Guide to the Lawrence Family Collection
RG 15.2

Summary Information

Sarah Lawrence College Archives
Lawrence Family Collection
RG 15.2
Date [inclusive]
undated, 1901-2001
3.0 linear feet 1 document box, 2 oversize flat boxes

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Sarah Lawrence College Archives June 2004

Sarah Lawrence College Archives
1 Mead Way
Bronxville, NY, 10708

Revision Description

 Finding aid entered in Archivists' Toolkit by Elijah Black June 2012

Terms of use

The collection is open to researchers without restriction with the exception of the original scrapbook.

Acquisition note

The provenance of this collection is unknown.

Existence and Location of Originals note

The original scrapbook is restricted due to its fragile state and is housed separately in box 2.

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Biographical note

William Van Duzer Lawrence, born in 1842 on a farm outside Elmira, New York, established Lawrence Park in Bronxville, New York, a housing development that catered to the artistic community in 1890. In 1908, Lawrence donated to the building of a new hospital in Bronxville, named Lawrence Hospital after its benefactor. Upon the death of his wife, Sarah, in 1926, Lawrence decided to donate his residence in Bronxville, to the establishment of an all-girls junior college. The school was named Sarah Lawrence College in honor of Lawrence’s late wife. William Van Duzer Lawrence died in 1927, less than a year after the initial founding of the Sarah Lawrence College.

Sarah Bates Lawrence, born in 1846 in Monroe, Michigan, never pursued a college education, but always emphasized higher education for young women in her lifetime. Upon moving to New York, with her husband, in 1889, Sarah Bates Lawrence became active in the New York Exchange For Women’s Work serving on its Board of Managers before becoming President of the organization. In 1916, the Lawrences bought a summer home in Daytona, Florida where Mrs. Lawrence became actively involved in African American educator Mary McLeod Bethune’s Bethune-Cookman College. Sarah Bates Lawrence died in 1926.

William and Sarah Lawrence were survived by their four children: Arthur W. Lawrence (1875-1937) , Louise Lawrence Meigs (1871-1965), Anna Lawrence Bisland (1872-1950), and Dudley Bates Lawrence (1880-1970).

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Scope and Contents note

The Lawrence Family Collection consists of biographical sketches of both William Van Duzer Lawrence and Sarah Bates Lawrence. Two family genealogies are included in the papers, the first written in 1858 and the second in 1932. In addition, several revised family trees are available up to 2001. Short stories and poetry written by William V. Lawrence are included as well as correspondence between family members and former college Presidents along with proposals for the founding of Sarah Lawrence College. Several newsclippings spanning the years 1906 to 2001 are available. The majority of these are marriage announcements and Lawrence Family obituaries. A folder is included with information on Lawrence Ferlinghetti, adopted son of Anna Lawrence Bisland and Poet Laureate of San Francisco, California (1998). Lastly, a user copy of a scrapbook of obituaries for William V. Lawrence is in box 1.

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Related Materials

See also

Lawrence Family Holy Bible; A Diary and Reminiscences Portraying the Life and Times of the Author, William Van Duzer Lawrence; Sketches of Lawrence Enterprises, 1888-1934, Lucia Meigs Andrews; Switchback 1899-1979, Lucia Meigs Andrews, housed in the book collection of the archives. For additional material regarding the founding of Sarah Lawrence College, see the Early History of the College Collection.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Correspondence
  • Scrapbooks

Personal Name(s)

  • Bisland, Anna Lawrence, 1872-1950
  • Ferlinghetti, Lawrence
  • Lawrence, Sarah Bates, 1846-1926
  • Lawrence, William Van Duzer, 1842-1927
  • Raushenbush, Esther
  • Taylor, Harold, 1914-1993
  • Tweed, Harrison, 1885-1969
  • Ward, Paul L., 1911-2005
  • Warren, Constance, 1880-1971


  • Sarah Lawrence College

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Collection Inventory

Inventory titles and locations
Title BoxFolder

Correspondence of Clifford, Margery Meigs, Granddaughter of William and Sarah Lawrence 1952-1978  


Correspondence with Constance Warren concerning scholarship donation 1941-1945 


Correspondence with Esther Raushenbush 1966 


Correspondence with Harold Taylor 1949-1959 


Correspondence with Harrison Tweed 1959-1960 


Correspondence with Paul Ward 1960-1965 


Ferlinghetti, Lawrence 1998, 2005 


Lawrence, Bates, and Van Duzer Genealogies by Anna Lawrence Bisland 1932 

Title Box

Lawrence, Dudley Bates, Jr. - Letters Upon Discharge From the Navy 1945 

Title BoxFolder

Lawrence Family Genealogy by Thomas Lawrence 1858 

Title Oversize

Lawrence Family Newsletter (Family Fact and Fun) December 15, 1925 

Box 3
Title BoxFolder

Lawrence Family Newspaper Clippings undated, 1906-2001 


Lawrence Family Trees 1938-2000 


Lawrence, Sarah Bates- biographical 1923-2001 


Lawrence, William Van Duzer- Biographical material undated, 1922-1980 


Lawrence, William Van Duzer- Correspondence 1901-1927 


Lawrence, William Van Duzer- Last Will and Testament undated 


Lawrence, William Van Duzer- Letters to William Lawrence after announcing the foundation of Sarah Lawrence College undated, 1926 


Lawrence, William Van Duzer- Letters to William Lawrence after announcing the foundation of Sarah Lawrence College 1927 


Lawrence, William Van Duzer- Obituary Scrapbook (User Copy) 1927 


Lawrence, William Van Duzer- Poetry and short stories undated, 1908-1914 


Proposals for the foundation of Sarah Lawrence College 1929-1929 

Title Box

Lawrence, William Van Duzer- Obituary Scrapbook (original) 1927 


Lawrence, William Van Duzer IV - Correspondence 1999 


Lawrence Properties and Management Newspaper Clipping Scrapbook circa 1920s-circa 1970s