Correspondence of Martha
Edited by Claire Messimer and MaryAlice
September 14, 1863 to December 22, 1863
Manuscript # MG466
Martha, age thirteen, wrote her letter to Clara Alricks on cream colored
paper that measured nine inches by seven inches, and folded in half
book-wise. I had faint blue lines on front and back. A small embossed
design, not decipherable, appeared in crosslight. [sic] The pen
nib was small, the letters formed with moderate to light pressure. The
script was shaky and round. Spelling was poor and the sentence structure
was rambling. Most t's were not crossed but periods ended sentences.
Martha's letter received more thought about the person than any of
the other writers. I feel her writing and information delivery is not
equivalent to a girl of thirteen. Perhaps the loss of her mother at
an early age, the lack of schooling and family problems account for
her immature behavior.
Family letters reflect concern as to whether Martha was adjusting
to the absence of Clara and her interaction with Nancy, the housekeeper.
Mary McCormick, in her April 4, 1864 letter to Clara, can hardly wait
for Clara to arrive home for summer break in order to guide Martha
in summer fashions.
Mary pictures Martha engaging in activities suitable for a tomboy.
While this activity would not be out of place for a young girl on
the brink of young womanhood, her letter, full of news, shows either
a lack of discipline, lack of education, or slower educational tendencies.
Martha Alricks to Clara Alricks, 12/1, 1863 ("You said that we
had forgotten to put your hoop plaid skirt in but we forgot it.")
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Family Genealogy. by the author, April 1985.
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and Binder, 1886.
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of American Biography: Vol. III. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,
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This online project is a joint venture between Penn
State University and The Historical
Society of Dauphin County, where the McCormick Family Papers are
McCormick Family Papers
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