Helen Stevenson (Meyner) with her mother, Eleanor Bumstead Stevenson, before going to Korea as a Red Cross worker, October 1950.

Series II: Helen Stevenson Meyner (Personal)

Subseries 1, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, contains biographical sketches, clippings, and memorabilia. It includes material from her years at Rosemary Hall High School (1941-1944) and Colorado College (1946-1950), such as yearbooks and notebooks. Of special interest in this subseries is the newspaper clippings file (1947- 1988), which is a good source of information about Helen Meyner's early career and also her family. Meyner's more than twenty diaries are an important source for learning about Meyner's detailing various periods of her life, including her high school and college years, her stint with TWA, and her life as New Jersey's first lady residing at the governor's mansion in Princeton, New Jersey. There are also several personal diaries from her trips (1975, 1977) to the Middle East while representing New Jersey's 13th District in Congress. The citations and awards document the various honors received by Meyner and include awards, certificates, and honorary degrees (See also Series IV). Of special interest among Meyner's memorabilia (See also Series IV) is a Life Magazine cover depicting Meyner with her cousin, presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson (1956), "Supersisters" Trading Cards (1979), and a dress worn by Helen Meyner during Robert Meyner's 1969 gubernatorial campaign. (See also Series IV - Scrap Books).

Subseries 2, CORRESPONDENCE, contains both incoming and outgoing personal correspondence with family members, friends, and colleagues. The family correspondence includes correspondence with her sister Priscilla and her distant cousin, Adlai Stevenson, who was a frequent visitor at Morven, the Governor's mansion in Princeton, New Jersey. Of special interest is Helen Meyner's extensive correspondence with her parents, William E. and Eleanor Bumstead Stevenson. Helen Meyner corresponded frequently with her parents who were stationed in Europe and Africa with the American Red Cross (ca. 1942-1945) during World War II. Meyner continued writing her parents regularly while attending college (1946-1950), and while vacationing in Mexico (24 June-15 August 1949), Edinburgh, Scotland (August-September 1950), the Middle East (22 February-12 March 1953), Paris, France (14 March-10 April 1953), and Edinburgh, Scotland (10-25 April 1953). Of particular interest are the long and observant weekly letters which Helen Meyner wrote to her family, while serving as a "club gal" with the Red Cross in Japan (3 November 1950-13 April 1951), and Korea (13 April 1951-February 1952). Her letters, written in the form of a daily log, are rich in descriptions of her life caring for and entertaining the troops, impressions of the war, and commentaries on some of the racial and social tensions at the camp. Typed copies of many of the Korea letters made by her sister for routing among family members are included as well. The correspondence with individuals other than family is primarily incoming and is arranged alphabetically. Correspondents include several of Helen Meyner's childhood friends, including one her best friends from Rosemary Hall, Ruth Fuller. Prominent correspondents include Phillip Alampi, Bill Bradley, Brendan T. Byrne, Jimmy Carter, Millicent Fenwick, James J. Florio, Richard J. and Betty Hughes, Hubert H. Humphrey, Frances Perkins, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Frank Thompson, Jr., among others. Of further interest in this subseries are also those letters which Meyner received from individuals (1962- 1965) responding to Helen Meyner's column in the New Jersey Star Ledger. There are also a few letters written to Meyner by New Jersey residents counting on her power to influence the governor on issues affecting New Jersey. Finally, this series includes letters of condolence from friends and numerous prominent individuals, including Malcolm S. Forbes, William T. Cahill, Patricia Schroeder, and Frank Lautenberg, among others, upon the tragic loss of Helen and Robert Meyner's child (1970), the death of Helen Meyner's father (1985), and the illness (1987) and death of Robert Meyner (1990).

Subseries 3, ORGANIZATIONS, is an alphabetically arranged file that documents Helen Meyner's involvement in various charitable and political organizations. While Meyner demonstrated her interest in politics early by working for her cousin Adlai Stevenson's campaign, Meyner became involved in various state and national organizations as "first lady" of New Jersey and continued to be active during and after completing her second term in Congress in 1979 (See Series III). The organizations to which Meyner lent her support included various organizations working to support the United Nations and the Population Crisis Committee. She was also an active member of the Newark Museum, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and the New Jersey State Rehabilitation Commission. Of special interest in this subseries is her correspondence with the American Red Cross, the Trans World Airlines' "Women's Division", and the businesses and organizations to whom she spoke on TWA's behalf. As TWA's representative, Meyner was involved in public relations and sales promotion, and primarily travelled throughout the United States, appearing before numerous women's groups speaking about travel, giving how-to-pack-a-suitcase demonstrations and commenting at travel fashion shows. Meyner also appeared on numerous television and radio shows, and in the fall of 1954, TWA sent her on a six-week world trip. (See Series IV for photograph albums and scrapbooks on her trips with TWA).

