Manuscript Collection: MS 0545
Agency History/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 Content:
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.
Cite as: Gail Hamilton Correspondence, Mount Holyoke
College, Archives and Special Collections, South
Access Restrictions: Unrestricted