Beer family

Hide Profile

Thomas Beer was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa on November 22, 1889. He graduated from Yale in 1911 and attended Columbia University Law School. He wrote several novels, short stories, and articles. Beer died in New York City in April 18, 1940.

William Collins Beer was born in Bucyrus, Ohio, 23 January 1863, the son of Thomas and Tabitha Mary (Dinsmore) Beer. He was educated in local schools before entering the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1880. Resigning from the Academy in 1882, he traveled West to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he found employment in the Officer and Pusey Bank. On his own time, he studied law with his uncle, Judge Thomas Reed. In 1885, he accepted a position as teller in the Omaha National Bank, where he remained until 1889.

On 19 May 1886, he married Martha Ann Alice Baldwin, daughter of Linus Caleb and Alice (Boyle) Baldwin of Council Bluffs. They had three children, Alice Baldwin, born in 1887, Thomas, born in 1888, and Richard Cameron, born in 1893. Beer left the Omaha bank to become general western agent of the Fidelity and Casualty Company of New York. At the same time, he served as an agent of The Bankers Life Association. In 1891, he joined the Missouri Kansas, and Texas Trust Company as general manager. When this company merged with the National Surety Company in 1897, he became its eastern manager.

Around 1893, after two years' residence in St. Paul, Minnesota, Beer moved his family to Yonkers, New York, where he remained until his death. His active participation in the McKinley campaign of 1896 resulted in his employment as a political observer for the New York Life Insurance Company and for J. P. Morgan and Company. His association with New York Life was particularly important and lasted until his death. In 1898, he became an attorney and executive officer of the company.

He also became involved in a number of private business speculations. The American takeover of the Philippines in 1898 opened new opportunities for investment. Beer became treasurer of the newly formed Manila Navigation Company. This company, which transported cargoes within the Philippines, failed in 1910 after years of internal disputes among its directors. He also seems to have had some connection with McCord, Dinsmore and Company, an investment firm founded by a cousin, W. A. Dinsmore.

In 1902, he became president of the International Fire Engine Company, which established the basis of its business in Cuba. Over the years, he became involved with a number of businesses in Central and South America, including American Rapid Boat Company (1905), Cuban Central Railway (1912), The Safety Car Heating and Lighting Company (1913) and Latin-American Car and Coast Lighting Company (1915). He also lobbied in Washington for the promotion of American business interests in the Dominican Republic (1910), Ecuador (1911) and Mexico (1912).

After the turn of the century, his career as a political observer and lobbyist became increasingly important. In 1903, he gave up all his business interests not connected with Morgan or New York Life, except those in the Manila Navigation Company and the International Fire Engine Company. It was at this time that he resigned as a vice-president of the White Mountain Paper Company. Meanwhile, he acted as a negotiator for the Morgan interests in the settlement of the coal strike of 1902. The following year he participated in the futile attempt to patch up the split between the Mark Hanna and Joseph Foraker factions in the Ohio Republican Party. He also served as an active lobbyist for President Roosevelt's Newlands Act and for the Panama Canal project.

Within a few years after 1903, Beer represented a number of companies as a lobbyist or as attorney, including International Harvester Company of America, The United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company and Wells Fargo and Company. He acted as a special attorney for Wells Fargo in its fight to oppose the institution of rural free delivery by the Post Office.

In 1910, he became a lobbyist for the Fruit Importers' Union, a group of Sicilians in New York, who sought to eliminate the prohibitive tariff on lemons. The union won a hard fought battle against the California Fruit Growers' Association, after three years of political maneuvering. During the course of this conflict, Beer was instrumental in establishing the National Italian Democratic League as a means of consolidating the Italian vote. He was rewarded for his efforts with a commendation from the Italian government and in 1914, he was appointed general counsel for the Italian embassy in Washington.

