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Correspondence, 1858, 1861

 Series 1

This series consists of six letters written by M. T. Biddle to Maggie R. Thompson between February 1858 and August 1861. In the February 18, 1858 letter, M. T. asked Maggie if she was returning to the seminary and mentions that the new teachers are difficult. On July 25, 1858, she inquired if Maggie had visited Oxford lately and been to their old classrooms. She missed the teachers and their classmates.

In the November 6, 1858 letter M. T. wrote: "Miss Wilson was obliged to disapoint [sic] us on account of her mothers [sic] death, but we have succeeded in getting another teacher, from New York."

In all the correspondence M. T. frequently wrote about her deep affection for Maggie. Each letter's signature ended with an endearment; however, she never referred to herself by any other name than "Prof. M. T. Biddle".

The letters of February, November and December 1858 refer to weather conditions at "Hispaniolia". When it snowed, M. T. looked forward to sleighing. When it disappeared there was only mud. In August 1861 she wrote of the completed harvest and the beauty of the countryside.

M. T. also discussed her health and illness. On November 6, 1858, she wrote of suffering from a very bad cold. In the same letter she wrote of a mutual friend who had been ill and expressed her desire for his recovery. In both instances she wished for Maggie's professional care. In August 1861 she complained of poison ivy on her face.

There are frequent references to "beaux ideal" and descriptions of the man she imagined for herself. M.T. feared she would become a spinster but thought that would be better than marriage to someone she did not love. On February 11, 1861, she mentioned a letter from a Baltimore boyfriend in which he showed little affection for her but indicated that his other correspondence may have been more romantic. She did not know where the relationship was going and did not intend to become his wife.

By 1861, the Civil War became a topic of discussion in the letters. On February 11, 1861, M. T. expressed her concern that the nation's leaders were not doing enough and the country needed another Washington, Clay or Webster to come forward. She wrote on August 4, 1861, about the scarcity of men in Elkton because so many had enlisted and without them life in Elkton was dull.

Arrangement is chronological.


  • 1858, 1861

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.


6 Items

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

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