Ridgely-Stewart Papers, 1773-1921, MS. 716

Ridgely-Stewart Papers, 1773-1921

Maryland Historical Society


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Ridgely-Stewart Papers, 1773-1921
Maryland Historical Society

Contact Information:
Manuscripts Department
Maryland Historical Society Library
201 West Monument Street
Baltimore MD 21201-4674
Fax: 410.385.2105


Descriptive Summary


MS. 716

Maryland Historical Society

Baltimore MD 21201-4674


Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of scrapbooks and family papers collected by Leonice Josephine [Moulton] Stewart and her daughter Helen West [Stewart] Ridgely. Topics covered include Hampton, the Moulton, Stewart, and Ridgely families, childrearing, the Colonial Dames of America, and William Cullen Bryant.


L. Josephine [Moulton] Stewart Scrapbooks


L. Josephine [Moulton] Stewart (m. 1854) was the wife of Baltimore lawyer John Stewart. She grew up in Roslyn, New York, attended Emma Willard's Seminary in Troy, New York, and spent her married life in Baltimore. Her scrapbooks of clippings (1878-1921, 15 vols.) reflect all these activities.

The clippings relate to Moulton family members' and friends' activities in Roslyn, especially those of neighbor William Cullen Bryant. Stewart also collected clippings about her alma mater Emma Willard's Seminary, and clippings from the later years deal with Stewart and Ridgely family activities in Baltimore.

Stewart was active in the Maryland Branch of the Woman's Auxiliary of the Board of Missions (P.E. Church) and the Women's Industrial Exchange. Her scrapbooks contain clippings and reports of these organizations. Other topics covered by clippings include: Baltimore reform politics, women's suffrage, divorce laws, intemperance, the 1904 Baltimore Fire, the 1907 Jamestown Exposition, and Russian communism. These clippings supplement Mrs. Stewart's thoughts in her letters to her daughter Helen that are found in MS. 715.

Stewart kept one scrapbook of manuscript material. The letters, certificates, and writings (1773-1890) in this volume highlight the legal and historical career of her father Joseph White Moulton. There are also letters from William Cullen Bryant to

her mother Leonice S. Moulton. There is a letter (1852) from Emma Willard about Stewart's education at the seminary and a few letters about the education of Stewart's son David and daughter Helen West [Stewart] Ridgely. The items in this scrapbook relate to the papers of the Moulton and Stewart family members found in MS. 715.1.




Helen W. [Stewart] Ridgely Papers


The papers of Helen W. [Stewart] Ridgely in this collection are diaries, scrapbooks, account books, and research notes. These papers supplement her extensive correspondence in MS. 715.

Helen Ridgely apparently was a conscientious diarist, but diaries survive only for the years [1870], 1881-83, 1886-1888, 1906, 1907-08, and 1909. These diaries (7 vols.) are detailed and introspective giving her thoughts as well as a record of her activities. The earliest diary records her activities while in school probably in the early 1870s. The most interesting diaries are the 3 volumes covereing the years 1881-83, and 1886-1888, because they give insight into the child-rearing philosophy of Ridgely. In the 1881-83 volume she records the activities of her 3 daughters as dictated by the girls. They are quite candid about their misdeeds and punishments. The 2 volumes of 1886-1888 contain Ridgely's thoughts on raising her children to be useful adults. These diaries coupled with the letters of advice from Ridgely's mother in MS. 715 give a good view of childrearing in the late 19th century.

The 3 diaries for the years 1906, 1907, 1909 are narratives of Ridgely's activities and mention her work with the Colonial Dames and Jamestown Exposition as well as her social commitments. The 1907-08 diary contains her recollections of her uncle John Ordronaux after his death.

Ridgely's notebooks include her Bible study notes for 1877; one notebook of research on Maryland churches probably used for her book, The Old Brick Churches of

Maryland; one scrapbook of obituaries; and one of articles on Baltimore. There is also an essay (ca. 1904) by Ridgely on the attitude of inquiry. One book has notes on keeping poultry (1913) and raising vegetables (1917).

Ridgely's account books include her expenses for 1904-1905 and her grocery account for 1907.

Helen W. Ridgely was active in the Maryland Society of the Colonial Dames of America. She was chairman of their committee to research colonial graves, and the collection includes reports (1897-1900) of committee members. This research resulted in Historic Graves of Maryland and the District of Columbia (New York, 1908) edited by Helen W. Ridgely. Ridgely was also chairman of the Maryland Commission to the Jamestown Exposition in 1907. This collection includes her incoming letters (1906-1907) about organizing the Maryland display.

There is also some printed material about the 1914 Star-Spangled Banner Centennial.

Helen W. Ridgely wrote a genealogy/reminiscence of her family entitled, My Heritage. This 50-page article deals with the Moulton and Stewart families and contains copies of many family letters. A typescript of this work is part of the collection.




Other Ridgely Material


The collection includes a personal account book (1876-1878) of Leonice S. Moulton (mother of L. Josephine Stewart). There are also books belonging to Helen W. Ridgely's children: Julian's Latin exercise book; Leonice's social engagement book (1893-1894); and Helen S. Ridgely's diary (1901). A shelflist (1930) of the Hampton libraries is part of the collection.

Earlier Ridgely material includes 2 ledgers [of Charles Ridgely?] (1787-1791) and a ledger index (1789-1790) that belong with the ledgers in MS. 691. There is also a list of wines

and liquors located at Hampton in the early nineteenth century.

There are several items belonging to Eliza (Didy) [Ridgely] White Buckler and [her?] English governess Eliza Kingsworth. Kingsworth was probably a governess at Hampton in the late 1830s. There are 2 of Kingsworth's school exercise books (1827-1828). The 1827 book has a diary about teaching in Canada (1835) and how she disliked it. There is a diary (1842) of the schoolgirl activities of Eliza (Didy) Ridgely (later Mrs. John Campbell white and Mrs. Thomas Buckler). Dating from about this time is a manuscript story (by Eliza Ridgely?) about a family's trip to the springs in Virginia entitled, The Little Travellers; or, A Visit to the Springs in the State of Virginia.

The collection also includes a Greek exercise book (1865) and a few pages of genealogical material copied from family books by [UNK] [Howard] Ridgely in 1865.


Container List

Box 1

L. Josephine Stewart Scrapbooks


6 vols.




Box 2

L. Josephine Stewart Scrapbooks


6 vols.




Box 3

L. Josephine Stewart Scrapbooks

1773-1890, 1920-1921,

3 vols.




Loose newspaper clippings




Box 4

Leonice [Sampson] Moulton Account Book





Leonice Ridgely Notebook

1892, 1893-94




Helen S. Ridgely Diary





Julian Ridgely School book




Hampton Libraries Shelflist





Helen W. [Stewart] Ridgely Graveyard Committee Reports





Helen W. [Stewart] Ridgely Jamestown Exposition Letters





Helen W. [Stewart] Ridgely Star-Spangled Banner Centennial Material





Helen W. [Stewart] Ridgely My Heritage




Box 5

Helen W. [Stewart] Ridgely Diaries

[1870], 1881-83, 1886-88; 1906-9,

7 volumes




Helen W. [Stewart] Ridgely Notebooks

1877, 1892, 1893, 1904, 1913,

6 volumes




Helen W. [Stewart] Ridgely Account books

1904-05, 1907,

2 volumes




Box 6

Hampton[?] Account Books


3 volumes




Wines and liquors [at Hampton]




Eliza Kingsworth School books/Diary

1827-1828, 1835,

2 volume




Eliza (Didy) Ridgely Diary





The Little Travellers




Greek Exercise Book





Margaret S. Ridgely Notebook






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