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Mary Sackett Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-038

Scope and Content of the Collection

Six folders of material relating to Mary Sackett and the Sackett family, including Mary Sackett’s journal kept on a trip from New York City to Lanoa, Illinois in 1841 and 1842.

The journal, kept for her brother, is detailed and informative about such topics as the daily activities while traveling by canal boat and steamship, descriptions of the passing landscape including a stop at Niagara Falls, life in rural Illinois while waiting for a house to be built, and the daily problems and chores of pioneer women in the 1840s.

An 1849 manuscript pioneer newspaper, The Prairie Flower, of which Mary Sackett was the editor, consists mainly of original stories, poems, editorials and reports on local doings, sayings and notices relating to the Pleasant Valley Reading Circle. This group was formed to provide amusement “during the coming winter months.” Also, a recipe for taffy, some penmanship exercises and two colored drawings, all undated. There is also some genealogical information regarding the Sackett family collected in 1945.


  • Creation: 1841-1945
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1841 - 1849



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Mary Sackett Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Mary Sackett Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Mary Sackett

New York based woman who emigrated as a teenager with her family to Laona, Winnebago County, Illinois.

Mary Sackett was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1825, the eldest of the living children of Isaac Sackett and his wife Mary Johnson. The family was living in Brooklyn, New York, when Isaac decided to move them to the Middle West, where his sister Abigail and her husband Charles Cleveland were already settled. In 1841 and 1842, teenager Mary Sackett kept a lively, detailed journal of the journey from New York City to Laona, a small town in Winnebago County, Illinois.

In 1847, when Mary Sackett was twenty-one, she married Hanson C. Pierson, who died a year later. In 1852 she married Samuel Chapman with whom she had six children. Little else is known about Sackett’s adult life, and she died at age forty-three in 1869.


0.2 Linear Feet (6 folders)


A journal kept by Mary Sackett when she and her family emigrated from New York state to Laona, Winnebago County, Illinois, 1841-1842, three numbers of a manuscript pioneer newspaper with original work done by members of an Illinois reading circle in 1849, a recipe for taffy, some penmanship exercises and two colored drawings. Also, photocopies of genealogical material relating to the Sackett family collected in 1945.


Arranged by type of material.

Collection Stack Location

1 1 2


Gift, William Murray Underwood, 2004.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2006.

Inventory of the Mary Sackett Papers, 1841-1945, bulk 1841-1849
Virginia Hay Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States