Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Hoffman-McLane Letters, 1839-1877

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, May 2012

Summary Information
Title: Hoffman-McLane letters
Creator: McLane family
Inclusive dates: 1839-1877
Bulk dates: 1847-1877
Extent: 57 items
Abstract:
This collection is comprised of 53 letters addressed to Sophie Hoffman McLane, her daughter, Sophie, and her husband, Louis. Sophie received 12 letters from female friends between 1839 and 1849; her husband Louis received 3 letters in 1866; and her daughter Sophie received 9 letters from family members between 1871 and 1876. The collection also contains 29 undated letters addressed to either Sophie Hoffman McLane or her daughter of the same name, primarily from the elder Sophie's mother, E. Hoffman, and from female friends in Baltimore, Wilmington, and Philadelphia. Most letters concern the social and family lives of women in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware during the mid-19th century. One item is a set of "True Lovers Knots (in grass & in ribbon)."
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:

2000. M-4117.4, M-4102.4.

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:

Hoffman-McLane Letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

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


Biography

Louis McLane, the son of Louis McLane and Catherine Mary Milligan, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 20, 1819. After attending St. Mary's College and Newark College, he served as an officer in the United States Navy between 1835 and 1850. He then lived in California, where he entered the steamship business, and later served as a manager for Wells, Fargo & Company in San Francisco. Around 1866, he moved to New York City, and, in 1868, he moved to Baltimore, Maryland. McLane married Sophie Latimer Hoffman (b. 1827), the daughter of Baltimore resident Samuel Hoffman, in 1849. They had 8 children: Catherine, Sophie, Elizabeth, Louis, Hoffman, Emily (or Emma), Sarah (or Sally), and Charles.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is comprised of 53 letters addressed to Sophie Hoffman McLane, her daughter Sophie, and her husband Louis. Sophie received 12 letters from female friends between 1839 and 1849; her husband Louis received 3 letters in 1866; and her daughter Sophie received 9 letters from family members between 1871 and 1876. The collection also contains 29 undated letters addressed to either Sophie Hoffman McLane or her daughter of the same name, primarily from the elder Sophie's mother, E. Hoffman, and from female friends in Baltimore, Wilmington, and Philadelphia. Most letters concern the social and family lives of women in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware during the mid-19th century. One item is a set of "True Lovers Knots (in grass & in ribbon)."

The first 12 items, and most of the undated items, are personal letters Sophie Hoffman McLane received from female acquaintances prior to her marriage, mostly dated in 1839 and between 1847 and 1849. The writers discussed aspects of their lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware, including family news, social events, and relationships between men and women. The women traveled in similar social circles and frequently mentioned the same mutual acquaintances. Among Sophie's most frequent correspondents were Mary A. Robeson (15 letters), Kate Milligan (6 letters), and her mother, E. Hoffman (8 letters). In the fall of 1866, her husband, Louis McLane, received 3 letters from friends in San Francisco, who wished him luck after hearing of his anticipated return to New York. Later letters, dated between 1871 and 1877, are primarily addressed to the younger Sophie McLane, including 4 letters from her father, Louis McLane, and 5 from her sister, Kate M. McLane (including letters from San Francisco). Both provided family news, such as updates on a newborn baby, and discussed traveling.

The collection's first letter is about the experiences of a woman named Ellen, who was visiting Paris (August 9, 1839). Two letters concern the birth of Charles McLane: Kate M. McLane's account (August 1, 1871), and Louis McLane's report of his health (August 17, 1871). Kate McLane wrote her sister Sophie about her experiences at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (November 3, 1876, 22 pages). Kate also drew a small diagram of a piece of machinery.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Baltimore (Md.)--Social life and customs.
    • Centennial Exhibition (1876 : Philadelphia, Pa.)
    • Family life.
    • Female friendship.
    • Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social life and customs.
    • San Francisco (Calif.)
    • Wilmington (Del.)--Social life and customs.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Machinery.
    Contributors:
    • Hoffman, E.
    • McLane, Catherine.
    • McLane, Kate M.
    • McLane, Louis.
    • McLane, Sophie Latimer Hoffman.
    • McLane, Sophie.
    • Milligan, Kate L.
    • Robeson, Mary A.
    Genre Terms:
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Diagrams.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   7, Small Collections  
    Hoffman-McLane letters [series]
    Folders   9-12  
     August 9, 1839-January 8, 1877, and  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Maryland Historical Society holds a collection of McLane-Fisher family papers.

    Bibliography

    "Publishers' Department." University Monthly: A Journal of Home and School Education 1.1 (1871): 25-26.