University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Compositions of Mary B. Griggs

1858 - 1864

Manuscript Collection Number: 99 Folder #577
Accessioned: Gift of Wilson R.G. Bender, 1956.
Extent: 10 items.
Content: Compositions.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: November 1997 by Arthur Siegel.

for reference assistance email Special Collections
or contact:

Table of Contents

Introductory Note

Mary Griggs and her family lived in Center Rutland, Vermont. Mary attended Rutland Union High School from 1861-1864, during which time she wrote the several compositions which comprise this collection. In addition, the collection includes a composition, dated 1858, that she wrote when she was younger. These compositions are written in her own hand, most are several pages in length, and many contain comments and corrections written in pencil, presumably by her teacher. Through these brief works one gets a sense of her personality, her interests, and her family life. They also provide interesting reflections of a teenager on life in the 1860s, particularly the story entitled "Old and New," which laments the passage of time, and compares various aspects of life in her time with those of her grandmother. In all of these compositions, there is no hint of the Civil War which was raging at the time, and this silence may reflect the geographical distance of the struggle, the lack of family or friends in the war, or even suppression of her own emotions.

According to donor information (see "Biographical Note, 1956"), Mary Griggs attended Vassar College, and married the Rev. James Zernold of Philadelphia. Wilson R. G. Bender of Wilmington, Delaware (d. 1985), was the grandson of Mary's brother, George Henry Griggs, to whom she makes reference in, "How I do wish my schooldays were over!"


R.L. Polk & Co. Wilmington City Directory. Richmond, VA: R.L. Polk & Co., 1918-86.

Note: Biographical information derived from the letters and from the collection folder.

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

          The Mary B. Griggs Compositions form part of the Miscellaneous Literary and
          History Manuscripts Collection (Mss 99).

99   577  Mary B. Griggs Compositions
          Written between 1858-1864, these compositions are holograph manuscripts by
          Mary B. Griggs.  Several of the works have no formal title, so the first line is
          provided in substitution for these.  Also included is a brief biographical note,
          typed in December 1956, in which some of the information is incorrect -- such as the
          claim that the letters were written at Vassar.

          Biographical Note, December 1956  (1 p.)

          "Sunshine And a Sunbeam," July 1858  (2 pp.)

          "Night," February 20, 1861  (3 pp.)

          "Imagining the Last Day of School," June 8, 1861  (3 pp.)

          "What a magic power has Eloquence!," May 2, 1863  (2 pp.)

          "Our Sail Down the Hudson," November 9, 1863  (3 pp.)
          Written during the Fall term, it is noted as the "5th Composition"

          "One beautiful summer morning," January 27, 1864  (3 pp.)

          "I love solitude," February 1864  (2 pp.)

          "How I do wish my schooldays were over!," n.d.  (2 pp.)

          "A Story," n.d.  (3 pp.)

          "Old and New," n.d.  (3 pp.)

Back to the UD Special Collections Home Page

+ Return to List of Manuscript Finding Aids by Title

This page is maintained by Special Collections
Last modified: 01/19/11
  • UD Library Special Collections  •   181 South College Avenue  •   Newark, DE 19717-5267  •   USA
    Phone: USA +1 302-831-2229  •   ©2014