Relyea-Raynesford-Becker Family
Papers, 1882-1983

SC23205

Quantity: 6 boxes (2.0 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to Research
Acquisition: Gift: Becker family, Slingerlands, N.Y., March 2009
Processed By: Abigail Stambach Student Assistant, State University of New York at Albany, February 2011

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Biographical Note:

Franklin T. Becker was a building contractor in Schenectady, New York. He was born in 1866 in the town of Stillwater, New York, and moved to Schenectady in 1886. Becker married Alice Duane Stevens and they had one daughter, Helen Louise, born circa 1905. Alice Becker died sometime between 1918 and 1920. Franklin died in 1953.

Della Relyea was a boarder in the Becker home in Schenectady; there is no evidence in the papers that she was a relative. Census records indicate she was born about 1874 in Guilderland, New York. She became a school teacher and taught in the Schenectady City School District for over forty years. About 1935 Della Relyea and Helen Becker moved to the Relyea family farm in New Scotland, New York. In 1945 Franklin Becker moved to the Relyea farm, living there for the remaining years of his life. Della passed away in 1956. It appears that Helen continued to live in the New Scotland house at least until 1983.

The Raynesford family was apparently related to the Relyea family, but the exact relationship has not been determined. According to the Federal Census of 1880, Derrick Raynesford was a farmer in New Scotland. He and his wife, Adaline, had three sons, Albert, Willie and Samuel. Derrick’s grandson, Raymond, was born circa 1894 to Samuel and Harriet Raynesford. Raymond served in the Fifth Division of the United States Army during World War I. After the war, Raymond married Catherine Wayne, and their son, Wayne, was born in 1924.

Scope and Content Note:

The papers of the Relyea-Raynesford-Becker families contain correspondence, pocket diaries, photographs, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and other materials. The bulk of these papers is comprised of correspondence, specifically letters and postcards addressed to Franklin and Helen Becker and to Della Relyea. The correspondence dates from 1882 to 1983, with most letters from the 1930s and 1940s. Most of the correspondence is personal in nature covering topics such as family news, weather, health, travel, parties, holidays, and shopping. Some of the letters written to Franklin relate to his contracting and building business in Schenectady with many of these letters from suppliers or advertisements for new products. The letters addressed to Helen Becker were mostly written by her friend, Roscoe E. Marrs, who appears to have been employed by the General Electric Company. During much of the time they were corresponding in the 1930s and 1940s, he was living and working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and his job included frequent travel to the company’s facilities in Pennsylvania and Ohio.  

The photographs in the collection are generally not identified, but it appears that a photograph of a soldier from World War I may be Raymond Raynesford. It is also possible that the photographs of a young girl in Box 5, Folder 24, are of Helen Becker since markings on the photographs attribute them to a photographer – Walter E. Talbot – whose studio was in Schenectady. There are also several photographs of a farm house that is quite likely to be that of the Relyea family in New Scotland.

In Box 6 there are three pocket diaries dated 1875, 1877 and 1879. It is believed that these belonged to Derrick Raynesford since most of the entries deal with farm business and refer to places near New Scotland. Also, the entries contain names that correspond with Derrick’s three sons. He wrote almost daily in the three diaries but the entries are brief and are typically a couple of sentences.

Box and Folder List:


