Special Collections Department
403 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2140

MS 10
Adams Family
Papers, 1618-1976, undated


Descriptive summary

creator:

Adams Family

title:

Papers

dates:

1618-1976, undated

extent:

2.94 linear feet (7 document boxes)

collection number:

MS 10

repository:

Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.

 

Administrative information

access:

Open for research

publication rights:

Consult Head, Special Collections Department

preferred citation:

Adams Family Papers, MS 10, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.

 

Biographical note

Reverend Samuel Newbury (1802-1868), a Middlebury College graduate and Presbyterian from Vermont, came west to start churches and establish schools. In 1853, he and the family came to Dubuque, Iowa.

Mary Newbury Adams (1837-1901), third child of Reverend and Mrs. Samuel Newbury, was born in Peru, Indiana. Her father was a firm believer in education for both sexes. When Mary was nineteen years of age, she was sent to Mrs. Willard's Female Seminary in Troy, New York, where she graduated in 1857. She married Austin Adams, a young lawyer and teacher, a few months later. Their home in Dubuque became an avant-garde salon for intellectuals of the period (1860's through 1880's). In 1866, Mrs. Adams became interested in women's suffrage and did much to promote it through writing and speaking. She was a member of the Association for Advancement of Women, the American Historical Association, vice chairperson of Women's Branch of the World's Congress Auxiliary of the Colombian Exposition, and numerous literary societies.

Mary Newbury Adams' husband, Austin Adams (1826-1890), came from Andover, Vermont, to Dubuque in 1854. He graduated from Dartmouth College and studied law at Harvard. He practiced law in Dubuque and was a member of the Supreme Court of Iowa (1876-1888) during which he served two terms as chief justice. He was a regent of the University of Iowa, lecturer at the Law School for twenty-nine years, president of the Board of Education of Dubuque, and also started the public library in Dubuque.

Aside from the correspondence of prominent persons such as A. Bronson Alcott, many of the family letters offer insight into the interests and concerns of three generations during the second half of the 19th century in America.

Reverend Samuel Newbury (1802-1868) m. (1832) Mary Ann Sergeant (1808-1863)
Children:

Frances Elizabeth Newbury (1833-1898) m. (1855) John Judson Bagley (1832-1881)

Samuel Sergeant Newbury (1835-1864) killed in battled on Welden Railroad, south of Petersburg, Virginia

Mary Ann Keeler Newbury (1837-1901) m. (1857) Austin Adams (1826-1890)

Elizabeth Margaret Newbury (1839-1841)

Catherine Sedgewick Newbury (1841-1873) m. (1861) Patrick Robb (d. 1867)

Egbert Starr Newbury (1843-1880) m. Francis Maria Kellogg

Jeanette Bishop Newbury (1846-1895)

Children of Mary Newbury Adams and Austin Adams

Annabel Adams (b. 1858)

Jerry Eugene Adams (b. 1860)

Herbert Francis Adams (b. 1863)

Cecilia Keller Adams (b. 1865)

 

Collection description

The Adams Family Papers (1618-1976, undated) contains correspondence, writings, diaries, newspaper clippings, the family bible and biographical materials. The biographical materials include newspaper clippings, journals, and diaries of the family members.

The first section features the correspondence of Reverend Samuel Newbury, Mary Sergeant Newbury, Thomas J. Newbury, Mary Newbury Adams, and Austin Adams. The letters of Mary Newbury Adams feature her experiences at Troy Female Seminary, correspondence with her sister Frances, and numerous family social events.

The second section contains correspondence of the following major characters: Mary Newbury Adams and her husband, Austin Adams; Bronson and Abby May Alcott; Mary's brothers Samuel S. Newbury and Egbert S. Newbury; Alvin Adams (cousin to Austin); Mary's sisters Frances Newbury Bagley, Catherine Sedgewick, Newbury Robb, and Jeanette Bishop Newbury; and Mary's Aunt Jeanette Newbury Rice.

