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Heinrich family photograph collection, 1895, 1910-1986 (majority within 1915-1930)

1 volume, 2 boxes (1 linear foot)

The Heinrich Family photograph collection is made up of a photograph album, loose photographs, correspondence, and other items pertaining to Eberhardt William Heinrich, and his parents, Bruno Otto Paul Heinrich and Helene Heinrich. The Heinrich family immigrated to Dubuque, Iowa, from Germany in the early 1920s. The photograph album contains photographs related to Bruno Heinrich's service in the German army in Eastern Europe during World War I. The remainder of the collection documents the family's immigration story, life in the United States, and later trips to Germany.

The Heinrich family photograph collection consists of 1 photograph album, 102 loose photographs, 4 letters, 1 passport, 76 postcards, 18 loose album pages, and 1 ceramic beer stein relating to the family of Eberhardt William Heinrich. The collection depicts the life of a German soldier during World War I and the immigration of a middle-class German family to the United States between the wars. Eberhardt Heinrich compiled the materials and wrote a brief family history, two copies of which are included in the collection.

The photograph album (13cm x 19cm) of Eberhardt Heinrich's father, German soldier Bruno Heinrich, contains 101 photographs and photographic postcards related to Bruno Heinrich's army service in Eastern Europe during World War I. Captions in English, added later by his son, identify people, locations and dates. The volume has a red cloth cover with a printed iron cross on the front, dated 1914. Bruno Heinrich's Iron Cross medal is placed in a clear plastic envelope inside the volume's front cover.

The Bruno Heinrich album shows individual and group portraits of German soldiers playing cards, resting in earthwork bunkers, in trenches, drinking, sitting by large artillery pieces, posing in ruined buildings, and mounted on horseback. Several photos are posed with local residents or refugees; one image features captured armored tanks. Most of the photographs were taken in Serbia, Poland, and Russia, though a few came from France and Germany. Although many of the photographs show soldiers and civilians at leisure, others depict the devastation and the humanitarian crisis created by the war. Images of note include a photograph captioned "Waking up in the ditch after a party;" a German cemetery of fresh graves and birch wood crosses; soldiers displaying a captured Serbian banner; Heinrich in a domestic interior with his rifle, hat, and "bridal picture" on the wall behind him; and a view of a Russian cloister with a large crowd of civilian refugees. Photographs at the end of the album depicting Bruno Heinrich and his brothers-in-law Paul Hobach, Heinrich Hobach, Richard Albert, and Willi Osterloh, who served on the Western front, may have been added later.

The loose photograph series includes 102 photographs arranged by subject matter, dating between 1910 and 1979. Some photographs have manuscript captions in English and German on the verso. A majority of the images show the families of Bruno Heinrich and of his wife, Helene, and of a young Eberhardt Heinrich. Family members are often identified on the verso. Also included are photographs of the family's immigration to the United States, crossing the Atlantic aboard the German steamship SS Yorck, and trans-Atlantic voyage to Germany in 1930 onboard the German ocean liners SS Bremen and SS Europa. Images depict groups and individuals onboard ship and views taken of the ocean en route. Also included are snapshots taken at the University of Michigan's geological field station in Wyoming, Camp Davis; plus other images of travel and family life in Dubuque, Iowa. Of note are three photos taken on separate dates of Bruno Heinrich, Helene Heinrich, and Eberhardt Heinrich, each posed atop a camel in front of the Great Sphinx and the pyramids at Giza in Egypt.

The collection's manuscripts consist of four letters and one passport. Three manuscript letters are written in German on business letterhead; two dated June 16, 1910, and one dated March 13, 1911. The latter includes two recipes written in English on the verso. One letter, in English, is dated July 29, 1985 and typewritten on Ann Arbor News letterhead. The United States passport was issued to Helene Heinrich on March 21, 1960, and tracks her travel to numerous countries around the world throughout the early 1960s.

