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Brooke Family papers

 Collection 0006-MDHC

The Brooke Family was a large family of landowners in Maryland whose records relate to farm activities and family life on the plantation "Falling Green." The Brooke and Farquhar families were active members of the Quaker community in Sandy Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland. The collection contains the diaries of several women in the family, addressing topics such as housework, motherhood, education, women's farm work, local and social gatherings, and Quaker religious meetings. The papers contain correspondence from various branches of the extended family, travel journals, a scrapbook, business records, poetry, sketches, printed ephemera, memorabilia, photographs, and two oral history transcripts.


  • 1750-1980
  • Majority of material found within 1860-1954

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


13.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Brooke Family papers cover a period from roughly 1750 to 1980, with the bulk of materials from 1860 to 1954. The diaries and journals of the sisters Edith F. Brooke Green and Mary B. Brooke compose the majority of the collection. The papers also contain correspondence from various branches of the extended family, diaries from other family members, travel journals, a scrapbook, business records, poetry, sketches, printed ephemera, memorabilia, photographs, and two oral history transcripts.

The materials in this collection document the everyday lives of members of the Brooke family. The day books focus on farm life, housekeeping tasks, local social events, visiting, weather, and vacations. The correspondence provides a glimpse into family connections and relationships. Correspondents devote their attention to farm or city life, social events, Quaker religious concerns, courtship, vacations and travel, household duties, astronomy, and some business dealings. The oral histories of Richard H. Farquhar and his brother, Roger B. Farquhar III, shed light on their understanding of Brooke-Farquhar family history and Sandy Spring's Quaker heritage.

Family History

The members of the Brooke family arrived in colonial Maryland poised to assume prominent positions. In 1650, Robert Brooke (1602-1655), a former Anglican minister, emigrated from England to Charles County, Maryland, with his second wife, Mary, and ten children. The family had the means to travel aboard their own ship. Lord Baltimore granted Robert Brooke two thousand acres of land, known by contemporaries as "De La Brooke" or "Brooke Grove." In 1652, Robert served as the acting governor of Maryland and as the president of the Council in Maryland. His son, Roger Brooke (1637-1700), married twice and raised eight children at his estate in Calvert County, Maryland. His namesake, Roger Brooke (1673-1718), married Elizabeth Hutchins (ca. 1684-ca. 1727), and together they had ten children. The Lord Proprietor of Maryland awarded the eldest son, James Brooke (ca. 1705-1784), a resurvey of the Brooke land holdings.

The land was divided between James's sons. Roger Brooke IV (1734-1790) inherited "Brooke Grove." With his wife, Mary Mathews Brooke (1734-1808), Roger had four children, Roger V, Mary, Hannah, and Dorothy. In 1794, Hannah Brooke (1770-1851) married Isaac Briggs (1763-1825), and two years later, Dorothy Brooke (1776-1857) married Gerard Thomas Hopkins (1769-1834). Their brother, Roger Brooke V (1774-1860), inherited the family estate, where he and his wife, Mary Pleasants Brooke (ca. 1780-1837), raised their four children. Their daughter, Sarah Brooke (1805-1888), married the doctor Charles Farquhar (1800-1844).

Roger Brooke IV's brother, Basil Brooke (1738-1794), inherited part of the land. In 1764, Basil established a plantation that his descendents would later name "Falling Green." The Montgomery County plantation passed to Basil's second son, Gerard Brooke (1768-1821), who in turned willed it to his own son, Richard Brooke (1790-1862). Richard married his cousin Mary Brooke Briggs (1798-1875), daughter of Hannah Brooke Briggs and Isaac Briggs. Mary supposedly gave "Falling Green" its name. Mary and Richard raised five children together: Henry Briggs Brooke (1828-1852), Hannah Brooke (1829-1915), Charles H. Brooke (1831-1915), Eliza Brooke (1834-1919), and Margaret Brooke (1838-ca. 1912).

Dr. Charles H. Brooke inherited "Falling Green" upon his father's death in 1862, and three years later he married Anna Farquhar (1834-1917), daughter of Sarah Brooke Farquhar and Charles Farquhar. Upon Charles's marriage, his unmarried sister, Hannah, began residing with the family of the youngest sister, Margaret Brooke Magruder. The other unmarried sister, Eliza, shared a close friendship with Anna and remained at "Falling Green" after the marriage of Charles and Anna. Eliza was "Auntie Brooke" to Charles and Anna's children. Charles and Anna had two daughters, Edith F. Brooke (1869-ca. 1954) and Mary B. Brooke (1875-ca. 1960), who lived to adulthood. Their son, Henry Brooke (1866-1884), died at eighteen years of age; another son probably died as an infant. The Brooke family farmed their land and participated in the agricultural life of their community, attending fairs and lectures. They were active members of the Quaker community of Friends in Sandy Spring, Maryland. Visiting among extended family, friends, and neighbors was an important part of their social life. The Brookes also enjoyed traveling to Washington, D.C., New York City, Atlantic City, and the Chicago World's Fairs of 1893 and 1933.

