French family papers, 1678-1977

French family

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  • COLLECTION, IN-PART, STORED AT ARC: Collection may be available for transfer through the Area Research Center (ARC) Network, consult Reading Room Staff.


  • Personal and professional papers of various members of the French and Quarles families of Milwaukee, and the Thiers family of Kenosha, Wis. successively collected by matriarch Louisa K. Thiers, daughter Emma Quarles, and granddaughter Ethel French. Correspondence and family memorabilia comprise the collection's bulk and document the family life and activities of these socially prominent, well-educated Milwaukee and Kenosha families.
  • Spanning five generations, the collection includes personal and family correspondence; diaries; European trip and fishing journals; photographs; genealogical materials and notes on the Capron, Mann, Thiers, Quarles, and French families; scrapbooks; lecture notes and other educational materials and memorabilia; reminiscences; materials of various fraternal, civic, and professional organizations; and other papers. Correspondence, patent applications, patents, sketches and notes, and legal records of Louis Osborne French, patent attorney and inventor, are present. Newsclippings about and tributes to Louisa K. Thiers (1814-1926), credited as the oldest person to have lived in Wisconsin and the last true daughter of an American Revolutionary War soldier, also are included. The Samuel W. French files include information on the Freemasons. The Cyril Maurice Owen files include information on the Arion Musical Club in Milwaukee.
  • The processed portion is summarized above and is described in the register. Additional photographic accessions are described below.


  • Presented by Emmy Crispell, St. Petersburg, Florida; Jean Price, Garden Grove, California; and Barbara Chase, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1978; and by an anonymous donor, 1990.