Joseph Story papers  1794-1851
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of correspondence, documents, photographs, printed items, and ephemera related to the ancestors, descendants, and extended family of Merwin P. Snell and his first wife, Minnie Gilbert Andrews Sprague.

The Correspondence series (106 items) contains personal letters addressed to members of the Snell family. The earliest materials pertain to Merwin Porter Snell and his first wife, Minnie Sprague Snell. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Merwin P. Snell exchanged letters with his cousins. He sent a lengthy letter about comparative religion to Reverend O'Connell of the Catholic University of America on May 25, 1903. Additional family letters are scattered throughout the series.

The bulk of the correspondence relates to Merwin P. Snell; his second wife, Minnie Louise Snell; and their daughters Margaret and Priscilla. From around 1910 to the early 1920s, Merwin and Minnie exchanged letters with their daughters, who sometimes commented on their studies at St. Joseph's Academy in Adrian, Michigan. Some of the family's letters contain illustrations, including drawings that Margaret and Priscilla made as young children. On May 31, 1929, Priscilla Snell wrote to Charles E. Stimming of Loyola University Chicago about women's personal engagement with religion and the necessity of educating women.

In the summer of 1937, Minnie L. Snell visited San Francisco, California. While there, she frequently exchanged letters with her daughters, who lived with Margaret's husband, Leslie Drew Barney, in Detroit, Michigan. Margaret and Priscilla Snell shared news of their life in Detroit, while their mother described her experiences in California (often related to social outings). The series includes several picture postcards depicting San Francisco scenery. In 1947 and 1948, Priscilla Snell, who had taken holy orders under the name Sister Marie Virginia, described her life in Puerto Rico, where she joined a convent. She wrote about her fellow nuns, religious life, travels within Puerto Rico, and leisure activities. Priscilla enclosed a newsletter titled The Barry Bulletin in her letter of August 4, 1957.

The correspondence also includes a few later letters to Margaret Snell Barney from a cousin regarding their shared genealogy, picture postcards of Detroit scenes, and personal letters from friends and family members.

The Documents series consists of two subseries. Legal and Financial Documents (10 items, 1910-1980) include birth, death, and marriage certificates, a will, and other items related to Merwin P. Snell, Minnie L. Snell, and Margaret Snell; some of these items are later or replacement copies. Two receipts concern expenses related to Merwin P. Snell's funeral in September 1921. A subseries of 6 St. Joseph's Academy Report Cards pertains to the academic progress of Priscilla and Margaret Snell in the 1920s.

The Writings, Notes, and Drawings series contains a narrative essay, three groups of poems, drawings of children and a moose, a watercolor painting of a castle tower, a cutout of a bird pasted onto a black, and plot notes for a one-act play.

The first item is a typed copy of "Thrilling Adventures of a Sailor Boy," an essay about E. Watson Andrews (7 pages, January 12, 1859). On April 2, 1858, Andrews boarded the ship Courser for a voyage from China to the United States. The ship was destroyed soon after its departure. Andrews and others boarded a lifeboat, which soon met with a fleet of Chinese pirates. After a violent encounter with the pirates and their subsequent rescue, Andrews and other survivors safely made it to Hong Kong, where Andrews complained of harsh treatment by the United States consul.

The poetry includes manuscript and published verses by Marie LeBaron (15 items), Minnie Sprague Snell (10 items), and various members of the Snell, Long, and Andrews families (13 items). The poems concern topics such as nature, religion, the Civil War, and family. Some items are printed on newspaper clippings.

The Photographs series (approximately 230 items) documents multiple generations of the Snell, Andrews, Hallock, McLaughlin, Wellington, Barney, Snetsinger, and Hames families from around 1861 to 1978. The images, some of which are framed, include black-and-white and color prints, cartes-de-visite, cabinet cards and other card photographs, tintypes, photographic postcards, newspaper clippings, and photo-illustrated Christmas cards. The pictures include formal individual and group portraits, schoolchildren, and a wedding party. Several items depict Priscilla Snell in a nun's habit, and a few show Spanish-American War-era and early 20th century soldiers in uniform. A small number show the interior of an office or residence. Many of the photographs were taken in cities in Connecticut, Michigan, and Ohio.

The Scrapbook is a repurposed account book, with newspaper clippings pasted in over most of the original financial records. Pages 1-35 contain scrapbook material, and pages 36-66 contain financial records dated 1875-1877. Most of the clippings are poems and articles written by Marie LeBaron (or Le Baron) in the 1870s, including articles about Washington, D.C., and Congressional politics. Visual materials include a painting of a flower against a colored background resembling stained glass, a painting of a pear, an illustrated poem, and a group of faces (drawn into the back cover). One article concerns LeBaron's interest in theosophy. Two articles concern the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, awarded to George D. Snell.

The Printed Items and Ephemera series (53 items) is made up of newspaper clippings, published volumes, and other items. Twenty-seven newspaper clippings and obituaries relate to relatives and friends of the Snell family. Some articles concern marriages and other social news. Two articles concern the longevity and early recollections of Diana McLaughlin and Minnie L. Snell; the article about Snell largely concerns her father's work as a lumberman in northern Michigan.

Additional items include memorial cards for Merwin P. Snell, Minnie L. Snell, Leslie Drew Barney, and Marie L. Wellington; a reward of merit; a photographic postcard of Detroit and a painting of "Mrs. Andrews"; a musical score for "Brotherhood Song" by Joseph Mansfield Long, signed by the composer; and invitations for commencements at St. Joseph's Academy (1931) and the Catholic University of America ([1947?]). Personal ephemera items include a silk pouch made by Eliza Allen's mother in 1805, containing small paintings by Eliza's friend, Caroline Mayhew (1818), and a carte-de-visite portrait of Eliza Hallock (née Allen) taken in 1864; a baby book with notes about the first months of Margaret LeBaron Snell (1911); Marie LeBaron Barney's diploma from Saint Theresa High School in Detroit, Michigan, with a tassel and 3 photographs (June 7, 1953); and two pieces of embroidery with floral designs, done with thin yarn (undated).

The series includes the following publications:

  • Le Baron, Marie. The Villa Bohemia (1882, housed in the Book Division)
  • The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Translated Out of the Original Greek and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised (New York: American Bible Society, 1889)
  • The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (Combination Self-Pronouncing Edition, 1897)
  • Hallock, Charles. Hallock Ancestry, 1640-1906 (1906)
  • The Guide to Nature magazine (July 1910 and October 1921)

The Genealogy series (11 items) is made up of notes and a family tree related to the Snell, Long, LeBaron, and McLaughlin families, as well as a memorandum printed in memory of Gerard Hallock Snell.

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