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Hamilton correspondence, 1849-1893.
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Collection number: MS 0545 (LD 7093.38 I64)

Hamilton, Gail, (b. Mary Abigail Dodge) 1833-1896; Secondary school teacher and writer. Papers consist of correspondence to a cousin, primarily describing her activities as a teacher in Hartford, Connecticut and comments on the cities of Hartford and Washington D.C. while living with the family of politician James G. Blaine.

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Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Gail Hamilton was born Mary Abigail Dodge on March 31, 1833, in Hamilton, Massachusetts to Hannah Stanwood and James Brown Dodge. She graduated from Ipswich Female Seminary in 1850 and taught there until 1854. She then taught at Hartford Female Seminary, founded by Catherine Beecher, and then finally at Hartford High School. In 1858 she went to Washington, D.C. as a governess to Gamaliel Bailey's children. There she established herself as a writer. She returned to Hamilton from 1860-1868 to care for her mother. During this period she became very close to John Greenleaf Whittier. In 1871 she began spending winters in the household of House Speaker James G. Blaine, and many believe she wrote his speeches. She died on August 12, 1896, in Hamilton.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Gail Hamilton Correspondence consists of nineteen letters, primarily to Hamilton's cousin, Eunice Caldwell Cowles, head of Ipswich Female Seminary, 1844-1876. The letters describe Hamilton's teaching experiences at the Hartford Female Seminary and in a Hartford public school. Subsequent letters describe Hamilton's activities while living with the family of politician James G. Blaine in Washington, DC. These letters briefly comment on Hamilton's reading, Blaine's health, and include cursory discussions about political events including relations with Russia and China and the problems in Hawaii during President Cleveland's administration.

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Terms of Access and Use
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Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Gail Hamilton Correspondence, Mount Holyoke College, Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Massachusetts

History of the Collection

Additional Information
Contact Information
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
8 Dwight Hall
50 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone: (413) 538-2013
Fax: (413) 538-2370

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Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Blaine, James Gillespie, 1830-1893.
  • Hamilton, Gail, 1833-1896.
  • Authors, American - 19th century - Correspondence.
  • Books and reading.
  • Hartford (Conn.) - Description and travel.
  • Hartford Female Seminary (Hartford, Conn.)
  • Schools - Connecticut - History - Sources.
  • Teachers - Connecticut - Correspondence.
  • United States - Politics and government - 19th century.
  • Washington (D.C.) - Description and travel.
  • Washington (D.C.) - Social life and customs.
  • Women - United States - Social conditions - Sources.
  • Women authors, American - 19th Century - Correspondence.
  • Women teachers - Connecticut - Correspondence.

  • Cowles, Eunice C. (Eunice Caldwell), 1811-1903.
  • Dodge, Mary Abigail, 1833-1896.

Genre terms
  • Letters.

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