Bailey Family Collection

MG H 1

Archives and Special Collections
Harriet Irving Library
University of New Brunswick
Fredericton, N.B.
March 1988, 1995



The Archives and Special Collections Department of Harriet Irving Library at the University of New Brunswick holds a collection of fourteen linear feet of documents belonging to the Bailey family, plus seven feet of bound manuscripts, a number of artifacts, and published books. The collection was given to the University in installments starting in the 1940's by members of the family and other donors, especially William Kesson. Alfred G. Bailey, Professor Emeritus of History at the University, donated most of the collection and continues to bring in papers.

One of the earliest documents in the collection is a letter from Joseph Head Marshall to Edward Jenner dated January 7, 1801. Marshall, who was among the first to learn the technique of vaccination from Jenner, describes how he introduced vaccination to British sailors and civilians in Mediterranean countries. According to his great grandson Joseph Whitman Bailey, Marshall vanished between 1803 and 1815. In 1815 he promoted the Bourbon restoration as a secret courier between Murat, Fouche, Napoleon, and the British. When Paris was surrounded he plotted to help Napoleon escape to England, but Napoleon suspected an assassination attempt and backed out. Later Marshall worked as a British secret agent. His second wife, Elizabeth Golding Elrington (1791 - 1847), with whom he had twelve children, was allegedly also a secret agent. Marshall was given the title Baron d'Avray although there was already a titled d'Avray family. Marshall's eldest son Joseph de Brett (1811 -1871), lost his fortune and simply called himself Joseph Marshall d'Avray, but the title was taken up again by his grandson, Loring Woart Bailey, Jr. The biography of Joseph Head Marshall is sketchy because he burned most of his confidential papers, and when Joseph Marshall d'Avray died his widow burned a chest of papers labelled "very important."

Even less is known about the next individual represented in the collection, the Providence, Rhode Island lawyer and editor Isaac Bailey. In 1810 he married Jane Whitman (1793 - 1886). Their children were Jacob Whitman Bailey (1811 - 1856), William Mason Bailey (1815 - 1897), and Samuel Emerson Bailey (d. 1846). In 1812 Isaac Bailey read "A Poem" at Brown University: the text is in the collection. There are also several letters by Jane Whitman Bailey, whose second husband was Professor George Keely of Colby College.

The family was so poor that Jacob Whitman Bailey went to work in a Providence bookstore when he was twelve. After his father's death he attempted to support the family by going away to work as a manufacturer's clerk in Massachusetts. His employer made him sell rum. His horrified mother encouraged him to come home, but his sense of family loyalty was so strong that he only left when he was hired as a high school assistant. Jane Whitman Bailey secured his appointment to the United States Military Academy in 1828. After he graduated he toured the south for two years as an officer and was transferred to West Point as Assistant Professor of Chemistry in 1834. The following year he married Maria Slaughter of Culpeper, Virginia. They had four children: Maria Whitman (1836 - 1852), Samuel Slaughter (1838 - 1860), Loring Woart (1839 - 1925, named after a friend of his mother's), and William Whitman (1843 - 1914).

In 1838 he was promoted to Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology. In addition to teaching his own subjects he did internationally respected work in microbiology. He co-authored important papers on algae with the Irish botanist William Henry Harvey and exchanged specimens with Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg and Friedrich Traugott Kutzing. Ehrenberg named the diatom Stauronema Bayleyi after him. Bailey also developed a finder to determine the position of an object on a microscope slide. He achieved his discoveries under extremely adverse conditions: in 1838 his laboratory burned down, and he was obliged to carry on teaching and research in a cold, damp basement. The Superintendant of West Point ignored his petitions until 1845, when the basement was medically certified as fatal to human health.

Jacob Whitman Bailey never gave in to despondency over his health. When he was not working he taught and entertained his children, went walking, and wrote letters, sometimes in verse. At Christmas he wrote Santa Claus poems, one of which was published in the Saturday Evening Post. He exchanged poetic riddles and solutions with Maria Mayo Scott, the wife of General Winfield Scott. His daughter Maria began to write poetry and draw. Whistler, then a cadet, made sketches in her album. In 1847 his wife's sister Louisa Merrill was widowed. Bailey traveled to Cleveland in November in spite of his own poor health to bring her and her four children to West Point, where they spent the winter in the Bailey house.

In 1849 Bailey suffered a throat hemorrhage and had difficulty speaking. In order to improve his health, he traveled in the southern United States for seven months, spending most of the time in Florida. He took his microscope on the trip, made botanical drawings, and collected specimens. When he returned he could talk fairly comfortably but not lecture. His daughter's health declined in 1852, and the family set out on July 28 for a holiday on the beach to restore her. Thus Jacob and Maria Bailey, their daughter, and William were caught in one of the worst shipping disasters of the century, the burning of the Henry Clay. When the fire came close they jumped overboard. William caught hold of a wicker chair and was soon helped into a boat. Swimming with his feet, Jacob held his wife and daughter afloat until they could hold onto ropes hanging from the ship. A drowning woman pulled him under water. When he came up again the two Marias were gone and flames were everywhere. A stranger pulled him ashore. He did not believe that William was alive until he was taken to the child.

