This collection contains correspondence and other items related to the family of George H. and Mary Spooner of Petersham, Massachusetts, and Clifton, Illinois. George and Mary Spooner corresponded with one another and with many family members between the 1840s and early 1880s. The collection includes a small number of printed materials, poems, writings, and ephemeral items.
This collection (83 items) contains correspondence and other items related to the family of George H. and Mary Spooner of Petersham, Massachusetts, and Clifton, Illinois.
The Correspondence series (67 items) largely consists of letters that George and Mary Spooner received from friends and family members in the mid-19th century, particularly in the 1850s. Their correspondents primarily wrote from locations in Massachusetts, such as Petersham, Worcester, and Deerfield. The writers often provided news of family members and acquaintances, and some discussed social events such as Fourth of July celebrations.
One group of letters, dated in the 1840s, pertains to J. Benjamin Howe, a relative of the Spooner family. Mary and George Spooner exchanged love letters during periods of separation, and George wrote a letter to his grandfather about his life and work in Boston in September 1851. Letters dated after 1858 occasionally pertain to politics and to the Civil War, including a letter from Mary's brother Thomas, who discussed the Lincoln-Douglas debates and expressed his opinions about racial purity (September 22, 1858).
Mary Angela Spooner wrote to George and Mary Spooner about life in Petersham, Massachusetts, during the Civil War, mentioning local casualties and sharing news of J. Benjamin [Howe], a member of the 53rd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. George Spooner corresponded with his wife about business affairs and life in "Pekin" during the war years. Postwar items include letters to an unidentified recipient in Clifton, Illinois, and a small number of additional personal letters to George and Mary Spooner. In December 1874, a man named "Fletch" wrote two letters about his experiences at Harvard.
The Writings, Sketch, and Genealogy series (11 items) includes an undated essay entitled "Chronicles of Clifton," poems, a pencil sketch, and genealogical notes. From 1842-1843, J. Benjamin Howe copied or wrote 4 poems, including lines addressed to a pet dog, songs about love, and one titled "The Army Overcoat." Additional poetry includes a similar work about military clothing, unsigned lines in a different hand, and a copy of a poem entitled "Brig Transcript." The series also contains a pencil sketch of the unidentified artist's former residence (November 5, 1848) and four pages of genealogical notes.
The Printed Items and Ephemera series (5 items) consists of a newspaper clipping, two calling cards, an invitation addressed to George and Mary Spooner, and the word "Bible" sewn on plastic canvas (with half or tent stitches).