The collection of postcards contains 76 lithographic and photomechanical souvenir postcards from Germany and the United States dating from the early to mid-twentieth century. Some notes inscribed on the verso are written in English and German and may have been added by Eberhardt William at a later date. A majority of the postcards depict German cities visited by the Heinrich family in 1930. Also included is a group from Chicago, Illinois museums; and a group of "Bonzo" dog cartoons by George E. Studdy. Of note is a group of sentimental postcards of German soldiers from the World War I era; a photographic postcard of Eberhardt William and Helena Heinrich aboard the SS Yorck during their immigration from Germany to the United States in 1923; and a souvenir postcard from Bremen, Germany featuring a colored lithograph of a traveler with a rucksack. A paper flap under the rucksack lifts to reveal a miniature accordion-fold viewbook of Bremen scenes.

The loose album pages series includes 18 loose pages separated into five groups dating from 1923-1964. Pages were likely previously part of compiled albums though no longer extent. Captions in English and German may have been added by Eberhardt Heinrich at a later date. Group 1 includes photographs taken aboard the SS Europa, during the October 1930 trans-Atlantic voyage from Bremerhaven, Germany to the United States. Images include photographs taken from the ship and from shore at Bremerhaven, Germany, including dramatic photographs of large seas taken from the ship's deck. Group 2 is primarily commercial photographs from the family's 1930 trip to Germany depicting Bremen; the Breitachklamm gorge, and towns of Sonthofen and Oberstdorf in the Allgäu region; Berlin; and the Spreewald. Group 3 features photographs of East and West Berlin taken in October 1963 by Helena Heinrich. The final two groups are photographs of a family visit to the gravesite of Julian Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa, August 1964, and a trip to the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair in October 1940.

The final item in the collection is a half-liter ceramic regimental beer stein with a decorative pewter lid. The family history included in the collection notes that the stein belonged to Helena Heinrich's brother-in-law, Willi Osterloh, a member of the Kaiser's Garde-Kürassier-Regiment. The stein, manufactured by the Mettlach factory of Villeroy and Boch, with a production date of 1895, is decorated in the PUG (Print Under Glaze) style. It is inscribed with "Garde-Kürassier-Regiment" and depicts Garde-Kürassier-Regiment soldiers both standing and astride horses. The soldiers wear the normal service uniforms and the parade uniforms of the regiment. The pewter lid has a cast eagle thumb lift and is decorated with the seal and motto of the Order of the Black Eagle: "Summ Cuique."


Heinrich Spaeth papers, [1862]-1949 (majority within 1910-1915)

0.25 linear feet

The Heinrich Spaeth papers contain letters, documents, photographs, and a diary, most of which relates to Spaeth's service with the 9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a German-American regiment that fought in the Civil War.

The Heinrich Spaeth papers contain 82 items: 33 letters, 29 photographs, 13 pieces of ephemera, 3 legal documents, 3 newspaper clippings, and a diary. The materials span 1862 to 1949, with the bulk of items covering the period between 1910 and 1915.

The Correspondence and Documents series contains letters to and from Spaeth, spanning 1871-1918. Though written many years after the Civil War, most of these relate to the experiences of the 9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, particularly at the Battle of Chickamauga. Several men who served in Van Derveer's Brigade wrote letters to Spaeth with accounts of the closing hours of the engagement. They attempted to refute the claims of Archibald Gracie, who wrote in his book The Truth about Chickamauga that the soldiers under General Ferdinand Van Derveer had been routed and driven off Snodgrass Hill on the evening of September 20, 1863. The soldiers from the 9th Ohio Infantry who provided these accounts were George A. Schneider (May 24, 1912), C.W.H. Luebbert (June 7, 1912), Ferdinand Zimmerer (June 17, 1912), Alvin Arand (June 18, 1912), and Herman Gerbhardt (June 20, 1912). Though written almost 50 years after the battle took place, the letters provide many details in support of their claims. Also included is an undated letter from Spaeth to Gracie, which contradicts Gracie's claims and states, "the third and last stand on Snodgrass Hill was as perfect as any man could or would ask." In the letter, Spaeth also discussed the official and revised casualty figures for the engagement.

