Elizabeth Margaret Chandler Papers: 1793-1854
Summary Information
Title: Elizabeth Margaret Chandler Papers
Creator: Chandler, Elizabeth Margaret, 1807-1834
Inclusive dates: 1793-1854
Extent: 0.6 linear feet
Extent: 1 oversize folder
Papers of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler, Abolitionist poet, and the Chandler family of Adrian, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, including Elizabeth's parents Thomas and Margaret Evans Chandler; Margaret's sisters Ruth Evans and Jane Howell; Elizabeth's brothers Thomas and William, and William's wife Sarah Taylor Chandler. Correspondence of Elizabeth and Thomas Chandler and Ruth Evans with family members in the East, Benjamin Lundy, and others, describing early settlement, agricultural conditions, and local and national anti-slavery movements; also family correspondence of Thomas and Margaret Chandler in Pennsylvania.
Call number: 85999 Aa 2 Ac
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Michigan Historical Collections staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was the gift of Mrs. Minnie Chandler Merritt Fay (donor no. 1366) and her nephew Mr. Charles Merritt Drake (donor no. 3613). In 1941, Mrs. Fay allowed the library to make transcripts of the letters; in 1960, Mr. Drake donated the originals of the letters.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.


Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Elizabeth Margaret Chandler Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Elizabeth Margaret Chandler was born at Centre in the state of Delaware on December 24, 1807. Following the early death of her mother, she moved with her family to Philadelphia where she received some education in Society of Friends (Quaker) schools. At a young age, she also joined a Female anti-slavery Society and became committed to the cause of abolition. In 1826, she began writing prose and poetry for the Genius of Universal Emancipation (founded in 1812 by Benjamin Lundy). She eventually became an editor of the publication and agreed to superintend its "female department." In 1830, she moved with her aunt and brother Thomas to the Michigan Territory setting in Lenawee County near the village of Tecumseh. She continued her anti-slavery writings for Lundy and also made contributions to The Liberator (founded in 1831 by William Lloyd Garrison). Following a bout with fever, she died November 2, 1834 at the age of 26.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Elizabeth Margaret Chandler collection includes both the papers of this abolitionist poet as well as papers of other members of the Chandler family of Pennsylvania and Lenawee County, Michigan. Represented in the collection are letters to/from Elizabeth's parents Thomas and Margaret Evans Chandler; Margaret's sisters Ruth Evans and Jane Howell; Elizabeth's brothers Thomas and William, and William's wife Sarah Taylor Chandler. Following 1830, much of the correspondence of Elizabeth and Thomas Chandler and Ruth Evans is with family members in the East, Benjamin Lundy, and others, describing their settlement in Lenawee County, agricultural conditions, and local and national anti-slavery movements. Other correspondents in the collection include William Bliss, Darius Comstock, Isaac Crary, Abi Evans, Jane Howell, Darius C. Jackson, Benjamin Lundy, William M. Sullivan and Matthew F. Whittier.

In all, there are twenty-two letters, 1830-1834, written to members of her family, from Elizabeth Margaret Chandler. The earliest letter, June 14, 1830, written from Philadelphia, discusses the advantages of emigrating to Michigan. The later letters are written from Hazelbank, a farm in Lenawee County, between Adrian and Tecumseh, where Elizabeth Chandler settled with her brother, Thomas Chandler, and her aunt, Ruth Evans. The letters describe the clearing of the land, the building of a log cabin and its furnishings, the planting of the first crops, and give an account of the district around the farm, its settlers (chiefly Quakers), its trade and agriculture, land and commodity prices. They contain scattered references to abolitionist activities, such as the boycott of slave-produced commodities, to the Black Hawk War in Illinois and Wisconsin, 1832, and to other current events. Fifteen letters, 1830-1835, on the same subjects, were written by Thomas Chandler and Ruth Evans; two letters, 1834, 1835, enclose copies of obituary notices on Elizabeth Chandler's death.

Also part of the collection are sixty letters, 1830-1842, written to Elizabeth and Thomas Chandler, and Ruth Evans, from Ruth Evans' sister, Jane Howell, Philadelphia, Pa. Several of these letters refer to slavery and to anti-slavery leaders, such as William Lloyd Garrison, Benjamin Lundy, Evan Lewis, and Charles C. Burleigh, coeditor with his brother, William Henry, of the abolitionist newspaper The Unionist; a few refer to the financial and mercantile disruption caused by President Andrew Jackson's monetary policy, resulting in the panic of 1837; two letters, 1835, mention the boundary dispute between the State of Ohio and Michigan Territory (the Toledo War); others refer to a controversy between the Hicksite Friends and the Orthodox Friends in New York, the danger of a cholera epidemic, Indian difficulties, the increase of settlers in Michigan Territory, and other contemporary topics; one letter, 1832, encloses a certification of Thomas Chandler's membership in the Society of Friends, and one letter, 1834, encloses a poem on the death of George Dillwyn (1738-1821), Society of Friends preacher.

