Harriet Jaques Kendall, the recipient of all of the letters in this collection, was born June 29, 1848, at Pavilion, N. Y. In 1850, the Methodist Episcopal Church had founded Genesee College, a co-educational institution, in Lima. At some point during her childhood her parents moved to Lima, and Harriet attended the college from 1865-1869, returning to get a masters degree in 1873. Harriet was the preceptress at the Academy in Baldwinsville for the 1869-70 school year, and then married Egbert R. Thompson on October 18, 1870. They had two children, Alfred K., born June 1, 1872, and Russell J., born September 28, 1876. Harriet died April 11, 1884 at Hemlock Lake, N. Y.
One of the primary correspondents in this collection was Harriet's classmate, Sara Elizabeth Fisher, born in Clyde, N. Y. on September 16, 1848. She was the preceptress at the Free Academy in Rome from 1869-1872. Sara married George Hamilton Barton, the Principal at the Academy in Rome and fellow member of the class of 1869, on April 14, 1870. Sara moved to Elmira after her husband's death in 1885.
The other principal correspondent is Charles H. Brigham, Jr., a young man Harriet met in Lima and exchanged a few letters with after he returned to Spencerport. Less is known about the other correspondents. Ruby Rice, also from Spencerport, met Harriet in Lima. The other writers, Lottie, Sate Mathers, and Sarah Burroughs, were probably girlhood friends.