Edith F. Brooke married Dr. William French Green in 1897 and moved to the nearby town of Brookeville. There they had two children, Meredith Green (1901-1910) and Mary F. Green (1903-ca. 1985). After the death of her husband in 1919, Edith spent some time living in Washington, D.C., with friends. Edith and her daughter, Mary, often visited "Falling Green," where Edith's sister, Mary B. Brooke, resided all her life. In 1949, the Brooke sisters sold "Falling Green" to Richard and La Verna (Miller) White. The sisters, however, retained the right to live there for the remainder of their lives.

Another branch of the Brooke-Farquhar family is represented in this collection. Roger Brooke Farquhar (1837-1929), son of Sarah Brooke Farquhar and Charles Farquhar, married Caroline Miller (1842-1904) in 1867. They raised seven children: Roger B., Jr.; Sarah B.; Anna M.; Alice V.; George B.; Malcolm; and Henry Farquhar. Anna was the first chair of the Women's Board of the Montgomery County Hospital and principal of the Sherwood School. Her brother, Roger Brooke Farquhar, Jr., married and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. After his first wife died in 1922, Roger brought his three children back to Sandy Spring, Maryland. He raised the eldest son Roger (1916- ), while his sister Alice raised Richard (1918- ) and Caroline (ca. 1920- ). Roger Brooke Farquhar, Jr., composed works of local history later in his life. Roger Brooke Farquhar III became a journalist; Richard was the postmaster of Ashton, Maryland; and Caroline had a career in the U.S. State Department.


The collection has been divided into seven series.

Series 1
Day Books
Series 2
Series 3
Manuscripts and Printed Materials
Series 4
Business and Legal Records
Series 5
Oral Histories
Series 6
Series 7

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Richard H. Farquhar donated the papers of the Brooke family to the University of Maryland Libraries in 1980.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital copies of some of the letters in this collection are available at in the University of Maryland's Digital Collections.

Related Material

Roger Brooke Farquhar, Jr., wrote a local history, Historic Montgomery County, Maryland: Old Homes and History, published in 1952 (Maryland Folio F187.M7 F37) and reprinted in 1962 (National Trust Library Folio F187.M7 F37 1962). In 1961, Roger Brooke Farquhar, Jr., published his memoir, Memories of Roger Brooke Farquhar: Farmer, Salesman, Historian, and, between 1958 and 1967, he edited his father's diary, The Diary of Roger Brooke Farquhar of Montgomery County, Maryland.

Several other repositories have materials that relate to the Brooke and Farquhar families. The Sandy Spring Museum in Montgomery County, Maryland, has manuscript materials and artifacts from Brooke family members and their relatives. The Montgomery County Historical Society in Rockville, Maryland, has collections from the family of Roger Brooke Farquhar I and II; other genealogical materials for the Brooke, Farquhar, and related families; and a large artifact collection from Falling Green donated by Mary Farquhar Green. The Gordon Family Papers (Mss1 G6596) at the Virginia Historical Society include letters written by Mary (Brooke) Briggs Brooke, Eliza Brooke, and Sarah Brooke Farquhar as well as various Stabler family members. The Virginia Historical Society also maintains the Jordan and Stabler Family Papers (Mss1 J7676). The Gordon and Jordan-Stabler collections have been microfilmed as part of the Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century project, Series D, Part 4 (Microfilm HQ1438.V5 S68 1994). The University of Maryland Libraries hold this series, as well as A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century, Papers and Diaries, Series D, Holdings of the Virginia Historical Society (Reference Stacks HQ1438.V5 S68 1994).

The Briggs-Stabler Papers, 1793-1910, at the Maryland Historical Society, include the papers of Hannah Brooke Briggs, her husband, Isaac Briggs, and their son-in-law, James P. Stabler. Stabler, who married their daughter Sarah, served as superintendent of the construction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

The Swarthmore College Library's collection of Records of Quaker Families and Individuals includes the Hallowell-Stabler Family Papers, 1811-1946 (RG5/057). The Historical Society of Carroll County, Maryland, maintains the Basil Crapster Papers. Crapster was an avid genealogist and local historian. Part I of this collection, Family History Files, includes a file of notes on the Brooke family, described as "extensive genealogical information on the Brooke family of Maryland, particularly the descendants of Basil Brooke."

