The Mattoon Collection contains materials collected by Mary Venable Cox (1881-1969) and her husband, John Chester Mattoon (1872-1940). Mary Venable Cox was born at the Cox family homestead eight miles north of Farmville, VA. At the age of seven, she was sent to live with her Uncle Benjamin Cox who was the business manager of the State Normal School in Farmville. She attended the training school that was associated with the State Normal School for four years. Upon graduation from the eighth grade, she entered the State Normal School and graduated in June 1900. From 1900-1901 Mary Venable Cox taught at a private school in Winchester, VA and the following year she and her cousin Mary White Cox (daughter of Benjamin) taught in a two-room schoolhouse in Raphine, VA. In 1902, she received a scholarship to attend the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City. She attended classes there for two years and in 1904 received a Bachelor’s Diploma in Education. In the fall of that same year, she began teaching algebra at the State Normal School at Farmville and acted as assistant to her future husband John Chester Mattoon who had begun teaching there in 1902. The two were eventually married in June of 1907 at Benjamin Cox’s home in Farmville. John Mattoon continued to teach at the State Normal School until the end of the spring term in 1912 at which point he accepted a position at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. In 1915, after the University of Indiana discontinued the practical vocational program, the Mattoons moved to Baltimore, Maryland where J.C. Mattoon found work at Bartlett-Hayward & Company. From 1918-1919 Mary Venable Mattoon worked in Washington, D.C. with the Quartermaster Corps, commuting each day from Baltimore. In 1925, they moved to Woodstock, MD. It was there, that John Mattoon would pass away in 1940, after an eight-year battle with cancer. Mary Venable Mattoon remained in Woodstock until 1966 when she moved to Lancaster, Ohio to be nearer to her son’s family. She passed away on March 18, 1969.


The Mattoon Collection was donated to the Greenwood Library Archives in fall 2017 by Elizabeth Kaites, the granddaughter of Mary Venable Mattoon and J.C. Mattoon.

Scope and Content

Elizabeth Kaites, the granddaughter of Mary Venable Cox Mattoon and John Chester Mattoon, donated these materials to the Greenwood Library Archives in fall 2017.


This collection consists of 5.3 linear feet contained in 2 legal-sized archival boxes and 3 flat boxes.

View the full finding aid here: Mattoon Family Collection, LU-157


Browse the Mattoon Family Collection, LU-157 Collections:

Mattoon Family Collection Photographs