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John R. Drexel III and Alice Troth Drexel papers

Identifier: MC-00-071

Scope and content note

This collection consists of five series: Books, Correspondence and Personal Papers, Ephemera, Objects, and Photographs.

The first series, Books, 1881-1921, contains scrapbooks, notebooks, and the log of Alice and John Drexel’s yacht, the Sultana, as well as two copies of Henry Troth: Sept. 4, 1794-May 22, 1842, a privately published book about Alice Troth’s grandfather.

The second series, Correspondence and personal papers, 1812-1975, contains mostly personal letters between John R. Drexel III, Alice Troth Drexel, Elizabeth Thompson Drexel, and John R. Drexel Jr. There are some legal documents to John R. Drexel III about his inheritance from his grandmother, and custody and divorce papers of his parents. There are also a few files on wills, probates and estate matters of Alice Troth Drexel, Anthony J. Drexel, and Emilia Brinton Grant, a relative of Elizabeth Thompson Drexel. Of note are letters concerning the last days of Anthony J. Drexel’s life from his attending physician Dr. A. Grunberger and his friend John H. Harjes.

The third series, Ephemera, 1886-1970, contains items such as postcards, magazine and newspaper clippings, wedding invitations, Drexel reunion programs and an open house brochure, and seal impressions, as well as an abstract of the Cristobal Colon ship’s log at the time of the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

The fourth series Objects, 1888-1988, contains items most likely belonging to John R. Drexel III and his father John R. Drexel Jr., as well as a medal belonging to his uncle Gordon Drexel. There are daguerreotypes, miniature portraits with locks of hair, coins and currency, keys, a coin purse, cufflinks, and pencils. Monogrammed with JRD and JRD III are a wallet, belt buckles, and a Zippo lighter. Also included in this series are medals and a bookmark from the beatification of St. Katharine Drexel in November 1988, and the seal of Drexel bearing the motto “Perserverando”.

The fifth series, Photographs, 1901-1980, contains black and white photographs of various members of the Drexel, Thompson, and Troth families. There is also a file on the portraits of John Roset and Mary Ann Laning, whose daughter Ellen married the banker Anthony J. Drexel. There are a few files of unidentified males, females, and children, as well as interior and exterior shots of a mansion. Formats for the graphic material vary as well, with cabinet cards, cartes de visite and a small painting.


  • 1812-1988

Biographical Note

Alice Gordon Troth (1866-1947) married John R. Drexel Sr. (1863-1935), the eldest son of Anthony J. Drexel (1826-1893) and Ellen Rozet (1832-1891). Alice and John Sr. had four children, but the oldest daughter died at a young age. Their eldest son John R. Drexel Jr. “Jack” (1890-1936) married Elizabeth Thompson (1896-1943), and had only one child, John R. Drexel III “Sonny” (1919-2007).

Alice Gordon Troth, born in 1865, was the daughter of William Penn Troth and the former Clara Sharpless Townsend of Philadelphia. Alice and John lived in Philadelphia, New York, and Rhode Island. In 1921, Alice and John left New York for Paris. Alice was close to her grandson John R. Drexel III who spent summers with her in France. When she died in 1947, she left her entire estate to her grandson.

Born in New York City, John R. Drexel III was educated at St. Mark’s School and Harvard College. He married Noreen Stonor, the daughter of Lord and Lady Camoys of Stonor Park, Henley, England, at the beginning of World War II. John R. Drexel III died April 13, 2007 at 87 years old at his home in Newport, R.I. from heart failure. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Noreen, his son John Drexel IV, his daughters Noreen O’Farell and Pamela Drexel, his brother David Drexel, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.



1.67 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Arranged into 5 series:

1. Books 2. Correspondence and personal papers 3. Ephemera 4. Objects 5. Photographs


This collection was given to the Drexel Archives by John R. Drexel III's daughter, Noreen Drexel O'Farrelly ("Nonie").

John R. Drexel III and Alice Troth Drexel papers1812-1988
Laura Bees
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Repository Details

Part of the Drexel University Archives Repository

W. W. Hagerty Library
3300 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
215.895.2070 (Fax)