William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Elizabeth Willard Correspondence, 1834-1846
Clements Staff, June 2007, and Meg Hixon, October 2011
Elizabeth Willard correspondence
Barry, William, 1805-1885
The Elizabeth Willard correspondence contains 9 letters written by Willard to her friend and later husband, Reverend William Barry of Framingham, Massachusetts, as well as a letter to Elizabeth composed by her friend A. A. Kent.
Language: The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
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.
Elizabeth Willard correspondence, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
The collection is arranged chronologically.
Elizabeth Willard married Reverend William Barry on November 11, 1835. Barry was born on January 10, 1805, and graduated from Brown University in 1822. Following his time at Brown, he briefly studied law, but eventually pursued a degree in divinity. From 1835 to 1845, he led the congregation at the First Unitarian Church of Framingham, Massachusetts, and he later wrote a history of the town. The couple, married in November 1835, eventually settled in Chicago, where William Barry became a prominent member of the Historical Society of Chicago. William and Elizabeth had two daughters, Elizabeth and Julia. Elizabeth died c. 1884, and William in 1885.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The Elizabeth Willard correspondence contains 9 letters written by Willard to her friend and later husband, Reverend William Barry of Framingham, Massachusetts, as well as a letter to Elizabeth composed by her friend A. A. Kent. Kent's letter, the earliest in the collection, provides news of mutual acquaintances and a shared "social circle" in Keene, New Hampshire, and notes several illnesses among the group, as well as a recent death (March 20, 1834). The remainder of the collection consists of Elizabeth's correspondence to the Reverend William Barry, written before and during their engagement and throughout their marriage. In her early letters from Petersham, Massachusetts, Elizabeth, a well-educated and literary woman, often discussed different aspects of religion, and showed appreciation for Barry's insights regarding philanthropy and kind treatment of the poor. In one letter, for example, she discussed reasons why Christians might not celebrate Christmas (December 27, 1834). She also shared her literary tastes and opinions about different works she had read, including a wish to focus on more of Wordsworth's poetry, and gave her fiancée updates on her life and family. Her later letters, composed during the couple's marriage, center on family life; one of these, dated October 5, 1846, includes a lengthy contribution from the couple's daughter Lizzie, who spoke of her progress in music lessons and of her baby sister Julia.
- Framingham (Mass.)
- Petersham (Mass.)
- Women--United States--History.
- Barry, Elizabeth Willard.
| Container / Location
|Box 39, Small Collections
Elizabeth Willard correspondence [series]:
March 20, 1834-April 4, 1835
May 2, 1835-October 5, 1846
Additional Descriptive Data
Barry, William. A History of Framingham, Massachusetts, including the Plantation, from 1640 to the Present Time... Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1847.
New England Historic Genealogical Society. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Vol. 40. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1886.