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John and Margaret Hood Zug papers

 Collection 0162-MDHC

The John and Margaret Hood Zug papers consist of correspondence and cover a broad range of subjects, including temperance, Christian behavior, child-rearing, and even antebellum southern society. Much of the correspondence is between Pennsylvania natives John Zug, a temperance speaker and minister, and Margaret Ann (Hood) Zug before and after their marriage in 1841. There is also correspondence between Zug and his friends and associates in the temperance movement. After John Zug's death and Margaret Zug's remarriage sometime before 1846, there was extensive communication between Margaret and a cousin who moved from Pennsylvania to Richmond, Virginia, and reported her impressions of her new home and society.


  • 1837-1851
  • Majority of material found within 1838-1843

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


1.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The papers of John and Margaret Hood Zug consist of eighty letters, two poems, and a travel itinerary and health regimen that span the period 1837 to 1851, although the bulk of the material is dated 1838 to 1843. Correspondents include Dickinson College presidents John Price Durbin and Robert Emory; Thomas and Sarah Moore; Thomas Bowman; Fritz Alberti; B. H. Crever; Henry Welling; Samuel Zug; George Coffey; William Kelley; John Hoss; Richard Batler; and Bishop Waugh. Major topics include Dickinson College; the temperance movement; religion; courtship and marriage; early nineteenth century travel in the Mid-Atlantic region and further west; family issues; and African-Americans and abolition. The correspondents also discussed politics and the death of U. S. President William Henry Harrison; health and financial concerns; the Thanksgiving holiday; John Zug's school in Baltimore; and conditions in southern Pennsylvania, Baltimore, and Richmond, Virginia.

Family History

John Zug and Margaret Hood spent most of their lives in southern Pennsylvania. John Zug's family lived in Carlisle in Cumberland County, while Margaret Hood evidently lived in several southern Pennsylvania towns, including Newville, Springfield, and Stoughstown in Cumberland County and York in York County.

John Zug was an agent of the Colonization Society, an active speaker for the temperance movement, and an advocate of the Methodist Church, before entering Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to study law. He graduated from Dickinson College in 1840. Later that year he relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, where he helped establish a private school and served as instructor. Margaret Hood remained in southern Pennsylvania until July 1841, when she married John Zug and joined him in Baltimore.

Life in Baltimore was not easy for the newly married couple. In August 1842, as Margaret recovered from the birth of their son Edgar, John departed for several months of travel to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. He attempted to sell copies of a book he had written on a subject not disclosed in his letters. The couple's correspondence from this period indicates that they sold some of their furniture and personal belongings in an effort to reduce their debt.

The Zugs moved back to southern Pennsylvania by September 1842, probably due to their deepening financial problems. John returned to his family's farm to assist his father and practice law. Margaret and Edgar moved to Newville, where they probably stayed with her family. In early 1843, the couple still lived apart, although John planned to move his family into a new home in Carlisle in April.

John Zug's health was a perennial concern for his family and friends. Immediately before his wedding in July 1841, he suffered a ruptured blood vessel in his lung. He believed that his illness was due to "frequent exposure in public speaking [for the temperance movement], particularly in the open air," and he curtailed his excessive schedule of public addresses thereafter. In March 1843, Zug wrote to a friend that he had been ill since Christmas and that a recent convalescent trip to the country was unsuccessful. Zug's efforts to move his family and to begin practicing law compromised his recuperation. Despite the assistance and care of family and friends, John Zug died during the latter half of 1843.

Margaret Hood Zug remained in Carlisle with her young son after her husband's death. She remarried in 1847.


The papers of John and Margaret Hood Zug have been organized as three series.

Series 1
Series 2
Series 3

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the papers of John and Margaret Hood Zug from Carmen Valentino in 1990.

Related Material

The University of Maryland Libraries also holds other materials related to the Zug family. John and Margaret Zug's son, John Edgar Zug, born in 1843, went on to become a land surveyor. His son, John Zug, Jr., also worked as a land surveyor. Two manuscript survey books used by the Zugs to survey the town of Bowie, Maryland from 1890-1891 and 1920-1937 are held by the Special Collections at the University of Maryland in the John Zug Survey Collection.

The Archives and Special Collections at Dickinson College also holds some materials related to John Zug. These materials include two letters to Margaret Hood, one before and one after their marriage. The materials are accessible here: Zug, John.

Processing Information

Materials in this collection were separated into three series. All materials have been placed into acid-free folders within an acid-free box; items within the first series were placed into separate acid-free folders to distinguish correspondents. Fragile items have been placed into archival plastic enclosures.

Guide to the John and Margaret Hood Zug Papers
Processed by: Pamela Alsop, June 1997
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

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