Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 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.

Adams, Anne Brown (1843-1926) to Alexander M. Ross

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03007.32 Author/Creator: Adams, Anne Brown (1843-1926) Place Written: Petrolia, California Type: Autograph letter Date: 13 September 1892 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Wonders if her children should participate in the "John Brown's Fort" attraction at the Chicago World's Fair. "Mr. Holmes Pres. of the John Brown Fort Co." has asked if her children will come work at the exhibition. At first he promised good wages, but now only offers menial work and little pay. Is now very skeptical, and wonders if she should send her children. Notes that "Ever since John Brown's death, there have been parties raising money on one pretext or another for 'John Brown's poor family.' The poor family have never received but a small amount of what has been claimed to have been raised." Ross is not named as the recipient, but the letter was written to him. Author inferred from content. The Harpers Ferry Armory's fire engine room and guard house in which John Brown and his band held their hostages during their raid became known as "John Brown's Fort." A group of businessmen bought the fort and moved it to Chicago for the 1893 World's Fair. Almost no visitors went, and the Fort was later moved back to Harpers Ferry. Anne Brown's children did not go to Chicago.

People: Adams, Anne Brown, 1843-1926.
Ross, Alexander Milton, 1832-1897.
Brown, John, 1800-1859.

Historical Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900

Keywords/Subjects: African American History, John Brown, Abolition, Slavery, Expositions and Fairs, Finance, Children and Family, Woman Author, Women's History, Poverty

Sub Era: