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Guide to the Saretta G. Hicks papers on Lady Deborah Moody ARC.276

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Liz Larson

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 28, 2011
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 FInding aid revised and entered into Archivists' Toolkit by Nicholas Pavlik.  , October 28, 2011

Scope and Contents note

In addition to materials pertaining to Lady Moody's life, this collection also contains correspondence. Most of this relates to Ms. Hicks' research during the period 1963 to 1965 and is business-like in tone. A few letters, however, provide some insight into the author's personal life. Of particular note is a copy of the Hicks family's Christmas letter of 1964, written by Saretta Hicks and containing photographs of each of her family members. It provides a brief glimpse into Ms. Hicks' life as she balanced the demands of family and authorship. Another letter, written in 1965 to Ms. Mary Tatchell in England, sheds some light on why the book was never finished. This letter notes that she had two chapters ready to be sent to a publisher in hopes of obtaining a contract when she discovered some additional information that led her to question Lady Moody’s date and place of birth. It appears that she decided to hold her manuscript until she could resolve the discrepancy. The exact dates of Lady Moody's birth and death still remain uncertain in current scholarship, as evidenced by her entry in The Encyclopedia of New York City which gives her date of birth as "1583?" and her death as "between November 1658 and May 1659."

The collection is comprised of two accessions, 1978.170 and 1980.003. Material that comprises accession number 1978.170 consists of Ms. Hicks' correspondence and research notes. There are some magazine and newspaper clippings, as well as guidebooks to and photographs of sites in England. This portion of the collection also includes one book, English Historic Costume Painting Book: Elizabeth and James I, 1558-1625, No. 6 (London: Winsor & Newton, Ltd., 1947). Also included are copies of original documents about Lady Moody and her family, genealogical charts (pedigrees) tracing the lineage of the Moody family, and a genealogical chart for the Hicks family. Also included are a typed transcript of the 1645 patent for Gravesend and a four-page typed transcript of the Gravesend town meeting records of 1656.

Accession number 1980.003 consists of Hicks' typewritten manuscript of the first three chapters of Dangerous Woman: A Biography of Deborah, Lady Moody of Coney Island and outlines of the remaining chapters. The collection also contains newspaper and magazine clippings about various locations in Massachusetts, New York, and England, as well as four indexes. The first of these organizes information about significant people and events in Lady Moody's life. The second indexes major dates in the history of the Moody family. The third index presents information on Gravesend and includes a list of early settlers. The fourth indexes bibliographic sources.


  1. Judd, Jacob. "Moody, [née Dunch], Deborah, Lady." The Encyclopedia of New York City. Ed. Kenneth T. Jackson. New Haven: Yale University Press and the New-York Historical Society, 1995: p. 767.