Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Alice Cort Holden Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1870-1978 (mostly 1870-1919)
0.8 linear feet and 2 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001832 to B-001833


Consists primarily of correspondence and printed material, along with two diaries from 1926, a matted postcard, a photogravure plate, and a piece of hair jewelry. These family papers primarily center on Alice Holden (née Cort), as the correspondence are letters between members of the Cort family, or letters to her from her children. The collection largely documents the relationships of the Holden and Cort families in New York state between the 19th and 20th centuries.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists primarily of correspondence and printed material, along with two diaries from 1926 (one kept by Marian Holden, and the other kept by Alice Holden), a matted postcard, a photogravure plate of E. B. Holden's portrait and signature, and a piece of hair jewelry (likely made of hair from her aunt).

The correspondence consist of letters between members of the Cort family, or letters to Alice Holden from her children. Most of the Cort family correspondence is addressed to Mr. and/or Mrs. N. L. Cort (Nicholas Leonard Cort or Amanda Hall Cort née Peckham), and the majority of the letters are from their children, including Alice. Some notable threads in these family letters include business correspondence between N. L. Cort and his son, Clark, as well as letters between Amanda Cort, her son Mortimer, and her cousin Mary, with whom her son was staying for a period of time. The letters to Alice Holden are from her children: some of the letters are from when her children were very young and include drawings, but the majority of the letters are from her eldest son, Arthur Cort Holden, between 1907 and 1919. A small amount of correspondence relates to donations made to the Grolier Club between 1920 and 1978 by Alice Holden, Marian Holden, and Jessie Lawrence (née Cort, Alice's sister). In addition to the correspondence are poetry, prose, an insurance policy note, and a few recipes. The printed materials in the collection consist primarily of book catalogues, documenting some of the dispersal of E. B. Holden's book collection in the auctions and sales conducted in the years after his death.


As no original order was discernible, materials were arranged by type/genre.

Collection Creator Biography:



Alice Holden (née Cort) was born November 2, 1864 in New York City, New York to N. L. (Nicholas Leonard) Cort and Amanda Hall Cort (née Peckham). Her father was a metal importer, and several of her brothers were involved in the family metal trade business. She married E. B. (Edwin Babcock) Holden in 1889, and they had four children: Arthur Cort Holden, Marian Holden, Raymond Peckham Holden, and Frances Holden. Her husband was a member of the Grolier Club (a New York City bibliophile society), served on its council, and was president at the time of his death. He was a book collector whose main interests centered around Americana, English literature, sixteenth and seventeenth century printed books, and French illustrated books. After his death, his collections were sold at auction in sales conducted between 1908 and 1920.

Collection History


Gift of Scudder Holden Parker in February 2020 (AM 2021-9).


A small metal chest inscribed with "W. H. Baldwin" (Alice Holden's brother-in-law) was removed from the collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Amy C. Vo in 2022. Finding aid written by Amy C. Vo in 2022.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. No further duplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to Special Collections Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Alice Cort Holden Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001832 to B-001833