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Augusta and Francis R. Holland papers, 1818-1849 (majority within 1840-1849)

55 items

This collection contains correspondence between Augusta Wolle Holland and Reverend Francis Raymond Holland, regarding missionary life in Jamaica in the 1840s.

The Augusta and Francis R. Holland papers are comprised of 55 letters, which focus on Augusta Wolle Holland's and Reverend Francis Raymond Holland's missionary life in Jamaica in the 1840s.

Series I: These 12 letters, some quite lengthy, are between Francis (2) and family friend Mary Steiner Denke (10). Mary's letters provide a diverse and well-written discussion of politics, plants, scenery, and society from her life in a Moravian settlement in Salem, North Carolina, and from travels to Macon, Georgia, in 1840, and to France in 1845. In addition to thoughtful discussions on the treatment and conditions of slaves in North Carolina and Georgia, she wrote of a May 1 celebration at Mr. Napier’s school in Macon, Georgia; stage travel in Georgia (during which the passengers had a political debate between Whigs and Locos); a Cherokee Indian Mission and the building of schools there; trans-Atlantic travel; Protestant versus Catholic churches and doctrine in France; and travel around the French countryside near Montauban. She was also interested in academic and religious teachings.

Series II: The August and Francis Holland Correspondence with Parents series, which comprises the bulk of the collection, contains 33 lengthy letters written between 1842 to 1849 and passed between the Hollands in Jamaica and their parents in the United States. Though Augusta was the more prolific of the writers, both wrote extensively about life as missionaries, thoroughly detailing their surroundings, food, health, gardening, religious education, and interactions with fellow missionaries and Jamaica’s inhabitants. Augusta’s letters focused on home and garden; she expressed great interest in the local flowers and edible plants. She also taught Sunday school classes, cared for her children, and kept up-to-date on current events in the United States. Francis' letters often mention national American politics, including national appointments and the ongoing Mexican War. Letters from their parents concern the family's well being, local events in the town, and religious activities and viewpoints. The Hollands kept servants while in Jamaica, and discussed them in their letters.

Series III: The Miscellaneous Correspondence series contains 10 items, primarily letters addressed to Holland from his colleagues in the church. A few letters were also written to Augusta and one to her father Jacob Wolle. Another item, sent from Bergen, Norway, to Philadelphia, is dated 1818 and is written in German.

This collection includes three illustrations: the letter from September 3, 1842, contains a sketch of a garden plan in Fairfield, Jamaica; the letter from January 31, 1845, has a small paper seal with a black floral image; and the November 26, 1845, item features a rough illustration of a flower.


James Stewart diary, 1861-1863

1 volume

The James Stewart diary covers the Civil War service of James Stewart, 1861-1863, including the battles of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson; his capture at Shiloh and imprisonment in Macon, Georgia; and his journey back to St. Louis after being released.

The James Stewart diary contains 106 pages of entries, covering September 7, 1861-April 6, 1863. Laid into the volume are an 1864 letter, a 1917 pamphlet entitled "Who Is a Christian?" and an undated newspaper clipping.

In his earliest entries, Stewart described his enlistment in the 12th Iowa Infantry, camp life, and his regiment's travels through Iowa, Missouri, and Tennessee by boat and rail. He dated entries using the Quaker system, although no other references to the Quaker religion appear in the diary.

In February 1862, Stewart wrote detailed descriptions of engagements at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. Regarding the former, he discussed the regiment's movements, the capture of property and prisoners, and the presence of gunboats (pp. 14-15). On February 12-16, he gave an account of the Battle of Fort Donelson, describing his proximity to the Confederate soldiers, a successful charge (p. 17: "we changed up through the fallen timber to the works & took them by storm & held them till night"), and his relief when the Confederates surrendered and he saw "the white flag coming to meet us" (p. 18).

