Description

    William H. Seward Archive of Seven Letters to Myrtilla Miner. Seven letters, totaling ten pages, most 9" x 11.25", written over the years 1841 through 1850. Most discuss the topic of education for women. In his first letter, dated December 27, 1841, while serving as Governor of New York, Seward responds to a letter from Miner "submitting your very just views of the importance of some equal measures in regards to the education of women. While I do not doubt that the policy of the state in that respect might be need improving I perceive with much pleasure that it is accomplishing much more than has heretofore been anticipated."

    His second letter, dated December 28, 1842 continues the discussion. In part: "I could not at this moment answer at length your inquiry concerning the causes of the comparative neglect of female education. It may suffice however that no one more sincerely deplores that error than myself... A few months ago in an address to the Alumna of the Albany Female Academy, I submitted an opinion that academic standards equal to what is given in college an academic right to be imparted to women..." An abolitionist, Seward was also very progressive in his thinking about women's rights.

    "January 16th 1843... The important field of philanthropy in the cultivation of which you feel so deep interest needs laborers to prepare the way for the Statesmen. Persons in private life of either sex may very usefully devote themselves to this service... I believe my successor to be a patriotic and well disposed man who is well satisfied of the great importance of education and of the claims of the Female Sex to equal or greater consideration... Yet what I can properly say without pretention do to promote the needed reform of female education will be pressing with earnestness and pleasure..."

    In his last letter, Washington, January 7, 1850, he writes: "... But although in Washington, you know, I am not of it... Mrs. Bailey, wife of Dr. [Gamaliel] Bailey of the National Era is a woman of talents and zeal... I think she would be able to admire you and I beg leave to recommend that you write to her about your plans to her and ask her advice..." Miner, who would found the Normal School for Colored Girls the following year, had likely shared her plans with Seward. The National Era, under the editorship of Gamaliel Bailey, would be the first to publish Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin as a serial over the course of the years 1851-1852.

    All the letters have excellent content, and are in near fine condition, save the usual mail folds. Only slightly toned, with bold ink. From the Judith Kaplan Women's History Collection.



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