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Waldo family papers and the Waldo Travel Agency records

Identifier: 00042

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of personal correspondence, notes, reports, and financial records. The majority of these relate to Mortimer Waldo's activities in Russia and Finland from 1916 to 1918.

Letters to family and friends written from 1916 to 1917 describe life in Siberia and comment on the political situation in the United States and the entry of the U.S. into the First World War. Later letters (1918) concentrate on the Finnish Civil War. Those dating from after 1919 primarily relate to Waldo's business travels for the Novo Engine Company and REO Motors, but also include personal letters from friends in Russia, Finland, Germany, and Japan.

Waldo's personal notebooks include observations on the Russian Revolution, international affairs, and war, informal reviews of books he read, notes made during his travels through Finland in 1918, and lists of personal expenses.

The official records relating to his YMCA service and his term as Vice-Counsel are few, but there are several reports prepared by Waldo. The most important of these recommended that the Allies recognize an independent Finland, and was used by the historian Samuel E. Morison in his report to the U.S. Department of State on the Peace Settlement.


  • Creation: 1904 - 1991

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Some materials are restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Mortimer A. Waldo (1891-1963) grew up in the Lansing, Michigan area. After graduating from Adrian College, he pursued law studies at Yale University, but left in 1916, before completing this degree, to work with the Red Cross and the Young Men's Christian Association Prisoner's Aid Society in Omsk, Central Russia. There he supervised the construction of barracks, distributed Red Cross supplies, and made contacts between the prisoners and their families until the outbreak of the Russian Revolution. From March through October 1918, he served as American Vice Counsel in Helsingfors, Finland. After World War I, Waldo resettled in Lansing and worked as an export agent for the Novo Engine Company and REO Motors. In 1931, he founded the Waldo Travel Agency with the cooperation of the J.W. Knapp Department Stores.


7 Cubic Feet (7 Boxes & 3 Volumes on shelf)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Mrs. Mortimer A. Waldo, 1966-06-00.

Transfer from CADL

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Waldo Family Papers and Waldo Travel Agency Records
3 Ready For Cataloging
M. Patton
September 1982
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US