Bland family papers  1665-1912 (bulk 1778-1834)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection (79 items) pertains to Horace Holley's trip from Boston, Massachusetts, to Lexington, Kentucky, in 1818.

The Correspondence series (78 items) includes 3 letters that Horace Holley wrote to his parents while studying at Yale College (February 22, 1802-June 21, 1803); 2 letters that Holley wrote to Peter DeWitt, a friend, about religion and Holley's impression of New York City (February 8, 1804, and February 24, 1804); and 1 letter that Holley wrote to Samuel Wilson, acknowledging a Latin-language poem that Wilson had composed in his honor, printed on the back of the letter (February 20, 1827). Mary Austin Holley received a letter from Charles Caldwell on March 20, 1829, about Caldwell's attempts to sell copies of her late husband's biography, and 2 undated letters from an anonymous correspondent.

From February 5 to August 3, 1818, Holley wrote 69 letters to his wife while traveling from Boston, Massachusetts, to Lexington, Kentucky, and back. He traveled through Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and Kentucky, and wrote most frequently from New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Lexington. Holley reported on his social engagements, including balls, parties, and dinners with prominent residents. While in Lexington, he frequently dined with Henry Clay. Holley commented on each city's social customs and, to a lesser extent, interactions between persons of various Christian denominations, including Presbyterians, Baptists, and Unitarians.

While in Washington, D.C., Holley visited the United States Senate and House of Representatives. He commented on speeches and debates about various political topics, including international news regarding Spain, South America, and France. He met politicians, including James Monroe and John Quincy Adams, and recounted a visit to the White House. After leaving the capital for Virginia, Holley wrote about Mount Vernon, plantation slaves, and a coal mine.

Horace Holley kept a Diary (229 pages) from February 3, 1818, to August 9, 1818. His daily entries provide additional content about many of the same experiences that he described in his correspondence with his wife, though he wrote much more extensively on his visits to Yale College, a New York City medical college, and the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Most entries reflect his daily activities, which included attendance at balls, parties, lectures, and religious services; visits to museums; and dinners or meetings with numerous individuals. Holley's diary entries became much shorter over time. Many of the July and August entries contain only a few words.

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