Collection Number: 01467

Collection Title: Mary Susan Ker Papers, 1785-1958

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.

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Size 12.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 6,400 items)
Abstract Mary Susan Ker of Natchez, Miss., was the daughter of cotton planter and American Colonization Society vice-president, John Ker (1789-1850) and Mary Baker Ker (d. 1862). The collection contains letters received by Mary Susan Ker between 1852 and 1910 from family and friends along the Mississippi River in Louisiana and Mississippi, documenting their lives, family relationships, and financial positions. Among the correspondents is sister Sarah Evelina Ker (1826-1868), who married Richard E. Butler; lawyer and sugar planter David Ker (1825-1884); lawyer John Ker (1826-1870); cotton planter Lewis Ker (1831-1894); and William Henry Ker (1841-1902), teacher and principal of Natchez Institute. There is also material relating to Mary Susan Ker's work as a governess in Louisiana and Mississippi and as a teacher in public and private schools in Adams County, Miss., New Orleans, and Natchez. Civil War letters appear for William Henry Ker, who served in Virginia and North Carolina with a cavalry troop raised in Adams County, and for civilians in Louisiana and Mississippi. Ker's diary, 1886-1923, describes a trip to Europe in 1886-1887 and the social life and customs of post-Reconstruction Mississippi, especially around Natchez and Vicksburg. All papers dated before 1852 belong to John Ker (1789-1850), including items relating to his work with the American Colonization Society, or to other Ker family members.
Creator Ker, Mary Susan, 1838-1923.
Curatorial Unit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Mary Susan Ker Papers #1467, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy available from University Publications of America as part of Southern women and their families in the 19th century, Series A.
Acquisitions Information
Gifts of Mrs. F. D. Brown (Catharine Dunbar Brown) and Miss Tillie Dunbar, Natchez, Miss., 1948, 1950, 1954, 1956; of Mrs. John S. Kerr, Warrenton, N.C., 1976; of Mrs Robert Hyams, New Orleans, La., 1980; and purchase of one letter from dealer James Blackford, Richmond, Va., 1966. Addition of December 1991 received from Mrs. Robert Hyams of New Orleans, La.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Mary Susan Ker (1838-1923), daughter of Mary Baker and John Ker, was born near Natchez, Mississippi, in 1838. John Ker (1789-1850) had studied medicine in Philadelphia, served as a surgeon in the Creek War, married Mary Kenard Baker of Kentucky in 1820, and become a cotton planter. He also served as vice president and agent of the American Colonization Society and vice president of the Mississippi Colonization Society.

Mary Susan Ker had eleven siblings, five of whom survived to adulthood: Sarah Evelina (1823-1868) married Richard E. Butler in 1849; David (1825-1884), a lawyer and sugar planter, married Elizabeth Brownson of New York and had six children; John, Jr. (1826-1870), a lawyer and cotton planter, married Rosalthe and had several children; Lewis Baker (1831-1894), a planter who took over most of their father's interests, married first Jane Percy, with whom he had Mamie, Nellie, and other children, and second Susan Hampton Percy, with whom he had more children; and William Henry (1841-1902), a cotton planter and later a teacher who served as principal of the Natchez Institute, superintendent of the Natchez white public schools, president of the State Board of Education, and teacher and conductor of Peabody Summer Normal Schools. He married Josie Chamberlain and had two children.

Raised mostly at Linden, the family home near Natchez, Mary Susan Ker also lived for some time at Good Hope plantation near Vidalia, Concordia Parish, Louisiana. In the 1850s, she was taught by Mme. Heloise de Mailly. When the Civil War started, Ker was living with her mother in Natchez. She remained there after her mother died in 1862.

The Ker family suffered financial reverses and disruption after the Civil War. David Ker tried to cultivate sugar at "Linden" in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, but was not able to provide adequately for his family. His mother-in-law took his wife and some of his children to New York to live. David eventually gave up sugar planting and went into business with his father-in-law, John Brownson, in New York.

William Henry (Willie) Ker first tried cotton farming. When John Ker's wife Rosalthe died in 1865, John sent his son William Bisland (Willie B.) Ker to help Willie work the land and sent his daughters to parochial schools. John died in 1870. Willie gave up farming and turned to teaching. Willie and Mary Susan Ker lived together for a time after the war. This arrangement probably ended soon after Willie married Josie Chamberlain in 1871.

Lewis Ker's first wife died during the war so he sent his daughters Mamie and Nellie to live with Mary Susan Ker and be educated. Mary Susan Ker became the girls' guardian in 1867 and in 1871 made a will which divided her property between them. In order to support herself and her wards, Mary Susan Ker turned to teaching. She obtained a Second Grade teaching certificate in 1874 and began teaching at Public School No. 28 in Adams County, Mississippi. Her brother Willie at this time was teaching in Port Gibson, Mississippi. In the 1870s and 1880s, Mary held several teaching positions. In the early 1880s, Mary had more freedom after her niece Mamie married and Nellie went to live with Willie and his wife in Port Gibson.

In 1886, Mary went to Europe as a travelling companion to her cousin Amelia Metcalfe Choppin and Amelia's 20-year-old daughter Rose. They travelled eighteen months in France, Italy, England, Germany, and Switzerland. Upon her return to the United States in November 1887, Mary visited friends in New York and Philadelphia, and then in December returned home to Mississippi, where she stayed with various family members in Natchez, Vicksburg, and other locations. In August 1888 she accepted a position as housekeeper and governess to the four children of William Scarborough Jones, a Vicksburg widower. Ker remained with the Jones family until May of 1892, when, after passing the public school teachers' examinations, she applied for a teaching position at the Natchez Institute, the white public school where her brother Willie was principal. She remained in Natchez until December 1892, but no teaching position being open, went to work for the Butler family at "The Cedars" near Bayou Sara, Louisiana. Ker worked at "The Cedars" until July of 1894. During her year at Bayou Sara, Nellie's husband (Mr. Pearl) and Mamie, as well as Mary's brother Lewis, all died. Mamie left five children: Albert, Mary, Matilda (Tillie), Catharine, and Percy.

Mary wanted to raise two of Mamie's children, Catharine and Tillie, but did not at first have the resources to do so. Catharine went to live with the Hiserodt family and Tillie went to stay with Willie, and a year later Catharine moved to Willie's as well. To earn the money to raise her nieces, Mary returned to teaching. In September 1894 she joined the staff at Mrs. Blake's School in New Orleans, but did not get reelected to teach for the 1895-1896 school year. With no other possibilities before her she reluctantly again became a governess, this time for the widower Mr. Killingsworth on his Galilee Plantation near Cannonsburg, Mississippi. Catharine lived with Mary at the Killingsworths, while Tillie remained at Willie's during this year. The following fall, however, Ker returned to teaching. She taught the 1896-1897 school year at Stanton College in Natchez and arranged it so that Catherine could also attend school there. Mary taught in the public school system for the next 18 years, and continued to live in Natchez for the remainder of her life.

Ker taught at the Natchez Institute from 1897 to 1907, and later from 1907 to 1915 at the Shield's Lane School, located a few miles outside Natchez in Adams County. She was the school's only teacher and administrator. During much of this time Mary, along with Tillie and Catharine, stayed with Willie and Josie. One year after Willie's death in 1902, Mary rented a house in Natchez, where she lived with Tillie and Catharine until 1917, at which time Tillie bought a house in Natchez. After the Shield's Lane School closed in 1915, Mary Ker tutored part time for a few years and then retired from teaching altogether. She lived with Tillie and Catharine, and they supported her until her death in 1923.

Tillie Dunbar graduated from Stanton College in Natchez in 1904, and went to work as a clerk in a local store, Baker and McDowell. In 1912 she left her job there to become a stenographer for the law firm of Truly and Ratliffe, and then in 1918 became a clerk in a bank owned by Truly in Fayette, Mississippi, where she boarded, returning home for weekends. Catharine Dunbar graduated from Natchez Institute in 1905, and attended the University of Mississippi at Oxford, completing her studies there in 1908. She then began teaching at the Natchez Institute, where she remained until 1918. She left that position to work in a Natchez bank.

For additional information on the life of Mary Susan Ker, see Amy L. Holley, "But One Dependence: Mary Susan Ker and Southern Public Education, 1876-1914," Master's Thesis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1989. For information on Ker's family connections see the John Brownson Ker Papers, #3901, in the Southern Historical Collection.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists primarily of letters received by Mary Susan Ker, dated 18521910, and her diary, dated 1886-1923. Some papers and volumes of Ker's parents and ancestors, mostly 1785-1852, a few papers of her grand nieces Tillie R. Dunbar and Catharine Dunbar Brown, scattered financial and legal papers, some photographs, and miscellaneous items such as invitations and calling cards are also included in the collection.

