Dressler Family Collection of Alfred Williams Anthony Papers
Scope and Content Note
The collection is comprised of correspondence, journals, and assorted papers of several members of the Anthony, Waterman and Angell families of Rhode Island which document in detail family, social, educational and religious life in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, particularly in New England. Primary correspondents are Alfred Williams Anthony and his wife, Harriet (Hattie) Wyatt (Angell) Anthony; Alfred's father and mother, Lewis Williams Anthony and Britannia (Fannie) Franklin (Waterman) Anthony; his sister, Kate Jackson Anthony; Harriet's parents, John Wilmarth Angell and Elizabeth Stillwell Angell, and Britannia F. Anthony's sister, Emily (Waterman) Tozer Anthony. Other correspondents include various aunts, uncles, cousins, other relatives and friends, as well as Alfred and Harriet's daughter, Elisabeth (Lisa) Williams (Anthony) Dexter who annotated many of the letters and envelopes with notes regarding content, context, author, and date.
There is significant material on Alfred and Harriet Anthony, including their time in Bangor, Maine where Alfred served as pastor of the Essex Street Free Baptist Church; his involvement and activities with the Freewill Baptist denomination and their time spent in England and Germany where Anthony studied prior to beginning his position as professor of New Testament Exegesis and Criticism at Cobb Divinity School in Lewiston, Maine. The collection also contains information on their family and social life, and interactions and events with Bates College students and faculty as well as with the local community.
Other material of note is the correspondence of Civil War soldier, Frank A. Waterman, who served with the First Rhode Island Light Artillery Battery.
- 1802 - 1985
- Majority of material found within 1861 - 1909
- Anthony family (Family)
The collection is open for research.
The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.
Alfred Williams Anthony was born in Providence, Rhode Island on January 13, 1860. His parents were Lewis Williams and Britannia Franklin (Waterman) Anthony. He received an A.B. degree from Brown University in 1883. In 1885, he graduated from the Cobb Divinity School, then affiliated with Bates College, and received an A.M. degree from Brown in 1886.
He married Harriet Wyatt Angell in September, 1885, and they had two children, Elizabeth Williams and Alfred Williams, Jr. (Wyatt). Elizabeth graduated from Bates in 1908. After the death of his first wife in 1899, Anthony married Gertrude Brown Libbey in 1903. Daughter of Winfield Scott Libbey and Annie Shaw Libbey, she was a 1901 graduate of Bates College. They had three children, Richard Lewis, Warren Shaw and Charles Sheldon, '36.
After graduating from Cobb Divinity School in 1885, Anthony took the position of pastor of the Essex Street Free Baptist Church in Bangor, Maine. In 1887, he was elected Chair of New Testament Exegesis and Criticism at the Cobb Divinity School, a position he did not initially accept. Instead, from 1888-1890, he studied abroad at Berlin University, returning in 1890 to take the position at the Cobb Divinity School, distinguishing himself as a scholar, teacher, and administrator.
In 1893, he published two articles: "The Fourth Gospel" and "The Gospel of Peter," both of which were well received. In 1893 and 1894 he gave a lecture in the campus chapel entitled "The Newly Discovered Epistle of St. Peter," and he often delivered sermons at the Freewill Baptist churches in the area. When the Cobb Divinity School was discontinued and reformed as the Department of Religion, he was elected the Fullonton Professor of Christian Literature and Ethics at Bates College and served in that capacity for three years (1908-1911).
In 1911, Dr. Anthony officially resigned his position at Bates, after 23 years of service to the College. That same year he accepted a temporary appointment as Joint Secretary for Free Baptist and Baptist Union, a position which allowed him to facilitate a merger at the different levels of both organizations. In 1918, with most of the work on unification finished, he accepted the position of Executive Secretary for the interdenominational Home Missions Council and moved to New York with his family. He remained in that position for five years, resigning in 1923. Although semi-retired he served on several committees of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America. In 1933, after a minor stroke, he gave up his New York residence and returned to Lewiston.
An author throughout his life, Anthony wrote numerous articles and several books including An Introduction to the Life of Jesus (1896) and The Method of Jesus (1899). His last book, Bates College and Its Background, published in 1936 and written at the request of President Clifton D. Gray, detailed the beginnings and development of the College.
Anthony was also active in a variety of educational and religious organizations. He served as the corresponding secretary and treasurer of the General Conference of Freewill Baptists and was a member of the Interdenominational Commission of Maine. He also served as the director for the Maine chapter of the Religious Education Association, Chairman of the Committee on Goodwill between Jews and Christians and was a member of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America. Additionally he was President of the Board of Trustees of Storer College, located in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and served on the the boards of trustees for Bates College, Hillsdale College and Brown University.
Likewise an active civic leader, Anthony served on a variety of commissions and boards, including the Maine Charities Commission and the Lewiston School Committee. He was appointed by Governor Milliken as a member of the Police Commission for Lewiston.
Anthony was also a noted philanthropist and many institutions and organizations benefitted from his generosity. Of particular note is his donation of land which became the nucleus of the Stanton Bird Club's Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary in Lewiston.
He was awarded an honorary D. D. from Bates in 1902, and one from Brown in 1908, and an L.L.D. from Colby College in 1914. Anthony suffered another stroke in 1938, and died at the home of his eldest son on January 20, 1939.
17 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The collection is comprised of correspondence, journals, and assorted papers of several members of the Anthony, Waterman and Angell families of Rhode Island which document in detail family, social, educational and religious life in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, particularly in New England. Includes significant material on Alfred W. and Harriet W. Anthony, including their time in Bangor, Maine where Alfred served as pastor of the Essex Street Free Baptist Church and his involvement and activities with the Freewill Baptist denomination. Also includes their time in Germany and at Cobb Divinity School in Lewiston, Maine where Alfred served as professor of New Testament Exegesis and Criticism. Collection also contains the correspondence of Civil War soldier, Frank A. Waterman who served with the First Rhode Island Light Artillery Battery.
Organization and Arrangement
This collection is organized into three series: I. Family correspondence; II. Correspondence with others; and III. Other family materials.
Acquisition and Custody Information
Ownership of the papers has been with various family members including Elisabeth Willson Anthony Dressler, Richard W. and Robert A. Dressler, and finally with Claire Dressler, Richard W. Dressler's daughter. Accession No.: 2010-141.
- Guide to the Dressler Family Collection of Alfred Williams Anthony Papers, 1802-1985, n.d.
- Edited Full Draft
- Elaine Ardia
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
- Description is in: English
- Edition statement