Benjamin Hallowell was the first president of the Maryland Agricultural College, the forerunner of the University of Maryland. Hallowell composed an autobiographical work, Autobiography of Benjamin Hallowell, Written at the Request of His Daughter, Caroline H. Miller, for His Children and Grandchildren, in the Seventy-Sixth Year of His Age (Maryland Rare Stacks CT275.H287 A3 1884). The University of Maryland Libraries also hold a copy of an address Hallowell made at a meeting of the Agricultural Society of Montgomery County, Maryland, held at Rockville, Maryland, September 9, 1852 (Maryland Rare Stacks BX7616.H22 A4).

The Maryland State Archives' Brookeville 1814 website provides information about the history of Brookville during the War of 1812. Last accessed July 2015.

The following web pages and online database entries supported the research of Brooke family genealogy. Copies are available in the collection's control folder.

  1. "Ancestors of Richard Snowden." "First Families of Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties in Maryland." ( Last accessed March 7, 2003.
  2. "Brooke Family." ( Last accessed March 7, 2003.
  3. "Descendants of Gerard Hopkins of Anne Arundel Co." "First Families of Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties in Maryland." ( Last accessed March 7, 2003.
  4. "First Families of Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties in Maryland." ( Last accessed March 7, 2003.
  5. "Genealogy Data." (Entry for "Brooke, Sarah"). ( Last accessed March 7, 2003.
  6. "Genealogy Data." (Entry for "Farquhar, Allen"). ( Last accessed March 7, 2003.
  7. "Genealogy Data." (Entry for "Farquhar, Amos"). ( Last accessed March 7, 2003.
  8. "Genealogy Data." (Entry for "Farquhar, Margaret Elgar"). ( Last accessed March 7, 2003.
  9. Kidwell, Sharon. "Kidwell Family" ("Mary Brooke Briggs," Ahnentafel). ( Last accessed March 7, 2003.
  10. Kidwell, Sharon. "Kidwell Family" ("Roger Brooke," Ahnentafel). ( Last accessed March 7, 2003.
  11. (Entries for various Brooke family members). ( Last accessed March 7, 2003.
  12. Smith, Harold. "02FamilyHistory.ged" ("James Brooke," Ahnentafel). ( Last accessed March 7, 2003.
  13. Swayne, Rick. "Swayne/Walton/Frazee/Skinner Origins" (Entry for "Sarah Brooke") ( Last accessed March 7, 2003.

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

Processing Information

The papers were placed in acid-free, archival boxes. Unbound materials were arranged in acid-free folders as well. Many of the loose items placed in diaries and journals were separated into corresponding "loose items" folders when the collection was originally processed in 1980. At that time, separation sheets were not used to mark the location from which a loose item had been removed; the date of the diary entry next to the loose item was marked in pencil. Printed ephemera originally were separated from both diaries and correspondence and placed in several envelopes; these items now have been situated in the manuscripts and printed materials series. Remaining loose items that were separated during the reprocessing of the collection have been documented with detailed separation sheets. Newspaper clippings were photocopied for preservation purposes onto acid-free paper, and the originals were retained.

In the manuscripts and printed materials series, there is a scrapbook ledger in which Edith F. Brooke Green copied her schoolgirl compositions. A folder in this series contains loose essays that Edith wrote for school. In 1980, the first processor of this collection labeled that folder "School Ledger." Those loose essays may have originally been placed in the front of that ledger. The folder of unbound schoolwork, now labeled "School Compositions and Scrapbook Clippings," remains separate and precedes the scrapbook in the series arrangement.

An autograph book commemorating the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 had become almost completely unbound. To better preserve the content, the pages were disbound and sleeved in Mylar. The cover was placed in an acid-free folder with the sleeved pages in a folder.

In 1980, the photographs were separated from the collection, and most of the photographs were affixed on matte board; mounted photographs have been interleaved with acid-free paper. Loose photographs have been sleeved in Mylar and placed in an acid-free envelope. Memorabilia items were transferred to the memorabilia collection.

Please note that Box 1 of Series 1, Day Books, 1852-1954, does not have Folders 6 and 7. These numbered folders were removed during processing to reflect multi-part content in a single volume in Folder 5.

Guide to the Brooke Family papers
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