thackara.jpgDescriptive Summary

Title: Sherman Thackara Collection
Source: Donated to Villanova College by Eleanor Sherman Thackara in 1897 (unverified)
Repository:  Villanova University, Falvey Memorial Library, Special Collections Room
Quantity:  4 linear ft. / 1 frock coat
Call #:  OM E467.S53


Biographical / Historical Information:

Scope and Content Notes:
Containing family papers and correspondences, the collection consists of four linear feet and covers the period from 1854 to 1897. There are nine boxes, 100 folders, and over 2,000 items, and 1 Union Army Civil War frock coat of General William T. Sherman.  Most date ranges are inclusive; however, the folders contain some non-inclusive gaps as well as indeterminable dates. Within the collection, Box VI-b (Mont's letters to Ellie) contains the most items.

Some of the collection's strengths include: detailed accounts of local history in Philadelphia and the Main Line during the 1880's and 1890's; an in-depth sketch of life in the United States Navy after the Civil War based on Mont's diary from 1872-1873, correspondences, and memorabilia from his time at Annapolis and at sea; an intimate look at Victorian courtship practices through Ellie and Mont's relationship; and a portrait of the social customs and manners of a middle class Victorian family. Specific highlights of the Sherman Thackara collection are Ellie's love letters to Mont, Thomas Ewing Sherman's notebook from St. Louis University, first-hand accounts of Lincoln's funeral procession in Chicago and Philadelphia, and a large collection of Japanese and Javanese photographs acquired during Mont's time spent stationed in the Pacific.

Read a biographical sketch of Eleanor ("Ellie") and Alexander Montgomery ("Mont").


Below is a list of general subjects addressed in the collection:

  • Brothers and sisters--19th century--correspondence
  • Communication in marriage--19th century--correspondence
  • Courtship--19th century--correspondence
  • Education, Elementary--19th Century
  • Education, Secondary--19th century
  • Europe--travel--19th century--correspondence
  • Family--19th century--correspondence
  • Fathers and daughters--19th century--correspondence
  • Generals--United States--19th century
  • Holidays--19th century--Correspondence
  • Japan--Travel--19th century--Pictorial works
  • Java (Indonesia)--Travel--19th century--pictorial works
  • Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865--Death and burial--Correspondence
  • Love-letters--19th century--Correspondence
  • Manners and customs--19th century--correspondence
  • Middle class--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--19th century--correspondence
  • Mothers and daughters--19th century--correspondence
  • Philadelphia Metropolitan area (pa.)--19th century
  • united states military academy--19th century
  • united states Naval academy--19th century--Correspondence
  • weddings--19th century


Arrangement Notes:

Date Range:



In each box, the items within the folders are arranged in chronological order according to day/month/year. They are grouped together by author and recipient. For example, all of Mont's letters written to his father Benjamin Thackara during the year 1867-1868 are place together in one folder.

Non-dated materials:

In such situations, a best guess of the date (usually written in pencil and placed in the upper right corner of the letter) was made based on contextual information of the letter. The frock coat is displayed in a display case in the Rare Book Room of Falvey Memorial Library's Special Collections.

Sherman Thackara Finding Aid created by Andrea D. Reed