Additional letters from the same period relate to controversy over Civil War monuments in Chattanooga, Tennessee, commemorating actions during the Battle of Missionary Ridge. On November 26, 1910, Colonel Judson W. Bishop of the 2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry wrote to Spaeth, complaining of efforts "persistently made during the past fifteen years by the Turchin's Brigade association to appropriate for [General John B.] Turchin" ground allegedly captured by Van Derveer's Brigade at Missionary Ridge on November 25, 1863. Bishop called the claims for Turchin "preposterous." Spaeth seconded the opinion in a letter to Captain Philip Rothenbush of the 35th Ohio Infantry, in which he called the actions "contemptble [sic]." An additional letter, dated July 5, 1915, also further addresses the issue of monuments in Chattanooga.

The Diary series contains Spaeth's diary, kept during his service with the 9th Ohio Infantry. The volume was written entirely in German Kurrentschrift or old German blackletter handwriting; it describes his wartime experiences.

The Photographs series contains 29 graphic items, most of which are undated and unlabeled, spanning ca. 1860s-1949. The photographs are in a variety of formats and depict many members of the Spaeth family, including Heinrich Spaeth at various stages of life. One photograph shows a parade float advertising Spaeth's business with the sign, "Spaeth's Big Free China and Stove Show," and another shows Heinrich Spaeth in front of a home in Aurora, Indiana.

Ephemera series contains a roster for the 35th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (O.V.I.) Association and the Loyal Legion of the United States, newspaper clippings, German money, and a few miscellaneous items.


Henry Strachey papers, 1768-1802

2 linear feet

The Henry Strachey papers contain the incoming and outgoing correspondence of British politician Henry Strachey, primarily concerning Strachey's personal life, activities in North America, plantation in Florida, and political matters. Also included are copies of scattered financial and legal documents and two volumes of reports from colonial governors to the Earl of Dartmouth (1773), which Strachey had copied around 1776.

The Henry Strachey papers comprise approximately 168 letters, a letterbook containing an additional 35 letters, 5 financial records, 23 documents, and 2 volumes of reports from the governors of various American colonies to the Earl of Dartmouth, 1773.

The Correspondence series covers the period between 1733 and 1802, although the bulk centers around 1776-1785. The largest portion of the correspondence is between Strachey and his wife, Jane; they exchanged a total of 34 letters between 1776 and 1778, while Strachey was in North America. The collection includes 29 letters from Henry to Jane and 5 long letters, totaling around 60 pages, from Jane to Henry. Strachey's letters to his wife primarily concern his impressions of the colonies, news about his health, and observations concerning mutual acquaintances. The tone of Strachey's letters is frequently affectionate; on December 2, 1776, he requested locks of hair from her and the children, but intimated that he felt "silly" and "embarrassed" doing so. In his letters, Strachey responded to his wife's curiosity about the colonies. On May 13, 1776, he recommended that she read Andrew Burnaby's and Peter Kalm's books on North America. He also provided rich details of his own experiences, as in his letter of March 24, 1778, in which he wrote a long description of daily life in Philadelphia, including elaborate "Tea drinkings," plays put on by soldiers, unchaperoned balls, and the respect accorded William Howe, who "is King here." Occasionally, Strachey's letters to his wife allude to political events taking place; on December 8, 1777, he mentioned the burning of the Augusta at the Battle of Red Bank, and directed her on how to use a cipher if the necessity arose. Jane Strachey's letters contain primarily family news, descriptions of her daily events, expressions of concern for her husband's health, and her thoughts on running the household.