Box Folder Description
1 1 Letters to Alice D. Stevens Becker, April 7, 1882 - January 30, 1912 (6 items)
1 2 Letters to Alice D. Stevens Becker, June 23, 1912 - December 6, 1918 (4 items)
1 3 Postcards to Alice D. Stevens Becker, 1918 and n.d. (2 items)
1 4 Letters to Alice D. Stevens Becker and Franklin T. Becker, June 22, 1906 - 1908 (3 items)
1 5 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, April 6, 1901 - December 8, 1902 (6 items)
1 6 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, February 9, 1903 - November 5, 1903 (6 items)
1 7 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, January 9, 1904 - November 19, 1904 (7 items)
1 8 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, March 23, 1905 - September 29, 1923 (5 items)
1 9 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, April 23, 1934 - October 16, 1934 (5 items)
1 10 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, August 5, 1937 - February 3, 1939 (4 items)
1 11 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, March 3, 1939 - May 29, 1939 (6 items)
1 12 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, September 15, 1939 - December 19, 1939 (7 items)
1 13 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, January 2, 1940 - January 15, 1940 (5 items)
1 14 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, February 10, 1940 - October 30, 1943 (7 items)
1 15 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, April 14, 1944 - September 19, 1944 (4 items)
1 16 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, February 7, 1945 - April 13, 1953 (7 items)
1 17 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, ca. 1935 -1945 (4 items)
1 18 Letters to Franklin T. Becker, n.d. (3 items)
1 19 Postcards to Franklin T. Becker, 1931-1940 (5 items)
2 1 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, January 6, 1907 - February 4, 1919 (4 items)
2 2 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, July 27, 1931 - September 30, 1931 (9 items)
2 3 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, October 3, 1931 - October 14, 1931 (6 items)
2 4 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, October 19, 1931- October 29, 1931 (7 items)
2 5 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, November 6, 1931 - November 12, 1931 (3 items)
2 6 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, July 16, 1932 - October 25, 1932 ( 4 items)
2 7 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, November 21, 1932 - December 30, 1932 (5 items)
2 8 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, January 24, 1933 - May 31, 1933 (6 items)
2 9 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, June 5, 1933 - June 19, 1933 (5 items)
2 10 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, June 20, 1933 - June 30, 1933 (5 items)
2 11 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, July 6, 1933 - July 15, 1944 (4 items)
2 12 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, July 16, 1933 - July 20, 1933 (4 items)
2 13 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, July 21, 1933 - July 31, 1933 (6 items)
2 14 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, August 2, 1933 - August 11, 1933 (5 items)
2 15 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, August 15, 1933 - November 8, 1933 (6 items)
2 16 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, August 22, 1934 - January 2, 1937 (6 items)
3 1 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, November 1, 1938 - November 6, 1939 (4 items)
3 2 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, January 31, 1941 - February 6, 1942 (5 items)
3 3 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, May 26, 1942 - December 25, 1949 (6 items)
3 4 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, December 17, 1952 - January 19, 1959 (5 items)
3 5 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, January 6, 1960 - December 26, 1961 (5 items)
3 6 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, December 1, 1962 - May 31, 1964 (5 items)
3 7 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, April 16, 1965 - December 27, 1965 (8 items)
3 8 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, March 7, 1966 - December 17, 1966 (9 items)
3 9 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, January 15, 1967 - April 4, 1967 (3 items)
3 10 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, March 15, 1974 - January 27, 1975 (6 items)
3 11 Letters to Helen Louise Becker, n.d. (13 items)
3 12 Letters written by Helen Louise Becker, n.d. (2 items)
3      13 Postcards to Helen Louise Becker, 1919 -1983 (24 items)
3 14 Letters to Helen Louise Becker and Della Relyea, 1946 and December 22, 1951 (2 items)
3 15 Letters to Della Relyea, December 14, 1912 and April 4, 1916 (2 items)
3 16 Letters to Della Relyea, January 4, 1934 - March 4, 1940 (3 items)
3 17 Letters to Della Relyea, April 14, 1943 - December 31, 1945 (6 items)
4 1 Letters to Della Relyea, January 27, 1946 - October 16, 1947 (7 items)
4 2 Letters to Della Relyea, February 11, 1948 - November 1, 1948 (7 items)
4 3 Letters to Della Relyea, February 24, 1949 - December 18, 1951 (7 items)
4 4 Letters to Della Relyea, August 7, 1952 - December 8, 1954 (7 items)
4 5 Letters to Della Relyea, n.d. (1 item)
4 6 Letter to Mr. Nagio from Della Relyea, n.d. (1 item)
4 7 Postcards to Della Relyea, 1942 -1955 (5 items)
4 8 Valentine’s Day cards to Della Relyea (2 items)
4 9 Letters (drafts) of Helen Becker to Roscoe E. Marrs, ca. 1930s - mid 1940s (9 items)
4 10 Letters (drafts) of Helen Becker to Roscoe E. Marrs, ca. 1930s - mid 1940s (9 items)
4 11 Letters (drafts) of Helen Becker to Roscoe E. Marrs, ca. 1930s - mid 1940s (10 items)
4 12 Letters written by Mary, January 28, 1949 - February 12, 1949 (4 items)
4 13 Letters to Bertha Forester regarding sale of house, August 30, 1974 - April 12, 1978 (3 items)
4 14 Letters to Becker family members, December 17, 1909 - August 2, 1946 (4 items)
4 15 Letter from Rev. Aloysius Schwartz of the Korean Relief Foundation, n.d. (1 item)
4 16 Fragments of letters (11 items)
4 17 Greeting Cards, various dates (11 items)
4 18 Postcards to Raynesford family (2 items)
4 19 Postcards, mailed, 1927-1983 (7 items)
4 20 Postcards, not mailed (7 items)
5 1 Postal covers (envelopes), 1902-1908, 1931, 1937 (20 items)
5 2 Postal covers (envelopes), 1950 - 1980 (26 items)
5 3 Postal covers (envelopes), to Mechanic’s and Farmer’s Bank of Albany, 1960 - 1961 (4 items)
5 4 Wayne S. Raynesford, Insurance Agent (advertisement card) (5 items)
5 5 Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society (pledge card and postal cover)
5 6 The Schenectady Trust Company (booklet), December 31, 1903
5 7 Deed of Land, Klondike Big Inch Land Company, Quaker Oats Sales Promotion, 1955        
5 8 Small cards featuring illustrations of women’s clothing from different regions of France (9 items)
5 9 The Johann Maria Farina Eau de Cologne “Hansa Platz” (pamphlet)
5 10 “What Federal Rent Control Means in the Schenectady Defense Rental Area” (pamphlet)
5 11 Story of Crawford Willey, Crawford Notch, New  Hampshire (pamphlet)
5 12 Deed for a farm in Stillwater, New York, between Franklin T. Becker and Nicholas V. Becker, 1924
5 13 Cards with “Sigma XI Research Fellowship” printed on them with handwritten notes (20 items)
5 14 U.S. News and World Report – “Still Time to Get into College,” June 13, 1960
5 15 Newspaper clippings, various dates (31 items)
5 16 Notes on scraps of paper (17 items)
5 17 Scraps of decorative paper (4 items)
5 18 Material found in a “les letters, French Deckle” paper box (11 items)
  1. “les letters, French Deckle” paper box with genealogical information written in cover
  2. Photographs (4 items)
  3. Envelope, Albany County Savings Bank
  4. Wayne Stiles Raynesford, birth announcement (2 items)
  5. Calling Cards (2 items)
  6. Postcard, Clear Horizons magazine, gift certificate to Della Relyea
5 19 New Scotland Presbyterian Church worship bulletin and photographs (5 items)
5 20 Film Negative of a man and three women (1 item)
5 21 Film Negatives of people, Evetman Service Shop, Rochester N.Y. (4 items)
5 22 Photograph of a soldier from World War I and postcard from Raymond Raynesford (2 items)
5 23 Photographs of a young girl (2 items)
5 24 Photographs of a farm house (18 items)
6 1 Pocket Diary, 1875
6 2 Pocket Diary, 1877
6 3 Pocket Diary, 1879
Last Updated: May 24, 2011