to L.M. and Elva Compton. In 1923, Chuck attended school at the University of Wisconsin— Madison. In his letters, he shares his experience traveling and working as a welder in the upper Midwest: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Chuck would marry Ethel Griesbach and have two daughters, Marilyn and Joyce Compton.

Ruth Compton (b. 1908) is the youngest and only daughter to L.M. and Elva Compton. In the early 1920, Ruth studied and worked at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She married William Harold Harvey and lived in Indiana.

Content Description

The Compton Family Paper collection is divided into five series: Donald “Don” E. Compton Letters, Charles “Chuck” Compton Letters, Ruth Compton Letters, Mr. L.M. (Lindley M.) Compton and Mrs. Elva Compton Letters, and Miscellaneous Materials. The collection consists primarily of incoming correspondence from Don, Chuck, and Ruth their parents L.M. and Elva Compton. The largest part of the collection is incoming letters from Don to his parents. In addition, there are war letters from Don, a Lieutenant Junior (Liet. Jg.) in the U.S. Navy, during World War I. All personal writings from this collection document the social and cultural life and the family dynamics in the early Twentieth Century. Miscellaneous items contain a photo album of the Tomah Indian Industrial School (Tomah, Wis.) and personal business objects.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: Donated to the University Archives by Terry and Marilyn Sullivan and Joyce Compton Sturz in August 1993. The collection was found in the basement of Ethel Compton’s home. Ethel, the mother of the donors, was married to Charles Compton, second son of L. M. Compton.

Access Restrictions: Collection is open to the public.

Use Restrictions: Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. Copyright owned by the University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire.

Preferred Citation: Compton Family Papers, 1908-1928. UHC325 Special Collections & Archives. McIntyre Library. University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire. Eau Claire, Wis.

Processing Note: Processed by Mai Youa Lee, December 2008.

Arrangement: By series, correspondence arranged by authors.

Subjects

Personal Names:
Compton Family (Tomah, Wis.)
Compton, Donald E.
Compton, Charles
Compton, Ruth
Compton, L.M. (Lindley M.)
Compton, Elva

Corporate Names:
University of Wisconsin—Madison—Students
Tomah Indian Industrial School (Tomah, Wis.)

Subject Terms: World War, 1914-1918-- Personal narratives, American

Geographical Terms:
Wisconsin—Social life and customs—20th Century
Illinois—Social life and customs—20th Century
Indiana—Social life and customs—20th Century
Michigan—Social life and customs—20th Century
Ohio—Social life and customs—20th Century

Detailed List of Contents

Series 1: Donald “Don” E. Compton Letters

This first series contains primarily incoming correspondence from Don to his parents living in Tomah, Wis. Of the five series, this is the largest series. Don’s letters discuss his social life, education, U.S. naval training at Great Lakes in Chicago, Illinois going on duty as a Naval officer, working, and family life. In addition to some of the letters Don wrote, he included pictures and postcards.

Dates: 1914-1927

Extent: 2.0 linear feet (5 archives boxes)

Container

Contents

Dates

Box/Folder 1/1

Correspondence to parents

1914

Box/Folder 1/2

Correspondence to parents

1915

Box/Folder 1/3

Correspondence to parents

1916

Box/Folder 1/4

Correspondence to Don

1916

Box/Folder 1/5

Correspondence to parents

1917

Box/Folder 2/1

War correspondence to parents, picture

January- February 1918

Box/Folder 2/2

War correspondence to parents

March-May 1918

Box/Folder 2/3

War correspondence to parents

June- July 1918

Box/Folder 2/4

War correspondence to parents

August-October 1918

Box/Folder 2/5

War correspondence to parents, picture

November-December 1918

Box/Folder 2/6

Correspondence to Don

1918

Box/Folder 3/1

War correspondence to parents

January-February 1919

Box/Folder 3/2

War correspondence to parents

March-May 1919

Box/Folder 3/3

War correspondence to parents

June-July 1919

Box/Folder 3/4

War correspondence to parents

August- September 1919

Box/Folder 3/5

War correspondence to parents

October- December 1919

Box/Folder 4/1

Correspondence to parents

1920

Box/Folder 4/2

Correspondence to parents

1921

Box/Folder 4/3

Correspondence to parents

1922

Box/Folder 5/1

Correspondence to parents

1923

Box/Folder 5/2

Correspondence to parents

1924

Box/Folder 5/3

Correspondence to parents

Undated

Box/Folder 5/4

Postcards and pictures

1917-1923

Series 2: Charles “Chuck” Compton Letters

This second series has correspondence from Chuck to his parents living in Tomah, Wis. Nearly all of Chuck’s letters are incoming correspondence that describes his social life, education, his work as a welder, and travels in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

Dates: 1917-1928

Extent: 0.4 linear feet (1 archival box)

Container

Contents

Dates

Box/Folder 6/1

Correspondence to parents

1923

Box/Folder 6/2

Correspondence to parents

1925

Box/Folder 6/3

Correspondence to parents

1926

Box/Folder 6/4

Correspondence to parents

1927

Box/Folder 6/5

Correspondence to parents

1928

Box/Folder 6/6

Correspondence to parents

Undated

Box/Folder 6/7

Correspondence to Chuck

1917-1918

Series 3: Ruth Compton Letters

This third series has primarily incoming correspondence from Ruth to her parents living in Tomah, Wis. Her letters illustrates her social life, academic lifestyle while a student at UW-Madison, and working.

Dates: 1926-1928

Extent: 0.2 linear feet (1 archival box)

Container

Contents

Dates

Box/Folder 7/1

Correspondence to parents

1926

Box/Folder 7/2

Correspondence to parents

1927

Box/Folder 7/3

Correspondence to parents

1928

Box/Folder 7/4

Correspondence to Ruth

Undated

Series 4: Mr. L.M. (Lindley M.) Compton and Mrs. Elva Compton Letters

This series contains correspondence to and from Mr. L.M. Compton and Mrs. Elva Compton. It includes fragmentary and routine business messages, as well as family letters expressing concerns for Mrs. Elva Compton’s health.

Dates: 1914- 1928

Extent: 0.2 linear feet (1 archival box)

Container

Contents

Dates

Box/Folder 8/1

Correspondence to L.M. Compton

1914-1922

Box/Folder 8/2

Correspondence composed by L.M. Compton

1916-1927

Box/Folder 8/3

Correspondence to Mrs. Elva Compton when ill.

April 1917

Box/Folder 8/4

Correspondence to Mrs. Elva Compton

1915-1928

Series 5: Miscellaneous Materials

This last series includes an undated photo album with pictures from the Tomah Indian Industrial School, a leather business card holder, property records, and ephemeral financial records.

Dates: 1908-1928

Extent: 0.2 linear feet (1 archival box)

Container

Contents

Dates

Box/Folder 9/1

Photo album and leather business card holder

Undated

Box/Folder 9/2

Property Records

1908-1922

Box/Folder 9/3

Financial Records

Undated

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