Approximately 30 letters in the collection, and all 35 letters in the letterbook, relate to Beauclerc Bluff, Strachey's plantation in eastern Florida. The correspondence is both incoming and outgoing, and Strachey's correspondents include East Florida Governor Patrick Tonyn, lawyers Edward and James Penman, and plantation managers Alexander Gray and John Ross. These letters span 1771-1802 and document Strachey's increasing dissatisfaction with the plantation's poor returns and its eventual sale. Approximately 10 letters relate to the sale of Strachey's slaves, including accounts of their prices, and a reference to a male and female slave escaping and joining the Creek Nation (September 29, 1784). Several letters between Strachey and Thomas Bee concern Bee’s purchase of slaves and his failure to pay for them. Letters concerning Beauclerc Bluff also provide details on the struggle to introduce indigo to Florida (January 2, 1777) and on Strachey's waning confidence in the British ability to hold the country. On September 4, 1782, Strachey expressed these concerns to Tonyn and urged him to prepare for this in order to avoid "thinking of such Essentials when all may be hurry & Confusion."

Several letters in the collection focus on politics in England and America. In a letter to Strachey of March 14, 1774, Edward Clive mentioned Alexander Wedderburn's speech criticizing Benjamin Franklin, and congratulated Strachey on a victory over the "Bloomshbury gang" [sic]. Two additional items from Strachey to politician Christopher D'Oyly regard the prospects for restoring peace (August 11, 1776). Also present is a signed copy of a letter from General George Washington to Brigadier General Jared Irwin, requesting his opinion on the advisability of attacking Philadelphia during the winter (December 3, 1777).

The Documents and Financial Records series contains 10 items relating to Strachey's commissions and finances, and some additional miscellany, including an excerpt from the will of John Allen. Also present is a document tracking the number and prices of Strachey's slaves, 1770-1779, and other papers relating to the plantation. The items cover the years 1770 to 1791.

The Papers Relating to the War of Independence and the Preliminary Treaty of Peace series contains 86 letters and documents covering the years 1776 to 1783, with material relating to Strachey's efforts as a peace negotiator during and after the American Revolution, his opinions on Americans and independence, and his relationships with Richard and William Howe. The series includes his commission as secretary to the peace commission (May 6, 1776), three sets of instructions to the commissioners from King George III (May 6-8, 1776), and nineteen letters written by Strachey while he served as secretary to the Howe brothers in New York and Philadelphia from 1776 to 1778. Henry Strachey's diary spanning from June 1776 to the end of 1777 includes commentary on negotiation efforts, the war's progress, and meetings with British officers. An early draft of General Howe's defense of his actions as commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America is also present, along with approximately 205 page of material relating to the Treaty of Paris.

The Dartmouth Volumes series contains two bound vellum volumes of copies of replies and reports from the governors of British colonies in answer to the circular of William Legge, 2nd earl of Dartmouth (1731-1801). On July 5, 1773, Dartmouth, then Secretary of State for the colonies, sent out a circular letter with 22 questions to the governors of various British colonies. He collected their responses and accompanying records in two volumes. Around the time that he was appointed to the Howe peace commission, Strachey had copies of the volumes made for his own use.

The first volume contains Dartmouth's circular letter and questionnaires for the mainland colonies, island colonies, and Senegambia (pp. 1-11). They raise such questions as the number and attitudes of Native Americans, quantities of imports and exports, size of the militia, the characteristics of the population, and the geography and resources of each colony. These are followed by the responses of various governors and colonial officials: Thomas Hutchinson of Massachusetts Bay (pp. 12-30), Francis Legge of Nova Scotia (35-48), Walter Patterson of St. John's Island (now Prince Edward Island) (53-68), John Wentworth of New Hampshire (73-104), Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut (107-120), William Tryon of New York (123-207), William Franklin of New Jersey (219-242), John Murray of Virginia (249-268), Thomas Penn of Pennsylvania (269-303), James Wright of Georgia (315-358), and Peter Chester of West Florida (363-373).

The answers are lengthy, and provide both quantitative and qualitative information on many aspects of each colony. In his response to the question, "What number of Indians have you and how are they inclined," Governor Trumbull of Connecticut answered, "There are 1,363, many of them dwell in English Families, the rest in small Tribes in various places in Peace, good order, and inclined to Idleness." (p. 115). Several colonies included appendices giving further details; New York included a 1771 list of inhabitants, a surveyor's report, a table of salaries and other records. New Jersey appended an account of marriages, birth, and burials between 1771 and 1772. Pennsylvania provided additional information on imports and exports, 1769-1773. The last item in the volume is copy of a three-page document (433-435), signed by Attorney General William de Grey, and entitled "Case," in which de Grey gave the opinion that Commander-in-Chief Thomas Gage's power over troops in New York superseded the power of the Governor of New York. The document is dated May 16, 1770.