In 1913, he pursued his varied business interests on an extended trip to Europe. He was particularly interested in the establishment of a steamship line to operate between India, Sicily and the United States, but nothing came of the idea. He took advantage of his reputation in Italy to encourage exports to the United States, and he seems to have been involved in an abortive scheme to settle Sicilians in the Dominican Republic to cultivate coffee.

On his return to the United States in 1914, Beer, who had changed his political affiliation, took an active part in the campaign of Oscar W. Underwood for an Alabama Senate seat. He continued to pursue his business interests in Central and South America and by 1915, he had taken some tentative steps towards becoming a dealer in armaments.

During the late summer of 1916, he suffered a physical collapse brought on by the strain of overwork, and he traveled to his summer house on Nantucket to recuperate. He had been in failing health for several years, and his refusal to limit his activities took its toll. He died at Siasconset on Nantucket, 8 October 1916.

For additional biographical information, see Personal Files and "Patchwork," a reminiscence by Alice Baldwin Beer, filed under THOMAS BEER, immediately preceding Correspondence.

The material in this series is arranged in three sections: Correspondence, Information Files, and Personal Files

Beer's wide ranging business interests and political activities are reflected in Correspondence. Incoming letters, along with many copies of his outgoing letters are arranged chronologically, allowing the reader to follow the developments in his career. Although the bulk of the correspondence is with businessmen, politicians and government officials whose names are unfamiliar, there are some correspondents of note, including Albert J. Beveridge, George B. Cortelyou, Charles G. Dawes, Chauncey M. Depew, Joseph Benson Foraker, Marcus A. Hanna, William G. McAdoo, Thomas Nelson Page, George W. Perkins and Oscar W. Underwood. In addition, there is a substantial file of business correspondence of the New York Life Insurance Company between 1902 and 1907. A partial index to the correspondence indicates the more important correspondents, their business or political affiliations, and the years in which their letters appear.

Information Files contains material which relates directly to Beer's professional activities and includes campaign literature, Congressional bills, reports, resolutions and speeches, legal agreements, legal briefs, miscellaneous printed material, biographical information on business associates, and business prospectuses.

Personal Files contains a variety of materials relating to Beer's personal life, including an address book, certificates, miscellaneous manuscripts, photographs of friends and associates, school notebooks and memorabilia, a scrapbook of European travels, and biographical information.


Thomas Beer was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, 22 November 1888, the son of William Collins and Martha Ann Alice (Baldwin) Beer. His family settled in Yonkers, New York when he was about four years old. He was educated in the Yonkers public schools and at MacKenzie School in Dobbs Ferry before entering Yale College as a member of the Class of 1911. At his father's insistence, after graduation from Yale he began the study of law at Columbia University, while working part time in his father's office. But his interests lay neither in business nor in the law, and although he studied at Columbia for several years, he never received a law degree. After his father's death in 1916, he abandoned the business world to begin his career as a writer.

While at Yale, Beer had published numerous short stories and poems in The Yale Literary Magazine . After college, he continued to write, although he published nothing until 1917, when his short story, "The Brothers," appeared in Century . Soon afterwards, he volunteered for military service and entered the army as a private in the Field Artillery. After being promoted to first lieutenant, he served six months in France in 1918 on the staff of the 87th Division. He published several more stories before the war was over, and by the time his first novel, The Fair Rewards, appeared in 1922, he had published numerous short stories, articles and book reviews.

His literary reputation was established with the publication of his second book, Stephen Crane, in 1923. The techniques he employed in this book and in two later works, The Mauve Decade (1926) and Hanna (1929), earned him a place in the history of American letters. In these impressionistic narratives of the last decade of the nineteenth century, Beer was concerned less with the mundane details of the lives of his subjects than with the atmosphere in which they lived and worked. He was credited, along with Lytton Strachey, with "… having a profound influence in shaping the contemporary approach to biography and history." ( New York Herald Tribune, 19 April 1940).

