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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Mary Sears McHenry papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1865-1998
Creator: McHenry, Mary Sears (1834-1912)
Extent: 1.00 linear inch.
Collection Number: IWA0423
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Diary and account book of the bride of a Civil War officer.

Arrangement: One folder, shelved in SCVF.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright has been retained by the owner.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 615) were donated by Opal Baker in 1999. The original typescript is held by the Denison Historical Society.

Preferred Citation: Mary Sears McHenry papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Mary Sears was born in Massachusetts, December 30, 1834, and moved to northern Illinois with her family. She graduated from Rockford Female Seminary before marrying William A. McHenry in 1864. After their marriage, he returned to his regiment fighting in the Civil War and she joined his brother in a journey to Denison, Iowa, where the brothers had contracts to operate the new telegraph company. In Denison, Mary Sears McHenry became the deputy county treasurer and recorder. When her husband was discharged, she met him in Rockford and together they returned to Denison. The McHenrys became prominent in banking, livestock breeding, and community affairs. In 1890, Mary McHenry served as president of the Women's Relief Corps, then the largest fraternal association in America; she was also active in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. She died July 26, 1912 at their lake home in Okoboji, Iowa.

The Mary Sears McHenry papers consist of a typescript of an 1865 diary and account book and measures one linear inch.  The diary and account book cover a trip from Denison, Iowa to Rockford, Illinois where Mary met her husband, then on leave from the Union Army.  The account book includes expenditures and accounts received for 1865.

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