Print / View Finding Aid as Single Page

© 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Martha Bradstreet Papers
1774-1868
  MS 72

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Corey Farbstein

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 14, 2013
Description is in English.

Container List

Series I: Codd, Martha Bradstreet, Correspondence, 1812-1858 (Bulk 1815)

Scope and Contents note

This series is composed of correspondence, divided into two subseries.

Subseries 1: Letters received.

Scope and Contents note

Arranged by Sender. This is the largest group of manuscripts in the collection. The letters range in subject matter from support of Martha's court endeavors to more general wishes of good health or observations about the weather. There are more letters from men than women, some of these letters are personal in manner while others are quite impersonal. While many of the letters in this series are written to express support in Martha's court cases, and even some congratulatory remarks on testimony, others were written to set up visits or request her company. There are also letters with inquiries into health and discussions and thoughts on the weather. In addition, several letters offer advice and counsel regarding the court cases and one specifically serves as a letter of introduction to Robert Bradstreet, not a cousin, but one believed to be of potential service. Lastly, there is even an invitation to view the botanical gardens in London.

One noteworthy item in this series is a letter written by Martha's distant cousin, H. Stratton, to Martha. In this letter Mr. Stratton expresses his suspicions with regard to the motives behind the kindness and assistance devoted to Martha by the Bradstreets of Dublin (the same sentiments are echoed in his letter to Edward Bell which we will see below in Series III). H. Stratton writes of Irish deceit and "the necessity of great reserve & caution in every transaction" and it is clear he is speaking specifically of John.

There are a great deal of letters written by cousin John Bradstreet to Martha documenting over a decade of their relationship, beginning as early as 1812 and dating as late as 1824. The majority of John's letters focus on Martha's case, and it is clear that he helps her obtain relevant documentation and support in both Dublin and London. He also writes to her of his own economic situation, the loan by which he is bound to his brother Simon as well as income he is expecting. At one point, in a letter dated 1817, John denies her accusation that he is seeking to support his family on her Delaware property, although it is clear that he does wish to bring his family across to America and perhaps rent some of Martha's land. He is saddened by her mistrust of him and writes several letters in May of 1817 ensuring her of his devotion to her cause and his noble intentions vis a vis his family. Although we do not have her letters that prompted such replies, it may seem that H. Stratton's letter of 1815 mentioned above may have influenced Martha's opinion or at least opened the realm of possibility for mistrust to blossom. It is clear from John's letters that Martha had children; they were mentioned several times during the course of his correspondence, although no names were mentioned.

The letter dated 1858, the latest in this series, was written by Thomas Bradstreet, in all likelihood "Tommy" Bradstreet, the son of cousin John and his wife Peggy Bradstreet. He wrote that based on his reading of her latest letter he believes she "still retain[s] the vigor of younger days." One can infer from this that Martha is continuing her cause as the letter further addresses an interview with a judge and conversations with a couple of lawyers.

The material does not provide much evidence of what was happening with Martha between 1830 and 1858.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letters received from Harriet Adams
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Letters received from Charles Aldridge
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Letters received from D. A. Beaufort
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Letters received from Ann Bell
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Letters received from Edward Bell
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Letters received from Jane Bell
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Letters received from C. M. Bradstreet
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Letters received from Edmond Bradstreet
1815-1818
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Letters received from John Bradstreet
1812-1817
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Letters received from John Bradstreet
1818-1824
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Letters received from John Bradstreet
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Letters received from John P. Bradstreet
1830
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Letters received from M. C. Bradstreet
1846
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Letters received from Robert Bradstreet
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Letters received from Simon Bradstreet
1814
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Letters received from Thomas Bradstreet
1858
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Letters received from Mrs. Edgeworth
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Letters received from Robert Fellowes
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Letters received from E. Hopkinson
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Letters received from An Madon
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 21 Letters received from John May
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 22 Letters received from Robert Murphy
1815-1820
Box: 1 Folder : 23 Letters received from John Pelletreau
1827-1829
Box: 1 Folder : 24 Letters received from Mr. Peters
1831
Box: 1 Folder : 25 Letters received from Henry Platel
Box: 1 Folder : 26 Letters received from H. Stratton
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 27 Letters received from H. Sylvester
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 28 Letters received from James Trebeck
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 29 Letters received from C. Wynne
1815, Undated

Subseries 2: Letters sent by Martha Bradstreet Codd, 1814-1857

Scope and Contents note

Arranged by recipient. Included here are letters concerning C. Bedford and Edward Bell, both of whom Martha believed had insulted her by claiming that she had been abusive in insulting them. There seems to have been some dispute over money owed to each of these men for their services to her in her quest in regaining the property in the United States. Bedford and Bell were Martha's legal council in London, deciphering the wills of her relatives and in the sale of some of her husband Mr. Codd's property. In addition, there is correspondence between these two men amongst themselves as well as with John Bradstreet, discussing Martha's personal character and state of affairs. Martha's letter to John Bradstreet, however, does not mention this, instead, she writes that although she knows Peggy (Mrs. John Bradstreet) feels that in exchange for all they have done for her, Martha should take care of them financially, Martha wrote that it was not feasible, she had her own debts and needed to support her own children. The last letter, dated much later to Martin V. B. Wilconson, refers to the next Judge to be faced on the Herkimer Circuit. It seems that Martha's legal battles extend to the later 1850s.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 30 Letters sent to Mr. Bedford
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 31 Letters sent to Edward Bell
1815
Box: 1 Folder : 32 Letters sent to John Bradstreet
1814
Box: 1 Folder : 33 Telegram sent to Martin V. B. Wilcoxson
1857

Return to Top »