Scope and Content of Collection
The Isaiah S. and Martha Lang papers span the period 1858 to 1928 and consist of correspondence to Isaiah and Martha Lang from various relatives and a small amount of business records. Approximately one-half of the correspondence is from Isaiah Lang's maternal uncle, David M. Sanborn. All the Sanborn correspondence was written from Maryland locations, including Baltimore City, Marriottsville (Howard County), and Hanover (Howard County). In his letters, Sanborn calls himself an abolitionist, although he mentions Eliza, a woman he enslaved, several times. Federal Census records show that in 1860 Sanborn enslaved a 38 year old woman; however, it is not certain if Eliza and the woman recorded in the Census are the same person or if these were two separate women Sanborn enslaved. He also discusses economic and social conditions in Baltimore during the Civil War.
Additional correspondents of the Isaiah and Martha Lang include relatives who moved to the frontier area of Minnesota: Ann Jane Campbell, A. E. Clay, Elizabeth Clay, James P. Clay and Ursula Stone. These letters contain economic and domestic information about frontier farming in Minnesota. A teacher friend, W. A. Worthen, of Laurel, Maryland also wrote several letters to Isaiah Lang describing his new life in the "South" and providing information about Isaiah Lang's uncle, David M. Sanborn.