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Collection Number: 03011

Collection Title: Charles William Bradbury Papers, 1817-1854

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 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 120 items)
Abstract Charles William Bradbury was an insurance agent of New Orleans, La. Other members of the Bradbury family were of Manlius and Canandaigua, N.Y.; Cincinnati and Montgomery, Ohio; Madison, Ind.; and New Orleans, La. Besides Charles, family members represented include Jacob Bradbury (fl. 1817-1825); Cornelius S. Bradbury (fl. 1818-1848); Elizabth A. Bradbury (fl. 1817-1825); and Charles's wife, Sarah (fl. 1821-1844). Charles's mistress, Madaline Selima Edwards (fl. 1843-1848), is also represented. The collection includes letters to Cornelius S. Bradbury, 1818- 1825; correspondence, financial, and legal papers, and memorandum books of Charles W. Bradbury, 1832-1852; and notebooks and diaries of Madaline Selima Edwards, 1843-1847. Letters include descriptions of life in the various places where family members lived, descriptions of travels through southern Indiana and down the Mississippi River Valley from Cincinnati to New Orleans, and reflections on their relationship by Charles Bradbury and Madaline Edwards. Legal papers include items relating to the purchase of slaves, real estate, and a cottonseed manufacturing plant in or near New Orleans. The Edwards notebooks contain essays, poems, and other writings.
Creator Bradbury, Charles William, fl. 1832-1856.
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 Charles William Bradbury Papers #3011, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection is available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of Southern women and their families in the 19th century, Series A.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Mrs. Meigs O. Frost of Fleming Plantation, Lafitte, Louisiana, in 1954.
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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Processed by: Laura K. O'Keefe (Series 3), December 1982; Erik D. France, December 1990

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, December 2009

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

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

Bradbury family of Manlius, Onandaga County, New York; Cincinnati and Montgomery, Hamilton County, Ohio; Madison, Jefferson County, Indiana; and New Orleans, Louisiana. Jacob Bradbury (fl. 1817-1834), apparently a doctor and farmer, was married to Mary Bradbury (fl. 1817-1842); their children included Elizabeth A. Bradbury (fl. 1817-1835); Cornelius S. Bradbury (fl. 1818 -1848); Charles William Bradbury (fl. 1832-1856); Mrs. C. I. (Bradbury) Doan (fl. 1835-1842); James Anson Bradbury (fl. 1835-1848); and Marcus T. I. Bradbury (fl. 1834-1848).

Cornelius S. Bradbury moved from Canandaigua, New York, to Cincinnati about 1820; he married Sarah (surname unknown) Bradbury (fl. 1821-1844) about 1822. Jacob Bradbury moved from Manlius, New York, to Montgomery, Ohio, in late 1821; the rest of his family followed in 1822. By 1834, many of the family members had removed to Madison, Indiana.

Charles William ("Charley") Bradbury moved to New Orleans in 1835; he married Mary Anne (Hamilton) Taylor (fl.1836-1852) in 1836. The New Orleans directory shows that Charles William Bradbury resided on Estelle Street between Constance and Magazine in 1838; in 1852, he was an insurance broker with an office at the corner of Erato and Bacchus (Baronne) streets; in 1853, he was at No. 75 St. Charles Street; the 1856 directory lists him as a "Cottonseed and Lard Oil Manufacturer," with an office on Circus Street, corner of Girod.

Madaline Selima ("Mad") Edwards (fl. 1843-1848), apparently from Tennessee, was living in New Orleans when she met Charles Bradbury. She became his mistress, and he purchased a house for her use in October 1843. References in the papers indicate that Edwards was raised by an uncle in Tennessee and was married at his house, and that three of her children died in Clinton, Mississippi. Bradbury was apparently also involved with Helen ("Ellen") Hart, who seems to have lived in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

This collection consists of Bradbury family letters (bulk dates, 1817-1836) to Cornelius S. Bradbury; correspondence, related papers, and memorandum books of Charles William Bradbury, 1832-1852; journals and diaries of his mistress, Madaline Selima Edwards, 1843-1847; three daguerreotypes, a photograph, and an ink sketch.

In at least two letters there are descriptions of travelling overland through southern Indiana (28 June 1834) and by steamboat down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers from Cincinnati to New Orleans (7 November 1835). In the financial and legal papers, there are bills of sale for slaves and real estate in the vicinity of New Orleans. There also are papers concerning the purchase by Charles Bradbury of a cottonseed oil manufacturing plant, 1852-1854.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence and Other Loose Papers, 1817-1854.

About 110 items.

Chiefly letters and related materials of members of the Bradbury family. Letters written by Helen ("Ellen") Hart and Madaline ("Mad") Selima Edwards to Charles William Bradbury also are included.

For the period 1817 to 1825, there are letters to Cornelius S. Bradbury at Canandaigua, New York, and at Cincinnati, Ohio, from Jacob, Elizabeth A., and Mary Bradbury, discussing family matters, marriages, and deaths in Manlius and Montgomery, Ohio, travel plans, and the need for money. A letter from Elizabeth A. Bradbury, dated 24 June 1821, mentioned her trip to Herkimer, New York, and the death of the family dog "Trip." Another letter from Elizabeth, dated 2(?) November 1821, mentioned Jacob's trip to Cincinnati and Cornelius's upcoming marriage. Jacob, at Montgomery, wrote to Cornelius on 7 and 21 (no month) and 30 September 1822, about his bad situation there, and also about the Cornelius's wife, Sarah. Elizabeth wrote, on 5 October 1822, on the eve of her departure from Manlius to Montgomery, about her general excitement. She also wrote about life in Montgomery in a letter dated 2 May 1823.

