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Call No.: MC 234
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Ann Maria Davison, 1783-1871
Title: Papers of Ann Maria Davison, 1814-1866 (inclusive), 1847-1860 (bulk)
Quantity: .42 linear feet (1 file box)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Diaries, notes, notebook, etc., of Ann Maria Davison, a widow living on a plantation in Louisiana who wrote on the evils of slavery.
Oversize items removed (both are available at the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts):
- New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, January 16, 1849.
- The Daily Picayune, January 16, 1849.
Ann Maria Davison was born on April 2, 1783, probably in New Jersey. She apparently lived in New Jersey for several years and then in New Orleans for at least forty years. She frequently visited her daughter, Mattie Hennen (Ann Maria Davison Hennen), and son-in-law, Alfred, on their plantation outside New Orleans and also traveled frequently to the east coast. Davison lived in the North during the Civil War and died in New Orleans in 1871.
Six volumes and one folder of diary entries document the importance of religion in her life and her opposition to the system of slavery, as well as her travels and daily activities. Davison wrote of well-known personalities and events of the slavery controversy: for example, of hearing Frederick Douglass speak, of reading Harriet Beecher Stowe's Dred, and of the 1856 presidential election. She also observed slave life closely and visited free blacks in Philadelphia and in Princeton, New Jersey. She wrote diary entries in New Orleans, while traveling to and from the east coast, and in cities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts.In 1856 (see 4v., 3/2/1856) she apparently decided to write an antislavery manuscript, possibly for publication; 16 folders of this incomplete manuscript are included. Parts of the manuscript were taken directly from diaries in this collection, others from diaries not included here, and others may have been newly written rather than taken from diaries. Davison's religious motivation for opposing slavery is reflected in her diaries and the manuscript; she was especially devoted to her Sunday school for slaves. She actively participated in tract and Bible societies, and the importance of religion in her life is further documented by a volume, included here, of notes on the Bible.Manuscripts found in folders 10-27 were originally sewn together and are in order as found.