Mary McDougal Axelson Papers (University of Miami)
The Mary McDougal Axelson Papers contain correspondence, writings,
diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, clippings and other materials. The
Axelson Papers document the family life and professional careers of
several members of the McDougal and Axelson families. Materials relating
to Mary McDougal Axelson document her life political activist and writer.
A leader and organizer of political, literary, and women's groups, Axelson
participated in the women's club movement, suffrage, democratic party
politics, health reform, and the world peace campaign. She gained a
national and international reputation for her work Life Begins which
appeared in the form of a novel, play and film. Files also document
the accomplishments of family members including her parents, Daniel
Archibald and Myrtle McDougal, her sister Violet, husband Ivar Axelson
and daughter Mary Ivonne Axelson.
The series of the collection on Mary McDougal Axelson's writings contains
articles on various subjects including art, articles that may have been
written for the fuel conservation effort during World War I, and other
writings. A manuscript for an unfinished autobiography appears in outline
form in a diary of "Things to Accent" as well as in draft
form in five tablet notebooks, and in an incomplete manuscript. The
1928-29 diary Mary kept while in the hospital maternity ward, entitled
"Before the Birth of Mary Ivonne Axelson," provides the source
material for her play and novel entitled Life Begins, and two Hollywood
movies. This series also contains a monologue written with her daughter,
Mary Ivonne Axelson, miscellaneous manuscript pages, and song lyrics.
The correspondence series contains Axelson's letters to family and friends
as well as correspondence with publishers and editors concerning her
writings. Several files relate to the Everglades land owned by the Axelsons.
Other files concern Mary and Ivar Axelson's inventions and attempts
to obtain patents. The political activities series in the Papers consists
of newspaper clippings, correspondence and campaign literature. In addition
to documenting the career of Axelson, these materials illustrate some
of the many avenues through which women became politically active during
the first two decades of the twentieth century. A series of scrapbooks
and miscellanea contains photographs, correspondence and clippings relating
to the life and literary career of Mary McDougal Axelson and another
of photographs and albums documents many years of her life in images.
The family files include a series of records from her father, Daniel
A. McDougal. This series contains diaries (1938-54), newspaper clippings,
correspondence, and a scrapbook. Clippings, 1931, document the activities
of McDougal in the House of Representatives. Correspondence, 1897-1950,
relates to family matters, the Florida real estate business and the
political activities of McDougal as a state legislator and congressman.
Everglades correspondence contains descriptions of McDougal's first
exploration of his Everglades property in 1922 and in subsequent years
discusses the business of the Chevelier Corporation. McDougal's scrapbook
contains letters, photographs, and postcards written during a period
of illness in 1938. The series for Violet McDougal includes newspaper
clippings, correspondence, poetry, and articles on poetry. Newspaper
clippings dated 1923 detail Violet's appointment by Oklahoma Governor
Walton as "official poet laureate of the State," and the publication
of a book she co-authored with her sister Mary McDougal Axelson. Ivar
Axelson's series contains files on the founding of Everglades National
Park from a landowner's perspective. As shareholders in the Chevelier
Corporation, the Axelson and McDougal families represented the eleventh
largest landowner within the Everglades area. The Myrtle McDougal series
contains papers documenting the political activities of Mary Axelson's
mother, Myrtle McDougal. A poem she wrote for Ruth Bryan Owen, a photograph
of Owen with a signed note to McDougal, and numerous photographs of
Myrtle McDougal are also arranged in this series. A final series of
correspondence with daughter Mary Ivonne Axelson includes correspondence,
a film, as well as original poems and plays she wrote as a student.
Newspaper clippings and photographs document her acting career, and
numerous family photographs appear in this series.
Description prepared by Ruthanne Vogel,
University of Miami
Also available: brief biographies of Mary
McDougal Axelson, Daniel A. McDougal and Ivar Axelson.