The letters that comprise almost all of Series 1, Chronologically Arranged Papers, document the personal lives of Mary Susan Ker's family and friends. Most of the writers had some tie of kinship, close or distant, to Mary Susan Ker. In addition to her parents, her siblings and their spouses and children, Ker received letters from numerous cousins, especially from her Metcalfe and Conner cousins, who were the children of her mother's sisters. She also received letters from several relatives of her sister's husband, Richard E. Butler. With the notable exceptions of her brothers and her brother in law, most of Ker's correspondents were women. Nearly all, however, male or female, lived along the Mississippi River in either Mississippi or Louisiana, as far south as New Orleans and as far north as Washington County, Mississippi.

Ker herself is seen in these letters only as reflected in the words of her correspondents. Although Ker's activities can be inferred from comments made by other writers, her diary is a better guide, at least for the years after 1886, to her whereabouts and activities. The lives of her correspondents, especially her brothers David, Lewis, and Willie, and her nieces Mamie Ker Dunbar and Nellie Ker Pearl, are better reflected in these letters than is Mary Susan Ker's.

The bulk of the correspondence dates from the 1850s through the early 1900s. Some of the relationships documented span nearly that whole 60-year time period. The letters reveal many changes in the economic and social circumstances of Mary Susan Ker, her relatives and friends, and indeed of the region in which she lived. The earliest letters document the affairs of a wealthy planter's family. Civil War letters from Mary Susan Ker's brothers in the military and from civilians in Louisiana and Mississippi are also included. Following the Civil War, many letters document the financial difficulties of planter families. Because of the length of time covered in the correspondence, comparisons of generations are sometimes possible. For example, the letters of the 1850s reveal something of the life of Mary Susan Ker as an adolescent girl; letters of the 1870s reveal something of the adolescence of her nieces Mamie and Nellie Ker; and letters of the early 1900s something of the adolescence of Mamie's daughters Tillie and Catharine Dunbar.

Other themes of interest in the correspondence are single women and college life. Letters appear from or about several self supporting single women, including Lou Conner, Mamie Ker, Mary Ker Dunbar, and the daughters of David and Lizzie Brownson Ker. College students' correspondence includes letters from William Henry Ker at Harvard, 1858-1861; Thomas W. Butler at Virginia Military Institute, 1869-1871; Mary Beltzhoover Jenkins at Wellesley, 1899-1901; and Catharine Dunbar at the University of Mississippi, 1906-1908.

Series 2 contains the diary of Mary Susan Ker. Consisting of 39 volumes, which cover the 37-year period between 1886 and 1923, the diary was orginally intended to serve as a chronicle of Ker's travels in Europe in 1886 and 1887. Upon her return home, however, she decided to continue the diary as a personal account of her thoughts and experiences. The style in which Ker wrote was more an observational than a personal one; for the most part, she avoided revealing the romantic or emotional details of her life, and exhibited a tendency to mention but not describe the occurrence of sensitive family events. The letters in Series 1 may help gain insight into some of her more mysterious entries.

Mary Susan Ker's catholic interests, however, make her diary an excellent source for historians of many ilks. A broad ranging document, it provides an observant record of society in post-Reconstruction Mississippi, especially around Natchez and Vicksburg. Material appears for the study of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century family life, changing gender roles, redemption and southern Progressive politics, religion and church affairs, race relations, popular entertainment, and genealogy. The diary is particularly rich for the study of kinship networks and the roles of upper class white women. For most of her life Ker kept her distance from active participation in politics, but she did faithfully document local and national controversies and expressed her opinions freely on them. A devout Presbyterian, Ker also frequently wrote about the affairs of Trinity Church in Natchez and commented extensively on other religious activities in the area. While she did not discuss her leisure activities in detail, Ker's commentary does give limited impressions of the popular entertainments of the day, including books and magazines, movies, theatricals, traveling shows, and barnstormers.

Ker often made references in her diary to black-white relations in Natchez and other locations, and she discussed lynching, interracial social contact, and her feelings on racial matters. She also wrote on a consistent basis about the black men and women who worked for her and her relatives as cooks, carpenters, washerwomen, gardeners, and maids. Because she frequently gave their last names and mentioned their family relationships, the diary offers an excellent source of genealogical and employment information on a number of black residents in and around Natchez.

Series 2.2 provides typed transcriptions of Volumes 1-12 and part of Volume 13 of the original diary. The eight volumes appearing in Series 3 provide information mostly on expenses and slaves at the Ker family's Elba Plantation in the early 1860s, activities at William Henry Ker's Holyrood Plantation in the early 1870s, and on Mary Susan Ker's personal and household expenses in the early 1890s.

The Addition of December 1991 adds correspondence, including letters from family and friends to Mary Susan Ker and, especially after 1877, much Dunbar family material. There are no additions to Mary Susan Ker's personal diary, but several account books document Ker and Dunbar family finances, and two brief diaries reveal the personal feelings and activities of female family members. Also added to the collection are 59 pictures of family members.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Chronologically Arranged Papers, 1785-1958.

About 6,000 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Correspondence and a few legal papers, financial papers, invitations, and other papers. The majority are letters received between 1852 and 1910 by Mary Susan Ker from numerous relatives and friends. Ker's correspondence was extensive; filed here are 50-150 letters per year. In any given year, Ker received letters from 20-40 different people, most of whom appear to have been related to her in some way, although the relationship is often not clear. Many of her correspondents continued to write to her over long periods of time, fifty years or so in the cases of Richard Butler, Lou Conner, and Elizabeth Eskridge MacGavock. The letters preserved here may be only a portion of those Mary Ker received, as her diary indicates that she received 3-5 letters per day and that she destroyed two trunks full of letters.

See also Addition of December 1991 for letters, bills, and receipts of Mary Susan Ker and her Dunbar family relatives, 1860-1963.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. 1785-1851.

About 100 items.

Correspondence and legal papers of Ker, Baker, and Lewis family members. Many of these are photocopies for which no originals are present. The source of these photocopies and the present whereabouts of most of the original documents is unknown. The earliest of the papers in this series is an invitation dated 22 August 1785 from Gourverneur Morris to the "Honl. Delegates of North Carolina" to dine with him at Morrisania. Following this are legal documents relating to the marriage of Joshua Baker and Susannah Lewis, Mary Susan Ker's maternal grandparents. A legal document in Spanish dated 1796 apparently relates to land in the Attakapas region of Louisiana. Also included is a copy made in 1814 of a Spanish land grant dated 20 June 1795.

Other early documents include a photocopy of a letter dated 24 June 1805 from Thomas Rodney to Secretary of State James Madison, notifying him of the death of Territorial Judge David Ker and a deed filed in 1822 reflecting the sale of land in Jefferson County, Mississippi, by the heirs of David Ker.

A photocopy of a typed copy from the Louisiana State University Archives of John Ker's essay "On the Connexion and Mutual Influence of the Body and Mind in Health and Disease," submitted to the University of Pennsylvania for the M.D. degree in 1811 may also be found here.

Most of the correspondence for years before 1852 consists of letters of Mary Susan Ker's parents, John and Mary Baker Ker.

There are photocopies of a number of letters dated in the 1820s and 1830s, from Stephen Duncan to John Ker. Some of these concern business matters, such as purchases of land and slaves, and some are about personal matters such as the death of Duncan's son. Other letters of the 1830s and 1840s are family letters of Mary and John Ker and their older children, Sarah, David, and Lewis.

Also filed here is a photocopy of Franklin L. Riley's "A Contribution to the History of the Colonization Movement in Mississippi,"  Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, IX, 337-414, which includes transcriptions of forty-eight letters, 1831-1849, about colonization, most of them to or from John Ker.

Papers of 1850 and 1851 include more family correspondence as well as an inventory and appraisal, dated 17 February 1850, of Good Hope Plantation, John Ker's plantation in Corcordia Parish, Louisiana. A copy of John Ker's will may be found in the John Brownson Ker Papers, #3901. Of particular interest in the family correspondence for these years are letters from Sarah E. (Ker) Butler to her mother, dated 8 October and 28 October 1850, in which she described the routines of her daily life and her determination to stay at home even though, being pregnant, she feared for her life because it would take six hours for a doctor to reach her.

Folder 1

1785-1834 #01467, Subseries: "1.1. 1785-1851." Folder 1

Folder 2

1835-1851 #01467, Subseries: "1.1. 1785-1851." Folder 2

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. 1852-1860.

About 150 items.

Ker family letters, most written to Mary Susan Ker, especially in 1855 when she was visiting New York and in 1857-1860 when she was back at home and her brother Willie was writing to her and her mother from Cambridge, Massachusetts. During Ker's visit to New York, she received letters from her mother giving news of family and friends, from her teacher Heloise de Mailly and a few from her brothers David, Willie, and Lewis, with news of their activities.

