Mary S. Clarkson papers
Collection Scope and Content Note
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The Mary S. Clarkson papers contain four items written by Clarkson while she lived on the Wyandot Indian Reserve in what is now eastern Kansas. The first item in the collection, entitled "On asking a Wyandott woman how came the Deleware the Nephew of the W. she related the following Tradition," relates a traditional Wyandot story about the origin of the Delaware Indians, said to be relatives of the Wyandot tribe. Clarkson transcribed the story from the recollections of William Walker. Two letters composed by Clarkson and addressed to "Mr. Longworth," provide details about various aspects of Clarkson's life among the Wyandot Indians. Clarkson discussed the "Paris grape" at length, and included details on the local climate and existing flora in the area. Her prose reflected the degree to which she felt comfortable amidst the tribe, and she told Longworth, "…we contemplate adopting you into the Nation at the next New Corn feast" (March 10, 1851). In the same letter, Clarkson went into greater detail about the customs and stories of the Wyandots, and included an entry in her diary regarding a February 4 council meeting. The final item in the collection is a story about the family of "Ma an-za," a local Wyandot woman, as told to Mary Clarkson. Clarkson, who contemplated compiling a volume of Wyandot stories and legends, displayed an understanding of Wyandot culture throughout her writings.