The second volume contains the responses from Jamaica (pp. 29-65), Barbados (67-100), the Leeward Islands (101-158), the Virgin Islands, Grenada (185-226), Carriouacou (227-234), Tobago (263-314), St. Vincent (315-364), Dominica (373-397), the Bahamas (399-433), and Bermuda (435-447). In addition to responses to Dartmouth's questions, the reply from Jamaica contains accounts of "Ordinary Expenses" and "Extraordinary Expenses," and tax information. Barbados' portion of the volume contains a thorough description of numbers of cavalry and infantry and their organization into companies. Concerning the population, the report noted that "[t]he Blacks have decreased considerably within the last five Years…a Decrease that probably has proceeded from the Settlement of the late neutral Islands by the English…." (p. 77-78). Grenada's account includes a list of public and military officers, and of 1772 imports and exports, as well as several other appendices. The two volumes are a very rich source of information on the demographics, geography, and government of the British colonies just before the American Revolution.

The Maps series contains three maps: "Virgin Islands surveyed in 1774," "A chart of Tibee Inlet in Georgia" (1776), and a map of Fort Nassau, Bahamas (1775). These items are located in the Map Division.


Holly Fine and Danny Kaye Papers, 1934-1994 (majority within 1935-1938)

5 boxes (approx. 3.75 linear feet) — Photographs in Boxes 2 and 4. — Drawings in Box 5. — Newspaper clippings and magazines in Box 2. Scrapbooks in Box 5.

Holly Fine was a dancer and performer with the traveling vaudeville production, the Marcus Show, in the 1930s. The collection documents Fine’s relationship with entertainer Danny Kaye, as well as the Marcus Show itself. Includes correspondence, vaudeville programs and promotional material, photographs, scrapbooks, printed material and drawings. The correspondence includes approximately 0.5 linear feet of letters written from Kaye to Fine.

The Holly Fine and Danny Kaye Papers document the relationship between Fine and Kaye, as well as the 1930s traveling vaudeville production, The Marcus Show. The papers have been divided into six series: Correspondence, Vaudeville, Printed Material, Photographs, Scrapbooks, and Drawings and Artwork.


James Caswell Knox papers, 1863-1873 (majority within 1863-1868)

63 items

The James Caswell Knox collection consists of 63 letters, the majority of which were written between James C. Knox of the 147th Indiana Infantry and his wife, Catharine, while Knox was stationed in Virginia in 1865.

The collection contains 63 letters: 20 from James Knox to his wife Catharine; 22 from Catharine to James; and the remainder from various correspondents writing to either James or Catharine.

James’ letters describe his health, provide details of his life in the army, and express love of Catharine and longing for home. In a letter of April 21, 1865, he mentions the trains that showed up at Summit Point, Virginia, to take men from other regiments home. He spent part of his time as an orderly sergeant and part of his time as a second lieutenant there (May 14, 1865). In a letter dated June 13, 1865, gives a graphic description of his regiment traveling to the Shenandoah River at Vickers Gap to wash up. Finally, he writes from the hospital in Maryland that he will be discharged soon (July 14, 1865).

Catharine’s letters to James focus on her health, daily activities, and family news. Two early letters contain poems that Catharine wrote for James (February 16, 1865 and March 2, 1865). In an undated mid-April 1865 letter, she describes reactions to Lincoln’s death (“I wouldent halve felt any worse if it had been my father”) and mentions the executions in Indianapolis of six men “for saying they were glad of” Lincoln’s death. In a number of letters, she describes gardening and other household activities, and her letter of June 18, 1865, includes a strawberry and some cloth from a dress she was making.