Many letters of the years 1857-1860 are letters from Mary Susan Ker's younger brother William Henry Ker (Willie) to Mary and to their mother, written from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Although Willie apparently went to Cambridge to study in the spring of 1857, he did not enter Harvard until July of 1858. Willie's letters from Cambridge mostly describe his social activities and recreations as well as the state of his health and a little about his studies. Of particular interest is a letter of 4 January 1860 in which Willie described the collapse of Pemberton Mills at Lawrence, Massachusetts, in which he said 300-400 people were killed or wounded.

In the late 1850s, Mary received increasing numbers of letters from friends. Edward G. Butler, brother of her sister's husband, wrote to "sister Mary" of visits he had made and of weddings in his neighborhood. Female friends wrote to Mary of their health, recreation, travel plans, and social calls. "Cousin Lou," Eliza Cochran, Berta Buckner, Anna Sparrow, Elizabeth Eskridge, and Carrie and Mollie Brownson are among these correspondents.

Some of Ker's correspondents used nicknames for each other. Mary is sometimes addressed as Polly Hopkins or as Polly. Lou Conner signed herself Countess.

Folder 3

1852-1858 #01467, Subseries: "1.2. 1852-1860." Folder 3

Folder 4

1859 and undated 1850s #01467, Subseries: "1.2. 1852-1860." Folder 4

Folder 5

1860 #01467, Subseries: "1.2. 1852-1860." Folder 5

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. 1861-1865.

About 200 items.

Letters to Mary Susan Ker from civilian friends and from her brothers and other friends serving in the military in Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, and North Carolina. Some letters of January 1861 came from Northern friends who expressed their hope that "you will not forget us though you are in a foreign country" (Mollie Brownson, Brooklyn, 10 January) or "we will never be foreigners and strangers to each other ... even if we are governed by distinct laws" (Charlotte E. Peirce, Cambridge, 14 January). Charlotte Peirce went on to express her sympathy for the South and her hope that "we may again be united as one people" (14 January 1861).

Civilian friends wrote about their daily activities in Lousiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas, and passed on news of the war and of soldiers. Chief among these were Elizabeth Eskridge, who wrote from Woppanoka, Arkansas, and Lou Conner, who wrote from Blakely plantation, Mississippi.

The most thoroughly documented war experience is that of Mary Susan Ker's brother, William (Willie) Henry Ker. Willie served in Virginia and North Carolina with a cavalry troop raised in Adams County, Mississippi. The troop was attached independently, he wrote, to Stuart's Cavalry Regiment (21 September 1861). Later letters, including one dated 27 October 1861 in which he described the election of officers and organization of the regiment, were headed, "Company A, Jeff Davis Legion." Willie's letters describe camp life, give news of friends in the army, and describe his feelings about the southern cause (see especially 25 December 1862). The Addition of December 1991 contains several 1861 letters from Eillie to his mother and sister. Mary's brothers John, Lewis, and David, all served closer to home, in Mississippi and Louisiana. Only a few letters from them are preserved here.

Mary Susan Ker also received some letters from Edward G. Butler, who served with the 1st regiment of Louisiana artillery. Butler's letters of 1861 from Baton Rouge and of early 1862 from Fort Pike, Louisiana, are light in tone, speculating on the loves of various officers. A letter of 20 July 1862 from Vicksburg gives news of the bombardment of the city and describes the arrival of the CSS Arkansas as well as giving news of friends.

Some papers in 1864 and 1865 document the Union occupation of Natchez. These include a pass from the Provost Marshal (20 September 1864) and a permit for a revolver (13 January 1865). Beginning in 1864, there are friendly letters to Mary Susan Ker from Loren and Richard Kent, brothers who apparently were officers in the Union army. Beginning in 1865, there are letters from Ethelbert Dudley of St. Louis, who apparently had been in Natchez during the war.

Folder 6

1861 #01467, Subseries: "1.3. 1861-1865." Folder 6

Folder 7

1862 #01467, Subseries: "1.3. 1861-1865." Folder 7

Folder 8

1863-1864 #01467, Subseries: "1.3. 1861-1865." Folder 8

Folder 9

1865 #01467, Subseries: "1.3. 1861-1865." Folder 9

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.4. 1866-1870.

About 300 items.

Letters to Mary Susan Ker from her brothers, from other relatives and from friends, documenting their financial problems and struggles to adjust to postwar life. Mary's brothers Willie, Lewis, and David tried to make a living by planting in Louisiana Willie planting cotton at Elba plantation (apparently near Vidalia), Lewis at Huntley plantation in Catahoula Parish, and David planting sugar at Linden plantation in Terrebonne Parish. Their letters in the immediate postwar years reveal their difficulties in finding and keeping laborers, their chronic shortage of cash, and their efforts to cope with these problems. In addition to their financial problems, the letters reveal personal problems -- Lewis had to cope with his family's disapproval of his marriage to his deceased wife's younger sister; David's wife went to live with her mother in New York because of his drinking and mismanagement of their plantation; and, until John's death in 1870, Lewis and Willie tried to care for John when he drank to excess. See also the Addition of December 1991 for letters from these three plantations.

Mary Susan Ker also received letters from nieces and nephews during this period. Most revealing are those from David's daughters Lizzie and Minnie from Pomona (New York) and from Linden. Of particular interest is a letter from Minnie dated 27 December 1867 describing a Christmas celebration in Pomona. Mary also received occasional letters from her nephew T. W. Butler, including a few which describe his life at Virginia Military Institute in 1869 and 1870.

Mary received many letters during this period from Ethelbert L. Dudley, whom she apparently had met in Natchez during the war. Dudley wrote from Natchez and other locations in Mississippi and Louisiana in 1866 and 1867. His later letters indicate that he was working, possibly with surveying crews, for the St. Louis and Iron Mountain railroad and later for the Kansas Pacific Railway Co. They reveal some but not much about life in railroad camps.

Ysobel Boyd wrote to Mary first from England (6 October 1867) and later from France. Her letters describe her travels and some observations of English and French people. Boyd appears to have settled in Bordeaux and to have continued to write a few letters to Mary each year.

Folder 10

1866 #01467, Subseries: "1.4. 1866-1870." Folder 10

Folder 11

1867 #01467, Subseries: "1.4. 1866-1870." Folder 11

Folder 12

1868 #01467, Subseries: "1.4. 1866-1870." Folder 12

Folder 13

1869 #01467, Subseries: "1.4. 1866-1870." Folder 13

Folder 14

1869 #01467, Subseries: "1.4. 1866-1870." Folder 14

Folder 15

1870 #01467, Subseries: "1.4. 1866-1870." Folder 15

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.5. 1871-1893.

About 2,000 items.

Letters received by Mary Susan Ker from relatives and friends. Major correspondents are Ker's sister-in-law, Josie Chamberlain Ker, her brother-in-law, Richard E. Butler, and her nieces Mamie and Nellie Ker. There are also continuing letters from her brothers Willie, David, and Lewis, from other nieces and nephews, and from Elizabeth E. McGavock, Ysobel Boyd Forester, Lou Conner, M. A. Metcalfe, Wee Wee Metcalfe, Amelia Metcalfe Choppin, and Lou Butler. The letters reveal something of Ker's social network and the lives of her connections but little of Mary's life -- even her trip to Europe caused no major change in the letters she received.

From soon after Willie's engagement and marriage to Josie Chamberlain in 1871, especially after Willie and Josie moved away from Natchez to Port Gibson in 1873, Josie became the major writer of letters found here. Josie's letters are filled primarily with family news. After his marriage, Willie wrote fewer letters to Mary, and those he did write usually concerned family finances. On 30 August 1874, Willie wrote to Mary asking her to live with him and Josie in Port Gibson and not teach or to teach in Port Gibson if she insisted on being independent.

Richard E. Butler continued to write to Mary after his wife, Sarah Ker Butler, died in 1868. In 1871, Butler was planting sugar at Grand Caillou, but gave it up and returned to live with his family at the Cottage near St. Francisville, Louisiana. Most of Butler's letters contain family news but he did occasionally comment on the economic problems of planters. In a letter of 29 July 1873, he said, "I begin to think that none of our generation can adapt themselves to the times. We were not brought up to succeed in such times as we are now having. I hope our children will do better, although I cannot say the the future of this country, as far as we can judge, offers much encouragement for us to think it will get better."

Further light is shed on sugar planters' difficulties in a letter of 10 December 1873 from W. B. Ker to W. H. Ker saying that he was leaving Linden because he could not get work there. Many planters were ruined, he said, having made only half of what they expected. Overseers who had gotten $2500-$3000 could not get work at $600-$800.

