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Lenore Mooney Papers

Identifier: MSN/MN 0500

Scope and Contents

The collection as a whole includes around 360 pieces of correspondence, 30 documents, around 50 pieces of ephemera, 33 photographs, and 135 miscellaneous envelopes. This material appears to have been accumulated and preserved by Lenore Mooney. Of the 360 letters and postcards, approximately 300 were written between 1916 and 1919. Roughly 270 were directed to Mooney; some 40 more were written by her. About 30 of these were addressed to her nephew, Charles Bayly, during his time with the American Field Service's Section 26 (May to October 1917). These letters survive with Mooney's papers because she requested that Bayly return them, enclosed with the letters he wrote, to aid her in keeping a personal notebook. Forty-five of Bayly's letters to Lenore are present; these provide a thorough account of his experiences as an ambulance driver at the front (Section 26 served in the Verdun sector, with postes along the line from Ferme Bellevue to Chevretterie). Of the remaining 275 letters, at least 130 were written to Mooney by French soldiers, members of their families, and others to whom she sent aid packages. These date mostly from 1917 to 1919, and often address Mooney as marraine (godmother). There are also letters soliciting aid. Mooney and Bayly corresponded in English, but the balance of the wartime papers are in French. The Mooney papers also include a limited number of family letters and records predating and postdating the war, including a letters patent issued by the U. S. Patent Office to Hester Mooney Bayly for a "useful improvement in hinge-locks," and a printed invitation to Lenore to attend a White House reception in 1903. Among the photographs in the collection are a number of identified snapshots of Charles E. Bayly, Jr., and his comrades in France.


  • Creation: 1887-1938
  • Creation: Majority of material found in ( 1917-1919)


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Lenore Mooney was born on 19 March 1859 in Edina, Missouri, the daughter of William R. Mooney and Mary Henry. She was the eleventh of sixteen children; among the siblings figuring in her correspondence are her brothers Will (1851-1937) and Harry (1865-1930), and her sisters Anabel (1863-1934) and Hester (1866-1949). In the 1890s Mooney worked as a clerk in the office of the Chicago Division of the U.S. Postal Inspector's Department. In 1898 she moved to Washington DC, to work in the same capacity for Chief Inspector George B. Hamlet. She left the Post Office in 1909. In 1902-03, 1910-12, and 1913-19, Mooney lived in Paris. Her fluency in French is evident from her correspondence, much of which is written in that language. An affidavit appended to her 1918 passport application states that "I came abroad in 1913 to study . . . . Soon after my arrival the war broke out and I immediately entered relief work and am sustaining my work." This work appears to have been carried on independently, and to have been consistent with the practice of "godmothering," as it was called during World War I, whereby a benefactress would "adopt" soldiers and others victimized by the war, writing and sending packages to provide moral and material support. Mooney filled a similar role for her nephew, Charles E. Bayly, Jr., a student at Princeton who served in France in 1917-18, first as a volunteer with the American Field Service and subsequently as sous-lieutenant in the French artillery. Bayly (b. 1897) was the son of Lenore's sister Hester and Charles E. Bayly, president of the Bayly-Underhill Manufacturing Co. of Denver, a maker of overalls. In 1919 Lenore Mooney returned to the United States, ultimately settling in Portland, Oregon with her sister Anabel and brother Will. She earned a teaching certificate for the Oregon public schools, served as editor of the Oregon Parent-Teacher magazine, and was active in various social causes (including pacifism). She died in Portland on 26 July 1941.


1.5 Cubic Feet (3 containers; 241 folders. )

Language of Materials




The correspondence and other papers of the American Lenore Mooney (1859-1941), dating especially from her time as a relief worker in Paris during World War I. There are many letters to Mooney from French soldiers and others victimized by the war, as well as a substantial correspondence with nephew Charles E. Bayly, Jr., an ambulance driver with the American Field Service who subsequently served as sous-lieutenant in the French army.


The Mooney papers are arranged in six series, as follows: 1. Miscellaneous Letters and Documents, 1888-1911; 2. Charles E. Bayly, Jr., Correspondence; 3. Miscellaneous War-related Letters and Documents; 4. Miscellaneous Postwar Letters and Documents; 5. Miscellaneous Envelopes; 6. Unused Postcards and Photographs.

Lenore Mooney Papers
Mairead O'Malley
August 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556