Letters and other materials for the years from 1832 to 1835 chiefly relate to Charles William Bradbury. Included are papers relating to a bank loan (10 July 1835). A letter from Cornelius at Cincinnati mentioned pestilence spreading westward; he recommended that Charles attend school in Cincinnati, and expressed religious sentiments. C. I. Bradbury at Madison, Indiana, wrote to Charles at Cincinnati on 14 April 1834, of her impending marriage to Mr. Doan. Helen ("Ellen") Hart at Vincennes, Indiana, wrote in a letter dated 28 June 1834 about her 200- mile trip from Cincinnati to Vincennes, mostly across southern Indiana; and of her intention to continue to St. Louis despite an outbreak of cholera there. C. I. (Bradbury) Doan at Madison, Indiana, wrote on 26 July 1834 about the social news of Madison; another letter from her, dated 20 June 1835, mentions an outbreak of cholera there. In a letter dated 7 November 1835, Charles at New Orleans wrote to Sarah Bradbury at Cincinnati, about his trip by steamship from Cincinnati to New Orleans. He provided a detailed description of his trip, and also his initial impressions of life in New Orleans.

Letters and related materials for the years 1836 to 1842 are chiefly personal letters to Charles at New Orleans, about his work and the activities of other members of the Bradbury family in Ohio, Indiana, and Louisiana. There are also legal and financial papers from New Orleans. In a letter dated 9 April 1836, Cornelius at Cincinnati wrote about business and merchandizing; in another dated 15 May 1836, he advised Charles not to marry while still in his teens. A note from Mary A. (Hamilton Taylor) Bradbury at Madisonville, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, mentioned her illness. There are letters concerning Charles's possible employment at the Atchafalaya Bank; contracts for the purchase of land in St. John the Baptist Parish, 27 June 1838; and the purchase of slaves, 15 August 1838. There are documents relating to Mary A. (Taylor) Bradbury's agreement to give Charles power of attorney over her affairs, 13 February 1839, as well as her last will and testament, 21 May 1840. There are several papers relating to Charles's power of attorney over James Anson Bradbury's legal and business affairs, 1841-1842. An 1841 bill of sale for a slave named Lucy or Lucinda describes has as being "addicted to the vice of ebriety."

Correspondence and related materials for the years 1843 to 1849 are chiefly letters and poems to Charles at New Orleans from Madaline Selima Edwards, also at New Orleans, and legal and financial papers of Charles involving purchases of slaves and real estate. Edwards's letters discuss the clandestine nature of her relationship with Bradbury, her position as a social outcast, and her hopes for employment in a school. Letters from 1847 present both Edwards's and Bradbury's views on their final separation.

Papers for the period 1852 to 1854 are chiefly Charles's financial and legal papers at New Orleans, including those relating to his involvement in the purchase of a cottonseed oil manufacturing plant.

Folder 1


Folder 2


Folder 3


Folder 4


Folder 5


Folder 6


Folder 7


Folder 8


Folder 9


Folder 10


Folder 11

January-June 1847

Folder 12

September 1847


Folder 13


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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Writing Books, Diaries, and Memorandum Books, 1843-1847.

6 volumes.

Arrangement: by type.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1. Madaline Selima Edwards Writing Books, 1843-1847.

Notebooks of Madaline Selima Edwards that contain essays, poems, comments on her reading, long diary like, autobiographical writings and thoughts, "A Tale of Real Life," stories, and other writings. She appears to have entered her thoughts in these books several times a month. In her writings, Edwards frequently focused on human relationships and mentioned, among many other things, Charles Bradbury, school in New Orleans, astronomy, and religion. Entries also concern childbirth and instructions for the care of the child with whom she thought she was pregnant, should she die giving birth. Many items appear to be intended for publication.

Folder 14

Volume 1, 162 pages; December 1843-September 1844

Folder 15

Volume 2, 147 pages; October 1844-April 1847

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.2. Madaline Selima Edwards Diaries, 1844-1845.

The diaries consist of short, almost daily entries, noting Edwards's activities, people she met, her health, knitting, and her relationship with Charles Bradbury. Entries also concern a false pregnancy and her fear of death in childbirth, her position as a social outcast, painting, reading, writing, and her occasionally successful efforts to get pieces published in the Native American.

Folder 16

Volume 3, 1844

Folder 17

Volume 4, 1845

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.3. Charles William Bradbury Memorandum Books, 1846-1847.

Chiefly brief records of expenses. Volume 6 is headed, "Memorandum book of expenses, etc. at the Bay of St. Louis in the year 1847--during the months of July-August, Septr. & Octr."

Folder 18

Volume 5, 5 pages; 1846-1847

Volume 6, 26 pages; 1847

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Pictures, circa 1844-1855 and undated.

5 items.

A print of an unidentified man (Cornelius S. or Charles William Bradbury?), circa 1844-1855; three daguerreotypes of an unidentified woman (possibly Sarah Bradbury, wife of Cornelius S. Bradbury), circa 1844-1855; and a ink sketch of a coat of arms (undated).

Image P-3011/1

Photograph of painting (25 x 20 cm) of unidentified man (Charles William Bradbury?), circa 1844-1855

Special Format Image SF-P-3011/2

Daguerrotype of unidentified woman (possibly Sarah Bradbury, Cornelius S. Bradbury's wife) in lace shawl and tiara, circa 1844-1855

Special Format Image SF-P-3011/3

Daguerrotype of unidentified woman (possibly Sarah Bradbury), circa 1844-1855

Special Format Image SF-P-3011/4

Daguerreotype of woman identified by accompanying envelope as "Mrs. B," taken in New York City, August 1844

Image P-3011/5

Ink sketch of unidentified coat of arms, undated. Water mark on lower right hand corner reads "WHATMAN TURKEY MILL"

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