In the 1870s, Mary began to receive letters from her brother Lewis's daughters, Mamie and Nellie Ker. Mary had raised Mamie and Nellie since their mother died. In 1867, Lewis had given Mary control of them. In 1871, Mary made a will dividing her property between them. As teenagers in the 1870s, Mamie and Nellie began to visit at the homes of friends and relatives without Mary and apparently to spend a large portion of their time at their father's home at Huntley plantation in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana. Their letters to Mary are affectionate and filled with news of their family and their visits, recreations, and friends. In 1875, Nellie wrote that a fire destroyed a portion of the house at Huntley but Lewis refused to leave there. In the late 1870s there are several letters each year from Nellie to her aunt Mary. In the 1880s and early 1890s there are far fewer. Mamie wrote in the late 1870s from Glen Allen, Louisiana, where she was employed by the Spencer family to teach their children. She wrote from there until she married Albert Dunbar and moved to Marathon in late 1878 or early 1879. Her letters of the 1880s and early 1890s document her married life and the growth of her family. She had five children at the time of her death in 1894.

Mary's nephew T. W. Butler wrote more letters from Virginia Military Institute.

Letters from Mary Susan Ker's Metcalfe relations document their moves to Kentucky and to Texas. Some of the Metcalfes remained in the Natchez area, but M. A. Metcalfe and Wee Wee wrote from Belle Forest in Kentucky in 1873 and 1874. M. A. Metcalfe wrote in 1876 describing Kosse, Limestone County, Texas, where she had moved with Amelia.

Amelia Metcalfe Choppin wrote from Fountainbleau in 1880 and from Florence in 1881. These letters and her letters from Baden Baden in 1883 contain some description of Europe and her life there, but more of her family and acquaintances. Letters in 1886 document Mary Susan Ker's plan to go to Europe to help care for Amelia. During this trip, she met and befriended Charles A. Dougherty, some of whose letters may be found here. Dougherty worked at the American legation in Rome.

In the late 1870s begin letters from Lou Butler at Laurel Hill. Lou Conner's letters also frequently come from Laurel Hill. In these letters Mary is often addressed as Polly, Lou Butler is referred to as Chick, her husband James Butler is called Lord Dundreary, and Lou Conner is the Countess. Ker's friend Elizabeth Eskridge McGavock wrote from Pecan Point, Arkansas. Ysobel Boyd was married in about 1871 to a Mr. Forrester and continued to write from Bordeaux. H. De Mailly wrote from her school in Ireland.

For other items relating to this period, see the Addition of December 1991, Series 1.

Folder 16

1871 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 16

Folder 17

1872 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 17

Folder 18

1873 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 18

Folder 19

1874 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 19

Folder 20

1874 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 20

Folder 21

1875 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 21

Folder 22

1876 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 22

Folder 23

1877 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 23

Folder 24

1878 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 24

Folder 25

1879 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 25

Folder 26

1880 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 26

Folder 27

1881 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 27

Folder 28

1882 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 28

Folder 29

1882 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 29

Folder 30

1883 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 30

Folder 31

1884 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 31

Folder 32

1884 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 32

Folder 33

1885 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 33

Folder 34

1886 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 34

Folder 35

1886 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 35

Folder 36

1887 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 36

Folder 37

1887 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 37

Folder 38

1888 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 38

Folder 39

1888 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 39

Folder 40

1889 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 40

Folder 41

1889 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 41

Folder 42

1890 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 42

Folder 43

1890 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 43

Folder 44

1890 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 44

Folder 45

1891 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 45

Folder 46

1892 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 46

Folder 47

1892 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 47

Folder 48

1892 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 48

Folder 49

1892 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 49

Folder 50

1893 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 50

Folder 51

1893 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 51

Folder 52

1893 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 52

Folder 53

1893 #01467, Subseries: "1.5. 1871-1893." Folder 53

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.6. 1894-1901.

About 1,400 items.

Letters to Mary Susan Ker from relatives and friends, and a few other items. The most frequent correspondents in this subseries are Josie Ker; Mamie Ker Dunbar's children Albert (Bertie), Mary, and Tillie; Nellie Ker Pearl; Richard E. Butler; Lizzie Cade (Mary's niece, David's daughter); Lou Butler; and Lou Conner. A few letters may be found in each year from Elizabeth Eskridge MacGavock and Ysobel Forrester. In 1894 and 1895, Mary received numerous letters from J. M. Gleeson, who was apparently an artist she had met in Europe in 1886-1887 and who was travelling in the South and staying with Mary's family and friends in 1894-1895.

Josie Ker's letters to Mary in 1894 and 1895 mostly have to do with the care of the children of Mamie Ker Dunbar. Her later letters in the subseries were written while she was travelling with her husband because of his illness. In 1900 and 1901, she wrote from Washington, D.C., where she and Willie were living with or near their son John. The Addition of December 1991 also contains some of Josie Ker's correspondence, especially after 1894.

In 1894, Mary Susan Ker's niece, Mamie Ker Dunbar, died. In that year there are several letters about where Mamie's five children Albert, Mary, Tillie, Catharine, and Percy would live. The children were split up and each sent to a different home. In the early years of this subseries there are a few letters each year from Albert, Mary, and Tillie. As the years passed, the children became increasingly important correspondents. In 1899, Albert went to Owensboro, Kentucky, to work as a telegrapher. His letters describe the town and his recreations, visits, reading, and other details of his life. In 1900 and 1901, Albert wrote similar letters sometimes from Vicksburg or Cincinnati, and a few letters from New Orleans.

Not long before Mamie Dunbar died, her sister Nellie Ker Pearl wrote a letter to Mary Susan Ker saying that her and Mamie's father, Lewis Ker, was dying. She also indicated that her own husband had already died. Nellie apparently moved to Dayton, Alabama, in early 1894. From there she wrote letters about her efforts to support herself and her four children by taking in sewing and washing. There are also a few letters from Nellie's children, Julia and Mary Ker Pearl, and some letters from friends of Nellie's about her financial situation, her drinking, and her health. In 1901, Nellie moved to Lake Providence, Louisiana, to manage the Lakeview Hotel. Her move to Louisiana was financed by a $100 loan from Aunt Letitia Davis, she said.

Letters from Mary Susan Ker's niece Lizzie Cade, written from New Iberia, Louisiana, are also found in this subseries. Occasional letters from Lizzie Ker from New York and from Louisiana may be found in Subseries 1.5. Lizzie married some time in the late 1880s or early 1890s and her letters after her marriage are usually headed New Iberia. Some letters from "Mother" to "Liz" appear to be letters from David Ker's widow, Lizzie Brownson Ker, to Lizzie, which Lizzie then sent on to Mary or other family members. At least once, Lizzie also forwarded a letter from her brother John Brownson Ker's wife Ellen. A few letters from Lizzie Cade's mother, Lizzie Brownson Ker, to Mary Susan Ker may be found here. They give her address in 1898 as 520 W. 123rd St., New York, and tell of single women in her family supporting themselves by taking in boarders.

Letters from Wee Metcalfe in this period are headed Azura, California.

Also of note is a letter of 29 October 1899 and a few additional letters in 1900 and 1901 from Mary Beltzhoover Jenkins describing her classes and her life at Wellesley College.

See also the Addition of December 1991 for papers relating to this period.

Folder 54

1894 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 54

Folder 55

1894 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 55

Folder 56

1894 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 56

Folder 57

1895 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 57

Folder 58

1895 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 58

Folder 59

1895 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 59

Folder 60

1896 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 60

Folder 61

1896 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 61

Folder 62

1897 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 62

Folder 63

1897 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 63

Folder 64

1897 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 64

Folder 65

1898 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 65

Folder 66

1898 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 66

Folder 67

1899 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 67

Folder 68

1899 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 68

Folder 69

1899 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 69

Folder 70

1900 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 70

Folder 71

1900 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 71

Folder 72

1901 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 72

Folder 73

1901 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 73

Folder 74

1901 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 74

Folder 75

1901 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 75

Folder 76

1901 #01467, Subseries: "1.6. 1894-1901." Folder 76

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.7. 1902-1958.

About 1,400 items.

Letters from Mary Susan Ker from relatives and friends, papers of Tillie Dunbar, and a few other items. In this subseries Mary Susan Ker's grand-nieces Tillie and Catharine Dunbar become increasingly important correspondents. There continue to be letters from Josie Ker, Richard Butler, Elizabeth Eskridge MacGavock, Ysobel Boyd Forrester, Lizzie Cade, and others. Of particular interest in this subseries are Catharine Dunbar's letters from the University of Mississippi in 1906-1908. These letters describe her studies, her teachers, sorority parties she attended, and other aspects of her social life.

Other Dunbars also wrote to Mary Susan Ker during these years. Letters from Catharine's sister Tillie in 1905 are on stationery of the Baker & McDowell Hardware. Albert Dunbar wrote letters from Beaumont and El Paso, Texas, describing the towns, his work for Western Union, and his social life. Catharine and Tillie visited Albert in El Paso in 1905 and wrote letters describing their activities there.

In 1906, Josie and Willie's son, John Ker moved to Portland, Oregon, where his uncle George Chamberlain had already settled. John worked for the Mexican Rubber Culture Company in Portland. See also the Addition of December 1991 for letters he wrote from Oregon.

In 1909 and 1910 there are many wedding and commencement invitations as well as a few letters.

Papers of 1935 and 1949 apparently are papers of Tillie Dunbar. The 1935 papers have to do with a bequest to Tillie from Jeff Truly and other legal matters having to do with Tillie's association with the Jefferson County Bank of Fayette, Mississippi. Letters of 1949 are one from Emily Dunbar to Tillie enclosing one from an unknown person to Emily describing a trip to Florida.

The 1958 item is a Ker cemetery record.

For other information relating to this period, see the Addition of December 1991, Series 1.

Folder 77

1902 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 77

Folder 78

1902 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 78

Folder 79

1902 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 79

Folder 80

1903 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 80

Folder 81

1903 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 81

Folder 82

1904 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 82

Folder 83

1904 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 83

Folder 84

1904 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 84

Folder 85

1905 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 85

Folder 86

1905 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 86

Folder 87

1905 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 87

Folder 88

1905 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 88

Folder 89

1905 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 89

Folder 90

1906 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 90

Folder 91

1906 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 91

Folder 92

1906 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 92

Folder 93

1907 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 93

Folder 94

1907 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 94

Folder 95

1907 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 95

Folder 96

1908 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 96

Folder 97

1908 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 97

Folder 98

1908 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 98

Folder 99

1908 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 99

Folder 100

1909 1910 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 100

Folder 101

1936, 1949, 1958 #01467, Subseries: "1.7. 1902-1958." Folder 101

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.8. Undated Papers.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Diary of Mary Susan Ker, 1886-1923.

48 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Original diary of Mary Susan Ker, written between 1886 and 1923, and typed transcriptions of Volumes 1-12 and part of Volume 13.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923.

39 items.

The personal diary of Mary Susan Ker, dating from 1886 to 1923, in 39 volumes. Spanning a 37-year period, the diary offers an in-depth look at Mary Susan Ker's long career as a governess and teacher and at the extended kinship system in which she lived. It documents as well the intensely sensitive political, social, and racial climate of the period, which encompassed the turbulent years of Progressive reform, redemption politics, and World War I.

Entries for the first one and one-half years of the diary (August 1886-December 1887) document Ker's travels in Europe with her cousin Amelia Metcalfe Choppin and Amelia's daughter Rose. The three women took trips to Paris and Arcachon, France; Baden Baden, Heidelbourg, and Basel on Bale, Germany; Lucerne, Switzerland; Pisa, Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Sorrento, Capri, and Viareggio, Italy; and London and Southampton, England. A substantial portion of the diary describes the sights they visited and remarks on the acquaintances they made and the activities they engaged in, including attending the theater, visiting museums, historic sites, and vineyards, attending church, and taking hikes and drives through the countryside.

Ker also frequently commented on the social relations she, Amelia, and Rose had with European friends and acquaintances. Of note among their friends were Charles Dougherty, secretary of the American legation in Rome, who fell in love with Mary, and Mr. Covarrubias, secretary of the Mexican legation of Rome, who later married Rose. Others on whom Ker commented with some frequency were a German beau of Rose's named Mr. Von der Becke; the American consul in Germany, Mr. Monaghan; and her cousin Frank Metcalfe of Florence, Italy. Ker also regularly remarked on the strained relations between Amelia and Rose, Amelia's gradually deepening depression, and her own conflicts with Amelia. In addition, though away from her American family, Ker remained in close touch with them and often recorded family news in her entries.

The first nine years (1888-1896) after Ker's return to Mississippi she worked mostly as a housekeeper and governess for the Jones family in Vicksburg, the Killingsworth family in Cannonsburg, Mississippi, and the Butler family in Bayou Sara, Louisiana. In this period she often wrote about her work duties, commenting extensively on her relationship with the children she nursed and taught, with the servants she supervised, and with her employers. (Additional information contained in Series 3.) Ker also worked one school year, 1894-1895, as a teacher in New Orleans, and she wrote a great deal about her school activities, her students, and her relationships with her superiors and fellow teachers.

Ker's family contacts and relationships are faithfully documented in the diary for these, as well as for later, years. She wrote most regularly about members of the Ker, Butler, Metcalfe, Chamberlain, Dunbar, Dameron, Boyd, Byrnes, and Shields families. Significant detail appears on the household activities and family relationships of Willie and Josie Ker and James and Laura Butler.

An enthusiastic observer of politics, whose allegiances lay squarely with the Old South, Ker commented regularly on local (mostly Natchez), state, and national elections and on other political events, such as Northern labor riots. Of note are her entries on Louisiana sugar planters bolting the Democratic party in September 1894, assassination attempts made on those who had left the party in November 1894, and the return of the Democratic party to power in the state in 1896.

Other topics on which Ker wrote with some consistency were local amusements, travel, and church affairs. A clear picture of the daily leisure activities of the upper class emerges from her entries. Ker often described visiting the theater and opera, attending traveling shows such as the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, dog and pony shows, hypnotists' demonstrations, and circuses, and going to view art exhibits. She also wrote about vacations she took to hot springs in Brown's Wells, Mississippi, and other locations, to the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, and to the seashore at Pass Christian, Mississippi. Of note are a series of entries Ker made between 20 July and September 1893 when she attended the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. They describe the crowded conditions of the fair, its sights, its high costs, and the unhappiness of its vendors.

A devout Presbyterian and member of Trinity Church in Natchez, Ker often recorded her thoughts on the church's programs and missionary activities, on the clergy and their sermons, and on controversies that arose in the church. She occasionally referred to sermons and activities of the local Episcopal church as well.

A great deal of information can be culled from Ker's diary during this period on the status of race relations in Vicksburg, Natchez, and surrounding areas. Ker frequently remarked on local lynchings, on her relationship to black servants who worked for her or for her relatives, and on political conflicts that centered on race.

Several entries are of note, including one for 19 April 1890, which discusses the controversy over a black man being named postmaster in Natchez; one for 10 February 1895, which describes a prank carried out by white students at Tulane with black students at a nearby college; and one for 23 November 1895, which expresses Ker's dismay over her inability to stop her niece Catharine from playing with the black children on the Galilee plantation.

In 1896 Ker adopted teaching as a full-time career and took up permanent residence in Natchez, living first with her brother Willie and later with her two grand-nieces Tillie and Catharine Dunbar. The diary for the next 19 years discusses in detail her life as a teacher at Stanton College (1896-1897), at the Natchez Institute (1897-1907), and at the Shield's Lane School (1907-1915). Documenting her thoughts and feelings about students, teachers, and administrators, as well as about curricula, school events and controversies, it provides a large amount of information on daily life in late-nineteenth- and early twentieth-century boarding and public schools. Ker also wrote almost daily about her relationship with Tillie and Catharine, about their education, and about conflicts she had with Willie's wife Josie over how they should be raised.

Ker continued to comment freely in these years on politics, social activities, religion, and family. Political topics she broached included the Spanish-American War, Prohibition, suffrage, and local and national elections and political figures. Of special note are her comments on the October 1906 mayoral election in Natchez, in which a Catholic-Jewish coalition defeated the local reform candidate, and on her adamant support of suffrage as expressed in entries for 11 November 1912, 4 November 1915, 18 October 1920, and 7 May 1921. Ker disliked Theodore Roosevelt intensely because of the overtures he made to Booker T. Washington and other black leaders, and she took many opportunities to criticize his "social equality" policies, including comments she made on 26-29 January 1903, 2 July 1904, 8 November 1904, and 22 June 1910.

Ker's thoughts on religion between 1896 and 1915 reflected an increasing awareness of new religious sects and the growth of charasmatic evangelical religious styles, as well as the rise of scientific challenges to religion. Of interest in her entries are descriptions of an instance of faith healing (15 December 1897), a "Holy Jumpers" tent revival she attended in Waukesha, Wisconsin (7-13 August 1908), a controversy over a Christian Scientist who would not allow her husband to be seen by a doctor (30 September-2 October 1990), and a visit from a Seventh Day Adventist missionary (29 April 1912). In addition, she made several entries in August 1897 and later concerning arguments over science versus the Bible that threatened to split the Butler family. Also of particular interest are remarks Ker made on 6 September 1908 indicating that she felt her own church needed to be more "hopeful" in its preaching to compete with other religions such as Christian Science.