Of the remaining 20 letters, 14 were written during James' service in the army. Of these, six were written to James and four were written to Catharine by other family members or friends. Seven of the eight letters written after the war deal with James Knox' business issues. Two additional letters were written to James' sister Harriet Knox from friends.


Jethro Sumner papers, 1780-1781

72 items (0.25 linear feet)

The Jethro Sumner papers contain incoming and outgoing letters relating to the progress of the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War, including the battles of Charlotte and King's Mountain, logistical and personnel concerns, and Sumner's resignation.

The Jethro Sumner papers contain 69 letters (both incoming and outgoing), and 3 militia lists, all spanning August 24, 1780, to April 1, 1781. All but two of the items date from August 24-October 20, 1780. The letters primarily concern strategic and logistical matters of the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War. Several letters in September 1780 document Cornwallis' invasion of North Carolina and the Battle of Charlotte. These include a series of letters between Sumner and Major General Horatio Gates, in which Gates promised aid to North Carolina's western counties (September 17, 1780), Sumner reported on the British occupation of Charlotte and requested orders on how to handle soldiers claiming discharge (September 29, 1780), and Gates ordered Sumner not to abandon the defense of the Yadkin Ford and criticized him for writing too infrequently (September 30, 1780). In a letter of September 23, 1780, Colonel Francis Lock wrote to Sumner from camp at Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, requesting that he send any men he could spare. Several letters from early October 1780 provide intelligence concerning the British, including their numbers, activities, and weapons; others refer to the scarcity of provisions, which Gates promised to address (October 7, 1780). On October 8, General William Lee Davidson recommended that Sumner "retain all the good Rifles from the Inhabitants who pass your Camp," judging that this might "induce some to return in Defence of their Country." Sumner and Davidson also exchanged several letters regarding the Battle of King's Mountain and the aftermath of the occupation of Charlotte, including the British departure (October 13, 1780). Sumner wrote three of the last letters in the collection to General William Smallwood, describing the condition of troops and movements, and finally, informing him of his resignation on October 20, 1780.

The collection also contains three militia records. Two identical items, dated October 12, 1780, give a statistical breakdown of officers and soldiers under Sumner by rank and function. Another document, dated October 13, 1780, provides the number of drafts and "Minute Men of the Foot" from the towns of Rowan and Mecklenburg counties in North Carolina, under Brigadier General William Lee Davidson.


Joan W. Blos Papers, 1971-2007

7 boxes and 2 oversize boxes (11 linear feet)

Joan Blos is a writer of children's literature who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is best known for her novel A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-32, which in 1980 won the American Library Association's Newbery Medal.(1) Blos has written several other works of historical fiction as well as picture books for younger readers. The collection documents her career as a writer through items including development materials, correspondence, manuscripts and illustrations of both published and unpublished works.

The Joan W. Blos papers span the years 1971 through 2007 and are made up of some personal materials with the majority of the material. related to her literary works. The Personal series includes correspondence, manuscripts by students and others, and articles, announcements, events information, and awards not related to a specific literary work.

The remaining series are designated by book title and appear in publication order. Unpublished works follow published works and are listed in order of conception. Titles in the collection are: Just Think!; A Gathering of Days; Martin's Hats; Brothers of the Heart; Old Henry; Lottie's Circus; "Pioneers" (in Michigan Traditions); The Heroine of the Titanic; A Seed, a Flower, a Minute an Hour; Brooklyn Doesn't Rhyme; The Days Before Now; The Hungry Little Boy; Nellie Bly's Monkey; Bedtime!; Brother's of the Heart (a dramatization); Hello Shoes!; Letters from the Corrugated Castle; Bringing The Jackson Home; Thisca!; Brave Sisters, Fighting Women; When Times Square Was New; The Applesauce Tree; The Happy Park Day; Old Henry II; Samuel Foote's Nonsense; She's Busy!; The Scribble Scrabble Surprise; Rhymes and Reason; Bathtime; and Ker-choo! A Wintertime Story. Within each title series are several possible subseries:

Development Materials include items such as news clippings, photocopies of articles and stories, early handwritten and typed notes by the author, travel information, postcards, maps, brochures, and library request slips.

