This collection consists of the correspondence of Mary Eliza Bradbury, an Elkton, Maryland, schoolteacher who established and taught at her own school, and tutored African-American children on Sundays. The letters, written to Lewis H. Jackson, her friend, suitor, and husband after 1856, offer glimpses of everyday life in mid-19th century Maryland and chronicle local events, Bradbury's school, her family, and her religious experiences in the Methodist Church.
This collection is open for research.
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The Mary Eliza Bradbury papers consist of letters written by Mary Eliza Bradbury to Lewis H. Jackson in the course of the year 1855. Letters were exchanged approximately every week. Dates range from January 8, 1855 to November 26, 1855. There are 12 signed letters and one undated manuscript item.
The courtship of Bradbury and Lewis is carried on through these letters and religious devotion and emotional commitment are closely intertwined. Bradbury expresses her desire to grow spiritually and describes her profound religious experiences in the Methodist Church. News of local events, family notes, and details of the happenings in her school are also included.
Mary Eliza Bradbury was born in Maine on May 14, 1830. She spent several years in the town of Elkton, in Cecil County, Maryland. Her father, Joseph P. Bradbury, was a farmer and livery stable owner.
Bradbury was a schoolteacher who established her own school. She also taught African-American children on occasion on Sundays. A devoutly religious woman, Bradbury devoted much of her time to prayer and spiritual inquiry at the First Methodist Church in Elkton. In 1853, Bradbury met Lewis [Louis] H. Jackson of Wilmington, Delaware. Jackson's family may have lived in Elkton at one time. Jackson was born in 1837 in Pennsylvania. Bradbury married Jackson on March 3, 1856, in Elkton. The couple remained in Elkton, where Jackson worked as a schoolteacher, and they had their first child, Fannie [Fanny], in 1857. Jackson was also a certified Methodist Episcopal Exhorter, or, lay preacher. Jackson became an Episcopal minister, and served as the rector at the St. Mary Anne's Parish, also known as North Elk Parish, from 1861 to 1868. From 1869 to 1871, he preached at Christ Church in Port Republic, Calvert County, Maryland. The couple had two more daughters, Mary [Mamie] L. (born ca. 1868) and Harriet [Hattie] E. (born 1869). In 1874, Jackson obtained the post of rector at Trinity Parish, Charles County, Maryland, where he remained until 1881. Mary Eliza Bradbury Jackson died at the Rectory in Trinity Parish on October 23, 1875.
The collection is organized as one series.
The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the Papers of Mary Eliza Bradbury from Scott Peterson, a manuscripts dealer, in 1987.
Digital copies of the letters in this collection are available at http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/13690 in the University of Maryland's Digital Collections.
The collection was arranged chronologically by date and placed in acid-free folders.