In addition, he wrote two more novels during the 1920s, Sandoval (1924) and The Road to Heaven (1928). Altogether, between 1917 and 1936, he published more than fifty short stories, mostly in The Saturday Evening Post, over thirty articles, mostly commentaries on the contemporary scene, and numerous book reviews. He also wrote about fifteen plays and movie scenarios. His papers contain manuscripts of at least seven unfinished novels and of over seventy short stories and articles in various stages of completion.

In 1935, his health began to deteriorate and in 1937, he spent some time in a private clinic undergoing treatment for physical and nervous exhaustion. After 1935, he published very little, although at the time of his death he was working on a study of the influence of color on human life, to be titled, Form, Color and Desire . He died of a heart attack in New York City, 18 April 1940.

Additional biographical information on Thomas Beer may be found in the reminiscences of his family and friends, filed in Personal Files; in "Patchwork" a reminiscence by Alice Baldwin Beer, filed immediately preceding Correspondence; and in "The Work of Thomas Beer: Appraisal and Bibliography," a dissertation by E. B. Harrington, filed at the beginning of Published Writings. The correspondence between Alice Baldwin Beer and some of her brother's friends after his death may provide biographical information, also. This correspondence is filed in ALICE BALDWIN BEER.

The material in this series is arranged in four sections: Correspondence, Published Writings, Unpublished Writings, and Personal Files.

Although Thomas Beer corresponded with many literary figures, the Correspondence section is small, owing to his haphazard method of preserving letters. The scope of his correspondence is evident, however, from the letters which remain. Among his notable correspondents are: Frederick Lewis Allen, Ernest Boyd, Van Wyck Brooks, James Branch Cabell, Joseph Conrad, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alfred A. Knopf, H. L. Mencken, Lewis Mumford, Frank Swinnerton, Booth Tarkington, Edmund Wilson and Monty Woolley.

Published Writings contains research notes and correspondence (especially for Stephen Crane ), drafts, printers' proofs, publicity and reviews of his books. In addition, there are drafts and/or published copies of his short stories, articles, book reviews and poems. Finally, there are several hundred letters from readers.

Unpublished Writings contains drafts of books, short stories, articles, book reviews, plays and movie scenarios, and compositions from his childhood and adolescent years.

Personal Files contains various items, including an address book, certificates, drawings, school notebooks, schedules, grades and memorabilia, juvenilia, memorabilia from trips, pocket diaries and biographical information. Copies of Beer's published books are stored in a Paige box filed at the end of the papers.


Alice Baldwin Beer was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1887, the daughter of William Collins and Martha Ann Alice (Baldwin) Beer. She was educated in Yonkers, New York, where her family settled when she was a young child, and she graduated from Vassar College in 1910. In 1910 and 1911, she spent six months traveling in Egypt and Europe with her mother. She taught English in a private school in 1912-1913, then spent the next few years working in the technical side of amateur theatricals. During WWI, she worked for War Camp Community Service staging and disseminating information on patriotic pageants. In 1919, she joined the staff of The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, which was run by Alice and Irene Lewisohn, where she remained until 1927. In 1928 or 1929, she started her own business buying and selling antique textiles. She closed this business in 1944 and later accepted a position on the staff of the Cooper Union Museum in New York.

After the death of her brother, Thomas, in 1940, she spent a great deal of time gathering reminiscences of him and collecting his scattered papers. She also corresponded with his publishers and collected manuscripts for inclusion in a posthumous volume of his short stories.

Additional biographical information on Alice Baldwin Beer may be found in Personal Files and in "Patchwork" her reminiscences of her family life, which is filed under THOMAS BEER immediately preceding Correspondence.

The material in this series is arranged in three sections: Correspondence, Antique Textiles Business, and Personal Files.

Correspondence is a relatively small section and limited in scope. With less than nine hundred letters, many of which concern the affairs of Thomas Beer, it is difficult to extract the full dimensions of Alice Baldwin Beer's character. Most of her business letters are filed under Antique Textiles Business, although there is some overlapping between personal and business correspondence.

Antique Textiles Business includes business correspondence, financial records, stock inventories and reference material.

