Steele Family Correspondence: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Alex Young, August 31, 2010.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© 2016
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


Overview of the Collection

Title: Steele Family Correspondence
Dates (inclusive): 1853-1903
Dates (inclusive): 1866-1876
Collection Number: mssHM 73830-73862
Creator: Steele family
Extent: 33 items in 1 box
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: The collection includes thirty letters chiefly from the Steele family of Ann Arbor, Michigan, between 1856 and the 1870s, to Ellen Steele Sturges (1837-1930). The letters primarily discuss family news and health, as well as occasional references to cultural and religious life in Ann Arbor. Notably, one letter discusses President Ulysses S. Grant’s unsuccessful bid for a third term.
Language: English.

Access

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Administrative Information

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Steele Family Correspondence, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Provenance

Gift of Mrs. Joanna P. Leonard, January 16, 1948.

Biographical Note

The family of minister Ebenezer Steele (October 18, 1808-1900) and Phebe Steele (1819-1910) lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their daughter Julia lived in their household in Ann Arbor until her death on November 11, 1866, of an unknown tuberculosis-like illness. Their son, Valentine, lived in Ann Arbor until the time of his death of an unknown tuberculosis-like illness on June 12, 1874. Another daughter, Ellen (1837-1930), who worked as a school teacher in Michigan, married David B. Sturges, and immigrated with him to Montana Territory sometime between 1856-1866, where they lived in Helena, Virginia City, and Gallatin. Ellen Sturges eventually settled in San Bernardino, California, between 1876 and 1902. The Steeles of Ann Arbor were active in the First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor, and ran a boarding house for students at the University of Michigan, where they often attended events.

Scope and Content

The collection contains thirty letters chiefly from the Steele family of Ann Arbor, Michigan, between 1856 and the 1870s, to Ellen Steele Sturges (1837-1930). All but one of which are addressed to Ellen (or Ellen and David) Sturges from her immediate family (and one friend, identified only as "Rebecca"). The aberrant letter was written in 1856 to David B. Sturges from Ellen (it is unclear if they were already married at this point). The correspondence contains detailed descriptions of the failing health and treatment of Julia and Valentine Steele in the months leading up to their deaths. There are occasional references to cultural and religious life in Ann Arbor in the letters of the 1866-1876 period, especially regarding the growth of the Methodist Church and the public speeches of Erastus Otis Haven (1863-1869), the second president of the University of Michigan and pastor of the First United Methodist Church. Though politics and national affairs are rarely discussed, HM 73855 includes Phebe Steele's thoughts on President Ulysses S. Grant's unsuccessful bid for a third term. Ebenezer and Phebe Steele express deep anxiety throughout the 1866 correspondence as to their daughter's safety from Indians in Montana, though no specific events are referenced.
In addition to the correspondence, there is a family record, believed to be in the hand of Phebe Steele, detailing the birth and death dates of the siblings and parents of Ebenezer Steele, as well as a folder containing seven empty envelopes.

Related Materials

Arrangement

Items arranged chronologically.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

Subjects

Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885.
Steele family.
Medicine -- Michigan -- 19th century.
Methodists -- Michigan -- 19th century.
Respiratory organs -- Diseases.
Tuberculosis.
Ann Arbor (Mich.)

Forms/Genres

Letters (correspondence) Michigan -- 19th century.


Collection Contents

Box 1

mssHM 73830-73862

 

1856, April 25. Sturges, Ellen. Letter to David B. Sturges. HM  73830

 

1866, May 9-May 13. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73831

 

1866, May 14. Steele, Valentine. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73832

 

1866, May 21. Steele, Julia. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73833

 

1866, June 24. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73834

 

1866, June 28. Steele, Ebenezer. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73835

 

1866, July 22. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73836

 

1866, August 19. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73837

 

1866, September8-November 11. “Rebecca.” Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73838

 

1866, [September 8?]. Steele, Julia. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73839

 

1866, September23. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73840

 

1866, September25. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73841

 

1866, September30. Steele, Julia. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73842

 

1866, [October 21?]. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73843

 

1866, November 11. Steele, Ebenezer. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73844

 

1866, November 11. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73845

 

1869, February 10. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73846

 

1870, July 3. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73847

 

1873, March 31. Steele, Valentine. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73848

 

[1873 or 1874], June 19. Steele, Valentine. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73849

 

1873, October 19-October 21. Steele, Ebenezer. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73850

 

1874, March 14. Steele, Valentine. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73851

 

1874, June 9. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73852

 

1874, June 15. Steele, Ebenezer. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73853

 

1875, January 17. Steele, Ebenezer. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73854

 

1876, January 23. Steele, Ebenezer. Letter to David and Ellen Sturges. HM  73855

 

1876, January 23. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73856

 

1902, May 15. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73857

 

1902, May 21. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73858

 

[Approximately 1902]. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73859

 

1903, May 1. Steele, Phebe. Letter to Ellen Sturges. HM  73860

 

[After 1897] Steele, Phebe. Family Record. HM  73861

 

1866-[1873?]. Empty envelopes. 7 items. HM  73862