Besides changes in religious practices, Ker documented other signs of the rapidly shifting cultural landscape of Natchez at the turn of the century. Her entries illustrate the increasing popularity of movies, automobiling, dancing, and sports as every-day entertainments. Ker frequently mentioned books she and her grand nieces were reading and movies they saw, sometimes providing her opinion on their merits. Fascinated with flying, Ker went whenever she could to see visiting barnstormers and wrote glowingly of their performances (see, for example, entries for 19-20 October 1911, 20 July 1918, 10 March 1919, 18, 20, 22, and 26 November 1919, and 8 December 1919). In addition she made regular mention of Tillie and Catharine's social activities, both while they were in school and after they went to work. Her comments include discussion of the two womens' jobs, friends, and courtships, of Catharine's participation in dramatics and athletics, especially tennis, and their day-to-day amusements such as automobiling and card playing.

Ker made numerous entries between 1897 and 1915 that illuminate her racial views and the interracial contacts she had. She discussed her feelings about the performance of the many black workers she hired, and sometimes referred to them by their full names. Workers she named included her housekeeper Eliza Brown, three cooks Maria Matthews, Florence Cole?, and Kate Nichols; and a washerwoman Celeste Roy. She also commented on other black acquaintances, especially Jennie Hubbard, who were descendants of slaves owned by her own or related families. Ker's frequent complaints about her workers' habits of taking time off for family events or illnesses and the fears she expressed about getting what she considered reliable help provide indirect evidence of her workers' resistance to the demands of domestic labor. One entry, dated 3 October 1907, which concerned a threatened strike by black cooks in Natchez, suggests that this resistance sometimes took organized form.

After retiring from teaching in 1915, Ker lived with Tillie and Catharine in Natchez until her death in 1923. For a few years she continued to tutor private students, but mostly retreated to the few household duties her advancing age allowed. The diary for this period discusses mostly family events and news, Ker's daily household routine, and her relationship with Tillie and Catharine. Ker continued, however, to comment on political and social events, though her commentary abated as she got older. Of note are her remarks on suffrage, which she wholeheartedly supported. On 11 November 1912, she called herself a "suffragist, not 'ette'." On 18 October 1920 she noted that she had registered to vote, and on 7 May 1921 that she had helped elect a woman as school superintendent.

Ker took on responsibility for overseeing many household duties after leaving teaching, and as a result had more contact with her black servants and workers than before. She regularly employed and commented on the work of a gardener William Powell and a hairdresser Sophy Whitlock. She also discussed several members of the Fort family, who had worked as servants for the Butlers for many years. Other entries of note concerning blacks in Natchez are Ker's 9 April 1921 description of a black baptism in the Mississippi River and her frequent comments on the activities of local blacks on Decoration Day (Memorial Day) and other holidays.

In addition to the topics outlined above, the diary provides an excellent source for the study of changing social and gender roles. In particular it illuminates the lives of single women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, illustrating both the similarities and contrasts between the experiences of Mary Ker and her grand nieces Tillie and Catharine, both of whom remained unmarried at the diary's end. As well the diary describes changes in the roles of Southern upper class white men. Ker mentioned in her comments on her family and friends a number of instances of men suffering emotional difficulty as the result of growing financial and social pressures, and she recorded over the span of the diary an inordinate number of male suicides. A careful reading of the diary may provide important clues for understanding the changes occurring for men of Ker's social class.

Folder 111

V-1467/1: Diary, 14 August 1886-15 May 1887 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 111

Folder 112

V-1467/2: Diary, 16 May 1887-20 August 1888 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 112

Folder 113

V-1467/3: Diary, 29 August 1888-7 February 1890 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 113

Folder 114

V-1467/4: Diary, 17 February 1890-29 October 1890 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 114

Folder 115

V-1467/5: Diary, 1 November 1890-3 September 1892 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 115

Folder 116

V-1467/6: Diary, 3 September 1892-6 November 1893 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 116

Folder 117

V-1467/7: Diary, 12 November 1893-9 March 1895 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 117

Folder 118

V-1467/8: Diary, 10 March 1895-9 December 1895 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 118

Folder 119

V-1467/9: Diary, 10 December 1895-23 August 1897 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 119

Folder 120

V-1467/10: Diary, 24 August 1897-12 December 1899 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 120

Folder 121

V-1467/11: Diary, 13 December 1899-3 February 1901 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 121

Folder 122

V-1467/12: Diary, 4 February 1901-15 August 1902 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 122

Folder 123

V-1467/13: Diary, 19 August 1902-17 March 1904 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 123

Folder 124

V-1467/14: Diary, 19 March 1904-28 November 1905 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 124

Folder 125

V-1467/15: Diary, 28 November 1905-11 May 1907 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 125

Folder 126

V-1467/16: Diary, 12 May 1907-8 August 1908 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 126

Folder 127

V-1467/17: Diary, 10 August 1908-21 January 1909 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 127

Folder 128

V-1467/18: Diary, 23 January 1909-17 July 1909 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 128

Folder 129

V-1467/19: Diary, 18 July 1909-19 March 1911 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 129

Folder 130

V-1467/20: Diary, 21 March 1911-31 August 1911 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 130

Folder 131

V-1467/21: Diary, 2 September 1911-20 May 1912 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 131

Folder 132

V-1467/22: Diary, 21 May 1912-22 February 1913 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 132

Folder 133

V-1467/23: Diary, 23 February 1913-20 November 1913 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 133

Folder 134

V-1467/24: Diary, 22 November 1913-8 November 1914 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 134

Folder 135

V-1467/25: Diary, 9 November 1914-28 August 1915 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 135

Folder 136

V-1467/26: Diary, 29 August 1915-8 June 1916 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 136

Folder 137

V-1467/27: Diary, 11 June 1916-25 March 1917 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 137

Folder 138

V-1467/28: Diary, 26 March 1917-28 February 1918 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 138

Folder 139

V-1467/29: Diary, 2 March 1918-16 October 1918 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 139

Folder 140

V-1467/30: Diary, 17 October 1918-30 April 1919 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 140

Folder 141

V-1467/31: Diary, 1 May 1919-22 October 1919 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 141

Folder 142

V-1467/32: Diary, 23 October 1919-18 April 1920 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 142

Folder 143

V-1467/33: Diary, 19 April 1920-6 September 1920 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 143

Folder 144

V-1467/34: Diary, 7 September 1920-8 February 1921 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 144

Folder 145

V-1467/35: Diary, 9 February 1921-8 June 1921 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 145

Folder 146

V-1467/36: Diary, 9 June 1921-11 November 1921 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 146

Folder 147

V-1467/37: Diary, 2 January 1922-31 December 1922 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 147

Folder 148

V-1467/38: Diary, 1 January 1923-10 January 1923 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 148

Folder 149

V-1467/39: Calendar with diary entries, 1914 #01467, Subseries: "2.1. Original Diary, 1886-1923." Folder 149

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.2. Typed Transcriptions of Diary, 1886-1902.

9 items.

Typed transcriptions of the first 12-1/2 volumes of Mary Susan Ker's original diary, covering the period 1886 to 1902. When first typed, the transcriptions consisted of one unnumbered volume (labeled by its date) and eight volumes numbered I-VIII. The volumes have been renumbered as V-1467/40-48.

Folder 150

V-1467/40: Transcriptions, 14 August 1886-15 May 1887 #01467, Subseries: "2.2. Typed Transcriptions of Diary, 1886-1902." Folder 150

Folder 151

V-1467/41: Transcriptions, 16 May 1887-20 August 1888 #01467, Subseries: "2.2. Typed Transcriptions of Diary, 1886-1902." Folder 151

Folder 152

V-1467/42: Transcriptions, 29 August 1888-3 September 1892 #01467, Subseries: "2.2. Typed Transcriptions of Diary, 1886-1902." Folder 152

Folder 153

V-1467/43: Transcriptions, 3 September 1892-32 December 1894 #01467, Subseries: "2.2. Typed Transcriptions of Diary, 1886-1902." Folder 153

Folder 154

V-1467/44: Transcriptions, 1 January 1895-31 December 1896 #01467, Subseries: "2.2. Typed Transcriptions of Diary, 1886-1902." Folder 154

Folder 155

V-1467/45: Transcriptions, 1897-1898 #01467, Subseries: "2.2. Typed Transcriptions of Diary, 1886-1902." Folder 155

Folder 156

V-1467/46: Transcriptions, 1899-1900 #01467, Subseries: "2.2. Typed Transcriptions of Diary, 1886-1902." Folder 156

Folder 157

V-1467/47: Transcriptions, 1901 #01467, Subseries: "2.2. Typed Transcriptions of Diary, 1886-1902." Folder 157

Folder 158

V-1467/48: Transcriptions, 1902 #01467, Subseries: "2.2. Typed Transcriptions of Diary, 1886-1902." Folder 158

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Volumes, 1852-1891.

