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Mary Frances Tompkins Danser Correspondence

Identifier: SC MS 0134

Scope and Contents

252 handwritten letters some with envelopes written by various family members to Mary Frances Tompkins who worked for Coca-Cola company in Atlanta, Georgia many times requesting financial support. Her sister Sarah also worked for Coca-Cola. In 1934 Mary changes jobs and goes to Coca-Cola Export in Wilmington, Delaware. Coca-Cola Corporation headquarters is in Atlanta, Georgia but is incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware. The various addresses on the envelopes: Mrs. O.L. Reese, 20 Reese St., Carrollton, GA.; Mrs. K.R. Tompkins, 118 Ellawood Ave., Cedartown, GA & Rt. 4 Douglasville, GA; Mary Tompkins, ℅ Coca Cola Co., Box 1734, Atlanta, GA.; Coca-Cola Export - Dupont Building, Wilmington, Delaware; Coca-Cola Bottling Sales Co., P.O. Drawer 972, Wilmington, Delaware.


  • Creation: 1918-1937


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Access Restrictions: Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Use Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

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Biographical / Historical

Mary Frances Reid Tompkins was born February 17, 1908 in Carrollton, Georgia of a prominant family fallen on hard times. Her correspondence family members were her mother Mrs. K. R. Tompkins, a teacher; grandmother Mrs. Oscar L. Reese, wife (Mary Frances Reid) of the mayor of Carrollton; Aline Reese Blondner, a successful musician and educator in Nashville, TN whose parents were Rev. Augustus Frances Reese and Celeste Dewell and sister to Oscar L., Mary attended Belmont College according to a letter from her great-aunt Aline Reese Blondner. In her late teens Mary began to work in Atlanta, Georgia with Coca-Cola. From the gist of the correspondence addressed to her, she apparently was a financial source to her mother and younger siblings - Sarah and Ben and Paul and Grandma who was Mary Frances Reid Reese/Mrs. Oscar L. Reese. Oscar L. Reese (1848-1941 was a U.S. Commissioner in Georgia admitted to the bar in 1867, married in 1875 to Mary Frances Reid (1855 - 193?) of LaGrange, Georgia. She was daughter of Alexander Reid and Frances Whitfield. The Oscar Reeses had five children: Dewel, Dave, W.E. "Bill" (married to Myrtice) worked for U.S. Post Office, P.W. "Pete" worked for Panama Railroad and Kate married in 1909 to Joe Tompkins. Oscar enlisted in the Confederate Army 1861 eventually serving on the border of South Carolina and Georgia. He was Carrollton's mayor 1885-1889. Mary's brothers attended Mt. Berry Boys Industrial School. Eventually her sister Sarah joined her at Coca-Cola. From the tone of the letters, Mary was popular having many friends and many activities. Some of the letters refer to her boyfriends with Grandma's requests to meet them. She also worked for the Atlanta Journal as a feature writer. Her activities included the arts, classical music, gardening, tennis and reading. In 1939, she married Lowry S. Danser, Lehigh Class of 1933 where he was involved with Delta Tau Delta fraternity and the swim team. He was a successful chemical engineer with E.I. DuPont de Nemours. Together they traveled widely in his position with DuPont and acquired valuable artwork and pottery which they donated to the University's art galleries. They were generous benefactors of Lehigh establishing the Mary T. and Lowry S. Danser '33 Gift Annuity during their lifetime. Mary Tompkins Danser died March 9, 2004 in Media, Pennsylvania. She was a member of the Cross County Garden Club judging flower arrangements, the Rittenhouse Square committee for the Philadelphia Orchestra, council of the Delaware Art Museum, and board member of Girls, Inc. of Delaware. On Mr. Danser's death in 2007, his estate gift to the University established the Mary T. and Lowry S. Danser Distinguished Faculty Chair in Chemistry. They were members of the Asa Packer Society and Tower Society.


1 Linear Feet (2 boxes)


Correspondence from a number of Tompkins family members to Mary Frances Tompkins. In the hard economic times between the World Wars, Mary Tompkins had risen to an secure position with Coca-Cola in Atlanta (Ga.) Her position at Coca-Cola established her as a source of financial support for her family during the interwar years and Depression Era until her siblings could support themselves. Later on, she married Lowry S. Danser, Lehigh Class of 1933 in 1939.


The 252 letters are in folders filed in two archival boxes in chronological order and several with no dates filed in the last folder.

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Danser estate through Lorraine Wiedorn, Development Office, in 2008.

Mary Frances Tompkins Danser Correspondence
Eleanor Nothelfer and John Huang
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Lehigh University Library and Technology Services.

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)