Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Bushrod W. Poor Collection, 1837-1852

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, October 2011

Summary Information
Title: Bushrod W. Poor collection
Creator: Poor, Bushrod W.
Inclusive dates: 1837-1852
Extent: 7 items
The Bushrod W. Poor collection contains seven letters written to Poor in central Massachusetts and New Hampshire by "Gibson," a friend, and Joanna Poor, his wife, between 1837 and 1852. Joanna composed six of the letters from her family's home in northern Vermont and from Lowell, Massachusetts, and discussed her life at home during her husband's search for employment.
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:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2002. M-4203.1; M-4242.5.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


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:

Bushrod W. Poor Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


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


Bushrod W. Poor was born in Vermont c. 1820, and married his wife, Joanna, in 1844. A lawyer by training, he served as justice of the peace in Lowell, Massachusetts, before moving to Dubuque, Iowa, in the early 1860s, where he worked as a registrar of bankruptcy until at least 1889. He and Joanna had at least 4 children: Willard, Alvin, Clara, and John.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Bushrod W. Poor collection contains seven letters written to Poor during the early 19th century. The first item in the collection is a letter written to Poor by a friend, Gibson, who asked about the affairs of mutual acquaintances, and shared his philosophical musings in a two-page essay entitled "The Mind." The remainder of the collection consists of six letters composed by Poor's wife Joanna, when her husband was looking for work around Boston and, later, in Dubuque, Iowa. She occasionally discussed the affairs of local lawyers, particularly in an early letter from their native Vermont, where she stayed with family members, but focused more on financial difficulties, and on the hardship of being separated from her husband. During Bushrod's absence, Joanna spent her time visiting with the couple's parents and watching the children, and, though she expressed continued hope for his employment, she often believed their future prospects to be somewhat bleak. She frequently chastised him for not writing, and several times questioned his sympathy for her position, particularly while he traveled, and criticized his recent conduct.

Subject Terms

    • Families--United States--History--19th century.
    • Lawyers--Employment--United States.
    • Lawyers--Vermont.
    • Lowell (Mass.)
    • Separation (Psychology)
    • Women--United States--History.
    • Poor, Joanna.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   28, Small Collections  
    Bushrod W. Poor collection [series]
    Folder   33  
     June 2, 1837-June 5, 1846
    Folder   34  
     March 1, 1852-August 10, 1852, and  undated