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Series II. Brackenridge Family Correspondence, 1821-1857

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains letters written by or sent to Brackenridge family members. The majority of the letters are written by H.M. Brackenridge to his wife, Caroline Marie Brackenridge, during long periods of separation. The letters make numerous references to their fluctuating moods and various illnesses, including depression. The letters dealing with Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge, H.M. Brackenridge's son, concern his education as well as his health. Much of the correspondence written to H.M. Brackenridge served to keep him informed of the activities of his family and friends while he traveled. There are also letters written by H.M. Brackenridge's sister, Cornelia and his brothers, Alexander and William. Cornelia's letters are particularly enlightening about social activities and include suggestions of suitable women for marriage. Represented as well are letters from cousins John Cabell and Robert Breckinridge. There are also letters written to Caroline and Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge from several of their friends. The letters are arranged into groups, according to family member. Letters between family members are grouped according to the writer.

The order of these documents from the letter book has been noted through the inclusion of a letter book number (e.g. LB#01). See custodial history for more information.


Box 3
Folder 1 Alexander Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge (LB # 52), October 23, 1818

Alexander, writing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Baltimore, Maryland, discusses a new edition of Modern Chivalry. 3 p. A.L.S.

Folder 2 Alexander Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge (LB # 66), January 8, 1827

Alexander, writing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Baltimore, Maryland, speaks of family matters. He also praises H. M. Brackenridge's speech delivered about Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 3 Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge to Samuel A. Rulon, May 5, 1841

Benjamin Morgan, writing from Tarentum, Pennsylvania, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, describes a difficult trip across Pennsylvania, during which there was an accident going up an inclined plane. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 4 Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge from Samuel A. Rulon, (LB# 59), December 24, 1843

Rulon, writing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Tarentum, Pennsylvania, shares news of mutual friends. Rulon mentions that the celebration of a friend's birthday lasted until 11 o'clock, a time he thought "was rather late hours for Quakers." 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 5 Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge, July 5, 1849

Benjamin Morgan, writing from Niagara Falls, New York, to Tarentum, Pennsylvania, thanks his father for the money sent to him and describes the beauty of the falls and his adventures while there.

Folder 6 Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge from Rachel C. Smith, (LB# 6), October 16, 1852

This letter was sent with a Bible from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 7 Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge from John W. Rulon, (LB# 7), December 18, 1852

Rulon, writing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Tarentum, Pennsylvania, relays the wishes of Benjamin Morgan's mother concerning her clothing and personal belongings. [The letter was written soon after Caroline's death in 1852.] 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 8 Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge to Phillipine Brackenridge, February 6, 1857

Writing during a stay in New York, New York, Benjamin Morgan recounts a recent illness and describes a ball which he attended. He offers his opinion on the clothing of others who were in attendance. 4 p. A.L.S.

Folder 9 Caroline Brackenridge from Margaret Ann Overton, April 28, 1830

Margaret Ann Overton, writing from Pensacola, Florida, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, speaks of efforts to raise money for a church. She also notes H. M. Brackenridge's return to Florida. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 10 Caroline Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge, February 5, 1841

In this letter from May Pleasant, Pennsylvania, Caroline requests H. M. Brackenridge to send word about their impending trip to Washington, D.C. She complains of her weak nerves, lack of appetite and insomnia. She also fears that Benjamin Morgan might be contracting the measles from the children of the family with whom they are visiting. 1 p. A.L.S.

Folder 11 Caroline Brackenridge to Mary Weaver, March 18, 1841

Caroline, writing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Freeport, Pennsylvania, apologizes for not previously sending a letter from Washington, D.C., as she was unable to make the journey. She relays that she has been sick most of the winter and that Morgan has the mumps. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 12 Caroline Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge, October 12, 1841

Caroline, writing from Tarentum, Pennsylvania, to Washington, D.C., provides an update on domestic matters and informs H. M. Brackenridge of her travel plans. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 13 Caroline Brackenridge from Mrs. M. L. Alexander, June 9, 1842

Alexander, writing from Washington, D.C., to Tarentum, Pennsylvania, offers news of a boarding house in which she and Caroline used to live. 4 p. A.L.S.

Folder 14 Caroline Brackenridge from Lydia Burrough, 1842-1845

Burrough, writing from the Philadelphia area, to Tarentum, Pennsylvania, describes in this series of letters two of their mutual friends' deaths and the events leading up to them. She also details the condition of various family members and their travels around the East Coast.

