Dear Mother: Letters from our Archive & Manuscript Collections

In honor of Mother’s Day we’re sharing these lovely letters and postcards sent to mothers by their adult children from our Collections. It’s a good reminder to write/call/text your mom more often!

2018-180062a: Correspondence from Edwin R. Bryant to Mother, Sunday, August 31

This is a one page handwritten letter from Edwin R. Bryant to his mother. It states he is living in Davenport, Iowa and is making cane seats for chairs. He shares that he has been traveling around since he last wrote, and admits he has made many mistakes in life, pledging to do better in the future. He provide the name of Charles Sears in the post script. He shares the Agricultural Fair begins tomorrow and the population is 30,000.

Nothing definitive was located for Edwin R. Bryant or Charles Sears in Davenport city directories, census records, or newspaper accounts. The Scott County Farmers Institute Agricultural Fair began in 1896. The population of Davenport in 1890 was 26,872. In 1900 it was 35,254. According to a perpetual calendar August 31 fell on a Sunday in the years 1862, 1873, 1879, 1884, 1890 and 1902.

2018-180062e: Postcard to Mrs. Lovina Zimmerman in Burlington, Iowa

Based on information in the 1885 Iowa Census for Union Township, Des Moines County, Iowa, Lovina Zimmerman had 4 children: Minnie (age 10), Edward (age 8), Frederick (age 7), and Elsie (age 5). In the 1900, Census she had 1 more daughter, Birdie (age 13).

2014-22: Harriett Cole Estate Collection

This collection contains images, Davis family history, genealogical records, charts, notes, pages from bible, and correspondence from 1890-1940. The “Sallie” in this letter might be Sarah Lake Davis, daughter of Thomas and Prudence (Crane) Davis, born 1830 in Newburyport, MA.

2019-10: Scott Family Papers

The collection consists of correspondence and papers of George Washington Scott and wife, Rosemary Spier Scott, dating from 1860-1930s. The materials detail Rosemary Scott’s early life in Peoria, Illinois, school years at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, and married life in the Dakota and Oklahoma territories. George Scott was an Indian Reservation Agent and a Mayor of Davenport.

George & Rosemary’s 3 daughters, Coaina, Eunice, and Marice, also attended St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana in 1912. This letter is a poem Coaina wrote to her parents as part of a school assignment.

Illinois State Normal University, 1916
Rosemary (Spier) Scott with son George Scott, Jr., ca. 1918

We hope you enjoyed these snapshot of correspondence to mothers from the past! Happy Mother’s Day!

(posted by Cristina)

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