Dorr Viele
Correspondence, 1901-1902

SC21574

Quantity: 1 box (0.25 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Purchase: Thomas Cullen, Rockland Bookman, January 1997
Processed By: Sarah Morse, Student Intern, University at Albany, December 2010; revised December 2016

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Biographical Note:

Dorr Viele was born in August 1880 in Buffalo, New York, to Sheldon Thompson Viele (1847-1916), a lawyer, and Anna Dorr Viele (1857-1932). He attended Yale University and was awarded a bachelor of laws in 1902. He spent most of his life as a lawyer in New York and then Massachusetts. While working in New York City he was president of the Associated Official Examiners of Title in the State of New York and compiled two books: The Land-Title Registration Act of the State of New York, published in 1916, and The New York Torrens System and How to Use It, published in 1917.
 
Dorr Viele married Josephine Collins Taber on April 22, 1918, in New York City, and they had a daughter, Anna, born in 1920. He died in February 1972 in Buffalo.
 
Dorr Viele was the second of five children. Grace (1878-1969), the oldest, attended Smith College and, after graduation in 1901, attended Buffalo Normal School for teachers. Later she worked as a librarian and teacher for many years. Anna was born in 1884 and died in 1967. Laetitia (1890-1972) and Sheldon K. (1892-1934) were the youngest Viele children. Sheldon K. Viele was an artist and set designer and died in an automobile accident in September 1934. Laetitia Viele became a deaconess in the Episcopalian church and served as a missionary on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation.

Scope And Content Note:

The Dorr Viele collection contains 14 letters, most of which addressed to Dorr Viele from his parents and siblings in Buffalo, New York. The letters, for the most part, were sent to him at his residence halls at Yale, but three of the letters went to “The Ark” in New Hampshire, where he was visiting family with his father. Two of the letters were written on stationery depicting views of the Pan American Exposition’s buildings and grounds. The collection also includes two portraits, one of Grace Viele and one of Dorr.   

The letters are tied together by the Pan American Exposition, which ran from May 1 through November 2, 1901. According Dorr’s father, Sheldon, the entertainment began arriving on April 28, when the Indians came and marched on the streets of Buffalo. The exposition was a showcase for the newest technology and innovations, particularly generating and transmitting electrical power, as well as a center of education and entertainment. Its primary purpose was to highlight the culture, land, and ideas of the people of the Americas. During the exposition, people called Buffalo the “City of Light,” as, at night, hundreds of thousands of lights, powered by Niagara Falls, studded the buildings of the exposition.

The Midway, which is mentioned in several letters, occupied miles of Buffalo’s streets. It was the center of diversion, set-up with foreign “villages” with names such as the Indian Congress, Beautiful Orient, Fair Japan, and Esquimo Village. Each village showcased the architecture and traditional garb of the peoples, complete with traditional dances. Other entertainments at the festival included bands and orchestras, parades, and art. All of these sources of entertainment are mentioned or alluded to by the Viele family.

The letters indicate the Vieles had a busy social life, entertaining many guests, often having family and friends stay for extended periods of time, and attending dances and other social gatherings.

Related Collection:

This repository also houses the personal diaries kept by Anna Dorr Viele from 1901 to 1932. (SC23349) The diaries chronicle daily activities and events as well as news about her immediate family, relatives, and friends.

Container List:


Box Folder Description
1 0 Transcriptions of letters
1 1 [Sheldon Thompson Viele, father], Buffalo, New York, April 28, 1901, to Dorr Viele, 330 Welch Hall, New Haven, Connecticut (taken from envelope). A.L.S., 4p. (18 x 12 cm.)
1 2 [Anna Dorr Viele, mother], [Buffalo, New York], May 8, 1901, to Dorr Viele,  330 Welch Hall, New Haven, Connecticut (taken from envelope). A.L.S., 8p. (18 x 12 cm.)
1 3 Anne [Viele, sister], [Buffalo, New York], [May 23, 1901], to Dorr Viele, 330 Welch Hall, New Haven, Connecticut (date and address taken from envelope). A.L.S., 4p. (17 x 12 cm.)
1 4 [Anna Dorr Viele, mother], 200 Porter Avenue, [Buffalo, New York],  May 22, 1901, to Dorr Viele, 330 Welch Hall, New Haven, Connecticut (taken from envelope). A.L.S., 5(6)p. (18 x 12 cm.)
1 5 Anne [Viele, sister], [Buffalo, New York], [August 6, 1901], to Dorr Viele, The Ark, Jaffrey, New Hampshire (date and address taken from envelope). A.L.S. 4p. (17 x 12 cm.) Newspaper clipping on a novice tennis tournament attached.
1 6 [Anna Dorr Viele, mother], 200 Porter Avenue, [Buffalo, New York], August 23, 1901, to Dorr Viele, The Ark, Jaffrey, New Hampshire (taken from envelope). A.L.S. 8p. (18 x 12 cm.)
1 7 S.K.V. [Sheldon K. Viele, brother], 200 Porter Avenue, [Buffalo, New York], August 24, 1901. Sent as enclosure with letter of Grace Viele of August 25, 1901; includes child’s drawing of firemen fighting a fire. A.L.S. 3(4)p. (18 x 12 cm.)
1 8 Grace [Viele], 200 Porter Ave., Buffalo, [New York], August 25, 1901, to Dorr Viele, The Ark, Jaffrey, New Hampshire (taken from envelope). A.L.S. 9(10)p. (20 x 13 cm.). Poem from Sheldon K. Viele (brother) affixed to this letter. 2p. (7 x 12 cm.)
1 9 Laetitia Viele [sister], [Buffalo, New York], September 30, 1901, to Dorr Viele, 451 Fayerweather Hall, New Haven, Connecticut (taken from envelope). A.L.S. 3(4)p. (11 x 7 cm.)
1 10 [Anna Dorr Viele, mother], [Buffalo, New York], October 2, 1901, to Dorr Viele, 451 Fayerweather Hall, New Haven, Connecticut (taken from envelope). A.L.S. 6p. (18 x 12 cm.)
1 11 [Anna Dorr Viele, mother], Buffalo, New York, October 30, 1901, to Dorr Viele, 451 Fayerweather Hall, New Haven, Connecticut (taken from envelope). A.L.S. 2p. (27 x 22 cm.). Written on exposition stationery.
1 12 Grace Viele, [Buffalo, New York], June 22, 1902, to Dorr Viele, 451 Fayerweather Hall, New Haven, Connecticut (taken from envelope). A.L.S. 5(6)p. (27 x 21 cm.)
1 13
  1. J.R. Ronnelly, Superintendent Advertising Department of the Pan American Exposition – Letter dated February 19, 1901 posted to 330 Welch Hall, New Haven, Connecticut (taken from envelope). T.L.S. 1(2)p. (27 x 21 cm.)
  2. J.R. Ronnelly, Superintendent Advertising Department of the Pan American Exposition – Letter dated March 14, 1901 posted to 330 Welch Hall, New Haven, Connecticut. T.L.S. 1(2)p. (27 x 21 cm.)
1 14 Portraits (photocopies courtesy of Buffalo State College)
  1. Portrait of Dorr Viele at the age of 13 years, [1893].
  2. Portrait of Grace Viele at the age of 12 years, [1890].
Last Updated: January 13, 2017