Alice J. Cutright Kaine papers, 1864-1947

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Kaine, Alice J. Cutright, 1845-1947
0.8 Linear Feet
305 Items
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The papers of Alice J. Cutright Kaine document her work primarily as an administrative advisor at the Tuskegee Institute but also include information on her employment as a public school teacher in Springfield, Ill., her service on the board of the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls and the State Board of Control (for prisons), and her travels to Dixfield, Maine, and Nelson County, Va. The collection contains correspondence, writings, legal papers, printed materials, photographs, and ephemera.

The strength of the collection lies with its documentation of Tuskegee Institute. Kaine was hired in 1894 as the head of the Household Department to supervise everything "from the making of bricks to the baking of white bread." (newsclipping, 1947) At the time, Kaine was the only white person on the Institute's staff.

Letters to her brother, Austin Cutright, describe her work her at Tuskegee Institute as well as the Tuskegee community in general. In these letters she speaks frankly about Booker T. Washington's educational philosophy and management style and her close relationship with Washington's wife Margaret and their children. Kaine visited several black families and churches in Tuskegee with the Washingtons and her letters and writings describe the living conditions and religious services she observed as well as the difficulties she had as a white woman in an all black community.

Approximately half of the correspondence from 1896-1903 consists of letters written to Kaine from Tuskegee administrators and Margaret Washington after Kaine's departure from Tuskegee. Letters from J.H. Washington, Superintendent of Industries, contain information on the maintenance of housekeeping practices established by Kaine. Letters from Margaret Washington are of a more personal nature and contain anecdotes and news from Tuskegee. Several of the writings and speeches concern Kaine's work at Tuskegee and describe her experiences from a sympathetic yet somewhat patronizing point of view. A file of printed materials relates exclusively to Tuskegee Institute, and a portrait of the Washington family (ca. 1895) is filed in the photographs series.

Outside of the materials relating to Tuskegee Institute, the papers provide only fragmented documentation of Kaine's life. A few letters to Kaine in the 1860s and 1870s describe her appointment to various teaching positions. Legal papers, writings and addresses, and newsclippings reflect her work with the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls, the State Board of Control, and various social and civic organizations.

Earlier letters, chiefly written to her husband, depict Kaine's visits in the 1880s to New England, particularly Dixfield, Maine, and to her ancestral home in Nelson County, Va. Letters from Dixfield describe the local community life in detail. The series of photographs contains several views of Lovingston, Va., including churches, the courthouse, a hotel, Negro houses and other homes. Letters to Kaine from her brother during the 1940s detail his life in Milwaukee during World War II and to some extent Kaine's life at the Grand Army Home until her death.

Biographical / historical:

Alice J. Cutright was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on January 29, 1845. The Cutright family moved to Springfield, Ill., in 1852 where Ms. Cutright attended school and eventually began to teach public school. In 1869 she married Dr. John L. Kaine, a journalist from Milwaukee, Wis., and in 1874 the Kaines moved to Milwaukee where Dr. Kaine took a position with the Milwaukee Sentinel and Alice Kaine continued her work in education and public service.

Ms. Kaine was an active member on the Board of the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls on which she served for 27 years, fourteen of those as Secretary. From 1894-1896 she was employed as an advisor to Tuskegee Institute and in 1898 she became the first woman appointed to serve on the Wisconsin State Board of Control for Prisons. Kaine was active in several social and civic clubs such as the Women's Club of Wisconsin and the Social Economics Club. She was a charter member of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1933, she was admitted to the Grand Army Home where she died in 1947.

Acquisition information:
The papers of Alice J. Cutright Kaine, an educator, were purchased by the Rubenstein Library in 1986.
Processing information:

Processed by: Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Staff

Completed in 1986

Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller

Physical location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

Terms of access:

The status of copyright interests in these papers is unknown. For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], The Papers of Alice J. Cutright Kaine, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.