Twenty-eight of the letters received by Elizabeth and Thomas Chandler and Ruth Evans in Michigan (1830-1852) were from other relatives and friends. Seven of these, 1831-38, were from Benjamin Lundy concerning a trip to Mexico, anti-slavery activities, and the first edition of Elizabeth Chandler's poems, which Lundy published in 1836; two letters, 1851, 1852, were from I. Prescott, publisher and bookseller of Salem, Ohio, discussing a republication of Elizabeth Chandler's poems; one, 1837, from Darius C. Jackson, delegate from Lenawee County to the Second Constitutional Convention of Assent, Ann Arbor, 1836, mentions the revision of Michigan laws, the Internal Improvement Bill, and the General Banking Laws Bill; one, 1837, from Isaac E. Crary, Michigan's first member of Congress acknowledges receipt of Thomas Chandler's petition against the Annexation of Texas, which Crary had presented to the House of Representatives; one, 1838, from William Bliss of Blissfield, lists the names of officers and members of the Anti-Slavery Society of Blissfield; one, 1839, from William L. Sullivan, Jackson, discusses Methodist anti-slavery meetings; one, 1838, describes the anti-abolitionist riots in Philadelphia, Pa., and the burning of Pennsylvania Hall, built in 1837 by anti-slavery societies for public meetings; three, 1837, are from Mathew Franklin Whittier (brother of John Greenleaf Whittier), Amesbury, Mass.

A calendar arranged by name of correspondent is available in the reading room card files.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Adrian (Mich.)
  • Agriculture -- Michigan -- Lenawee County.
  • Banks and banking -- Michigan -- Lenawee County.
  • Bean Creek (Mich.)
  • Blissfield (Mich.)
  • Frontier and pioneer life -- Michigan -- Lenawee County.
  • Indians of North America.
  • Lenawee County (Mich.)
  • Libraries -- Michigan -- Adrian.
  • Michigan -- Boundaries -- Ohio.
  • Monroe County (Mich.)
  • American newspapers -- Michigan.
  • Pennsylvania.
  • Railroads -- Michigan.
  • Abolitionists -- Michigan -- Adrian.
  • Antislavery movements -- United States.
  • Ohio -- Boundaries -- Michigan.
  • Poets, American -- Michigan -- Adrian.
  • Raisin River (Mich.)
  • Tecumseh (Mich.)
  • Women poets, American -- Michigan -- Adrian.
  • Women abolitionists -- Michigan -- Adrian.
  • Chandler, Elizabeth Margaret, 1807-1834.
  • Chandler family.
  • Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad.
  • Pontiac and Detroit Railway Company.
  • Allen, Richard, 1760-1831.
  • Comstock, Darius.
  • Evans, Abi.
  • Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879.
  • Society of Friends -- Michigan -- Lenawee County.
  • Bliss, William.
  • Chandler, Margaret Evans, 1778-1807.
  • Chandler, Sarah Taylor.
  • Chandler, Thomas, 1773-1816.
  • Chandler, Thomas, 1806-
  • Chandler, William G.
  • Crary, Isaac Edwin, 1804-1854.
  • Evans, Ruth.
  • Howell, Jane.
  • Jackson, Darius C.
  • Lundy, Benjamin, 1789-1839.
  • Sullivan, William M.
  • Whittier, Mathew Franklin.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Correspondence [series]
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
January-September 1830
Box   1  
October-December 1830
Box   1  
January-May 1831
Box   1  
June-December 1831
Box   1  
January-June 1832
Box   1  
July-December 1832

(see also oversize letter)

