This collection contains 50 letters that Mary C. Young of Cambridge and Waltham, Massachusetts, received from her brother and sister-in-law, Gorham and Mary Blake, who lived in Georgia and in Oakland, California. The collection also includes 6 cartes-de-visite of Blake family members.
The Correspondence series comprises the bulk of the collection. In his first letter (6 pages), Gorham Blake described his recent journey to the Dardanelles Mine in Placer County, California, which took him across the Great Plains and the deserts of Nevada (August 16, 1864). Two letters he wrote from the Loudsville Camp in White County, Georgia, mention his local mining interests, the weather, and a recent earthquake (September 6, 1886, and January 5, 1887). Having received a medical degree around 1877, he occasionally offered medical advice. The bulk of Blake's correspondence is dated between 1895 and 1897, as he described his life in San Francisco and Oakland, California. He commented on political issues such as the Southern economy and the nation's upper class, and discussed his mining interests in Georgia and California. Some of his letters address religion and spiritualism, and toward the end of his life he focused more prominently on his life and on news of his extended family. His last letter fragment is postmarked April 6, 1897.
Mary Young's cousin wrote a condolence letter about Gorham's death on December 17, 1897, and enclosed a handwritten invitation to the funeral and a lengthy printed pamphlet on Masonic funeral rites. Gorham's widow Mary composed most of the remaining correspondence, discussing her husband's life and death as well as her finances, which were affected by her ownership of at least one mine in Georgia. Her final letter is dated January 4, 1901.
Charles Husband, an employee of the Alameda County Treasurer's Office and a friend of the Blakes, wrote 3 letters, including descriptions of Gorham Blake's ailing health (December 14, 1897) and funeral (December 27, 1897). M. Louise Warren wrote one letter to Edward J. Young, about her desire to purchase a statuette of "Wesley" (November 25, 1905).
- Mary C. Blake (1862)
- Gorham Blake (May 15, 1866, and two undated)
- Frank Blake (undated)
- James Blake (undated)