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Edmondson-Jacobs Family papers

 Collection 0248-MDHC

The bulk of the Edmondson-Jacobs Family papers consists of correspondence between Emma Edmondson Jacobs and her brother, William V. E. Jacobs, her mother, and her sisters. Emma Edmondson Jacobs lived in various locations throughout Maryland, including New Market, Easton, and Church Creek. Also included is a diary belonging to Emma Edmondson Jacob's mother, Emma V. E. Jacobs, dated 1854, and describing her life and how her beau asked her father for her hand in marriage. Other items in the collection include receipts, invoices, manuscripts, photographs, financial records, and ephemera.


  • 1836-1954

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.


1.75 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The papers of the Edmondson-Jacobs family span the years 1836 to 1954 with the bulk of the material dating between 1880 and 1900. Correspondence addressed to Emma E. Jacobs comprises the largest portion of the material. The collection also includes correspondence between other members of the Edmondson-Jacobs family, manuscripts, poetry, printed ephemera, passports, a scrapbook, financial records, and photographs.

The correspondence documents the daily lives of the family and focuses on local events and domestic concerns. Topics frequently discussed in the correspondence include religious services, social events, illness, clothing purchases, teaching, the weather, and vacations. The financial records in this collection include information on the distribution of William V. M. Edmondson's estate upon his death and numerous documents relating to the settlement of debts. These records provide valuable insight into the economic status of the Edmondson/Jacobs family.

Family History

The Edmondson family originally settled in Virginia but relocated to Talbot County, Maryland, not long after its arrival in North America in the seventeenth century. John Edmondson was one of the early settlers of Dorchester County, Maryland, moving there from Talbot County around 1665. William V. M. Edmondson (b. ca. 1812), a descendant of John Edmondson, was a landowner and physician in East New Market, Maryland. Edmondson attended medical school at Washington University of Baltimore from 1845 to 1847, receiving his diploma in March 1847. After the death of his wife Elizabeth, about whom little is known, Edmondson married Eugenia S. Manning on December 24, 1855. Eugenia (b. June 27, 1834) was affectionately called "Grannis" by her only stepchild, Emma, and Emma's children. Sometime after William V. M. Edmondson's death in 1872, Eugenia S. M. Edmondson married James H. Thomas (b. ca. 1827), who was also a physician.

Emma V. Edmondson (ca. 1836-1908), the daughter of William and Elizabeth, married James Thomas Jacobs (ca. 1834-1896). James T. Jacobs was a physician in East New Market and Emma was listed as a schoolteacher in the 1880 census. Four of their children survived into adulthood: Linda (ca. 1857-1919); Eugenia [Jean] (ca. 1861-1924); William V. E. (ca. 1862-1934); and Emma E. (ca. 1871-1948).

Linda, also called "Bosie," was a music teacher. She married Edmund Dandridge Murdaugh (ca. 1853-1925), an educator to whom the Jacobs family sometimes referred to as "the professor" in their letters. The Murdaughs had at least one child, James Edmund Dandridge Murdaugh (ca. 1886-1939). The correspondence documents the Murdaughs' residence in various places around the state of Maryland. In 1909, Edmund was the principal of the State Normal School in Frostburg, Maryland, now Frostburg State University. Their son, known as Dandridge, received his master's degree from George Washington University in 1922. At least one of his children survived infancy, James Edmund Dandridge Murdaugh, Jr. Dandridge Murdaugh, Jr., graduated from Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania in 1940; his father may also have been connected with that school.

William V. E. Jacobs, the son of Emma V. Edmondson Jacobs and James T. Jacobs, rose to the rank of Commandant in the U. S. Revenue Cutter Service, the precursor of the modern-day Coast Guard. His travels throughout the United States included visits to New Orleans, Louisiana; Mobile, Alabama; San Francisco, California; Alaska; Washington, D. C.; and Hawaii on vessels including the U. S. R. S. vessels Forward, Seward, Bear, Corwin, Hamilton, and Manning, as well as the U. S. S. Windom. In 1911, William was the superintendent of the U. S. Revenue Cutter School of Instruction in New London, Connecticut. William was later awarded the Navy Cross for his distinguished service as commander of the U. S. S. Niagara during the First World War.

Emma and James Jacobs's daughters Jean and Emma E. Jacobs both had careers as schoolteachers. Jean remained near East New Market, while Emma spent part of her career at Church Creek, also located in Dorchester County. Emma graduated from Easton High School in 1889 and, by 1892, had secured her position in Church Creek. In 1899, when her brother William secured a promotion he offered to support his sister so that she could retire from teaching. However, Emma continued teaching until at least 1902. Later in her life, Emma lived with William on both coasts of the United States near where he was stationed in the Revenue Cutter Service.


The collection has been organized into four series:

Series 1
Series 2
Personal Records
Series 3
Financial Records
Series 4

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased this collection from Charles Apfelbaum, a rare books and manuscripts dealer, in 2000.

Related Material

The essay "East New Market," by Emma E. Jacobs, can be found in New Revised History of Dorchester County Maryland by Elias Jones (Cambridge, MD: Tidewater Publishers, 1966) on page ninety. This book is available in the Maryland Room, call number F187.D6J7 1966.

Processing Information

When the collection was acquired, the correspondence was divided by recipient and further divided by sender. The remaining materials were received in no discernable order, although the photographs had been separated from the papers. Items other than correspondence were divided into personal and financial papers. The materials have been placed in acid-free folders and stored in acid-free boxes. The photographs have been placed in Mylar sleeves.

Guide to the Edmondson-Jacobs Family Papers
Processed by Tammy Hamilton.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
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