Correspondence is primarily with editors, publishers, and some illustrators. This section also includes corresponding manuscripts and drafts that have been edited by the author or editor.

Manuscripts are arranged chronologically and include correspondence from an editor or publisher.

Articles and Announcements include newspaper clippings, programs, announcements, reviews, advertisements for book signings and other promotional events, and interviews.

Events and Awards achieved by the author during her career.

Realia includes items such as playbills for the dramatization of Brothers of the Heart and a handmade quilt inspired by Brooklyn Doesn't Rhyme.

Illustrations, Artwork, and Publication Materials relate to the production of the corresponding title. Examples include mock-ups, color proofs, and unbound signatures for several of the picture books.

Audiotapes include a reading of A Gathering of Days , interviews, and Blos' Newbery acceptance speech for A Gathering of Days.

Study Guides include those associated with the dramatization of Brothers of the Heart.

The Blos papers provide a rich resource for scholars of children's literature along several different avenues. Blos' painstakingly thorough research process is evident in the almost two boxes of materials from her Letters from the Corrugated Castle. One is able to gain an understanding of Blos' creative process through the evolution of the manuscript for this piece of historical fiction. Nellie Bly's Monkey and The Heroine of the Titanic are longer picture books both researched and written as historical fiction. In addition to text, these materials, among other picture books in the collection, provide valuable insight into the collaborative process between author and illustrator. Correspondence between Blos and her editors and publishers provides a window into the business of children's book publishing over the span of Blos' writing career.


John Mathiot papers, 1849-1851

19 items

The John Mathiot papers primarily contain letters from Mathiot, a California gold miner, describing his journey by ship to California, the rapid expansion of the mining industry, his disillusionment with his chances of getting rich, and a subsequent restaurant venture.

The John Mathiot papers contain 19 letters written between February 3, 1849, and April 15, 1851. Mathiot wrote 16 of the letters, his sister Kate Mathiot wrote one to him, and friends in San Francisco wrote two letters to Pennsylvania with news of his death.

John Mathiot wrote the first six letters during his sea travels; he give descriptions of life on the ship, scenery, other passengers, and natives of Panama. On March 6, 1849, he wrote a letter describing a Panamanian religious ritual involving a procession of women in white robes and an image of the Virgin Mary, “a most beautiful & most solemn ceremony.” After his arrival in California, he wrote 10 richly detailed letters on such topics as the growth of Sutter’s Mill, California (July 12, 1849: “This place is growing fast into a town. There are some 40 buildings...”), the hardships and disappointments of mining (March 2, 1850), and journeying through the California wilderness. His letter of June 23, 1850, notes that the “mines are fast filling up with people from all parts of the world…every part of the present gold country will soon be used up.” His letters of the fall of 1850 describe his brief restaurant venture, which he abandoned in November. Correspondence from friends in California to Mathiot’s family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, April 1851, concerns the circumstances of his death.


John M. O'Connor papers, 1810-1826

1 linear foot

The John M. O'Connor papers contain correspondence, documents, and miscellany relating to O'Connor's military career (including the War of 1812), translation work, and political involvement.

The John M. O'Connor papers contain 350 letters, 15 financial records, 7 legal documents, and several lists, clippings, and the lyrics to a song, spanning 1810-1826. The correspondence is almost entirely incoming and the majority dates to the period from 1815 to 1824. Approximately 20 of the letters relate to the War of 1812; some discuss official army matters, such as supplies and troops, while others concern popular opinion of the war (June 26, 1813: "The public do not appear to be satisfied with the military acquirements of the Commander in chief, and not a few are so daring as to stigmatize his operations as being tardy & imbecile"). A series of letters in September and October 1812 relate to the death of O'Connor's mother, Margaret.

Correspondence in 1815-1816 mentions and documents the chain of events arising from the feud between O'Connor and Major General George Izard, including O'Connor's court martial and subsequent leave of absence, and his attempts to regain his position and good standing in the army. Slightly later correspondence documents O'Connor's translation of Gay de Vernon's Treatise on the Science of War and Fortifications, and includes a letter from O'Connor to Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun, encouraging him to request more copies of the work in order to ensure the success of the project (March 4, 1818). Approximately 15 letters from this period were written in French.