8 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

One French exercise book belonging to Mary Susan Ker, and seven volumes pertaining to the plantation, personal, and household accounts of Mary Baker Ker (Mrs. John Ker), Mary Susan Ker, and William Henry Ker.

Volume 49 is a notebook of French exercises completed by Mary Susan Ker in 1852 and 1853 and corrected by a tutor, probably Mme. De Mailly. Three additional volumes appear for Mary Susan Ker, all of which are notebooks she kept while worked as a governess for the Jones family in Vicksburg. Volume 54, dated 1889-1890, contains mostly her personal expenses and household accounts, with additional notes on clothing sizes for the Dunbar children and a list of those to be invited to a party. Volume 55, dated 1890-1891, includes a record of the treatment she administered to Horace Jones during an illness and her personal accounts. Volume 56 is a softcover tablet dated August to September 1891. It provides lists of preserves, linens, silverware, china, and glassware in the Jones household, her personal accounts, and a list of visits to be returned.

Several volumes pertain to plantation affairs. Two pocket-size plantation books (Volumes 50 and 51) belonging to Mary Susan Ker's mother, Mary Baker Ker, appear for the Elba Plantation. The first, an account book dated 1858-1861, contains plantation accounts, a list of notes owed by Mrs. Ker, a list of slaves, and a list of clothes to be purchased for slaves. The second, a notebook dated 1861, lists women's and men's clothes to be purchased for slaves and Mrs. Ker's comments on the frequent absences of her employee, Mrs. Callahan. A later pocket-size account book (Volume 53) appears for William Henry Ker's postwar farm, Holyrood Place. It lists notes due, taxes paid and land owned, accounts for wood and lumber, hardware, and household provisions. Also included are accounts with laborers, accounts of Ker's expenses on a trip to Arkansas, a list of distances to places along the Mississippi, and a number of Turkish proverbs. Several of the account entries seem to be in Mary Susan Ker's handwriting. One final item (Volume 52) is an unidentified pocket-size account book for November 1872 to November 1873, which lists farm and household accounts, and accounts for laundry services, hardware, and clothes. (The handwriting in this volume may also have been Mary Susan Ker's.)

See also the Addition of December 1991 for other volumes.

Folder 159

V-1467/49, 1852-1853 #01467, Series: "3. Volumes, 1852-1891." Folder 159

Folder 160

V-1467/50, 1858-1861 #01467, Series: "3. Volumes, 1852-1891." Folder 160

Folder 161

V-1467/51, 1861 #01467, Series: "3. Volumes, 1852-1891." Folder 161

Folder 162

V-1467/52, 1872-1873 #01467, Series: "3. Volumes, 1852-1891." Folder 162

Folder 163

V-1467/53, 1874-1877 #01467, Series: "3. Volumes, 1852-1891." Folder 163

Folder 164

V-1467/54, 1889-1890 #01467, Series: "3. Volumes, 1852-1891." Folder 164

Folder 165

V-1467/55, 1890-1891 #01467, Series: "3. Volumes, 1852-1891." Folder 165

Folder 166

V-1467/56, 1891 #01467, Series: "3. Volumes, 1852-1891." Folder 166

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Pictures.

21 items.

Arrangement: by type.

Pictures of family members and friends, mostly unidentified, with a few photographs of unidentified scenes.

See also the Addition of December 1991 for additional pictures of Mary Susan Ker at various stages in her life, as well as pictures of other family member not represented below.

Image P-1467/1

Portrait of Mary Susan Ker, undated. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/1

Image P-1467/2

Portrait of Mary Susan Ker, undated. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/2

Image P-1467/3

Snapshot of Mary Susan Ker outside her home in Natchez at age 80. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/3

Image P-1467/4

Snapshot of Mary Susan Ker outside her home in Natchez at age 80. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/4

Image P-1467/5

Portrait of Mary and Carrie (Blake?), 26 January 1902. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/5

Image P-1467/6

Portrait of unidentified woman, undated. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/6

Image P-1467/7-11






Snapshots of two unidentified women (possibly Tillie and Catharine Dunbar) and two unidentified men outside on a lawn. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/7-11

Image P-1467/12

Copy of an original photograph of an unidentified person holding a child, undated. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/12

Image P-1467/13

Picture of an unidentified man in uniform standing by a horse, undated. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/13

Image P-1467/14

Portrait of an unidentified young man. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/14

Image P-1467/15

Snapshot of an unidentified woman (faded). #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/15

Image P-1467/16

Snapshot of an unidentified family (very faded). #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/16

Image P-1467/17

Picture of four identified men in what appears to be a telegraph office, January 1908. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/17

Image P-1467/17A-17C

Postcard pictures of cattle and land (locations unknown). #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/17A-17C

Image P-1467/17D

Postcard picture of an unidentified California street. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/17D

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of December 1991, 1803-1963.

About 300 items.

Arrangement: Arranged as additions to previously established series.

Correspondence, bills, receipts, genealogical information, newspaper clippings, account books, two diaries, pictures, and other items chiefly relating to Mary Susan Ker and her Dunbar family relatives.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1. Chronologically Arranged Pictures, 1803-1963.

About 200 items.

Correspondence, bills, receipts, and other papers. Papers from 1860 to 1869 consist chiefly of letters from family and friends to Mary Susan Ker. Her correspondents include Anna M. Sparrow of Arlington Plantation, La., who wrote of her conversion to Catholicism; Metcalfe relatives of Belle Forest, Ky.; and relatives and friends at Homewood, Desert, Linden, Elba, and Huntley plantations. Of particular interest are several letters, dated 1861, from Willie Ker while serving with the Confederacy.

Papers from 1877 to 1894 include correspondence and financial and legal items of the Dunbar family. Letters are chiefly to Mrs. Albert Dunbar from friends and family, including her son Albert, who worked for the Louisville, New Orleans, and Texas Railway Co. in Graces, Miss., and from Tillie Dunbar. Also of interest are several letters signed "Mac" who wrote his mother about his responsibilities as a clerk in two stores in Mississippi.

Papers from 1895 to 1963 consist chiefly of the correspondence of Josie Ker, her son John Ker, and Tillie Dunbar. In 1909, John wrote several letters from his job in Portland, Ore., with the Mexican Rubber Culture Company. On 15 July 1903, James Green wrote about a resolution honoring William H. Ker, passed on his death by his Harvard classmates of 1862.

The 1803 item is a photocopy of Thomas Jefferson's patent to David Ker appointing him one of the judges in the Mississippi territory.

Folder 167

1803; 1860-1862 #01467, Subseries: "1. Chronologically Arranged Pictures, 1803-1963." Folder 167

Folder 168-170

Folder 168

Folder 169

Folder 170

1868 #01467, Subseries: "1. Chronologically Arranged Pictures, 1803-1963." Folder 168-170

Folder 171

1869 #01467, Subseries: "1. Chronologically Arranged Pictures, 1803-1963." Folder 171

Folder 172

1877-1890 #01467, Subseries: "1. Chronologically Arranged Pictures, 1803-1963." Folder 172

Folder 173

1891-1892 #01467, Subseries: "1. Chronologically Arranged Pictures, 1803-1963." Folder 173

Folder 174

1893-1894 #01467, Subseries: "1. Chronologically Arranged Pictures, 1803-1963." Folder 174

Folder 175

1895-1898 #01467, Subseries: "1. Chronologically Arranged Pictures, 1803-1963." Folder 175

Folder 176

1902-1903 #01467, Subseries: "1. Chronologically Arranged Pictures, 1803-1963." Folder 176

Folder 177

1904-1909 #01467, Subseries: "1. Chronologically Arranged Pictures, 1803-1963." Folder 177

Folder 178

1910-1911 #01467, Subseries: "1. Chronologically Arranged Pictures, 1803-1963." Folder 178

Folder 179

1914-1963 #01467, Subseries: "1. Chronologically Arranged Pictures, 1803-1963." Folder 179

Folder 180

Undated #01467, Subseries: "1. Chronologically Arranged Pictures, 1803-1963." Folder 180

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 3. Volumes.

8 items.
Folder 181

V-1467/57: Frederica Sparrow Ogden Diary, 1870. #01467, Subseries: "3. Volumes." Folder 181

Scattered entries mention her activities and personal feelings while traveling from Natchez to Milwaukee, Wis.; Columbia, Tenn.; New Orleans, La.; and Montreal, Canada.

Folder 182

V-1467/58: Catharine Dunbar Diary, 1899-1903. #01467, Subseries: "3. Volumes." Folder 182

Begun when she was ten and a half years old. Catharine made regular entries from January through April 1899 and some entries in December 1899. Entries for 1902-1903 consist of a clothing, bedding, and household textile inventory.

