Riverside Public Library

Riverside Public Library

The Mary Elizabeth Darling Collection


The collection consists mainly of three scrapbooks compiled by Darling during the first half of the twentieth century. The items in the collection offer a snapshot of Darling's life as an active participant in various women's clubs. They also provide a brief look at activities and citizens of Riverside.

The scrapbooks are in various states of deterioration-especially scrapbooks one and three. Some of the pages have broken from their bindings, and the edges are crumbling. Scrapbook three is wrapped in acid-free paper, and secured with Velcro wraps. Due to the fragile nature of the materials in the collection, photocopying is not permitted.

The collection is one linear foot and is contained in one box.

Biographical Note

Mary Elizabeth Darling (maiden name Foster), wife of citrus grower, Lorenzo Franklin Darling, came to Riverside for a visit in 1886, returning permanently in 1888. Perhaps born in 1852, Darling may have been from or near the vicinity of Boston. The obituary of Lorenzo Darling states that he taught school in Medford and other suburbs of Boston. Scrapbook one of this collection has a small newspaper clipping of Mary Darling's visit to Cambridge, Massachusetts where she had a brother.

A visit to Boston in 1890 would have a decided impact on Mary Darling and her involvement with women's clubs. During that visit, she attended some meetings of women's organizations. When she returned, her comments prompted a group of local women to form a club. In 1893, they adopted a constitution and by-laws, naming the group Socorro, based on the ideas of mutual assistance, fellowship, and intellectual growth. Mary Elizabeth became the first president of this club. When the Riverside Woman's Club was founded in 1896, she became leader of its first class which focused on art. She later served as the RWC president during the 1899-1900 club year. In 1902, as president of the district, she founded the Extemporaneous Drill Club as requested by the president of the California Federation of Women's Clubs, Kate Bulkley. The club formed for the study of parliamentary procedures and formal debates. The group changed its name in 1910 to the Wednesday Club. From this organization, Darling helped found a local historical society in 1903. That year, she also began to serve as president of the C.F.W.C., a post she held until 1904.

Mary E. Darling participated in other organizations. In 1898, she helped organize the first Red Cross Society in Riverside, serving on the executive committee and later as a vice president. She also was involved in the Riverside Writer's Club, writing a travel story, "One Place After Another." Her interests, and the scrapbooks she created to preserve them, came to an end upon her death on 22 January 1950.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of two series. Series I is divided into three folders. Folder 1/scrapbook one has a pasted paper on its cover which partially reads, "Thirty to forty years clippings of women's clubs in Riverside and the career of Mrs. L.F. Darling." The scrapbook contains newsprint clippings, programs from various women's clubs, telegrams, and some minor correspondence between Frank Miller and the Santa Fe Railroad, for instance. These items include information on the Socorro Cub, the Riverside Woman's Club, the Wednesday Club, the California Federation of Women's Clubs, and the Red Cross. Of special interest are the newspaper accounts of Darling's speeches to different organizations. The scrapbook ranges from 1893 - 1939, with many more items from 1896 - 1906-from the foundation of the RWC to just after Darling stepped down as president of the state organization. Folder 2 is another scrapbook, mostly a collection of newspaper obituaries from the late 1930s to 1940, with some items outside this date range. This scrapbook also includes newspaper clippings of retirement notices, the fiftieth anniversary of Riverside County, the citrus industry, and an attempt to establish a silk culture on the Rubidoux rancho. Of special interest is a clipping of a 1939 article by John Collier, commissioner of Indian affairs, regarding the work of Stella Atwood, as a women's club member for Native American interests. Folder 3/scrapbook 3 dates from the first half of the twentieth century, with most items from the 1930s and 1940s. the scrapbook has mainly newspaper clippings-with some clippings pasted over others. Other items include photographs, tickets, programs, and typewritten reports. Topics in this scrapbook range widely, and include the Mission Inn, the Riverside Junior College, the citrus industry, parks, aviation, the Red Cross, opera, and the Sherman school. Items of special interest in this scrapbook include a newspaper reprinting of an 1876 letter regarding life in Riverside; an article by Frank Miller Hutchings, grandson of Frank Miller, relating his travels on the Zeppelin Hindenburg in 1937; and various clippings of Isabella Hutchings as opera singer, Bella Vermilye.

Series II consists of one folder with items dating from the 1930s to 1950. It has reproductions of some items from scrapbook 3, including brief articles on the Riverside Writer's Club, the Chaparral Poets, and Women's Clubs of Riverside. The folder does not contain a complete photocopy record of everything in the collection. One original item is the typewritten note from the Riverside County Federation of Women's Clubs, dated 17 February 1950, concerning their resolution of sympathy with the death of Darling. This note originally was paper-clipped to the front of scrapbook 3.

Brief List of Scrapbooks

Scrapbook I

"Thirty to forty years clippings of women's clubs in Riverside and the career of Mrs. L.F. Darling."
Scrapbook with newspaper clippings, invitations, programs, telegrams, and some incidental correspondence between Darling and Frank Miller, George Frost, the Santa Fe Railroad, etc. Holographic table of contents sheet loose at front. (Red cloth)

Scrapbook II

1893 - 1949
Scrapbook consists mostly of newspaper obituaries from the 1940s. Some holographic notes seem to bear erroneous dates. Includes a portrait of W.A. Purington. Typewritten index has been inserted at front. (Black leatherette)

Scrapbook III

1889 - 1950
Scrapbook with newspaper clippings, programs, tickets, postcards, photographs, and typescripts. Portraits include those of the Frank Miller family, Darling, Captain Henry Pattee (of March Field), etc. Photographs document social events at the Mission Inn and local Red Cross functions.

Typescripts include the following:

Trees, by S.L. Wright (p.10)
Aurentia Chapter, D.A.R., by Julia Maria Tallman (p.59)
Press Enterprise, author unknown; MS incomplete (pp.61-64)
P.E.O. Sisterhood, author unknown (p.67)
Women's Clubs of Riverside, by M.E. Darling (p.73)
Avery Edwin Field , by A.E. Field (p.79)
Chaparral Poets, by Louina Van Norman (p.80)
Riverside Writer's Club, Louina Van Norman (p.82)

Most items date from the late 1930s and the 1940s.
(Paper cover with nature scene enclosed in acid-free paper.)


late 1930s to 1950
10 items
Reproductions on acid-free paper of typescripts in Scrapbook III. Resolution of sympathy concerning Darling's death passed by the Riverside County Federation of Women's Clubs on 17 February 1950.

Series Description

Series I: Scrapbooks

Folder 1: Scrapbook of Mary E. Darling's career and the early activities of various women's clubs in Riverside, 1893 - 1939.

Folder 2: Obituary scrapbook, late 1930s - 1940s.

Folder 3: Scrapbook of various activities and people related to Riverside.
1889 - 1949.

Series II: Duplications and supplemental

Folder 1: Photocopies (fourteen pages) and one typewritten item.
1930s - 1950.

Related Collections

The Riverside Woman's Club Collection


Ethan Allen Chase scrapbook. Volume 1. 1916 - 1917.

Gabbert, John Raymond. History of Riverside City and County. Riverside: Record Publishing Co., 1935.


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