Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Smith, Maria (fl. 1861) to Asa Smith

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03742.02 Author/Creator: Smith, Maria (fl. 1861) Place Written: s.l. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 31 October 1861 Pagination: 4 p. ; 20 x 12.6 cm.

There are four separate notes from various family members to Asa Smith updating him on family and home life. One is from his sister "Maria," one from his sister "Carrie," another from his sister "Mary," and the last is from his mother. Maria's note: references receiving Asa's letter. She says they received a letter from Wallace ( Asa's brother William Wallace Smith) too. Wallace said he was under marching orders and expects to be in a battle soon. Wallace said he has not slept much, but eats well on corn beef, ham, rice, and beans. Says "Mother is fixing some trimming for an apron for me, Mary is at work on the same thing, Father is reading his newspaper (of course)." Tells him about her schoolwork. Carrie's note: Updates him on Wallace and tells him that Wallace "had no cause to complain of his living." Says their mother and father went to Mr. Ellis Stedman's for tea. Mary's note: Says she will mend any stockings if he sends them home. Asks about his health and wants to know if he has any of the bronchitis still. Mother's note: References poem from GLC03742.01 and says it might be published in the "Waltham Sentinel." Relays rumors about the government that Mrs. Cameron is a traitor and that even Mrs. Lincoln is mistrusted. Says "Wasn't it dreadful to have those poor wounded soldiers drowned crossing the Potomac. It seems we are blockaded instead of the rebels your way."

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources