Special Collections

Collection ID: SP-2
Location: SP-2

(Description ID: 594095)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Aaron Du Bois


Biographical Sketch
Scope and Content

The collection was donated to the Hayes Presidential Center by Aaron Du Bois in 1962. For further information on the Van Horne family, see the Van Horne Family Collection (SP- 3), also donated by Du Bois.

Biographical Sketch
Born in 1877, Aaron Du Bois resided in Columbus, Ohio, and attended law school at The Ohio State University. He was admitted to the bar in 1902. He worked in the Columbus law office of Rutherford Hayes Platt, the son of William A. and Fanny Hayes Platt and nephew of President Rutherford B. Hayes. In 1924, Du Bois moved to Hollywood, California, and entered the law firm of his cousin, Judge William G. Van Horne of the International Court of Egypt. The firm specialized in real and probate law. Du Bois and cousins William and Elizabeth Van Horne lived with actor [John] Grant Mitchell, Jr.

Du Bois was related to the Mitchell family through ancestor Elisabeth McCullough Dye, wife of Stephen Dye. Their daughter Margaret married Thomas B. Van Horne. Following Dye’s death, Elisabeth McCullough Dye married Moses Grant Mitchell, father of General John Grant Mitchell. General John Grant Mitchell married Laura Platt, niece of President Rutherford B. Hayes.

While in Hollywood, Du Bois indulged in writing, a much loved hobby. He wrote several books including The Chaplain’s Daughter (1958) and Quiver of Arrows (1962). Du Bois also edited the 27th edition of Swan’s Treatise on the Laws of Ohio (1928) and two editions of the Giauques Manuals. Du Bois remained in Hollywood until his cousin Elizabeth died in 1958. He then returned to Ohio, residing in Dayton, where he wrote House of Van Du (1962). The volume chronicles Du Bois’ activities while living with Mitchell and his cousins in California.

Scope and Content
The collection consists of books, selected documents, photographs, correspondence, poems, clippings, and ephemera dating from 1771 to 1969 preserved by Aaron Du Bois. Perhaps most important are those items associated with the Van Horne family, ancestors of Aaron Du Bois, dating from before the Revolutionary War. Of particular note is the military discharge of William Van Horne signed by George Washington. Van Horne ancestors also served in the Civil War and Du Bois preserved some of these materials as well. Thomas Budd Van Horne was a chaplain in the Civil War and later author of The Life of Major General George H. Thomas and The Army of the Cumberland. Du Bois also preserved selected materials from his contemporaries.

For conservation reasons, some documents were removed from the scrapbook in Box 1. The materials were placed in enclosures and in Box 2. Documents associated with each family are filed together. An itemized inventory lists each document in the collection. Artifacts were transferred to the Museum. Books were transferred to the general collection; however, duplicate copies of Du Bois’ works are housed in Box 2.

Ac. 2244
ca. 235 items

Box 1

1. Scrapbook containing miscellaneous letters and documents.
2. The Grand Army: Song & Chorus, inscribed "Miss Lizzie Van Horne from Genl G. H. Thomas"

Box 2

1. Van Horne Correspondence, 1779 - 1904
2. Van Horne Family Documents, 1771 - 1923
3. Van Horne Family Obituaries
4. DuBois Family Genealogy
5. DuBois Family Correspondence, 1922-1962
5. Materials associated with John Grant Mitchell, Jr.
6. Miscellaneous Materials
7. Photographs and Prints

Copies of the following published works were transferred to the general collection. Duplicates of The Chaplain’s Daughter and Quiver of Arrows may be found in Box 2.

  • House of Van Du (1962)
  • The Chaplain’s Daughter (1958)
  • Quiver of Arrows (1962)
  • A Treatise on the Laws of Ohio (1926)
  • A Manual for Notaries Public (1928)
  • Historical Souvenir of Franklin (1913)
  • Name and Family of Du Bois (1962 ?)


ADKINS, Brooks to ADB, April 24, 1962

ANDERSON, W. H. to ADB, April 13, 1922

BARADA, Fan & Sidi to ADB, n.d. [birthday card]

BRIDGE, Pierce H. to ADB, August 14, 1962

BRIDGES, William to ADB, August 29, 1962

BUTLER, Benjamin to Gen. George H. Thomas, March 14, 1867

CATTON, Bruce to ADB, August 8, 1960

CAZIAR, Louis V. to Thos. B. Van Horne, November 1, 1870

COHAN, George M. and HARRIS, Sam H. to Grant Mitchell, December 18, 1914

EVANS, Belle Buchanan to Mrs. Thos. B. Van Horne (Maggie), April 22, 1904
[Dye Family genealogy]

FROST, Lowell C.
To "My Dear Miss Van Horne," February 10, 1944
To ADB, July 12, 1962

GREGORY, Samuel O., to [T.] B. Van Horne, November 18, 1864

HAMMOND, George P. to ADB, February 10, 1961

HARDING, Forrest to ADB, May 18, 1922 (2)

HART, Thornley to ADB, August 28, 1962

HASTINGS, Frances & Russell to ADB, n.d.

HAY, John to Thomas Kearns, April 22, 1902 (carbon copy)

HILL, Charles W. to Thos. B. Van Horne, July 10, 1862

HODGES, Burt T. To ADB, March 16, 1959

HOUGEN, Richard T. to ADB, September 11, 1962

HOWE, Thomas C. to ADB, August 21, 1962

HULL, Gen. William to "Sir" [Capt. Brush], August 4, 1812

JAY, John to Rev. William Van Horne, July 6, 1779

JOHNSTON, John to Thos. B. Van Horne, September 24, 1851

KELLEY, Florence Josephine
To ADB, November 16, 1959
To ADB, November 27, 1959 [postcard]
To [ADB], April 5, 1960

LINCOLN, Robert T. to Thos. B. Van Horne, February 26, 1885

To [Aaron] DB, n.d.
To ADB, June 15, 1960

To ADB, April 9, 1959 [also carbon copy]
To ADB, September 17, 1962

MERITT, R. V., to Lt.Col Thos. B. Van Horne, December 2, 1813

"PETE" to "You sweetie pie, angel darling" n.d.

PLATT, Joseph S. to ADB, August 23, 1962

ROGERS, William, Jr. to "Dear Brother" [William Van Horne], November 14, 1771

RUSSELL, Lillian to Grant Mitchell, October 4, n.y.

SHOFFNER, H. G. & CHAMBERLIN, Helen to ADB, September 10, 1962 [postcard]

SKINNER, Cornelia Otis to Grant Mitchell, n.d.

SMITH, Mary E. to ADB, August 23, 1962 [postcard]

SWAN, Joseph R. to ADB, Dec. 23, 1929

SWIFT, Richard to ADB, n.d.

THOMAS, George H. to Thos. B. Van Horne, February 28, 1869

TOWNSEND, E.D., to Thos. B. Van Horne, November 1, 1867

To Mrs. Sophia Van Horne, July 28, 1812
To Mrs. Sophia Van Horne, March 24, 1814
To "Dear Jon," March 4, 1840

VAN HORNE, William E.
To Watt P. Marchman, June 19, 1969 (notation by WPM at bottom of letter)
To Watt P. Marchman, November 22, 1969

WHIPPLE, William D., to Thos. B. Van Horne, March 28, 1864

WILSON, Edna (Mrs. Francis) to Grant Mitchell, May 5, 1951

WOOD, Theodore J. & HOOKER, J(oseph) to Thos. B. Van Horne, November 15, 1872

WOOD, Theodore J.
To Thos. B. Van Horne, October 26, 1887
To Thos B. Van Horne, August 30, 1889 [Amsterdam, Netherlands]


–Rev. William Van Horne’s license to preach, signed by Samuel Jones, et al., August 13, 1771.
–Document signed by Isaac Eaton, et al., on behalf of the Baptist Church, Southampton, Pa.,
  accepting Rev. William Van Horne as their minister, May 29, 1772.
–William Van Horne’s diploma from College of Providence, Rhode Island [Brown University],
  September 7, 1774.
–Rev. Van Horne’s appointment as chaplain of the 1st Battalion of Bucks County, Pa., July 8, 1776
  [signed by John Morton, speaker of Pennsylvania General Assembly].
–Extract from the minutes of the Continental Congress resolving that William Van Horne be
  appointed chaplain and assigned to Gen. Glover’s Brigade, June 30. 1779. [including xerox copy]
–Rev. William Van Horne’s discharge from the Continental Army, 1780 signed by George Washington.
–Document signed by Stephen Hopkins and Rev. James Manning appointing William Van Horne to
  collect monies for the college at Providence, Rhode Island, June 22, 1784.
–Letter of recommendation to a new church for Rev. William Van Horne signed in behalf of the Church
  of Christ, Southampton, Pa., by Joseph Hart, et al., December 10, 1785.
–Letter of recommendation for Rev. William Van Horne signed in behalf of the Church of Christ,
  Scottish Plains, New Jersey, September 6, 1795.
–Bill of sale for a slave, Thos. Osborn, to William Van Horne, 1804.
–Document signed by David Todd, Governor of Ohio, appointing Thos. B. Van Horne chaplain
  of the 13th Regt., O. V. I., July 10, 1862.
–Certificate from the Adjutant General’s Office showing that Thos. B. Van Horne was enlisted as
  chaplain of the 13th Regt., O. V. I., May 28, 1907.
–Passports, Elizabeth Van Horne, August 10, 1918, and January 16, 1920.
–Passports, William Grant Van Horne, August 5, 1902; May 29, 1918; and March 6, 1923.
–Marriage certificate of Aaron S. Du Bois and Elizabeth Van Horne, August 9, 1913.
–Thos. B. Van Horne’s application for membership in the Society of the Sons of the American
–Revolution, n.d.

Miscellaneous Items:

–Three obituary notices of the death of Col. Thos. B. Van Horne, [1841]
–Obituary notice of the death of Elizabeth Van Horne, 1858.
–Obituary notice of the death of W. S. Van Horne, n.d.
–Obituary notice of the death of T. G. V. Dubois, 1898.
–Obituary notice of the death of Sarah T. Van Horne [Mrs. William A.], 1883.
–Obituary of the death of Harriet L. Moore [wife of John L. Moore and daughter of
  Col. Thos. B. Van Horne], 1886.
–Obituary notice of the death of Mrs. Lavinia Van Horne, 1837.
–Obituary notice of the death of Mrs. Sophia Van Horne [Mrs. Thos. B.], 1828.
–Obituary notice of the death of Thos. B. Van Horne, April 6, 1895.
–Two obituary notices of the death of Henrietta Chapeze Houston [second wife of
  Thos. B. Van Horne], 1883.
–Two obituary notices of the death of Rev. Thos. B. Van Horne, n.d.
–Obituary notice of the death of Margaret Van Horne [Mrs. T. B. ], 1900.
–Obituary notice of the death of Alice Cornelia Gorman, n.d.
–Obituary notice of the death of Mrs Fanny P. B. Little, n.d.
–Two obituary notices of the death of William Grant Van Horne, 1932.
–Obituary notice of the death of Aaron Smock Du Bois, 1901.
–Obituary notice of Sophia Carmichael Van Horne, July, 1904.
–Newspaper clipping, "Old Franklin School Bell to be Landmark," n.d.
–Copy of the poem, "The Old School Bell in Franklin," taken from A. Du Bois’ book,
  A Quiver of Arrows (1962).
–Prose entitled: "3 Is The Lucky Number if Virgo Is Your Sign It’s Happy Birthday to Me
  We[!]re Off for a Good Time."
Poem about the Boone Tavern/Hotel, Berea, Kentucky.
–Poem entitled: " The Stephen Foster Story."
–Christmas card from Dudley and Mary Digges; typed verse on inside of card, probably
  written by Aaron Du Bois.
–Picture labeled Lady Adams.
–Note card with initials ETH.
–Newspaper clipping entitled: "One Hundred Years Ago," 1871.
–Invitation from the Pacha of Egypt to Mr. & Mrs. William Grant Van Horne, October 9, 1919.
–Early copy of the "Star Spangled Banner," n.d.
–Newspaper clipping from Hollywood Daily Citizen, January 24, 1931.
–Newspaper clipping entitled: "Poets and Pupils Debate Meaning," December, n.y.
–Christmas card from Patty, John, Betty and Harry Owings.
–Newspaper clipping entitled: "Chinese Collection," n.d.
–Cover pages from the June 4, 11, and September 17, 1962 issues of Newsweek.
–Advertisement from the Fayetteville [Arkansas] Female Institution, Mrs. & Mrs. Thos. B.
  Van Horne, principals, 1858.
–Two pieces of prose written by and initialed ETH.
–Advertisement for the play "A Tailor-Made Man," n.d.
–Brochure from the Rutherford B. Hayes State Memorial.
–Segment of an article entitled: "Five Men and What They Have Said about the Advertising Council."
–Item on Dye Family genealogy.
–Four items on the Van Horne Family genealogy.
–Dye Family genealogy, 3 pp.
–Newspaper clipping of the Banning-McCook marriage ceremonies, n.d.
–Newspaper clipping about Alfred Kelley’s house in Columbus, Ohio, n.d.
–Acknowledgment of contribution from Veterans Administration Center, August 1, 1962.
–Nine assorted postcards.
–Original copy of "The Grand Army Song and Chorus" (1868) by H. M. Millard. Autographed:
  "To Lizze [Elizabeth] Van Horne"; signed by Gen. George H. Thomas.
–Two unframed prints entitled: " Industrie Americaine" and "Guglielmo Tell," n.d.
–Persian medal and case presented to William Grant Van Horne with his name inscribed on back
  [transferred to Museum].
–Unframed picture of the cast of the motion picture series "Blondie," n.d.
–A Few Facets of Life, 1962. [autographed copy with pictures].
–One copy of Elizabeth Collette’s book, Journey to the Promised Land: Journal of Elizabeth
  Van Horne 1807
(Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, 1939) [autographed copy]
–Flyers for Aaron Du Bois’s book, The House of Van Du[A vignette biography of the stage
  and screen actor Grant Mitchell].
–Biographical sketch of Col. Thos. B. Van Horne taken from The History of Warren County,
(1882) [Xeroxed copy].
–Newpaper clipping entitled: "Forthcoming Books," n.d.
–Newspaper Clipping about Thos. B. Van Horne’s book, The Life of Major General George H.
(1882), n.d.
–Short poem entitled: "Putting My House in Order."
–Poem entitled: "Elizabeth’s Garden" taken from A Quiver of Arrows (1962) by Aaron Du Bois.
–Facsimile of the Declaration of Independence.
–Genealogical item on the Du Bois Family of New York and New Jersey.
–Memorial leaflet from funeral services of Elizabeth Van Horne, 1958.
–Pamphlet entitled: "In Memoriam" [Edward R. S. Canby], April 14, 1873.