Finlay and Willis Family Manuscript Collection, 1845-1920, MS 3225

 

Finding Aid to the Finlay and Willis Family Manuscript Collection, 1845-1920, MS 3225

H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society

 

Collection summary

Title

Finlay and Willis Family Manuscript Collection

Creator

Susan Butler

Call number

MS 3225

Inclusive dates

1845-1920

Bulk dates

1859-1869

Extent

1 box

Abstract 

This collection consists of approximately 50 letters of correspondence between the Finlay and Willis families

 

Administrative summary

Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library

Maryland Historical Society

201 W. Monument St.

Baltimore, MD 21201 

www.mdhs.org 

specialcollections@mdhs.org 

Access restrictions

Open to the public without restrictions.

Use restrictions

Permission to quote must be received in writing from the Special Collections Librarian.

Provenance

Donated by Susan Butler, October 2017

Accession number

2017-044-LIB

Processing note

Processed by Mallory Herberger, November 2018


Biographical Note

The Willis family emigrated from England to America between the 17th and 18th centuries. Levan C. Willis (1792-1881) was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. In 1814, he married Eliza Orndorf, and the two settled on a 500-acre estate in Frederick Co., Maryland called Walnut Grove, later named Williston. Levan Willis was a Democrat and a slave-holder, and both he and his wife were members of the Methodist Protestant Church. Together they had 11 children.

William Lewis Willis (1831-1858), the son of Levan C. Willis and Eliza Orndorf Willis, was born at Herring Run, near Baltimore, Maryland. He studied medicine in Baltimore, where he later practiced. In 1852 he married Frances Ann Finlay, daughter of William and Catherine (Garretson) Finlay. Before her marriage, Miss Finlay attended Linden Hall School For Girls, an independent boarding school in Lititz, Pennsylvania. After their marriage, the couple moved to Frederick County, where Dr. Willis continued to practice medicine at his estate, Sunnyside. Dr. William Lewis Willis died at his home in June 1858 and was buried at Spesutia Church in Harford Co., Maryland. Frances Finlay Willis died in 1900 and was buried beside him.

Louis Orndorf Willis was born in 1857 on his family’s Sunnyside estate in Frederick Co., Maryland, the only living child of Dr. William Lewis Willis and Frances Finlay Willis. For the majority of his education, Louis O. Willis studied at a private school taught by Reverend William F. Brand in Harford Co., Maryland. In 1887, he married Miss Anna Mary Newkirk, and together they had nine children.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of 50 letters of correspondence between the Finlay and Willis families from 1845-1920. The families were joined by the marriage of Dr. William Lewis Willis and Frances Ann Finlay, and the subsequent correspondence between their relations reflects the domestic and societal obligations of the 19th century. Topics include the health and news of family members, progress with studies, and various social activities. Most of the correspondence is between Frances “Fanny” Finlay Willis and her son, Louis Orndorf Willis, who spent his youth and adolescent years at boarding school.

This collection is arranged chronologically at the file level. 

Container List

Description

Date

Box

Folder

Comments

Mary Cook to Frances Ann Finlay

1845 August 11

1

1

To Frances Ann Finlay from cousin Mary Cook

Letters to Frances Ann Finlay from school friends

1846 February 5-1847 June 27

1

2

Letters from: friends who attended Linden Hall in Lititz, PA with Frances Ann Finlay (1845 and 1846) where her nickname was "Frank"

Letters of condolence to Frances Ann Finlay after the death of her father

1848 June 14-1848 August 2

1

3

Letters to Frances Ann Finlay after the death of her father William Finlay in 1848

Valentines and invitations

1849 February 14-1852 February 14

1

4

 

Frances Finaly to Ellen Finlay, her sister

1851 June 24-1865 October 16

1

5

Frances Ann Finlay to sister Ellen Finlay

William L. Willis to Frances Ann Finlay

1851 July 14

1

6

William Lewis Willis to Frances Ann Finlay

Frances Ann Finlay to Dr. William L. Willis

1852 August 23-1854 August 5

1

7

Frances Ann Finlay to Dr. William Lewis Willis before and after their marriage

Annie Wilson and Annie Clarke to Frances Finlay Willis

1859 August 3-1860 December

1

8

To Frances Ann Finlay from Annie Wilson and Annie Clarke

Annie to Frances Finlay Willis

1859 September 5-1860 November 9

1

9

To Frances Ann Finlay Willis from Annie

Addressed envelopes

1864 September 8-1872 January 15

1

10

Addresses for Willis': Frances Finlay Willis, Dr. William Lewis Willis, and Louis O. Willis

Annie to Ellen Finlay

1864 October 4

1

11

 

Frances Finlay Willis to Louis O. Willis

1866 June 11

1

12

Frances Ann Finlay Willis to Louis O. Willis, her son

Louis O. Willis to Frances Finlay Willis, his mother

1866 November 3-1875 November 24

1

13

Louis Orndorff Willis to his mother, Frances Ann Finlay Willis (school years age ten and up)

Rev. William Brand to Frances Finlay Willis

1867 November 7-1869 December 15

1

14

Reverend William Brand to Frances Ann Finlay Willis

Elea G. to Frances Finlay Willis, her aunt

1868 July 15-1869 December 9

1

15

To Frances Ann Finlay Willis from Elea G.

Keen and Kummer to Frances Finlay Willis

1869 November 11-1869 November 24

1

16

To Frances Ann Finlay Willis from Keen (before Fanny's sister Ellen's death) and from Kummer (after Fanny's sister Ellen's death)

Ellen Willis to Lewis O. Willis, her nephew

1871 December 6

1

17

To Louis O. Willis from Aunt Ellen Willis (Dr. William L. Willis' sister, Susan Ellen Willis)

Marie to Frances Finlay Willis

1871 December 14-1885 February 8

1

18

To Frances Ann Finlay Willis from Marie

Ellen Willis to Frances Finlay Willis

1872 February 14-20

1

19

Ellen Willis to Frances Ann Finlay Willis

Aunt Mag to Anna Mary Newkirk Willis

1892 March 28

1

20

Letter about the death of David Anderson (portrait in Museum of Shenandoah Valley, Winchester, VA) to Mary (Anna Mary Newkirk Willis) in New Market, MD., from Aunt Mag in Hedgesville, WVA

Aunt Mag to Hugh, Lizzie, and Willie Willis

1893 December 22

1

21

Christmas letter to Hugh Finlay Willis (b. 1888), Elizabeth Newkirk Willis (b. 1889), and William Brand Willis (b. 1891) with reference to Christopher Hampton Willis (b. 1893) from Aunt Mag in  Hedgesville, WVA

Rev. William Brand to Lewis O. Willis

1900 January 3

1

22

To Lewis O. Willis from Rev. William Brand after the death of Frances Ann Finlay Willis

Frances Collett to Anna Mary Newkirk Willis

1920 June 9-1920 November 18

1

23

Frances Ann Finlay Willis' grand-daughter Frances Finlay Willis Collet, to her mother Anna Mary Newkirk Willis