Margaret J. M. Sweat papers, 1835-2005, undated
Collection Scope and Content
This collection contains manuscript material created by the author, including personal and travel diaries from numerous international trips, essays and unpublished writings, prose and verse papers, correspondence, and translations of classical works. There are also personal and themed scrapbooks, commonplace books, a recipe book, a drawing and a watercolor done by the author, photographs and a photographic album of the author and of the author’s home. Included in the collection are the Annals of the Cobweb Club and papers contributed to the Chimney Corner Club, two women’s organizations to which Mrs. Sweat was deeply connected. Other resources include newspaper clippings, biographical sketches, a thesis on the author, photocopies of resources in other collections, and copies of periodicals that published Margaret Sweat’s writings. There are also several books from her library and a catalog of her own books in her hand.
Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat was born on November 28, 1823 in Portland, Maine, daughter of John Mussey, Esq, a prominent judge and Mehitable Smith Rana. Sweat was one of five children and received her early education in Portland schools and later at the Roxbury, Massachusetts Latin School. She married Lorenzo de Medici Sweat in 1849, a lawyer and Bowdoin College graduate who served in the United States Senate and Maine House of Representatives. They lived in the Sweat Mansion on the corner of Spring and High streets, which later became the Portland Museum of Art. Sweat’s husband died on July 28, 1898.
Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat was a noted literary critic of the 19th century and friend to Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard. Sweat was one of the social elite of Portland, a world traveler and was fluent in French, German, Italian and Russian. She died January 16, 1908 at the age of eighty-four. She bequeathed the Sweat Mansion and an additional $100,000 to the Portland Society of Art to construct a building adjacent to her home for a museum. She donated money to many other notable organizations including Bowdoin College from which both her father and husband graduated.