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Correspondence, 1815-1954

 Series 2

This series consists of the correspondence that circulated among Brooke, Farquhar, and Green family members as well as their extended family networks. The surnames Briggs, Hallowell, Hopkins, and Stabler have been identified as related to various branches of the Brooke family. Four family trees, tracing Brooke, Farquhar, Hopkins, and Snowden-Thomas genealogies, are available upon request.

The bulk of the correspondence was written between 1820 and 1910. The nineteenth-century letters illuminate family ties and family events, such as births, marriages, and deaths. Frequent topics include farm and city life, social activities, Quaker religious concerns, courtship, and vacations and travel. The many letters sent between sisters or mothers and daughters reflect attention to women's household duties (sewing, quilting, dress making, baking, and cleaning), visiting, shopping, and farm chores. The letters written by and to children often include rhymes or amusing anecdotes.

The twentieth-century exchanges primarily take place between sisters Mary B. Brooke and Edith F. Brooke Green and their correspondents. Edith composed a number of letters concerning the study of astronomy and eclipses. The latest letter in the series is a circular penned by Roger Brooke Farquhar, Jr., following his 1953 trip to the Middle East with his second wife, Sarah. This travel account originally contained a number of photographs, now located in the photograph series.

Of particular note is the exchange between the Hopkins sisters of Baltimore and the Brooke sisters of Sandy Spring. Deborah, Elizabeth, and Sarah Hopkins sent news and gossip to their cousins, Mary M. Brooke and Sarah Brooke (Farquhar). This group of forty letters, all numbered, covers the period from March 1824 to December 1826. Letter 13 makes a reference to General Jackson and his new wife, Rachel; letter 20 comments on General Lafayette's last visit to Baltimore; and letter 22 features a brief account of an auction of enslaved people.

Arrangement is alphabetical by recipient and then alphabetical by sender. When a letter is addressed to more than one person, the letter is placed under the heading of the first recipient mentioned. When there is not a clear first recipient, then the letter is filed under the heading of the recipient with the most singly addressed correspondence from that sender. (A letter from Mary Pleasants Brooke to Sarah Brooke Farquhar and her husband Charles Farquhar, addressed "Dear Children," for example, can be found as "To Sarah Brooke Farquhar with Charles Farquhar - From Mary Pleasants Brooke." There is significantly more correspondence from Mary Pleasants Brooke to her daughter than to her son-in-law.) When letters include sections written by multiple senders, the letter is placed under the heading of the first sender. (A number of letters to Sarah Farquhar Brooke include sections from both her mother Mary Pleasants Brooke and her sister Mary M. Brooke. Letters begun by the mother are filed as "From Mary Pleasants Brooke with Mary M. Brooke," while letters begun by the sister are filed as "From Mary M. Brooke with Mary Pleasants Brooke.") Recipients with unidentified last names and completely unidentified recipients (in cases where the letter is simply addressed to "Cousin," for example) are at the end of the series.


  • 1815-1954

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.


2.25 Linear Feet

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742