Special Collections Department
Letters to Hannah Stickney
Manuscript Collection Number: 334
Accessioned: Purchase, June 1991
Extent: One notebook (67 pp) and disbound signature (12pp)
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: October 1996 by Julie Witsken.
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
It is clear that Caroline was a teacher, if not also a missionary. In 1820 she left Newburyport for Penobscot County, Maine, where she instructed children of both the Penobscot Indian and the white communities. She spent a year in Penobscot County, first in Passadumkeag, located on the west bank of the Penobscot River about forty miles north of Bangor, and later in other locations within the same area. Caroline was reluctant to leave her teaching position in Maine in 1821, and it is not known from this collection where she went between then and the year 1824. Her letters from 1824 reveal her still to be teaching, but back in her hometown of Newburyport.
Sources:Biographical information derived from the collection as well as from email correspondence from Peter Carini, Archivist at Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, to Julie Witsken, 11 Dec. 1995 and 14 Dec. 1995.
Scope and Content Note
The bulk of the letters, written between 1820 and 1821, details Caroline's life as a teacher and missionary in the wilderness of Penobscot County, Maine. The letters describe living conditions in a remote and undeveloped area, as well as Caroline's attempts to adjust to an environment very different from that of her native Massachusetts. The Penobscot Indians are discussed at length, and information about their dress, lifestyle, and relationship with the whites is disclosed. The letters also provide great insight into the joys and frustrations of teaching, and express the strength of Caroline's religious convictions and her desire to help the inhabitants of Maine, particularly the Indians, become better educated Christians.
The letters written between 1820 and 1821 (F1) are contained in a bound notebook, and a second group of letters written in 1824 (F2) are unbound, though they seem to have at one point been part of a bound notebook. All letters appear to be transcripts or extracts of the original letters, as indicated by the word "omitted" written in various places and variations in handwriting throughout the manuscript. Annotations in pen and ink appear throughout the letters. One of these autograph notes is initialed "H. S." and may have been written by Hannah. The initials "H. S." are written on the inside cover of the bound notebook, so it is likely that Hannah, the recipient of the letters, was the one who transcribed them.
F1 Notebook, 1820-1821 (67 pp.) F2 Disbound signatures, 1824 (12 pp.) F3 Preservation photocopy (Notebook, 1820-1821) F4 Preservation photocopy (Disbound signature, 1824)
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