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Ella Sheldon Rogers Collection

Identifier: RH-A-3395

Scope and Contents

Ella Sheldon Rogers received this five-year diary on July 13, 1935 from Alice Sheldon Curtis and Anne M. Sheldon. She began to write faithfully every day after that and kept it going through the first quarter of 1936. After that up until January of 1942 there are periodic entries. At this time, Ella is living with her daughter Eloyse and her husband Leon Leonard and their children in Delton, Michigan so she refers to activities surrounding them. She talks about buying a refrigerator for their 12th anniversary (a Frigidaire). In the back of the diary is an account of the purchase ($251.84) and a record of her installment payments which amounted to $7.58 a month. Ella also covers daily activities and visits with her son Sheldon and his family and other relatives including Margaret, her sister-in-law and her other son, Donald and his family. She taught at Kingley School and in August of 1935 received $79.00 a month which was a $29.00 raise. She had been teaching for four years and in 1935 had 25 students in the early grades. It appears that Eloyse also taught and helped her husband at the store in Delton. Ella also discusses traveling to Northwestern University in the summer to attend classes in the School of Speech. She also notes birthdays (one year receiving a mattress from Eloyse and Leon) and her wedding anniversary (October 11, 1935-would have been 42 years). She also talks about taking the train to Kalamazoo to shop, visit the dentist or go to the theatre. She once attended the M.E.A. conference and notes that she saw Dr. Brown, Mr. Sprau, Mr. Foley and Mr. Slusser from Western State Teachers College. Her only mention about World War II is buying a $50.00 defense bond in 1942.


  • Creation: 1919-1949


Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions

Biographical / Historical

Ella Sheldon Rogers was born in Illinois on January 9, 1874 the daughter of William A. and Amanda Sheldon. In 1893 she married George C. Rogers and by 1900 they are living in La Porte, Iowa. They had two children by that time, Sheldon and Eloyse. George is working as a jeweler. The 1910 Census has them back in Illinois with another child, Donald. George is a watchmaker in a jewelry store, Ella is working as a reporter in a newspaper and Sheldon is a newsboy on the street. George's mother Sarah is living with them. By 1920 they are still living in Marengo, Illinois however Sheldon and Eloyse are gone. Sarah is still living with them. George is a repairman and Ella is handling a boarder in their house. Illinois death records reveal that George Hart Rogers passed away on December 14, 1927 in Cook County, Chicago. Exactly when Ella moved to Kalamazoo is unknown but she is here by 1930, living with her brother William, his wife Margaret and their daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Dirk Verdries. William and Margaret had moved to Kalamazoo in 1903 as William worked for the Railway Express Agency. Ella lived with them at 824 Stockbridge and attended Western State Teachers College where she graduated in 1932. A photograph is in the 1932 yearbook. At the time of her graduation, Ella is 58 years old.

By 1935 her diary reveals that she is living in Delton with her daughter Eloyse and her husband Leon Leonard and their children. She was teaching at the Kingley School. It appears according to the diary that she had been teaching there for four years. She lived briefly with her sister-in-law Margaret who eventually moved to Jackson to be with her daughter. The entries of the diary end around January, 1942. Ella died on August 13, 1944. No reason is given in the Gazette but she died at Borgess Hospital "after several weeks illness." She is buried in section DD of Riverside Cemetery next to her brother William and his wife, Margaret. The other items are from Ella's daughter, Eloyse Rogers Leonard and her husband Leon.


0.10 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is composed of one five-year diary owned by Ella Sheldon Rogers (1874-1944) who spent the last 14 years of her life in the Michigan cities of Kalamazoo and Delton. The collection additionally has two letters from Ella's son-in-law Leon Leonard, a diploma for her daughter Eloyse Rogers Leonard, their marriage certificate and a family cookbook compiled for Eloyse Rogers Leonard along with a few single sheets.

Source of Acquisition

Kalamazoo Valley Museum

Physical Description

The collection amounts to .10 cubic feet and is composed of a number of items including one diary, 4"x5"x1". It has a red leather cover with the words, "Five Year Diary" on the front along with a strap that connects to a lock. There is no key so the diary does not lock. Inside the diary are pages that are lined. The endpapers are gold. Each year has four lines for any entry. The diary is in good condition. The red leather cover and strap are worn. The spine slightly shifts back and forth. The gold endpapers are discolored in two spots. The writing continues to be legible. Additionally, there are a few more items including a marriage certificate for Eloyse Rogers Leonard and Leon Leonard dated 1923, a diploma from Western Michigan College of Education for Eloyse Leonard, dated 1949, two letters from Leon Leonard written in 1919 while he was in France in the American Expeditionary Force and a cookbook with recipes gathered by family members for Eloyse Leonard. The additional items vary in size from 7"x4 ½" to 9"x11". The diploma remains in its leather folder. The recipes are in a blank book, leather bound and were individual handwritten by various family members. Overall the other items are in fairly good shape although the letters are yellowed at the edges as is the recipe book.

Genre / Form



Ella Sheldon Rogers Collection Finding Aid
Lynn Houghton
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490