M. E. Mann papers  1859-1860
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Mann papers consist of five letters written by M. E. Mann to a close friend from Milton, Fla., Miriam Leigh. The first two were written during June, 1859, while Mrs. Mann and Amanda were traveling to California. These letters, provide brief descriptions of New Orleans (a disagreeable "Babel") and Havana (where she was terrified of catching yellow fever), some brief commentary on the trip and Mann's expectations for her life in California, and some interesting opinions on her fellow travelers, who, she wrote, included "every grade... from the free Negro & gross Irish woman, to the young & timid bride."

The other letters in the collection are longer and somewhat more detailed accounts of her new life and her attitudes toward her profession in Merced County. Mrs. Mann was simultaneously bemused and put off by the rough edges of life in male-dominated California, but she enjoyed the independence of being a teacher and the relatively equitable division of domestic labor. Mrs. Mann's letters, though brief and containing few specifics on her teaching, provide some interesting insight into gender relations and social life in the maturing gold regions of California.

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