Personal Files includes such items as certificates, diaries, travel notes, memorabilia from European trips (see, FAMILY: GENERAL, Photographs for a photographic album of her 1911 trip to Europe and Egypt), Vassar College memorabilia and biographical information.


Richard Cameron Beer was born in Yonkers, New York, 8 October 1893, the son of William Collins and Martha Ann Alice (Baldwin) Beer. He studied at Mackenzie School in Dobbs Ferry, Princeton and Hamilton College. He also spent a year studying for the foreign service at George Washington University in 1914-1915. On 13 May 1915, he married Elizabeth Thompson. They had one daughter, Gloria Katherine, born in 1917, and were divorced in 1920.

From 1917 to 1925, he served in the United States Consular Service. He was posted as vice consul to Nassau, Ottawa, Havana, Budapest and several places in Great Britain. In 1925, he returned to the United States.

In 1934, he married Doris Riker, a painter who worked in theater. Writing had always interested him he had published a couple of pieces of fiction in previous years and during the 1930s, he began to publish articles on art. In 1937, he and his wife settled on Nantucket and opened an art studio. He took up painting and continued to write, mostly articles on the history of Nantucket. During the 1940s and 1950s, his health deteriorated due to a combination of diabetes and heart disease and he died in 1959.

For additional biographical information, consult Personal Files and "Patchwork," a reminiscence by Alice Baldwin Beer, filed under THOMAS BEER immediately preceding Correspondence.

The material in this series is arranged in four sections: Correspondence, Published Writings, Unpublished Writings, and Personal Files.

The small Correspondence section contains letters relating to his work in the Consular Service, for the most part, with the remainder concerning publication of his writings.

Both Published Writings and Unpublished Writings contain research material, notes, drafts and printed versions of his short stories and articles.

Personal Files includes items such as certificates, diplomatic credentials, school work, juvenilia, miscellaneous memorabilia, a scrapbook and biographical information.


Linus Caleb Baldwin was born in Youngstown, Ohio, 2 June 1831, the son of Benjamin Pitney and Martha (Pauley) Baldwin. He received a basic education in the local schools and in 1855, he left home to seek his fortune in the west. After spending three years in Council Bluffs, Iowa, he returned east and settled in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he engaged in business. On 1 October 1862, he married Alice Boyle of Bellevernon, Pennsylvania. They had three children, Martha Ann Alice, Robert Caleb and Helen McCormick.

In 1879, Baldwin returned with his family to Council Bluffs. He engaged in cattle ranching and breeding there and in Wyoming, and was, for a number of years, a director of the Iowa State Agricultural Society. He died in Council Bluffs in 1910.

The material in this series is arranged in two sections: Correspondence and Personal Files.

Most of the Correspondence deals with business matters and with the daily operations of his ranches. The letters in this section give a good picture of the life of a cattleman during the late nineteenth century and are especially evocative of the hardships caused by economic depression. Baldwin's financial papers, which may add depth to this picture, are filed in FAMILY: GENERAL.

Personal Files contains material relating to ranching, juvenilia, miscellaneous memorabilia and biographical information.

