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Collection Mary Ann Bickerdyke Papers

About this Collection

The papers of Mary Ann Ball Bickerdyke (1817-1901), a Civil War nurse and agent for the United States Sanitary Commission who was known as "Mother Bickerdyke" to Union soldiers, consist of 1,800 items in five containers spanning the years 1847-1905. A large portion of the papers consists of correspondence grouped into family, general, and special correspondence files.

Among the correspondence of the Ball and Bickerdyke families are letters between Bickerdyke and her sons, James and Hiram. The general correspondence contains letters pertaining to her activities during the Civil War and from Civil War veterans seeking her aid in securing their pensions. A folder of special correspondence contains letters from Lucien Baker, Richard Whiting Blue, Dorothea Lynde Dix, Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, Walden Perkins, Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), and Lucy Stone.

Subject files in the collection contain Civil War supply lists and disbursements, passes, and an incomplete draft memoir. Other files pertain to her postwar work on behalf of former Union soldiers, the Woman's Relief Corps, and efforts to aid residents of Kansas following the grasshopper plague of 1874. Miscellaneous items include biographical material, financial papers, a few photographs, and printed matter.

The collection is arranged by type of material. Family correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent and general correspondence is arranged chronologically by year.  Additional details, including a list of folders, may be found in the collection finding aid (HTML and PDF)