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Ropes Family Collection
Catalog Record
Mss 766 1789-1875 R785
Boxes 1, 2, and 4, and carton 1

The Ropes Family collection contains correspondence related to the family business, domestic matters, religion, education, and news of family and friends, as well as guardian accounts of Sarah Sewall's children.

Women, including Sarah Ropes and Louisa (Ropes) Green wrote many of the letters in the correspondence files. The most interesting letters are those written by Mary Tyler (Ropes) Gellibrand. She moved with her father and stepmother to St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1832. Her letters give detailed descriptions of her life there, including the religious community, social interactions with other foreign merchants, and her impressions of the city. In 1833, a love affair with a "Mr. C" went bad, but the following year she married a family friend twenty-two years her senior. Her younger sisters soon came to live with her and she settled permanently in St. Petersburg, remaining even after her parents returned to America in 1837.

On September 20, 1832, not long after arriving in her new home, Mary described her feelings about living abroad:

Every day's experience makes us more deeply feel the superiority of our dear native land--and every day that we pass amidst such error and superstition impresses on our minds more strongly the inestimable blessings of having had our birth in the land of Bibles & religious freedom.

The collection also includes the guardian accounts (from 1827 to 1846) for William Sewall's (d. c. 1827) children, though Sarah Sewall was still alive. Hardy Ropes and Stephen Sewall were guardians to Samuel G. Sewall, Mary Sewall, and William Sewall, Jr. The account book lists payments for domestic help, tuition, medicine, books, clothing, and shoes. (Box 4)

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