Box   1  
January-May 1833
Box   1  
June-December 1833
Box   1  
January-June 1834
Box   1  
July-December 1834
Box   1  
January-June 1835
Box   1  
July-December 1835
Box   1  
Box   1  
January-June 1837
Box   1  
July-December 1837
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
Typescripts of correspondence [series]
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Clippings--letters published in newspapers 1920s
Additional Descriptive Data
Partial Index to Correspondence and Subjects
Adrian (Mich.)
  • Letter of June 14, 1830, describing Adrian, letter, September 8, 1830, of Thomas Chandler, describing Adrian and its environs, letter, October 10, 1830, of Thomas Chandler, describing social customs of the district, and letter, September 2, 1833, of Elizabeth Chandler containing a short description of Adrian.
Agriculture--Michigan--Lenawee County.
  • Correspondence including frequent references to prospects for agricultural success in Michigan, prices of produce, fertility of land, etc.
Allen, Richard, 1760-1831.
  • Letter, April 2, 1831, of Benjamin Lundy to Elizabeth Chandler, describing the funeral of Richard Allen, famous black religious leader.
American newspapers--Michigan
  • Letter, June 20, 1832, mentioning the number of newspapers published and circulated in Michigan territory; and letters, December 13, 1832 and February 3, 1833, mentioning the prospective publication of a newspaper in Adrian, Mich.
Antislavery movement--United States.
  • Letters of Benjamin Lundy, 1831-33, 1835-37, concerning his antislavery activities, publication of the Genius of Universal Emancipation, and of Elizabeth Chandler's poetry; also letter, May 14, 1838, of William Bliss, listing members of antislavery society in Blissfield.
Banks and banking--Michigan--Lenawee County.
  • Letter, September 2, 1833, mentioning the establishment of the bank of the River Raisin at Monroe, Mich.; also letter, October 25, 1835, of Thomas Chandler mentioning the bank of the northern liberties at Adrian, Mich.
Bean Creek (Mich.)
  • Letter, March 5, 1835, of Ruth Evans, mentioning the settlement at Bean Creek, and commenting on the quality of the land there.
Bliss, William
  • Letter, May 14, 1838, of William Bliss to Thomas Chandler, listing members of the antislavery society in Blissfield.
Blissfield (Mich.)
  • Letter, May 14, 1838, of William Bliss to Thomas Chandler, listing the members of the antislavery society in Blissfield.
Comstock, Darius
  • Frequent mention of Darius Comstock, early settler in Lenawee County.
Crary, Isaac Edwin, 1804-1854.
  • Letters, September 28 and 29, 1837, of Isaac Crary to Thomas Chandler, acknowledging receipt of petitions against the annexation of Texas.
Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad.
  • Letter, March 9, 1834, referring to subscriptions for the Erie and Kalamazoo railroad.
Evans, Abi
  • Letter, March 27, 1832, of Elizabeth Chandler giving an account of the illness and death of Abi Evans, first female inhabitant of Tecumseh.
Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879.
  • Letters of Elizabeth Chandler, Thomas Chandler, Ruth Evans, and Jane Howell, in which mention is made of Garrison, his activities as an abolitionist and his reputation.
Indians of North America.
  • Letter, April 15, 1831, describing an Indian burial mound near Adrian; and letter, June 20, 1832, with an account of an Indian uprising.
Jackson, Darius C.
  • Letter, March T, 1837, of Darius Jackson of Detroit to Thomas Chandler, relating current activities of the legislature, including plans for railroad routes across the state, banking conditions, and antislavery activities.
Lenawee County (Mich.)
  • Considerable information on early settlements, agricultural conditions, transportation, etc. in Lenawee County.
  • Letters, February 2, June 20, and October 22, 1832, and February 3, 1833, mentioning the establishment of a library at Adrian, Mich.
Lundy, Benjamin, 1789-1839.
  • Six letters of Benjamin Lundy to Elizabeth and Thomas Chandler, concerning Lundy's antislavery activities, publication of the Genius of Universal Emancipation, and of Elizabeth Chandler's poetry; also scattered references to Lundy in other correspondence.
  • Letter, September 24, 1835, of Thomas Chandler to Ruth Evans, describing the Toledo War.
Monroe County (Mich.)
  • Letter, June 14, 1830, with a description of Monroe County, speculation on its suitability for settlement, etc.
Pontiac and Detroit Railway Company.
  • Letters of September 8, 1830 and October 10, 1830, mentioning the Pontiac and Detroit railroad.
  • Material on proposed railroads for Michigan territory, subscriptions for the Erie and Kalamazoo railroad, material on Pontiac-Detroit railroad company, etc.
Raisin River (Mich.)
  • Descriptions of the River Raisin in the 1830s.
Society of Friends--Michigan--Lenawee County.
  • Letters, June 14, 1830, September 8, 1830, October 10, 1830, December 23, 1830, and February 3, 1833, mentioning the Friends settlement near Adrian, Mich.
Sullivan, William M.
  • Letter, December 23, 1839, of William M. Sullivan to Thomas Chandler, relative to antislavery activities.
Tecumseh (Mich.)
  • Letter of June 14, 1830, containing a description of Tecumseh.
  • Frequent reference to Pontiac-Detroit railroad, local transportation between Detroit and Tecumseh and Tecumseh and Adrian, steamboat accommodations on the lake, railroad from Adrian to Toledo, etc.
Whittier, Mathew Franklin
  • Letters, June-December 1837 of Mathew Whittier, brother of John Greenleaf Whittier, to Thomas Chandler, in regard to prospective emigration to Michigan.