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Mary W. Stewart papers

 Collection 0289-MDHC
Mary W. Stewart was the postmistress of Oxford, Maryland, from 1877 to 1940. The collection consists of correspondence to and from Mary Stewart and her family, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia relating to her tenure as postmistress. It also includes a blueprint of Mary Stewart's home and post office in Oxford, Maryland.

Dates

  • 1902-1941
  • Majority of material found within 1932-1940

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.

Extent

0.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Mary W. Stewart papers date from 1902 to 1941, with the bulk of the material dating between 1930 and 1932, and consist of correspondence, newspaper clippings, official documents, memorabilia, fan mail, and newsletters relating to the life and career of Stewart, who was postmistress of Oxford, Talbot County, Maryland, from 1877 to 1940. It also includes a blueprint of the Oxford post office, which Mary Stewart built as an addition to her private home. Correspondents include William H. Boyce, T. Alan Goldsborough, Phillips Lee Goldsborough, Robert G. Houston, Howard W. Jackson, James M. Mead, George L. Radcliffe, Millard E. Tydings, and David J. Ward. The bulk of the collection relates to the controversy surrounding Stewart's reappointment as postmistress in 1931.

Biography

Mary Washington Matilda Stewart was born on November 19, 1857 in Oxford, Talbot County, Maryland. Her parents were Matilda and James Stewart. Known locally as "Mollie," she was appointed postmistress of Oxford in the spring of 1877 after the death of her father, who previously held the position of postmaster. Sometime after her confirmation, Mary Stewart built an addition on her home that served as the Oxford post office.

At the completion of her term in 1930, the Republican County Committee of Talbot County recommended that a Republican be appointed to the position of postmaster instead of Mary Stewart, resulting in a political controversy that lasted until President Hoover confirmed her reappointment in 1931. Senators Millard E. Tydings and Phillips Lee Goldsborough of Maryland were strong supporters of Stewart and spoke on her behalf to the U.S. Senate, helping to ensure her reappointment.

When Mary Stewart retired in 1940, she was the oldest postmistress in America and had the second longest continuous service record in the nation.

Mary W. Stewart never married; she died in 1946 at age 88.

Arrangement

The collection is organized in four series:
  1. Series 1: Correspondence
  2. Series 2: Newspaper Clippings
  3. Series 3: Blueprint
  4. Series 4: Memorabilia

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the Mary W. Stewart papers from Charles Apfelbaum in April 1999.

Existence and Location of Copies

Series 3, Blueprint, is available at http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/7298 in the University of Maryland's Digital Collections.

Processing Information

The letters were placed in acid-free folders and stored in an acid-free box. Newspaper clippings were photocopied onto acid-free paper and originals discarded. The blueprint was flattened and removed to a mapcase.
Title
Guide to the Mary W. Stewart papers
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Megan Smith and Jennie A. Levine, April 2006
Date
2006-04-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
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

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212