Morgan family papers  1834-1913
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Morgan family papers consist of 292 letters and 7 documents relating to 3 generations of the Morgan family, primarily in Ohio, Iowa, and Colorado. The collection spans 1834-1913, with most of the items clustered in the 1850s and the 1880s-1890s, with little representation of other decades.

The Morgan siblings wrote nearly all of the approximately 117 letters dating from the 1850s. Their correspondence provides family news, details on their teaching careers, and updates on their health. As the Morgans were very politically and intellectually engaged, they also discussed their opposition to slavery, opinions on various reform issues, and attendance of lectures by such figures as Sojourner Truth (August 25, 1851) and Henry Ward Beecher (January 30, 1856). Eliza Morgan's letters address such topics as bloomers (September 15, 1851: "I can walk faster than ever now and much farther without being tired") and spiritualism (April 18, 1852: "New mediums are being developed constantly all through the country, near and far & some of our nearest neighbors…Milton Maxwell is a shaking medium--that is the spirits can & do shake him [and others too] without his being able to control himself in the least."). Another subject in which the siblings shared an interest was education. Sue Morgan, in particular, wrote of a desire to make it more commonly available: "how much better it is to educate the mass of the people than to confine knowledge to the few[.] if all had an equal chance and were equally educated what a vast amount of suffering and crime might be prevented and Oh what a good leveler would it be to society…" (February 4, 1851).

In the 1880s and 1890s, the most prolific letter writers were Joshua Morgan's sons, Charlie and Wendell. Their letters concern farm life in Colorado and Nebraska, including a boom period for Holyoke, Colorado (March 17, 1888). Sometime during this period, Charlie and Wendell went into business together in Colorado, and this is reflected in their letterhead. The later letters in the collection contain more business-related material and represent more correspondents outside the Morgan family. Many letters (primarily from John Burns and Peter Young) focus on the ongoing care of Celinda Spiker, a relative of Susan Spiker.

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