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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1104

Papers of Mary Brackett Hoyt Ransom, ca.1890-2020 (inclusive), 1905-1960 (bulk)


Correspondence, photographs, poems, of schoolteacher, postmistress, and active member of Democratic party Mary Brackett Hoyt Ransom. Material related to her parents, Jackson M. and Mary Pickering Hoyt and other family members is also included.


  • Creation: 1890-2020
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1905-1960

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. The donor retains copyright during his lifetime in the biographical material he has written and included in the collection (#1.1). Upon his death, copyright in the biographical material transfers to the President and Fellows of Harvard College. To the extent that he holds it for the remainder of the collection, the donor hereby transfers and assigns to all right, title and interest, including copyright and all extensions and renewals thereof, in and to the work to the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


2.29 linear feet ((5+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 6 photograph folders)
1.92 Megabytes (1 file)

The collection includes a biographical sketch of Ransom by her grandson, David Anderson; Ransom's correspondence with Everett S. Ransom during their engagement and during their estrangement after their marriage; correspondence with her children and grandchildren; letters from her friend Huybertie Hamlin and from a number of political figures; material re: Ransom's teaching and post office work and her political activities; poems; recipes; and sheet music for a song by Ransom; a diary and photograph of a cruise Ransom took with her husband in 1927; obituary and death certificate for Ransom; annual reports for the town of Mattapoisett; and family photographs, including of the Ransoms' wedding. Some material related to her parents is also included. The collection was organized by David Anderson before it arrived at the Schlesinger Library; his arrangement and folder titles have been retained and his notes providing additional information on different parts of the collection have been included in the relevant folders. David Anderson's biography of Mary Brackett Hoyt Ransom (#1.1) was received both as a paper document and as a Word file: the Word document has been converted to PDF/A for preservation and delivery.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Mary Brackett Hoyt Ransom was born in Newington, New Hampshire, in 1894, the fourth child of Jackson M. and Mary Pickering Hoyt. She had eight siblings. Her family maintained a farm and were prominent members of the community, with her father and other family members serving in the New Hampshire Legislature. When Ransom was nine or ten, she went to live with her uncles Tom and Jim Pickering (also residents of Newington), to help them keep house. She formed close relationships with them, which lasted until their deaths.

Ransom attended Portsmouth High School, graduating in 1903 and then completed the school's one-year teacher training program. She taught school first in Derry, New Hampshire, and then in Newington. She enjoyed teaching but due to a law prohibiting married women from teaching, could not continue in this profession after her marriage in 1907 to Everett S. Ransom. Everett S. Ransom was at the time the chief engineer on the yacht Parthenia, owned by Harry Elisha Converse. (Converse was the husband of Mary Caroline Parker Converse, the first woman commissioned by the United States Merchant Marine.) The Ransoms' marriage had a difficult beginning: Everett had promised Mary a home of her own in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, but after the wedding asked her to live with his mother and siblings temporarily. Mary would not agree to this and, in an unusual move for the time, returned to Newington. She remained there until Everett provided the promised house, which Mary named Silvercroft. As it was very close to his mother's house, he continued to spend considerable time there. The marriage continued to prove difficult at times, with the couple disagreeing about political and financial matters and Everett frequently expecting Mary to defer to him. Everett and Mary had three children: Louise (1910-1999), Dorothy (1911-2000?), and Georgia (1919-2010). Everett's work required the family to relocate temporarily several times between 1909 and 1922; they lived briefly in Gloucester and South Boston, Massachusetts, as well as in New London, Connecticut, and Jacksonville, Florida, but for the majority of her married life, Ransom resided in Mattapoisett.

Ransom was actively involved in local affairs, joining the Mattapoisett School Committee in 1924 and serving as its secretary for twelve years. She was also active in local politics, serving as corresponding secretary of the Democratic Women's Club of New Bedford, as chair of the Democratic Victory Club of Mattapoisett in 1924, and founding the local chapter of the League of Women Voters. In 1924, after Calvin Coolidge was elected President, she wrote to Cordell Hull, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, suggesting that Franklin Delano Roosevelt be encouraged to run for the presidency. In 1934, she was appointed Postmistress of Mattapoisett, a position she held until her resignation in 1942. She enjoyed this work, which was her first paying job since teaching school. Between 1934 and 1937 she was apparently the primary financial provider for her family. In the years following World War II, Ransom remained actively engaged in both local and national politics, with this involvement often taking the form of writing to local and federal politicians to express her views on a variety of issues. She also corresponded frequently with her daughters and with other family members and friends. She became increasingly housebound in her 70s and 80s and suffered from dementia during the last few years of her life. She died of arteriosclerotic heart disease and bronchopneumonia on October 2, 1971.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2020-M77, 2020-M80

The papers of Mary Brackett Hoyt Ransom were given to the Schlesinger Library by her grandson, David Anderson, in September 2020.


Donors: David Anderson

Accession number: 2020-M80

Processed by: Susan Earle

The following items have been removed from the collection and offered to Harvard University's Loeb Music Library:

  1. Rhyme 'n' Rhythm: Songwriters and Poets of Today Lawrence, Ruth (ed.): New York, Haven Press, 1947

Processing Information

Processed: November 2020

By: Susan Earle.

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Radcliffe Class of 1955 Manuscript Processing Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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