Martha Leach Packard commonplace book (1837-1894, bulk 1853-1862)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Cheney J. Schopieray, October 2006, and Meg Hixon, March 2013
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Martha Leach Packard commonplace book
Creator: Packard, Martha Leach, 1833-1896
Inclusive dates: 1837-1894
Bulk dates: 1853-1862
Extent: 1 volume
The Martha Leach Packard commonplace book contains inscriptions, correspondence, autographs, and ephemera that Packard collected from the 1850s to 1890s. Inscriptions and autographs are written directly into the volume; additional items are pasted or laid in. The volume represents prominent individuals such as politicians and academics, as well as Packard's personal acquaintances.
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

2003. M-4303.

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

Martha Leach Packard Commonplace Book, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Martha W. Leach, the daughter of Martha Williams and George W. Leach of Poughkeepsie, New York, was born in February 1833 or 1834. On April 17, 1855, she married Elnathan W. Packard, a lawyer; the couple later moved to Nunda, New York. They had one daughter, May (or Mary) (b. 1856). Martha Leach Packard died in 1896.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Martha Leach Packard commonplace book (200 pages) contains inscriptions, correspondence, autographs, and ephemera that Packard collected from the 1850s to 1890s. Packard used about half of the pages; additional items are laid into the volume.

Most inscriptions and autographs are written directly into the volume, and many are dated at Poughkeepsie, New York. Most entries are dated from the 1850s-1890s, though some letters pasted into the book are dated as early as 1837. Prominent individuals such as politicians, artists, and writers contributed autographs (see list below), and historian Benson J. Lossing provided a personal inscription (p. 39). Packard's other contributors included academics and personal acquaintances, 5 of whom mentioned participating in the Civil War (pp. 77, 145).

Laid-in letters include items by famous persons and personal correspondence to Martha Leach Packard and E. W. Packard. The volume also includes visiting cards, a menu from a dinner at the Stevens House (p. 157), a lock of hair (p. 178), and a swatch of fabric (p. 198). The album was originally published with printed illustrations, mainly portraits of women; some later pages contain cut-out colored illustrations of flowers.

Partial List of Prominent Contributors
  • Benson J. Lossing (inscription, p. 39; letter, p. 200)
  • John Jay Hyde (inscription, p. 41; calling card, front endpaper)
  • Henry P. Tappan (autograph, p. 45)
  • Thomas Nast (autograph on card, p. 61)
  • Samuel F. B. Morse (autograph, p. 97)
  • William W. Belknap (autograph, p. 99)
  • Henry Clay (autograph, p. 115)
  • Lydia Huntley Sigourney (autograph, p. 115)
  • DeWitt Clinton (autograph, p. 115)
  • Francis Napier (letter, p. 193)
  • P. T. Barnum (autograph, back endpaper)

Subject Terms

  • Autograph albums.
  • Politicians--United States--Autographs.
  • Poughkeepsie (N.Y.)
Subjects - Visual Materials:
  • Flowers.
  • Women.
  • Barnum, P. T. (Phineas Taylor), 1810-1891.
  • Belknap, William W. (William Worth), 1829-1890.
  • Clay, Henry, 1777-1852.
  • Clinton, DeWitt, 1769-1828.
  • Hyde, John Jay, 1811-1875.
  • Lossing, Benson John, 1813-1891.
  • Morse, Samuel Finley Breese, 1791-1872.
  • Napier, Francis, Baron Napier and Ettrick, 1819-1898.
  • Nast, Thomas, 1840-1902.
  • Sigourney, L. H. (Lydia Howard), 1791-1865.
  • Tappan, Henry Philip, 1805-1881.
Genre Terms:
  • Commonplace books.
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Menus.
  • Poems.
  • Visiting cards.

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Volume   1  
Martha Leach Packard commonplace book,  1837-1894 [series]

Additional Descriptive Data

Related Materials

The Clements Library has collections of material related to Benjamin J. Lossing and Lydia Huntley Sigourney, whose autographs appear in the commonplace book:


Loomis, Elias. The Descendants (by the Female Branches) of Joseph Loomis, Who Came from Braintree, England, in the Year 1638, and Settled in Windsor, Connecticut, in 1639. Volume II. New Haven: Tuttle, Morehouse and Taylor, 1880.