Folder 15 Caroline Brackenridge from A.B. and J. W. Rulon, September 27, 1843

The Rulons, writing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Tarentum, Pennsylvania, inform Caroline about a potential visit the following summer. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 16 Caroline Brackenridge from R. Fletcher, 1843

Fletcher, writing from West Chester, Pennsylvania to Tarentum, Pennsylvania, speaks of a nephew who is planning to visit Caroline and her family. Fletcher also describes family matters and recent activities. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 17 Caroline Brackenridge to Miss Louisa Weaver, April 13, 1846

Caroline, writing from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, offers an account of how her winter was spent. She spent four weeks in Philadelphia, prior to going to Harrisburg. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 18 Cornelia Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge (LB # 55), November 24, 1816

Cornelia, writing from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to Baltimore, Maryland, chides her brother for not writing. She also mentions various family friends. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 19 Cornelia Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge (LB # 54), March 17, 1817

Cornelia, writing from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to Baltimore, Maryland, mentions Miss Mary Hamilton, a woman she thinks H. M. Brackenridge should consider marrying. She also laments her lack of free time. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 20 Cornelia Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge (LB # 69), May 30, 1817

Writing from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to Baltimore, Maryland, Cornelia speaks of H. M. Brackenridge's book on the history of the War of 1812. She offers her opinion on H. M. Brackenridge's marital status. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 21 Cornelia Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge (LB # 70), August 16, 1819

Writing from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to Baltimore, Maryland, Cornelia expresses her wish to receive a visit from H. M. Brackenridge. Also provided are updates on friends and family. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 22 Cornelia Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge (LB # 63), January 26, 1820

Cornelia, writing to Annapolis, Maryland, describes a trip to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where she stayed at the Governor's Mansion. She recounts a speech she heard their brother Alexander give. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 23 Cornelia Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge (LB # 24), March 15, 1820

Cornelia, writing from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to Baltimore, Maryland, discusses family matters and relays information about mutual friends. She also offers her opinion on two local women as potential wives for her brother. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 24 Cornelia Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge (LB # 58), June 23, 1820

Cornelia, writing from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to Baltimore, Maryland, speaks of being sick for several months and a visit to Mr. Ramsay's sulfur springs. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 25 Cornelia Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge, May 18, 1821

Writing from Carlisle, Pennsylvania to Pensacola, Florida, Cornelia chastises her brother for not keeping in touch. She mentions Alexander's current interests in traveling. She also requests an update from H. M. Brackenridge concerning his travels. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 26 H. M. Brackenridge to Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge (LB # 58), December 30, 1840

H. M. Brackenridge, writing from Washington D.C., to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, expresses the importance of learning the fundamentals of education. He also describes the state of fashion in the nation's capital. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 27 H. M. Brackenridge to Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge, January 29, 1841

H. M. Brackenridge, writing from Washington D.C., to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, recounts different speakers he has heard in front of the House of Representatives, including Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. He also includes a math problem for his son to complete. 3 p. A.L.S.

Folder 28 H. M. Brackenridge to Benjamin Morgan Brackenridge, February 5, 1841

H. M. Brackenridge writes to discourage a trip to visit Washington, D. C., which was planned for Benjamin Morgan and Caroline. He thinks the chaos of the city will be bad for Caroline's nerves. He also mentions a cabinet filled with stones he bought for his son. 2 p. A.L.S.

Folder 29 H. M. Brackenridge to Caroline Brackenridge, January - July 1827

In this series of letters, mostly from Florida, H. M. Brackenridge notes his desire to be able to spend more time with Caroline. He includes some description of life in Florida, including a lengthy account of a local murder, and the death of a friend's young son. He also offers advice related to matters of health.

Folder 30 H. M. Brackenridge to Caroline Brackenridge, August - November 1827

In this group of letters, H. M. Brackenridge describes the difficulties of living in Florida. Fever is rampant and has claimed several friends. He often expresses his desire to leave Florida, but admits reluctance to forfeit his position. Most of the letters were sent from various locations in Florida. Several were written during the arduous trip between Florida and Pennsylvania. Of much concern to H. M. Brackenridge is finding a boarding house where he and Caroline can find some privacy. Caroline's mental state is another recurring topic. H. M. Brackenridge worries about her aversion to meeting new people.

