Guide to the Cecil and Tonkin Family Papers and Photographs, c1890-1990

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Senator John Heinz History Center

Summary Information

Title
Cecil and Tonkin Family Papers
Creator
Cecil and Tonkin family
Collection Number
MSS 1148
Collection [inclusive]
c1890-1990
Extent
1.0 linear feet (1 box)
The material in this collection is in English.
Abstract
The Cecil and Tonkin Family Papers primarily concern Ruth Tonkin Cecil and William D. Cecil, both public and religious school educators from Wilkinsburg and Connellsville, Pa., respectively. The Cecils taught in Pittsburgh public schools for fifteen years before relocating several times to Harrisburg, Pa., Buffalo, New York, and Birmingham, Michigan. The collection contains family photographs and records of the Cecil's early education and teaching careers, as well as photographs, clippings and other materials documenting their extended families in Connellsville and Cherry Tree, Pa.

Preferred Citation

Cecil and Tonkin Family Papers, c1890-1990, MSS 1148, Thomas and Katherine Detre Library and Archives, Senator John Heinz History Center

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History

Ada Ruth Tonkin Cecil and William D. Cecil Sr. were lifelong Christian educators and former Pittsburgh public school teachers. A. Ruth Tonkin Cecil (RTC), the daughter of Ada Quick Tonkin and Ellsworth Tonkin, grew up in Wilkinsburg and Edgewood Boroughs. She attended Edgewood High School and participated in the Civilian Defense Corps during World War II. After receiving a degree in education at the University of Pittsburgh, RTC taught locally at the elementary and high school level for Mt. Lebanon public schools and Falk Elementary School. In 1947, she married Connellsville native William D. Cecil Sr., the son of James McFarland Cecil and Bessie Lee Digby. Cecil taught for fifteen years at Forest Hills High School and led scouting and weekly religious classes in the Pittsburgh area. Shortly after the marriage, he accepted a position as Director of Religious Education at Market Square Presbyterian Church of Harrisburg, Pa. The family relocated again several times as Cecil accepted similar positions at Central Presbyterian Church of Buffalo, New York in 1948, First Presbyterian Church of Alliance, Ohio in 1955 and First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, Michigan in 1963. RTC also served these congregations as a teacher and counselor and continued to teach elementary school after the family returned to Buffalo in 1966. The couple had three children, Carolyn, Deborah and William D. Cecil, Jr.

The Cecil and Tonkin Family Papers and Photographs primarily concern Ruth Tonkin Cecil and William Cecil during their residence in Pittsburgh. Included are William Cecil's papers and a scrapbook compiled during his years as a teacher at Edgewood High School. Ruth Tonkin Cecil's papers include photographs, a scrapbook, journals and other materials relating to her youth, education at the University of Pittsburgh and teaching career. Various clippings and photographs also concern members of the extended Tonkin and Cecil families. Foremost among these are photographs and clippings related to Ruth's father and maternal grandfather, Ellsworth Tonkin and John H. Quick, and their careers. The collection also contains clippings and a photograph of William Cecil’s grandfather, William Digby, Jr., who wrote poetry under the pen name Slythe Tabor, as well as his publication, Verses of a Religious Character. Materials in the collection are interspersed with notes by Ruth and William Cecil regarding family history.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Cecil and Tonkin Family Papers and Photographs primarily concern Ruth Tonkin Cecil and William Cecil during their residence in Pittsburgh. Included are William Cecil's papers and a scrapbook compiled during his years as a teacher at Edgewood High School. Ruth Tonkin Cecil's papers include photographs, a scrapbook, journals and other materials relating to her youth, education at the University of Pittsburgh and teaching career. Various clippings and photographs also concern members of the extended Tonkin and Cecil families. Foremost among these are photographs and clippings related to Ruth's father and maternal grandfather, Ellsworth Tonkin and John H. Quick, and their careers. The collection also contains clippings and a photograph of William Cecil’s grandfather, William Digby, Jr., who wrote poetry under the pen name Slythe Tabor, as well as his publication, Verses of a Religious Character. Materials in the collection are interspersed with notes by Ruth and William Cecil regarding family history.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Senator John Heinz History Center Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania , 2017

Thomas and Katherine Detre Library and Archives
Senator John Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
412-454-6364
library@heinzhistorycenter.org
http://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/libraryArchives.aspx

Restrictions on Access

None

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Senator John Heinz History Center. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Thomas and Katherine Detre Library and Archives of the Senator John Heinz History Center.

Acquisition Information

Accessions 2016.0080 and 2017.0083, gifts of Carolyn Cecil on May 11, 2016 and April 24, 2017.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Carly Lough in 8/31/2014.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

Ellsworth Tonkin’s Union Switch and Signal photo id pin is housed in the museum collection.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Forest Hills High School (Pa.)
  • Mount Lebanon High School (Pa.)
  • Edgewood High School (Pa.)
  • Union Switch and Signal (Swissvale, Pa.)
  • Westinghouse Electric Corporation.
  • Purchase Line Academy.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Edgewood (Pa.)
  • Wilkinsburg (Pa.)
  • Connellsville (Pa.)
  • Cherry Tree (Pa.)
  • Buffalo (N.Y.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Cecil, Ada Ruth Tonkin.
  • Cecil, William D.
  • Tonkin, Ada Quick.
  • Tonkin, Ellsworth.
  • Quick, John.
  • Digby, William Jr.
  • Tabor, Slythe.
  • Norris, Lucie.

Subject(s)

  • Women educators--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh.
  • Women Christian educators--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh.
  • Religious educators--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh.
  • Public schools--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh.
  • Civil Defense--Pennsylvania--Allegheny County.

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