William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Lydia Harper Collection, 1822-1830
Mary Parsons, December 2010, and Meg Hixon, October 2011
Lydia Harper collection
Harper, Lydia, 1810-1856
The Lydia Harper collection contains 11 letters to Harper from Catharine and Condy Raguet, her aunt and uncle, during Condy Raguet's service as U.S. consul to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the 1820s. The letters include descriptions of the couple's slaves and stories about the slaves' culture, history, and education.
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.
Lydia Harper Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.
Lydia Harper was born on December 18, 1810, and lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, throughout her life. In 1837, she married Benjamin Farnham, a Philadelphia businessman. Their three sons were Thomas (b. 1838), Edwin (b. 1842), and George (b. 1845). Lydia Harper died on April 16, 1856.
Condy Raguet was born in Philadelphia on January 28, 1784, and became a successful merchant after attending the University of Pennsylvania. He was a colonel during the War of 1812 and later studied law. Raguet was admitted to the bar in 1820, the same year that President John Quincy Adams appointed him U.S. consul to Rio de Janeiro. Raguet served until 1827 and remained in Brazil until 1830. Raguet married Catharine Simmons (1788-1877) on December 10, 1807, and they had one daughter, Margaret. During their time in Brazil, the Raguet family owned at least two young slaves. Condy Raguet died on March 22, 1842.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The Lydia Harper collection contains 11 letters to Harper from Catharine and Condy Raguet, her aunt and uncle, during Condy Raguet's service as U.S. consul to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the 1820. The letters include descriptions of the couple's slaves and stories about the slaves' culture, history, and education.
Catharine's letters, which comprise the bulk of the collection, concern domestic life. Of interest are numerous observations and thoughts about her two child slaves, Lucia and Emanuel, which reveal much about her occasional ambivalence toward slavery. Catharine expressed interest in learning about the slaves' "customs & Manners" and reported an account of their capture and transfer to a slave ship (January 18, 1825), though her interest in African culture did not alter her fundamental view of Africans as servants. In her letter of January 6, 1826, she discussed punishing the slaves with a cat of nine tails, though she showed some sympathy for their situation. In his 2 letters, Condy Raguet encouraged his young niece to pursue fluency in French and related stories about Maria de Gloria and Paula de Braganca, two Brazilian princesses.
- Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)--History.
- Slavery--Brazil--History--19th century.
- Women--History--19th century.
- Raguet, Catharine Simmons, 1788-1877.
- Raguet, Condy, 1784-1842.
Additional Descriptive Data
Additional information about the collection is available in the Manuscripts Division.
- Raguet, Condy. Banner of the Constitution: Devoted to General Politics, Political Economy, State Papers, Foreign and Domestic News.... Washington and Philadelphia, 1829-1832.
- Raguet, Condy. The Examiner, and Journal of Political Economy: Devoted to the Advancement of the Cause of State Rights and Free-trade. Philadelphia, 1834-1835.
- Raguet, Condy. The Free Trade Advocate, and Journal of Political Economy: Devoted to the Advancement of the Science of Political Economy.... Philadelphia: Printed by Adam Waldie, 1829.
- Raguet, Condy. A Masonic Oration on the Death of Brother William S. Bush, Lieutenant of Marines: Who Was Killed on Board the Frigate Constitution, During Her Engagement with the British Frigate Guerrier, on the 19th of August, 1812, as Delivered on the 26th of November Following, Before the Officers of the R. W. Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.... Philadelphia: Bradford and Inskeep, 1812.
"Raguet, Condy." Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography. James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, eds. Volume 5. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1888.