Folder 31 H. M. Brackenridge to Caroline Brackenridge, January - June 1828

Some of these letters were sent during a sea voyage H. M. Brackenridge embarked upon during a return trip to Florida. The rest were written in various locations in Florida. Topics discussed in this series of correspondence include the sale of land in Florida, opinions on several acquaintances, and the strain of living far from Pennsylvania.

Folder 32 H. M. Brackenridge to Caroline Brackenridge, July - December 1828

These letters were all sent from various locations in Florida. H. M. Brackenridge wrote of plans to return to Pennsylvania for the summer, the weather, and financial matters. He also mentions having written to Andrew Jackson concerning an appointment in Pittsburgh. The health of Caroline and Benjamin are recurring concerns in these letters.

Folder 33 H. M. Brackenridge to Caroline Brackenridge, January - May 1829

H. M. Brackenridge wrote these letters from Florida. He describes plans for a house to be built along the Allegheny River, Benjamin's health problems, and his property in Florida.

Folder 34 H. M. Brackenridge to Caroline Brackenridge, June - November 1829

These letters were written from a variety of locations during a trip to the north H. M. Brackenridge took via river boat. Several letters were sent from Washington, D.C., and convey his thoughts on corruption in the Jackson administration. H. M. Brackenridge suspects that several acquaintances had recently lost their positions to political allies of the administration and wonders if this fate awaits him as well. Also noted are H. M. Brackenridge's repeated attempts to meet with Jackson and the Secretary of the Navy.

Folder 35 H. M. Brackenridge to Caroline Brackenridge, February - July 1830

This series of letters was written from Florida and is filled with references to various acquaintances, health concerns, and descriptions of life in Florida. H. M. Brackenridge often relates advice on how to properly raise Benjamin. Also described is the condition of the orange trees on his land.

Folder 36 H. M. Brackenridge to Caroline Brackenridge, August - December 1830

H. M. Brackenridge sent these letters from several different towns in Florida. Included are updates on the construction of his house in Tarentum, thoughts on parenting, and preparations for a trip north.

Folder 37 H. M. Brackenridge to Caroline Brackenridge, January - May 1831

H. M. Brackenridge wrote most of these letters during a trip from Florida to Pennsylvania. They discuss preparations for inhabiting the newly built house in Tarentum, Pennsylvania.

Folder 38 H. M. Brackenridge to Caroline Brackenridge, June - December 1831

H. M. Brackenridge sent these letters from Florida, mainly from Pensacola. They cover real estate matters, concerns for the health of his family, and future plans.

Folder 39 H. M. Brackenridge to Caroline Brackenridge, 1832-1835

In this collection of letters, H. M. Brackenridge discusses the termination of his position by Andrew Jackson and life in Tarentum, Pennsylvania.

Folder 40 H. M. Brackenridge to Caroline Brackenridge, 1841-1843

These letters were written when H. M. Brackenridge was in Washington D.C., during his time as a U.S. representative. H. M. Brackenridge writes of life in Washington D.C., and his activities in Congress.

Folder 41 H. M. Brackenridge to Henry Morgan and Cornelia C. Brackenridge, undated

H. M. Brackenridge explains to his grandchildren his wishes concerning the use of a spring on family land. H. M. Brackenridge also recounts a speech he gave on the occasion of the deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. 4 p. A.L.S.

Folder 42 John Cabell Breckinridge to H. M. Brackenridge, December 1853

Breckinridge, writing from Washington, D.C., to Tarentum, Pennsylvania, mainly discusses their common ancestry. [ Vice President Breckinridge, in the Buchanan administration and a general in the Confederate army, was the grandson of Hugh Henry Brackenridge's brother.] 4 p. A.L.S.

Folder 43 Robert Jefferson Breckinridge to H. M. Brackenridge (LB # 116), March 13, 1839

Breckenridge, writing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Tarentum, Pennsylvania, outlines a plan for a "civilized state in the tropiks" and another for "universal freedom." He also mentions the common origin of both of their families. 1 p. A.L.S.

Folder 44 William H. Brackenridge to H. M. Brackenridge (LB # 41), May 13, 1819

William, writing from Indiana, Pennsylvania, to Baltimore, Maryland, informs H. M. Brackenridge that he will seek subscriptions for H. M. Brackenridge's projected history of South America. He also notes his dislike for politicians. 3 p. A.L.S.