The majority of the material, particularly later in the collection, relates to national politics and political factions in New York State. On October 12, 1818, William H. Crawford, whom O'Connor would later back in the presidential election of 1824, wrote to O'Connor concerning a visit to the South, including observations on the failure of crops, family news, and French politics. On February 18, 1820, James Taylor provided a long account of the Missouri Compromise to O'Connor, and commented that "I am constrained to believe that the spirit of intolerance & oppression towards the black man, and the determination to perpetuate his bondage…are daily gaining ground in the Southern & Southeastern United States." Letters of November 1823 concern the presidential election of 1824 and New York politics.

Also of interest are letters from O'Connor's sister, Eliza, who seems to have been a governess or lady's companion in Middletown, Pennsylvania, but left because of dissatisfaction with the position: "You say that I was placed with the most respectable family in Middletown and all my wants were provided for, and I was at once raised to a respectable and enviable situation, as to their respectability no one will dispute it, as to my situation being enviable, I do not know how excepting I was independent of them, the want of relations will never be compensated to me by strangers" (August 25, 1820). Many letters throughout the collection also document O'Connor's interest in trading stocks and bonds. Letters from his agent, Thomas Hutchison, show his interest in bank bonds and provide advice and information on securities trading.

Several of the documents in the collection relate to the military, including 1814 General Orders, several financial records, and two certificates. Also included are several bonds, a bill of lading, and lists relating to O'Connor's translation work.


Josephine Wakely papers, 1862-1868

22 items

The Josephine Wakely papers contain correspondence from several Civil War soldiers from Whiteford, Michigan, primarily describing battles, attitudes, and duties.

The Josephine Wakely papers contain 22 letters written to Wakely between 1862 and 1871. Six Union soldiers wrote seventeen of the letters during their Civil War service; they were likely Wakely's neighbors in Whiteford, Michigan.

Adam H. Crist, a corporal in the 15th Michigan Infantry, composed 10 of the letters in 1862 and 1863. In them, he described the aftermath of the Second Battle of Corinth (October 18, 1862), attacks by guerillas in Grand Junction, Tennessee (December 13, 1862), and taking horses from Southerners (December 27, 1863). Throughout his correspondence, Crist exhibited a dislike for military life, repeatedly stating that he did not blame anyone for getting out of the Army in any way he could. In several letters, Crist mentioned African Americans. On May 21, 1863, he observed that many in his regiment had taken roles as officers in "Negro regiments," while in another letter, he commented on the plight of soldiers: "they say we took the Negroes place & they took ours & it looks so to me for we are in bondage now while they are free." (July 16, 1863). In the same letter, he also discussed the superiority of western troops and wrote, "I never want to go unless Grant goes with us for I don’t want to fight under them Eastern generals."

Thomas Wakeley [sic] of the 8th Michigan Cavalry and George H. Rogers and Edward Keller of the 18th Michigan Infantry each wrote one letter to Josephine Wakely. In his letter of May 29, 1864, Thomas Wakeley described an assignment to tie a man to a tree as punishment. Rogers gave an account of washing clothes at Cumberland Hospital and expressed his appreciation for freckled Southern girls (February 15, 1865). From his location, Keller recounted seeing many steamboats burning aboard a gunboat on the Cumberland River (May 14, 1863).

Morris Cummings of the 24th Michigan Infantry and Thomas G. Spriggs of the 18th Michigan Infantry each contributed two letters. Cummings wrote from Camp Butler in Springfield, Illinois, and mentioned attending Abraham Lincoln's funeral (May 26, 1865), while Spriggs wrote from Huntsville, Alabama, concerning news and an upcoming prisoner-of-war exchange (February 19, 1865). Five letters postdate 1865. They primarily provide news about family members and mutual acquaintances, though one letter recounts a religious conversion experienced by its author (June 1, 1866).