Rockwell Stephens

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Rockwell Rittenhouse Stephens (born February 16, 1900, Portland, Oregon; d. October, 1982, in South Woodstock, Vermont) was a journalist, author and ski instructor. He was an early member of the National Ski Patrol, joining in 1938, receiving member No. 74. [1]

Early Life and Family[edit]

Rockwell Rittenhouse Stephens was born February 16, 1900,[2] the son of John Rittenhouse Stephens and his wife Cornelia Rockwell.[3] Rockwell was the paternal grandson of William and Susanna (Rittenhouse) Stephens,[4] of Germantown, Pennsylvania. Susanna was descended from a first cousin of David Rittenhouse, after whom Rittenhouse Square is named. Rockwell's maternal grandparents were Cleveland S. and Cornelia Rockwell.[5] Cleveland S. Rockwell was an engineer for the U. S. Navy[6] and a United States Coast Surveyor.[7] In 1910, ten-year-old Rockwell Stephens was living with his mother Cornelia in a Philadelphia Ward 22 hotel.[8] By 1920, Rockwell and his mother Cornelia had moved to Chicago.[9] In 1918 his draft registration card, which was signed "Rockwell Rittenhouse Rockwell", indicated that he lived on University Avenue in Chicago, was a student attending University High School, and his nearest relative was "Mrs. Cornelia R. Rockwell" of the same address.[10]

Rockwell was married to Isabella McLaughlin, daughter of Andrew C. McLaughlin, a Pulitzer Prize winning historian and past President of the American Historical Association. She survived him and continued to live at their house in Vermont until her own death in 1988.


From 1921-26 he worked at the Chicago Daily News, writing about sport, autos and travel. In 1930, Rockwell R. Stephens, occupation "College Secretary", was living in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife Isabella and their eight-month-old daughter Susanna R. Stephens.[11] He was president of Ski Sport Inc. of Boston from 1933-43. He joined the faculty of the Putney School, Putney, Vermont, in 1952, and Woodstock Country School, Woodstock, Vermont, from 1953 to 1962. After moving to Vermont, he became a frequent contributor to the magazine Vermont Life. [12]

Retiring to South Woodstock, Vermont, he became a tree harvester on his property there. His book on the subject "One Man's Forest" is still available, though there have been no recent printings.

One of his assignments at the Chicago Daily News was to report on routes for long distance travel. Before the U.S. Route system and the Interstate Highway System, long distance automobile travel was dependent on a knowledge of State, County and Local highways, many not well signposted. Rockwell Stephens travelled these highways and reported routes based on landmarks. [13] He died October 18, 1982, at Woodstock, Vermont.[14] He was survived by his wife Isabella, their two daughters and a son.


  1. ^ Members 1-500 listed at California Ski Patrol website.
  2. ^ Vermont Department of Health. Vermont Death Index 1981-2001. Burlington, VT, USA: Vermont Department of Health, 2001
  3. ^ Portland Oregon births, from Oregon Historical Records Index
  4. ^ 1870 Philadelphia Ward 22 District 72 Federal Census
  5. ^ 1900 District 58, Portland Ward, Multnomah County, Oregon, United States Federal Census
  6. ^ Boyd, John; Annals and Family Records of Winchester, Conn.; Hartford, 1873
  7. ^ 1860 Hoboken, Hudson County, NY United States Federal Census.
  8. ^ 1910 Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania United States Federal Census
  9. ^ 1920 Chicago Ward 6, District 352, Illinois United States Federal Census
  10. ^ United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.
  11. ^ 1930 Cambridge District 51, Middlesex County, Massachusetts United States Federal Census
  12. ^ "Contemporary Authors", Thomson Gale, January 1, 2004
  13. ^ Unpublished autobiography ca. 1980
  14. ^ Vermont Department of Health. Vermont Death Index 1981-2001. Burlington, VT, USA: Vermont Department of Health, 2001


  • (With Charles N. Proctor) "The Art of Skiing", Harcourt, 1933.
  • (With Proctor) "Skiing", Harcourt, 1936.
  • "One Man's Forest: Pleasure and Profit from Your Own Woods" — Stephen Greene Press (1974) 159 pages ISBN 0-8289-0224-0 Hardback. ISBN 0-8289-0225-9 Paperback.

External links[edit]

  • New England Ski Museum article
  • SkiRebel Magazine [1]