Lent Family Papers, 1910-1962; bulk, 1931-1953

Quantity: 3 Boxes (1.0 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Purchase: Harold Nestler (vendor), Allendale, N.J., November 1994
Processed By: Susan Malbin, Intern, University of Albany, Graduate School of Information and Science, February 1995

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Biographical Note

The Lent family came from Beacon, Dutchess County, New York. Four brothers and a sister –  John, George, William, Davis (called Dave), and Lillian – figure in this collection. William and Dave stayed in Beacon; John moved to Glasco, Ulster County, New York, and George moved out west.

George Lent became an engineer and settled in Seattle, Washington, in the late-nineteenth century. He went into navigation and shipping and ended his career as chairman of the board of the Puget Sound Navigation Company. He helped support his siblings by paying their bills. Starting in 1931, he sent monthly remittance checks to brothers William and Dave, both of whom had trouble finding work in the Great Depression and, on occasion, took in boarders. In 1938, their recently widowed sister, Lillian Lent Amouroux, moved back to Beacon to board with William’s family.

Helen Lent, William’s daughter, worked as a secretary for the Dutchess Tool Company in Beacon, New York. Never marrying, she lived at home and handled the family finances.

Scope and Content Note

The Lent family papers reflect Depression-era economic hardships and concerns. The correspondence focuses on the costs of goods and services, the lack of employment, layoffs, household economics and amusements. The letters are from either George Lent to brother William and niece Helen or from Lillian Lent Amouroux to niece Helen, including a few carbons of Helen’s replies. The Seattle letters also give some insight into the problems of the Puget Sound Navigation Company, especially while George was chairman of the board in the 1930s and 1940s.

Non-family correspondence to Helen includes letters from suitors and from fellow Dutchess Tool Company employees and friends. There are also folders of legal materials and taxes for Dutchess County family property; assorted invitations; cards; and receipts. The bills and receipts show the family’s need to resort to time payments or installment plans for domestic purchases starting in the Depression. Box 3, Folder 7 contains a collection of "amusing" parodies, puns and poems.

Box and Folder List

Box Folder Contents
    Lent Family Correspondence
1 1 1910-1933 (23 letters)
1 2 1934-1935 (20 letters)
1 3 1937 (8 letters)
1 4 1938 January-February (6 letters)
1 5 1938 March-May (no June or July) (5 letters)
1 6 1938 August-September (9 letters)
1 7 1938 October-November (10 letters)
1 8 1938 December (7 letters)
1 9 1939 January-March (8 letters)
1 10 1939 April-May (7 letters)
1 11 1939 June-August (11 letters)
2 1 1940-1942 (12 letters)
2 2 December 1944-February 1945; February-November 1947 (15 letters)
    Letters sent to Helen Lent from friends and acquaintances
2 3 1925-1927; 1937 (12 letters)
2 4 1937-1942 (41 letters)
2 5 1936-1938 (Dutchess Tool Company employees) (6 letters)
2 6 1953 (4 letters; 6 sympathy cards; 1 floral-record booklet which contains a brief description of each of the floral arrangements; 39 cards removed from the floral arrangements for the funeral of William L. Lent)
2 7 1954-1962 (7 letters)
2 8 1962 (7 get-well letters/cards to Melissa Lent)
3 1 Wedding Invitations and Announcements (14 items)
3 2 Birth and Graduation Announcements (5 items)
3 3 Birthday and Greeting Cards (12 items)
3 4 Legal Papers and Tax Receipts (10 items)
3 5 Bills and Receipts (ca. 100 pieces)
3 6 Marriage Service of Lillian Lent Amouroux 1904
3 7 Copies of parodies/poems/puns (10 sheets)
Last Updated: May 24, 2021