Charles Catlett Papers Finding Aid


Charles Catlett Papers Finding Aid


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum staff






The Charles Catlett Papers cover Mr. Catlett’s association with the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace from 1912 to 1938. There are 114 pieces arranged chronologically within two groups. The collection is housed in eight folders in a document box in the archives.


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Birthplace


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum


Cataloging of archival materials




The papers are in chronological order within each group

Biography or History

Charles Catlett was born in Staunton, Virginia, August 18, 1865, the son of Richard Henry and Mary Mercer (Patton) Catlett. He was educated at Hoover Military Academy and the University of Virginia, graduating in 1887 and specializing in chemistry.

In November, 1890 he married Bessie Marye Hunton and they became the parents of three daughters and one son. He was employed as an assistant chemist with U.S. Geological Survey, 1887-1889 and opened a private chemistry laboratory in Staunton in 1892. He devoted his attention largely to examination and report on developed and undeveloped mineral properties mainly in southern states for numerous large steel companies and railroads.

He held memberships in a number of professional organizations and was Chief of Refractories and Raw Materials Section of the War Industries Board as a “dollar a year” man under President Roosevelt.

He died in Staunton, where he made his home, in October, 1945 and is buried in Thornrose Cemetery.



Other Descriptive Data

Container List

Folder Description

1 Plans for reception, 25 November-December, 1912 (31)
2 Plans for reception and gift, 11-20 December, 1912 (35)
3 Plans for presentation of gift, 21-30 December, 1912 (9)
4 Expenses, etc. 1-17 January, 1913; Undated (6)
5 Memorabilia, (4)

6 Incoming and outgoing correspondence 1929, 1931 concerning creation of national shrine, reaction to “Wilson” film, acquisition of Manse property. (14)
7 Incoming and outgoing correspondence, 1934, dealing with upkeep of property, donations of W.W. material (7)
8 Incoming and outgoing correspondence, 1935, 1938 concerning original site and size of Manse property and miscellaneous letters. (8)

Scope and Content

The Charles Catlett Papers are made up principally of correspondence and are arranged in two groups. The first group deals with preparations for the Woodrow Wilson Homecoming visit to Staunton in 1912. Catlett, a prominent businessman, was a member of the committee making arrangements and was in charge of selecting and obtaining an appropriate gift for the president-elect. His correspondence with members of the Wilson family and Ellen D. Stuart, the artist who painted the miniatures of Dr. and Mrs. Wilson, is in this group. There is a folder containing memorabilia of the Wilson visit including White House instructions and a menu of the Birthday Dinner.

The second group contains references to acquisition of the Manse property and various business matters from 1929 to 1938.

The papers are in chronological order within each group and are housed in a document box in the archives.

Students of the Wilson period will find the first group of special interest.

There are no restrictions on use of the collection.


Catlett Finding aid.pdf


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum staff, “Charles Catlett Papers Finding Aid,” 1912-1938, FA000111, Charles Catlett Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.

Archival Finding Aid