The third section includes the correspondence of Mary and Austin Adams' children: Annabel Adams Goan, J. Eugene Adams, Herbert F. Adams, and Cecilia Keeler Adams. Additional family letters between cousins, nieces, and nephews are also found in this section. This section contains Mary Newbury Adam's genealogical and biographical papers, original manuscripts, writings, diaries, and bible. Additional biographical information for Austin Adams can be found in Box 4, Folder 1.

The writings included both prose and poetry on a variety of topics by a variety of members of the Adams family, and for some of the writings it is unclear who the author is. However, most of the writings are by Austin and Mary Adams. Most of the diaries are by Mary Adams, but also included are journals of Annabel Adams and several without a clear author. The family bible includes the family register (dates and information on family members) at the front.

The family information (Series 2) contains information about members of the Adams family including articles, photographs, a family tree, biographical information, and an edited version of a piece written by Mary Adams' aunt, Jeanette Sergeant Ames Rice, called Tales That Have the Rime of Age - Our Family in the 1830's: A Gift to my Niece Frances on her Fiftieth Birthday.

Selections from the Adams Family Papers have been digitized, specifically the Mary Newbury Adams letters, and are available on the ISU Library Digital Collections website: http://cdm16001.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/search/collection/p16001coll13.

 

 

Description of series

Series 1

Correspondence, Writings, and Diaries

1618-1946, undated

extent:

2.7 linear feet

description:

The series contains the correspondence, writings, diaries and the family bible. Correspondents include Reverend Samuel Newbury; Mary Sergeant Newbury; Thomas J. Newbury; Mary Newbury Adams; Austin Adams; Bronson and Abby May Alcott; Mary's brothers Samuel S. Newbury and Egbert S. Newbury; Alvin Adams (cousin to Austin); Mary's sisters Frances Newbury Bagley Catherine Sedgewick, Newbury Robb, and Jeanette Bishop Newbury; and Mary's Aunt Jeanette Newbury Rice. Most of the diaries were written by Mary Adams, but also included are journals of Annabel Adams and several without a clear author.

 

Container list

Box

Folder

Title

Dates

1

1-2

Letters -- Reverend Samuel Newbury and Mary Sergeant Newbury

1842-1867

1

3

Letters -- About Thomas J. Newbury

1840-1849

1

4-5

Letters -- Mary Newbury Adams, includes letters sent from Troy Female Seminary

1856-1858

1

6

Letters -- Mary Newbury Adams family members

1857-1869

1

7-8

Letters -- Mary Newbury Adams family members
Describes social events-Bronson Alcott, General Grant

1870-1879

1

9-12

Letters -- Mary Newbury Adams family members (includes discussion of the destruction of Louisa Alcott's letters)

1880-1889

2

1-2

Letters -- Mary Newbury Adams

1890-1901

2

3

Letters -- Mary Newbury Adams

undated

2

4-5

Letters (photocopies) -- Alcott letters to M. Adams (1- 3x4.25 b/w photograph of Bronson Alcott)

1873-1886

2

6

Letters -- Alvin Adams to M. Adams

1872-1876

2

7-10

Letters -- To M. Adams; listing of correspondents

1851-1899

2

11-13

Letters -- Courtship - Mary and Austin Adams

1855-1885

2

14

Letters -- Frances Newbury Bagley and John Judson Bagley

1854-1895

2

15

Letters -- Samuel S. Newbury

1855-1864

2

16

Letters -- Catherine Sedgewick Newbury Robb

1854-1871

2

17

Letters -- Egbert Starr Newbury

1864

2

18

Letters -- Jeanette Bishop Newbury and Jeanette Sergeant Ames Rice (family members)

1857-1888

3

1

Letters -- Eugene Adams (son of Mary and Austin)

1871-1894

3

2

Letters -- To Eugene Adams

undated

3

3

Family letters

undated

3

4-5

Genealogical and Biographical (Mary N. Adams);
Leaves from John Cotton Bible (?)

