Paul Family, Correspondence with Mother and Daughter, Mary and Ellen, Including Temperance and Suffrage Content
52 items, including deeds, tax forms, tickets, books of poems, pamphlets and other writings, ca 1829-1906.
This archive primarily contains the letters of Mary Paul (1837-1907) and her mother Ellen Gamble Paul. Ellen Gamble Paul (1813-1889) was born in Ireland, married her husband Hosea (Sr.) in Vermont, and eventually moved to Ohio in the early 1830s. Mary was the only daughter and second oldest child of Ellen Gamble and Hosea Paul Sr. Much of the Civil War-era correspondence from the men in the Paul family was addressed to Mary, and this group of letters continues to demonstrate her strong relationship with her siblings and parents. Mary remained in Cuyahoga Falls until her death in 1907 and never married. She was extremely involved in local political and social causes, and maintained regular correspondence with her extended family.
The papers of the women in the Paul family provide a perspective that differs from the extensive collection of papers written by the male members of the family. Ellen Gamble Paul wrote frequently to her children, husband, extended family, and friends throughout her life. The collection contains letters from 1829-1906, with a concentration from the 1860s-1880s. Many of the letters contain updates on family and friends and visits, and letters apologizing for the deaths of Hosea in 1870 and Ellen in 1889. A piece of noteworthy correspondence includes a letter from Harrison Gamble referencing the death of Ellen’s mother, dated November 15, 1856.
Ellen wrote to one of her sons in an undated letter, likely from 1864, I am sorry that George is on Ironclads. It is quite an honor to be applied for but he did not see it in that light especially when applied for on board of an Iron Clad. I think it a poor honor myself. I hope you will get something to do and not have to go south. We have all the milk and butter we need. Our house is very cold we keep but one fire…weather is cold…we were very much surprised to see your Uncle Daniel. I think he was very kind to come. He thinks your father must be very lonesome. This letter, like others in the collection, demonstrates Ellen and Mary’s thoughts and concerns for the men in their family while travelling throughout the Civil War. The family correspondence included in the archive continues after the war. On September 18th, 1871, Olive, the wife of Harrison Paul, wrote from Waterloo, IA, about a postmistress, Here the Postmaster is a Mistress and it is said she never made a mistake and seems to give entire satisfaction; she is an “old maid” though not very old; has a sister and a brother with her. When I first came here the P.O. was in a little old building, but a nice stone block was being built, and now they have moved into the new one. The “old maid” owns half of the block, so you see that a woman can get rich here.
Mary and Ellen were also quite involved in a variety of causes, including temperance and suffrage. The mother and daughter penned a number of “letters to the editor” and essays on topics that were important to them. Mary also wrote poetry with a small circle of women. In an undated “letter to the editor,” Ellen wrote of men swearing, expressing strong words against the act…indeed we often meet with those who can scarcely open their mouth without some vile oath will issue therefrom.
In 1906, Harriet Taylor Upton wrote to Mary, asking her to attend the 21st convention of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association, The suffrage sentiment in the state has doubled in the last two or three years, and the fact that bodies of politicians and reformers are endorsing us leads us to believe that the day of our freedom is near at hand. I have begun to feel that those of us who believe must draw nearer together, that we may each encourage the other. It is for this reason I am writing, urging you to be with us.
Overall, this archive offers a unique view of the home and public lives of women during the Civil War-era through the late 19th century.