Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Isaiah Williams and Ellen White Correspondence, 1842-1870

Finding aid created by
Naomi Herman-Aplet and Meg Hixon, February 2013

Summary Information
Title: Isaiah Williams and Ellen White correspondence
Creator: Williams, Ellen Emerson, 1826-1877
Inclusive dates: 1842-1870
Bulk dates: 1842-1855, 1864
Extent: 0.25 linear feet
Abstract:
The Isaiah Williams and Ellen White correspondence is made up of letters to and between Williams, White, and members of the White family. The letters pertain to the couple's courtship, religion, and social and family news from Massachusetts and Buffalo, New York.

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:

1996. M-3205.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Isaiah Williams and Ellen White correspondence, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated material placed at the end.


Biography

Ellen Elizabeth White was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 21, 1826, the daughter of Ferdinand Elliot White (1788-1853) and Dorothy Hancock Gardner (1799-1890). She married Isaiah Thornton Williams (February 12, 1819-April 5, 1886), an attorney from Buffalo, New York, on October 18, 1849, and they had six children: Elliot (b. August 19, 1850), Elizabeth Gardner (b. October 27, 1851), Thornton (b. August 6, 1857), Reginald H. (b. October 6, 1859), Kenneth (b. May 1, 1865), and Mary (b. August 17, 1866). Ellen White Williams died on February 14, 1877.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Isaiah Williams and Ellen White correspondence is made up of 88 incoming letters to, and letters between, Williams, White, and members of the White family. The letters pertain to the couple's courtship, religion, and social and family news from Massachusetts and Buffalo, New York.

The bulk of the letters are incoming letters to Ellen White from family members, acquaintances, and Isaiah Williams, her future husband. Family and friends often shared social and family news from Boston and Leominster, Massachusetts. One friend mentioned taking dancing lessons and attending a piano concert given by William Mason, a protégé of Franz Liszt (December 6, [1854]). Some of the correspondence pertains to the family's religious beliefs, such as a letter from Ellen's brother Ferdinand to their father about her baptism (October 25, 1845). Isaiah Williams wrote about his life in Buffalo, New York, during the couple's courtship and after their marriage, particularly during Ellen's visits to her family in Boston. On February 14, 1849, an unknown writer mailed a love poem to Ellen. She also received a lengthy letter (undated) from W. G. French, a spiritual advisor who offered religious advice about marriage. Later items include at least 3 letters to Ellen from Elliot Williams, her son. A letter to "Miss Emily J. Mansin" from Sarah L. Poster at the "C.C. Hospital" (possibly the Cliffbourne and Cliffbourne Barracks Hospital) in Washington, D.C., concerns a dead man's belongings (August 12, 1864).

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Boston (Mass.)
    • Buffalo (N.Y.)
    • Leominster (Mass.)
    • Massachusetts--Religious life and customs.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Hospitals.
    Contributors:
    • Williams, Elliot, b. 1850.
    • Williams, Isaiah Thornton, 1819-1886.
    • White, Ferdinand Elliot, 1788-1853.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    Correspondence [series]:
    Box   1 Folders   1-15
      July 25, 1842-May 20, 1870, and Undated
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The New York Public Library has a group of Isaiah Thornton Williams Papers.

    Bibliography

    Wilson, Mehitable Calef Coppenhagen. John Gibson of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and His Descendants, 1634-1899. 1900.