Victoria Woodhull Martin Papers, 1883-1927 | Boston Public Library Archival and Manuscript Finding Aid Database
The letters in this collection document the relationship between Victoria Woodhull Martin and her husband, John Biddulph Martin and date from 1877-1927. Through newspaper clippings, manuscript fragments, and Zula Martin’s notes of her attempted biography of her mother, the collection also documents Woodhull’s life long interests in equal rights, women’s issues, and marriage and divorce, and provides glimpses into Woodhull’s character through quotes from many famous authors, among them Walt Whitman.
The correspondence from Victoria Woodhull Martin to John Martin contains many recurrent topics, such as her emotional and physical well being, daily activities and social engagements, work on The Humanitarian, and of her affection for her husband. The collection also includes correspondence from Woodhull’s admirers and colleges either expressing their condolences over Martin’s death, or commenting on her work in various publications and requesting copies of articles, portraits, photographs, or speeches. In addition, there are letters from friends and family members, particularly from her nephew Robert Martin Holland. These letters include information on family events, the running of the residences while Woodhull was away, and details of Martin’s sudden illness and death. Lastly, there are letters from professional organizations; for instance, the Stratford Company, which sent multiple requests for manuscripts, the Literary Bureau of the National Spiritual Association sent notes of gratitude for support, and the Automobile Club discussed organization information, which included the beginning of a ‘ladies’ chapter of the club.
The majority John Martin’s correspondence to his wife recounts his daily routine, goings-on in Worcestershire, news of his parents and other family members, and of his love for her. The remainder of Martin’s correspondence is made up of letters to his parents. In the letters to his father, Robert Martin, the main focus is on financial and business matters, including keeping up payments of family annuities and banking matters. In addition, there are letters from the associations he was involved with, such as the International Statistical Institute, of which he was president, the Statistical and Economic Section of the British Association, Council of the Society of Arts, and the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The remaining letters are between Martin and his family.