University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Abbie Bartlett Shapleigh correspondence, 1860-1902

Full finding aid (pdf)

Collection Scope and Content

This collection consists entirely of correspondence, both original letters and typed transcriptions. The more than 200 letters cover the years between 1860 and 1892. Almost all of the letters were written by Abbie Shapleigh and directed to her children, her daughter receiving the large majority of them, her siblings, her husband, and Mrs. Thorpe. Abbie Shapleigh traveled extensively–her letters from the Poland Spring House in Poland Spring, Maine reference the curative powers of the spring water and the hotel’s setting, for example. The letters offer an exceptional opportunity to experience the period through the words and sentiments of a sensitive and worldly woman and devoted mother.

Biographical/Historical Note

Abbie Bartlett Shapleigh was born in North New Portland, Maine in 1838, the last of twelve children. Abbie Shapleigh became the companion to Mrs. Joseph Thorpe (“Meme” in the Shapleigh correspondence), helping with the Thorpe children, and after the collapse of her marriage, devoted most of her life to that work. Abbie Shapleigh had two children with Joseph Shapleigh.