From the guide to the Beer family papers, 1740-1981, 1827-1981, (Manuscripts and Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Beer family papers, 1740-1981, 1827-1981 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, Frederick Lewis, 1890-1954 person
associatedWith Babbitt, Edwin Burr, 1862-1939 person
associatedWith Baldwin, Linus Caleb, 1831-1910 person
associatedWith Beer, Alice Baldwin, 1887-1981 person
associatedWith Beer, Martha A. A. person
associatedWith Beer, R. (Richard Cameron), 1893-1959 person
associatedWith Beer, Samuel Hutchinson, 1911- person
associatedWith Beers family. family
associatedWith Beer, Thomas, 1889-1940 person
associatedWith Beer, William Collins, 1863-1916 person
associatedWith Bellows, George, 1882-1925 person
associatedWith Benton, Thomas Hart, 1889-1975 person
associatedWith Bernstein, Aline, 1881-1955 person
associatedWith Beveridge, Albert Jeremiah, 1862-1927 person
associatedWith Boyd, Ernest Augustus, 1887-1946 person
associatedWith Brooks, Van Wyck, 1886-1963 person
associatedWith Cabell, James Branch, 1879-1958 person
associatedWith Canby, Henry Seidel, 1878-1961 person
associatedWith Cheney, Benjamin Pierce, 1815-1895 person
associatedWith Conrad, Joseph, 1857-1924 person
associatedWith Cooper-Hewitt Museum. corporateBody
associatedWith Cortelyou, George Bruce, 1862-1940 person
associatedWith Crane, Stephen, 1871-1900 person
associatedWith Dawes, Charles Gates, 1865-1951 person
associatedWith Depew, Chauncey M. (Chauncey Mitchell), 1834-1928 person
associatedWith Fisher, Harold Henry, 1890-1975 person
associatedWith Foraker, Joseph Benson, 1846-1917 person
associatedWith Garland, Hamlin, 1860-1940 person
associatedWith Garnett, Edward, 1868-1937 person
associatedWith Hanna, Marcus Alonzo, 1837-1904 person
associatedWith Housum, Robert, 1887- person
associatedWith J.P. Morgan & Co. corporateBody
associatedWith Knopf, Alfred A., 1892-1984 person
associatedWith Knopf, Blanche Wolf, d. 1966 person
associatedWith Lombardi, Cornelius Ennis, 1888-1956 person
associatedWith Manila Navigation Company. corporateBody
associatedWith McAdoo, William Gibbs, 1863-1941 person
associatedWith McKinley, William, 1843-1901 person
associatedWith Mencken, H. L. (Henry Louis), 1880-1956 person
associatedWith Millard, Joseph Hopkins, 1836-1922 person
associatedWith Minnigerode, Meade, 1887-1967 person
associatedWith Morley, Christopher Darlington, 1890-1957 person
associatedWith Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990 person
associatedWith New York Life Insurance Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Norris, Charles Gilman, 1881-1945 person
associatedWith Norris, Kathleen Thompson, 1880-1966 person
associatedWith Ober, Harold, 1881-1959 person
associatedWith Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922 person
associatedWith Pemberton, Brock, 1885-1950 person
associatedWith Perkins, George W. (George Walbridge), 1862-1920 person
associatedWith Phelps, William Lyon, 1865-1943 person
associatedWith Pigott, William Trigg, 1861-1944 person
associatedWith Rambo, James Irving, 1923- person
associatedWith Reynolds, Paul Revere, 1864-1944 person
associatedWith Riggs, T. Lawrason, (Thomas Lawrason), 1888-1943 person
associatedWith Robinson, Henry Augustus, 1857- person
associatedWith Smoot, Reed, 1862-1941 person
associatedWith Street, Julian, 1870-1947 person
associatedWith Styer, Henry Delp, 1862-1944 person
associatedWith Swinnerton, Frank, 1884- person
associatedWith Tarkington, Booth, 1869-1946 person
associatedWith Thompson, David E., 1854-1942 person
associatedWith Tilghman, James D. person
associatedWith Tinker, Chauncey Brewster, 1876-1963 person
associatedWith Toohey, John Peter, 1880-1946 person
associatedWith Tuttle, Emerson, 1890-1946 person
associatedWith Underwood, Oscar Wilder, 1862-1929 person
associatedWith United States Military Academy. corporateBody
associatedWith Walpole, Hugh, Sir, 1884-1941 person
associatedWith William, Wayland Wells, 1888-1945 person
associatedWith Woolley, Monty, 1888-1963 person
associatedWith Yale College (1887- ). Class of 1911. corporateBody
associatedWith Yale University. Students. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Dominican Republic
United States
West (U.S.)
Bucyrus (Ohio)
Latin America.
Middle West.
Great Britain.
Middle East.


Related Descriptions


Ark ID: w6w243h2

SNAC ID: 74912237