Subseries 4, SUBJECTS, is a small, alphabetically arranged file that contains mainly printed materials regarding some of Helen Meyner's interests and hobbies, including antiques, Elkhound dogs, and politics. It also includes some personal records of the Meyner's estate and finances.

Subseries 5, MORVEN, contains both incoming and outgoing, alphabetically arranged correspondence for 1960 and 1961 (the 1959 file was heavily water-damaged and had to be discarded), and schedules (1959-1961), that document the civic and social obligations of the "first couple" of New Jersey, residing at Morven, the governor's mansion in Princeton. Although incoming letters in this subseries are frequently addressed to both the governor and his wife, they primarily document Helen Meyner's activities in her role as the spouse of the governor of New Jersey; there are many anniversary and birthday wishes from New Jersey residents, and Meyner's thank-you letters for gifts. In addition, this subseries contains invitations, often from women's organizations, for Helen Meyner to attend, and occasionally speak at, luncheons, dinners, and various political and philanthropic occasions. Meyner was a frequent guest at various church group meetings, Democratic clubs, and national organizations, including the Business and Professional Women's Club, and Soroptimist International Association. In November 1961, Meyner was requested to join other women and co-sign the "Strike for Peace " petition to wives of the head of state urging a universal cessation of nuclear bombing tests. Occasionally, Meyner also received correspondence from New Jersey residents hoping to influence her husband in political decisions and appointments. Although this subseries contains some personal correspondence with family and friends, including correspondence with Adlai Stevenson, and her father, William Stevenson, this subseries primarily pertains to private or official visits to the governor's mansion. Also of special interest is correspondence with artist Helen Louise Woerner of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, who was commissioned to design the official 1960 Morven Christmas card.

Subseries 6, WRITINGS AND SPEECHES, contains two files. The writings file is primarily made up of Helen Meyner's articles as a columnist for the Newark Star Ledger from 1962-1969. Her articles appeared every Tuesday and Thursday under the sub- heading, "In and Out of New Jersey." Although often about politics, Meyner's pieces ranged in topics from her dog Buster, to elaborate descriptions of her dinner at the White House. Meyner described the business trips she embarked on with her husband Robert and she expressed her personal impressions on foreign culture and style. In a 1963 article, Meyner wrote about the first Soviet woman in orbit. She condemned the lack of female involvement in space, questioning whether the country could afford to waste so much intellectual power. Other writings in this file include several short stories written by Meyner in her youth, and descriptions of her travels to China (1976) and Russia (1959). Helen Meyner's speeches are arranged in two files and contain typed and hand-written note cards, typescripts, and final versions of speeches, primarily drafted and edited by Meyner herself. The Chronological speech file contains those speeches that Meyner presented before various organizations and groups. These include presentations she gave as a representative for Trans-World Airlines (1953-1955) and as "first lady" of New Jersey (1958, 1960). Of special interest are those speeches which she gave while campaigning for Congress (1972-1978). There are also numerous speeches given by Congresswoman Meyner while visiting her district, including commencement addresses at high schools and various other community organizations; Meyner also spoke at several colleges, including Colorado College (1973) and Caldwell College (1974). The topics of her speeches frequently addressed the under representation of women in politics, as in her speech to the Women's Equality Action League in 1975, where she closed by stating, "May the best man win, whomever she may be." Her speeches also addressed many of her other concerns, including the large number of unregistered voters, the importance of education, human rights, and environmental protection. The Subject speech file in this subseries contains various speech notes, mostly undated, reflecting Helen Meyner's concerns in the areas of women in politics, human rights, and senior citizens, among others. (See also Series III, Susbseries 9-Press Files, for additional speech material).


Meyner Home | Special Collections Home
© Lafayette College Libraries, Easton, PA
April 1996