Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Holmes Family Papers, 1791-1805

Finding aid created by
Susan Swasta, October 1993

Summary Information
Title: Holmes family papers
Creator: Holmes family
Inclusive dates: 1791-1805
Extent: 12 items
Abstract:
The Holmes family papers consist of twelve letters written by Isabella Holmes, Gabriel Holmes, and Elizabeth Weir addressed to Nathaniel Holmes, who had emigrated from Strabane, Ireland to the Philadelphia area for economic reasons.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1992. M-2888.11.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Holmes Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

Nathaniel Holmes emigrated from Strabane, Ireland, to the Philadelphia area sometime prior to August 1791. Having apparently emigrated for economic reasons, Nathaniel was not venturing into uncharted territory -- his brother, John, had already settled in Pennsylvania, though he died shortly after Nathaniel's arrival. While his mother, Isabella, and siblings, Gabriel and Elizabeth Weir remained in Ireland, Nathaniel married and raised a family in America, and evidently prospered enough that he was able to send money to his Irish relatives. A Gabriel Holmes is listed in the Philadelphia city directory for 1809, suggesting that he, too, may have joined the Irish exodus.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Holmes family papers consist of twelve letters written by Isabella Holmes, Gabriel Holmes, and Elizabeth Weir addressed to Nathaniel Holmes between 1791 and 1805. These letters document the abysmal economic conditions in northern Ireland and the consequent stream of immigration to the United States. The separation of families through immigration and the sense that relatives might never see one another again pervades the Holmes letters. The letters, particularly, Isabella's, are written in halting English, but provide useful examples of Irish-English dialect.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • English language--Dialects--Ireland.
    • Immigrants-- United States.
    • Irish Americans.
    Contributors:
    • Holmes, Gabriel.
    • Holmes, Isabella.
    • Holmes, Nathaniel.
    • Weir, Elizabeth.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   2, Small Collections  
    Holmes family papers,  1791 August 11-1805 September 28 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Partial Subject Index
    Brothers and sisters
    • 1798 June 2
    English language--Dialects--Ireland
    • passim
    Immigrants--Irish--United States
    • 1791 August 11
    • 1792 June 20, 23
    • 1792 September 9
    • 1794 June 11
    • 1794 September 16
    • 1795 May 18
    • 1796 May 23
    • 1796 June 6
    • 1798 June 2
    • 1802 May 13
    • 1805 September 28
    Ireland--History--1760-18
    • 1796 May 23
    • 1796 June 6
    • 1805 September 28
    Mothers and sons
    • 1791 August 11
    • 1792 June 20
    • 1792 September 9
    • 1794 June 11
    • 1794 September 16
    • 1795 May 18
    • 1796 May 23