Manuscript Group 1382, Gleason-Moore Family Papers, 1910’s – 1950’s

Archives Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Manuscript Group 1382, Gleason-Moore Family

Papers, 1910’s – 1950’s, 2.5 linear feet / 11 boxes

Call Number: MG 1382


Papers of the Gleason-Moore family of New Jersey particularly, Emma Searles O’Neil and Albert J. Gleason (b. ca. 1867) and their daughter, Dorothy Beatrice Gleason Moore (b. 1905).  Primarily financial records concerning the Drake Secretarial Schools, which they family owned.  Also includes contracts, deeds, photographs, ephemera of the family and patents, catalogs, and contracts concerning the Gleason Doll Manufacturing Company of Jersey City and the “Lovey Mary” doll which they produced.

Gift and bequest of Deedee Moore, 1995, 2001.

Biographical Note: (From notes taken when the collection was donated.)

Albert J. Gleason was born ca. 1867 in Michigan and Emma Searles O’Neil was born in upstate New York (date unknown at this time).  Miss O’Neil moved to Michigan with her sister and attended the Muskegon School in Michigan.  This is where the couple met and were married in 1898.

Albert and Emma Gleason purchased the Drake Secretarial School from its founder, William E. Drake (he founded the school in 1883) around 1898-1899.  At that time the school was in New Jersey, but the Gleasons expanded the school and its educational offerings.  They built additional schools in Union City, Jersey City, Bayonne, Newark, and Orange, New Jersey.

Besides owning and managing the Drake Secretarial Schools, Emma Gleason was also a graduate of the Jersey City Business College in 1900.  Albert J. Gleason owned and operated the Gleason Doll Manufacturing Company of Jersey City and patented, among other designs, a doll entitled “Lovey Mary” in 1913.  He also owned the Merchants & Bankers College of Jersey City sometime during the first quarter of the 20th century.

Dorothy Beatrice Gleason was born in Jersey City in 1905.  In 1909, when Dorothy was to begin attending kindergarten, Emma felt that there were not any adequate schools in the area.  Being a teacher herself, she decided to begin her own kindergarten class consisting of other neighborhood children.  Dorothy graduated from her mother’s school in June 1910.  She was also a 1923 graduate of Miss Beard’s School for Girls (Orange, New Jersey), a 1928 graduate of Mouth Holyoke College, and 1935 graduate of Columbia University.  She met her future husband, William C. Moore, while he taught at the Drake School(s) during the 1930s.  Dorothy and William Moore later had a daughter, Deedee Moore.

Emma and Albert Gleason separated in 1924 while their daughter was studying at Mount Holyoke during her freshman year.  After Albert visited his daughter to tell her of the family news, he then visited his family in Michigan and later changed his will to exclude his wife and daughter from receiving any money or properties from the Drake Schools.  Dorothy left Holyoke for one year to attend to legal matters – her mother was attempting to have the new will changed by declaring Albert Gleason insane.  The outcome was that non-family partners in the school received ownership of the New York schools, while the Gleasons were able to retain all the New Jersey schools.

In 1926, Dorothy and her mother declared Albert Gleason missing and began a search through the East Orange Police Department.  Later that same year, Albert’s body was found in the Hudson River.

Dorothy and William Moore continued to own and maintain the Drake Schools (which included Drake Secretarial College, Drake Business School, Drake Kindergarten, Drake College, and others).  Deedee Moore, their daughter did not have much involvement with the schools, though was listed as the “President” of the corporation sometime in the past.  The Moores sold their share of the schools sometime in the 1960s.

Related Materials:

Book Collection:

A Dictionary of Modern English Usage by H. W. Fowler, published by Oxford University Press, 1934.  Stamped with “Drake Secretarial College” and signed by W. C. Moore (William C. Moore). (Call Number: currently uncatalogued)

Museum Collections:

Bentwood table with six chairs used in Drake Kindergarten (1996.5.1 a-i)

Corporate seal – “D. G. Corporation/Inc. N.J./1938” (1996.5.2)

Gold class ring, Class of 1923 from Miss Beard’s School, East Orange.  “DBG” is engraved on inside, “22” on the outside (1996.5.3)

Chalkboard, ca. 1909-1910, used by Miriam Gemmel in “Mrs. Gleason’s Kindergarten” (1996.5.4)

3 large American flags used at a New Jersey Drake School (46 stars), ca. 1986-1907 (1996.5.5-7)

Small American flag used at a New Jersey Drake School (48 stars), ca. 1912-1959 (1996.6.8)

“Lovey Mary” doll with dress (L2001.2.4)

Clothing: 2 pairs of lace cuffs, pair of black crocheted gloves, 2 pairs of white crocheted gloves, pair of crocheted cuffs, lace collar, dotted Swiss blouse with lace insert (early 20th century), cotton blouse (early 20th century), black and white blouse (early 20th century), black taffeta long skirt (early 20th century), pair of white felt button spats, pair of brown felt button spats, peach lace wedding dress with taffeta slip an belt, black silk chemise dress, and black lace gown. (L2001.1.2.5-20)

Prom dress, ca. 1958, worn at Teaneck High School prom when donor accompanied her father.  Red taffeta with ivory lace and rhinestone collar, capped sleeves, and red bow at shoulder (1996.20.1)

Black knit beaded dress, ca. 1920s, worn by Dorothy Gleason Moore. (1996.20.2)

Toy car, ca. 1905-1910.  Owned by Miriam (Mimi) Gemmel, a close friend of Dorothy Gleason Moore. (1996.20.3)

Child’s sled, owned and used by Dorothy Gleason Moore as a child. (1996.20.4)

Mirror, image of Alfred Gleason on reverse, ca. 1900-1910 (1996.20.5)

Mirror, image of Emma Gleason on reverse, ca. 1900-1910 (1996.20.6)

Handkerchief, owned by Alfred Gleason, has monogram “AJG”, ca. 1900-1925 (1996.20.7)

Locket, contains a black and white photograph of Dorothy Gleason Moore as a child (ca. 1909-1910), belonged to Emma Gleason (1996.20.8)

Child’s books – Cat’s Cradle & Bunny Cottontail, ca. 1905-1910. Owned and used by Dorothy Gleason Moore (1996.20.9-10)

Gold pin from Drake Secretarial College, “DSC” (1996.20.11)

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