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Papers and photographs of Lucy Jones Townley

Call Number: RH MS 1270


Lucy Isabel Jones Townley (1885-1917) was born in Lawrence, Kansas, graduated from the University of Kansas, and taught in schools in Kansas and Washington in the early part of the twentieth century. This collection consists of Lucy Jones Townley's letters written to Ethel Lowry, a fellow school teacher. The collection also includes her diary from a European trip taken in 1910 as well as information about her wedding and death. There are also photographs of Lucy Jones Townley and her family. Her daughter, Isabel Townley Voss, contributed an autobiographical memoir of her childhood to the collection.


  • Creation: 1903-1918, 1932, 1972, 1980


Language of Materials

English, German

Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Lucy Isabel Jones Townley

Lucy Isabel Jones Townley (1885-1917) was born and grew up in Lawrence, Kansas. After graduating from the University of Kansas in 1907, she taught German and English in Kansas and Washington state schools for about seven years before marrying Wayne Townley in 1914. She was very active in social, civic and church circles and began raising a family with the birth of her daughter, Isabel Townley Voss, in 1915. She died at the age of 32 due to complications during her pregnancy with her second child.


.5 Linear Feet (1 document case + 1 oversize folder)

Scope and Contents

Most of this collection is comprised of letters from Lucy Jones Townley to her fellow teacher and friend, Ethel Lowry, in the early twentieth century. The two were teachers in Columbus, Cherokee County, Kansas. The earliest letters in autumn 1909 are more formal and professional as Lucy makes preparations and arrangements for the coming school year. By Christmas 1909, the tone of the letters is much more informal as a friendship has grown between the two women. In 1910 most of the letters share Lucy's experiences on her European trip. The collection also holds the diary of her trip. Upon her return to the States, Lucy writes her friend Ethel when they are separated during school breaks and the summer and she shares stories of family and Christmas. She continues her correspondence when she moves to Everett, Washington, to teach German. In spring 1914, Lucy writes of her plans to wed Wayne Townley in Washington in June of that year. Ten months later, their daughter, Isabel, is born in Kansas and in the years that follow, Lucy shares the news of her daughter and the rest of family as well as her social and civic activities. The letters from Lucy were kept by Ethel in a gray suede leather pouch (which is also part of the collection) and were given to Isabel sometime in the 1940s.

The other papers in the collection include Lucy's teaching certificate from the state of Kansas and two newspaper clippings relating the story of Lucy's death. There is also a letter to Isabel Townley Voss from Ethel Blincoe Jones, Isabel's babysitter, and an unpublished volume of Isabel's childhood memories.

The photographs are of Lucy, including ones from her high school graduation in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1903 and her graduation from the University of Kansas in 1907. In addition there is a wedding picture of Lucy and Wayne Townley and a photograph of their home where their daughter, Isabel, was born in Columbus, Kansas. Isabel is pictured as a child and as a young woman graduating from high school in Topeka.


The collection is organized into three groups: letters and other papers, photographs, and oversize materials. The items within each group are listed in chronological order.

Physical Location

RH MS 1270

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Isabel Townley Voss, 1987.

Processing Information

This collection was formerly housed at call number RH MS 491. Photographs were previously shelved at RH MS-P P1270.

Guide to the Lucy Jones Townley Collection
Papers and photographs of Lucy Jones Townley
Finding aid prepared by mab, 2012. Finding aid encoded by mab, 2012. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2020.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Lucy Jones Townley collection, RH MS 1270, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States