The collection includes genealogical materials for the Ward and Ely families of Alma, Michigan; Ward family photographs (19th-20th centuries), including some of Charles O. Ward in uniform and in local bands. The materials of Gerrit S. Ward include correspondence to/from Gerrit S. Ward to/from family, 1860-1897, and about his various business interests including banking, mines, and timberlands, 1886-1916; deeds and correspondence to Alma and Montcalm County lands, 1883-1911; Gerrit S. Ward’s estate records, 1916-1917 (copy, 1940); an annual report of the First Bank of Alma (illustrated with pictures of the bank and its staff and officers), 1916; legal papers, mostly regarding land, 1886-1910; Civil War artifacts and pension materials, 1862-1928; miscellaneous; and correspondence re: the Roanoke Rapids Paper Manufacturing Company, 1907-1910.
Materials for Charles O. Ward include Spanish-American War military certificates, 1898-1899; correspondence, mostly between Charles and Gerrit S. or Hugh E. Ward, 1898-1960; and numerous deeds and related legal papers concerning his real estate businesses in Alma, 1887-1961.
The materials of Josephine Ely Ward include correspondence, 1916-1917; estate records, 1940; and the Ely family genealogy.
Also included is an 1820 certificate of military appointment for Sardis Ward as a cornet player for the 6th New York Cavalry.
Two Oversized scrapbooks complete the collection. Volume 1, 1885-1961, mostly consists of newspaper clippings on the Spanish-American War, 1898. It includes telegrams about Charles O. Ward’s health and hospitalization at St. Joseph’s hospital in Philadelphia, November 1898, with typhoid. Telegrams were sent between T.S. Ward, G.S. Ward, Charles Spicer, Sarah Ward, and Josie Ward.
Scrapbook Volume 2, 1885-1941, includes many articles on Charles O. Ward and his wife, and the Ely and Ward families. Two memorial booklets for William Sisson Turck, (August 7, 1839-September 19, 1912), Mason, Major of the 26th Michigan Infantry Regiment, Alma Supervisor, County Treasurer, Michigan Representative, President of Alma, and member of the Board of Managers of the Michigan Soldiers’ Home in Grand Rapids are also included. Volume 2 also contains an Alma College commencement program, June 22, 1888; Hugh Ward’s recital program, 1918; and a memorial resolution from the Alma Order of the Eastern Star for Electra Brewbaker (died November 20, 1932 at age 81).
Both scrapbooks are quite acidic, but Volume 2 is very acidic, fragile, with detached covers and spine.