Oversize Volume SV-1467/59

Ledger, 1830. #01467, Subseries: "3. Volumes." SV-1467/59

Owner unknown; contains a variety of entries including "house expenses," charges for church pew, investments in bank stock, and expenses for various services. Most individuals listed with accounts are from Natchez.

Folder 183

Folder number not used #01467, Subseries: "3. Volumes." Folder 183

Folder 184

V-1467/60: Ledger, 1854-1855. #01467, Subseries: "3. Volumes." Folder 184

Owner unknown, apparently used to record cargo expenses for several merchant companies. This volume was used by Miss L. Stuart in 1925 as a cookbook. Newspaper clippings of recipes were pasted over several pages containing ledger entries.

Folder 185

V-1467/61: Ledger, 1901-1904. #01467, Subseries: "3. Volumes." Folder 185

Owner unknown; most entries simply show charges for "service," however, scattered entries, such as "office visit" and "urine examination," show that the ledger was kept by a physician. Each entry includes patient name and address. Patients lived chiefly in Louisiana and Mississippi. Several entries show investments, including subscription to "Orleans Parish Medical Society."

Folder 186

V-1467/62: Autograph book, 1871-1873. #01467, Subseries: "3. Volumes." Folder 186

Signatures of friends collected from a wide variety of places including Tennessee, Alabama, New York, and England, by John Ker of Natchez, Miss.

Folder 187

V-1467/63: Address book, Mary Susan Ker, 1921. #01467, Subseries: "3. Volumes." Folder 187

Folder 188

V-1467/64: Passport, Emily Dunbar, 1926. #01467, Subseries: "3. Volumes." Folder 188

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Pictures.

59 items.
Image P-1467/18

Mary Susan Ker, taken 23 April 1850, when she was 12 years old. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/18

Image P-1467/19

Mary Susan Ker and William H. Ker, circa 1850. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/19

Image P-1467/20

Mary Susan Ker, photograph of a portrait of Mary as a young woman. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/20

Image P-1467/21-22



Mary Susan Ker, as elderly woman on porch at 405 N. Commerce St., Natchez, Miss. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/21-22

Image P-1467/23-29








Mary Susan Ker, as elderly woman in garden. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/23-29

Various scenes show houses in background, rear yard, and cistern

Image P-1467/30

Mary Kenard Baker Ker, mother of Mary Susan Ker, standing beside upholstered Victorian chair. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/30

Image P-1467/31-32



Janie Percy Ker, first wife of Isaac Lewis Baker Ker. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/31-32

Both views are identical. According to note on back of #31, she was "16 years old when taken." The following inscription was penciled on back of #32: "Whenever I look at this picture help me O Lord to remember my duties to her little children and also to be good & kind to them, & do all I can to fill their mother's place." After Janie died, her daughters Mamie and Nellie lived with Mary Susan Ker.

Image P-1467/33-34



The Dunbar children: Albert ("Bertie," 16), Mary (12), Catharine (8), Mathilda ("Tillie," 10), and Percy (6). #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/33-34

Taken around 1895. These were children of Albert Dunbar and Mamie Ker Dunbar; grandchildren of Janie Percy Ker (P-1467/31-32).

Image P-1467/35

Catharine Shields Dunbar(?), young girl with long hair and hat. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/35

Image P-1467/36

"Catharine Shields Dunbar, Oct. 1896, Age 19 yrs." #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/36

Shows young woman in black lace shawl with hair pulled back.

Image P-1467/37

Catharine Shields Dunbar, as older woman, standing with small dog on leash. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/37

Photo taken outside.

Image P-1467/38

"Catharine Shields Dunbar & her sister Mary Dunbar Cocke". #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/38

Probably taken same day as P-1467/37. Both women standing outside with dog.

Image P-1467/39

"Tillie's first car." #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/39

Taken outside, shows three women picnicking beside car with unidentified building in background.

Image P-1467/40

"Tillie Dunbar's First Ker." #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/40

Tillie (?) kneeling beside picnic with car and building in background.

Image P-1467/41-42



Three unidentified women picnicking, possibly taken on same day as P-1467/39-40. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/41-42

Image P-1467/43-44



"Matilda Ralston Dunbar (Mrs. Albert Willis Dunbar," possibly Tillie Dunbar's paternal grandmother. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/43-44

Image P-1467/45

"Mrs. Albert Dunbar," probably same woman as P-1467/43-44. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/45

Shows elderly woman seated on lounge chair in parlor with fireplace in background and view of parlor interior.

Image P-1467/46

"Josie Ker," wife of William H. Ker. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/46

Image P-1467/47

"Susan Ralston Higginson." #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/47

Image P-1467/48-49



"Mary 'Dunc'an & Mary Catherine, 1939, 504 B St., Natchez, Miss., at Catherine Dunbar Brown's." #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/48-49

An older black woman and young black girl seated beside tester bed. Girl identified at granddaughter of Mary Duncan.

Image P-1467/50-51



"Mary Dunc & her granddaughter Mary Catherine, 1939." #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/50-51

Mary Dunc is in rocking chair beside spinning wheel on porch. Mary Catherine is sweeping porch.

Image P-1467/52-58








Mary Duncan, 1939. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/52-58

Various views show her in kerchief with spinning wheel.

Image P-1467/59

"Mamie with the love of her friend A. I?" #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/59

Photo by B. Frank, Saylor & Co. of Lancaster, Penn. View of woman, but unclear whether it is Mamie or her friend.

Image P-1467/60

Unidentified woman in fur-lined coat and tall hat taken at a studio in Florence, Italy. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/60

Image P-1467/61

"Bertie?, June 1877," view of woman with fan. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/61

Image P-1467/62

"To M_s. J. Lewis? from her two little friends, Marie E. Roux and Mary E. Claude, Aug. 22nd, 1879." #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/62

Full length view of two girls standing beside each other in photographer's studio. Photographed by John H. Clarke studio, New Orleans.

Image P-1467/63

Emily Dunbar, view of young woman, taken by Norman Studio, Natchez, Miss. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/63

Image P-1467/64

Emily Dunbar, view of older woman, standing in formal dress beside Chippendale chair. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/64

Image P-1467/65

"Cousin Tom Butler," young man in military uniform. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/65

Tom was a graduate of Virginia Military Institute.

Image P-1467/66

"To My Dear Mother from her affectionate son, Robt. S. Ralston, Boston, Mch 31st/62." #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/66

Man with mutton chops seated in military uniform.

Image P-1467/67

"F. S. Shields, Jr., for his sweetheart." #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/67

Infant in white christening gown. Picture taken in Norman studios, Natchez, Miss.

Image P-1467/68

"W. H. Ker, May 1891," as older man with moustache. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/68

Taken at H. C. Norman studio in Natchez, Miss.

Image P-1467/69

"William Henry Ker, youngest brother of Aunt Mamie (2 yrs. younger than Aunt Mamie)." #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/69

Shows young man with slight moustache and bow tie.

Image P-1467/70

Labelled "Isaac Lewis Baker Ker," but same picture as P-1467/69. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/70

Image P-1467/71

"Wm. B. Ker," 1894. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/71

Shows man with short beard and moustache.

Special Format Image SF-P-1467/1

Ambrotype of man with beard and moustache. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." SF-P-1467/1

Because P-1467/71 was found inside this case, picture could be William B. Ker at a different age.

Special Format Image SF-P-1467/2

Ambrotype of "Martha Willis Dunbar, Natchez, April, 1862." #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." SF-P-1467/2

Picture in case shows dead infant.

Image P-1467/74

"March 1919, Vosqes?, France, Mary B. Jenkins?, Chaplain James Moore?, 115th Inf. A.E.F. 29th Div. Dr. Clark? of 42nd Div." #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/74

Picture shows two men and one woman in military uniforms.

Image P-1467/75

Unidentified child peeking out from behind tall leafy plant with wooden fence in background. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/75

Image P-1467/76

"Susan? Grand Isle." #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/76

Shows young woman and young man with backs to camera looking up at airplane.

Image P-1467/77

Picture postcard of white clapboard house with front porch and mown lawn, dated December 1907; from "Little Nelson" to Mrs. W. H. Ker. #01467, Series: "4. Pictures." P-1467/77

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Other Papers.

About 30 items.

Speech delivered in Natchez, 13 June 1923, to the United Confederate Veterans at their annual reunion, genealogical information, and newspaper clippings.

Folder 189

Writings #01467, Series: "5. Other Papers." Folder 189

Folder 190

Genealogical materials #01467, Series: "5. Other Papers." Folder 190

Folder 191

Clippings #01467, Series: "5. Other Papers." Folder 191

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

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Processing Information

Processed by: Linda Sellars, Jill Snider, and Lisa Tolbert, January 1992

Encoded by: Margaret Dickson, April 2006

The Addition of December 1991 includes materials similar to those that formed the original collection. These materials have not been integrated into the original collection.

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