1618, 1859, undated

3

6

Mary N. Adams manuscripts and copied extracts

1876-1888, undated

3

7

A-F Writings

undated

3

8

Writings: Fortnightly Club paper on Norwegian literature

undated

3

9

Writings: includes speech/paper on duties of a housewife

undated

3

10

Writings: private journal of Mary N. Adams

1872

3

11

Writings: letters and articles about the Sedgwicks (Mary N. Adams' mother's family)

1929

3

12

Writings: Cosmos era writings

1872-1873

3

13-14

Writings and notes

1877, undated

3

15

Bible belonging to Mary Adams

1847

4

1

Diary -- Mary Adams

1870

4

2

Diaries -- Mary Adams

1872-1873

4

3

Diary -- Mary Adams

1900

4

4-6

Biographical information: Austin Adams - news clippings, obituaries, writings by Austin Adams and others

1854-1946, undated

4

7

Writings of Austin Adams and other papers

1883, undated

5

1-2

Mary N. Adams: reports; journals; programs; articles (4- b/w and 2 color of Mary N. Adams, 1- profile print of the Adams family, 1- John Whittier, Alcott study and chapel, and 2- 4x5 color Henry Thoreau's home and grave)

1872-1873, undated

5

3-4

Writings -- news clippings, obituaries, poems, prose, meeting announcements, invitations and correspondence

1875-1894, undated

5

5-6

Newspaper clippings

1870-1930

5

7

Diary -- Frances Newbury Bagley, Mary Adams

1878, undated

5

8

Diary -- Annabel Adams

1883-1884

6

1

Writings

undated

6

2-7

Sermons (Samuel Newbury)

1852-1860, undated

7

1

Letters -- M. Adams to Frances Newbury Bagley

1865-1879

7

2

Letters -- M. Adams to Jeanette Bishop Newbury

1864-1865

7

3

Letters -- M. Adams to Mary Sargeant Newbury (mother)

1862

7

4

Letters -- Frances Newbury Bagley to M. Adams

1860

7

5

Letters -- Abby May Alcott to M. Adams

1871-1877

7

6

Letters -- Amos Bronson Alcott to M. Adams

1871-1896

7

7

Letters -- Louisa May Alcott to M. Adams

1886

7

8

Letters -- Louisa May Alcott to A. Bronson Alcott

1884

7

9

Letters -- Anna Alcott Pratt to M. Adams

1898

7

10

Letters -- Correspondents include William Cullen Bryant,
Ednah Dow Cheney, Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Horace Greeley and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

1868-1891, undated

7

11

Letters -- Amelia Bloomer

1886

7

12

Letters -- Margaret Fuller to Thesta Dane

1836

7

13

Letters -- Julia Ward Howe

1875-1879

7

14

Letters -- Horace Mann

1857

7

15

Letters -- Emerson White

1901

7

16

Letters -- John Greenleaf Whittier

1881, 1887

7

17

Listing of Adams letters owned by Patricia Adams Rogers

undated

 

Description of series

Series 2

Family Information

1948-1976, undated

extent:

0.2 linear feet

description:

The series contains information about members of the Adams family including articles, photographs, a family tree, and biographical information. Biographical information, including obituaries and brief autobiographies, can also be found in the correspondence and writings in Series 1.

 

Container list

Box

Folder

Title

Dates

7

18

Description of Mary Ann Sergeant Newbury

undated

7

19

Genealogical materials

1966, undated

7

20

Photographs (photocopies)

undated

7

21

An Adams in Iowa Palimpsest, pp. 39-48

1948

7

22

Mary Newbury Adams: Feminist Forerunner from Iowa by Louise Moede Lex (copied from Annals of Iowa)

1976

7

23

Tales That Have the Rime of Age - Our Family in the 1830's: A Gift to my Niece Frances on her Fiftieth Birthday by Jeanette Sergeant Ames Rice, March 4, 1883; edited by Michael Delahunt and also available at: http://www.artlex.com/delahunt/talesrimeage2008.pdf

2008

7

24

Photographs (copies made from digital images donated by family member): Mary Newbury Adams with grandchildren, Austin Adams, Olive and Harlow Adams, Eugene and Herbert Adams families

1897-1899, undated

7 25 Photographs: Mary Newbury Adams (?) and child; Percy Adams (?) and wife (?) undated