On April 18, 1862, Stewart wrote an 8-page account of the Battle of Shiloh, including his capture after being "penned in" by Confederates (p. 29). He followed this with approximately 50 pages of entries concerning his imprisonment from April to October 1862. He described traveling through the towns of Corinth, Memphis, Jackson, Mobile, Montgomery, Columbus, and Macon, with 900 fellow prisoners (p. 36). Throughout his time as a prisoner of war, Stewart frequently commented on the quantity and quality of food available; the treatment of prisoners; and his activities in prison camp, including debates with Confederate soldiers (p. 43), interactions with German guards (p. 52), musical performances by slaves (p. 53), and the arrival of political prisoners who "would not take up arms against their country" (p. 62). He found conditions overcrowded and "unhealthy" (p. 41), but often remarked about his good care, particularly earlier in his imprisonment. By August, he observed that prisoners died at a rate of five to six per day (p. 72). After his release from prison, Stewart wrote fewer than 20 pages, in which he described his journey back to St. Louis, the death of his brother on March 6, 1863 (p. 104), and the receipt of new muskets (p. 106).

Also included in the volume is a letter from Captain Charles L. Sumbardo to John D. Stewart, of the 12th Iowa Infantry, offering sympathy at the death of James Stewart and providing remarks on Stewart's character. This is accompanied by a newspaper clipping about the double wedding of sisters Rachel and Hannah Stewart and a pamphlet entitled "Who Is Christian," prepared by Sarah Griscom.


Parsons-Gerrish collection, 1795-1890 (majority within 1841-1869)

1 linear foot

This collection is made up of correspondence, financial records, and other items related to the Parsons, Gerrish, and Lewis families of York County, Maine. Most of the material directly relates to Edwin Parsons; his first cousin, Abigail Lewis; and her husband, Benjamin H. Gerrish.

This collection is made up of correspondence, financial records, and other items related to the Parsons, Gerrish, and Lewis families of York County, Maine. Most of the material directly relates to Edwin Parsons; his first cousin, Abigail Lewis; and her husband, Benjamin H. Gerrish.

The Correspondence series (around 400 items) comprises the bulk of the collection; most items are incoming and outgoing letters of Edwin Parsons and Abigail Lewis Gerrish. Both Parsons and Gerrish received personal letters from their uncle, Usher Parsons of Providence, Rhode Island. Many of the earliest items are incoming business letters to Edwin Parsons and Edward's letters to his parents about life in Savannah, Georgia. Isaac Scott wrote to Parsons about cotton sales and specific business matters pertaining to the firm J. D. Carhart & Scott. He also mentioned his desire to purchase a male slave (January 15, 1846) and a house in Macon, Georgia. One of Edwin Parsons's letters refers to a woman's fear that her children would begin speaking in an African American dialect after living in Savannah (May 26, 1844). Around 1850, Abigail Lewis Gerrish began to receive personal letters from female friends and family members (often from Charlestown, Massachusetts). Her correspondents included her brother, William Lewis, who also occasionally wrote to her husband, Benjamin H. Gerrish. Though many correspondents wrote to Gerrish during the Civil War, few directly referred to fighting.

The Documents series (15 items) is comprised of indentures and other documents of Benjamin H. Gerrish and Oliver Parsons. Many of the items concern real and personal property; two pertain to the estates of Elizabeth Gerrish and Samuel Hill. One indenture binds Charles Tucker to Benjamin H. Gerrish to learn the art of farming.

Most of the Financial Papers and Receipts (around 130 items, 1785-1889) relate to the financial affairs of Benjamin H. Gerrish of South Berwick, Maine. Items include partially printed and manuscript account books, receipts, and other documents. Other individuals represented are Miriam Gerrish, Betsey Gerrish, Elizabeth F. Gerrish, Daniel Lewis, John Lewis, and members of the Parsons family. The materials relate to goods and services, surveying, railroads, and estate administration. The 7 account books belonged to Joseph U. Parsons, E[dwin] Parsons, and unidentified individuals. Accounts primarily relate to personal expenses, mostly in Savannah, Georgia. A book belonging to Benjamin H. Gerrish concerns land in South Berwick, Maine.

The Fragments and Miscellaneous series (26 items) is made up of manuscript, printed, and ephemeral items, including notes, calling and visiting cards, recipes, two lists of property on "Fairbanks Farm" in Holliston, Massachusetts, a blank form from the Maine Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and a copy of the Eastern Star newspaper (February 7, 1879). Thirteen items are fragments of letters, financial records, or other items.