Afterwards he sent his two older sons to school and tried to make a cheerful home for William, whom he raised with the help of the family nurse "Aunt" Nancy Lewis, a former slave. William played with Robert E. Lee, Jr. while Lee was Superintendant (1852 - 1855), and Bailey taught both children to swim. Bailey cultivated a flower garden and cherished his friends but never recovered from the death of his wife and daughter. His illness worsened with occasional respites. In letters to his brother William Mason Bailey (1815 - 1897) during January 1857 he drafted his will. He left his money and life insurance benefits to his brother in trust for his sons and Nancy Lewis, but he wanted his scientific specimens, correspondence, and drawings to be preserved at the Boston Society of Natural History. He died on February 27, 1857, the year for which he had been elected President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He never expected to be well enough to preside over the 1857 convention in Montreal but appreciated the honor. His bequest to the Boston Society of Natural History, which considered his scientific collection the best in the country was taken over by the Boston Museum of Science and Charles Hayden Planetarium. His personal letters and 137 algae specimens are held in the Bailey collection.

Two children of Jacob Whitman Bailey and Maria Slaughter became science professors. Loring Woart Bailey went to Harvard and did graduate work in chemistry at Brown and Harvard. His professors included Longfellow, Agassiz, and Asa Gray. While he was a student he edited his father's letters, wrote his biography, prepared a family genealogy, and wrote a paper based on his father's microbiological investigations published in 1861. At Harvard he was the research and teaching assistant of Josiah Cooke, who recommended him to the University of New Brunswick after the death of James Robb, the science professor. Bailey came to Fredericton in 1861 and resided there until his death. As Professor of Chemistry and Natural Science (later Geology and Biology) he lectured on a great variety of topics to students and the general public. His lecture manuscripts in the Bailey Family Collection are written clearly and legibly. Some of the titles show his skill at catching an audience's attention, "A Drop of Water" and "The Human Telephone--Our Heads and What They Contain."

Bailey's heavy teaching load limited his time for research, but his papers in the collection include many offprints and correspondence with Benjamin Silliman, William Henry Harvey, R.K. Greville, O.N. Rood, and H.L. Smith. Bailey suffered at first from a sense of isolation. To the amateur scientist James Kilner he wrote, "It gives me the greatest pleasure to learn that I have in the Province and so near to me too, a fellow student of microscopic life. I had begun to fear that I was the only one in the country given to such out-of-the-way pursuits" (letter, October 7, 1862). Fortunately the region soon provided the main topics of his research. He spent the summers travelling for the Geological Survey of New Brunswick and, starting in 1866, the Geological Survey of Canada. He also did field work in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Maine. After he retired in 1907 he concentrated on diatoms, an interest absorbed from his father's papers. He studied local diatoms and received samples from correspondents; he found the specimens filtered from Montreal tap water especially interesting. Bailey was a charter member of the Royal Society of Canada, and many of his papers on geology and diatoms appeared in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada.

The Bailey and d'Avray paths crossed in 1861 because Loring Woart Bailey and Joseph Marshall d'Avray were both housed in the college building. Marshall d'Avray had worked as an educator in Mauritius and in England. After considerable bureaucratic delays, documented by letters in the collection, he was sent to New Brunswick to set up a teachers' training school. From his arrival in 1848 on, he served as an acting and then regular Professor of Modern Languages at King's College (renamed the University of New Brunswick in 1859). In 1863 Bailey married Laurestine (1841 - 1938), the only child of Marshall d'Avray and his wife Margaret Emma Glenn. The collection includes a lecture on language by Marshall d'Avray, diaries and calling cards.

Letters exchanged by the brothers Loring Woart and William Whitman Bailey form a large part of the correspondence in the collection. William Whitman Bailey remained in the United States. He volunteered for the Union Army during the the Civil War but was discharged for medical reasons. He studied at Brown and became Professor of Botany there after years of living from one temporary appointment to the next. With his income finally secured, he married Eliza Randall Simmons in 1881. William Whitman Bailey wrote botanical articles, poems including odes to wildflowers, and prose observations. His daughter Margaret Emerson Bailey (1885 - 1949) was a civic politician and writer. Her publications include poems, novels, a gardening book and a guide to good manners.

Several of Laurestine and Loring Woart Bailey's children are represented in the collection. Joseph Whitman Bailey (1865 - 1932), the eldest, practiced law in Boston, wrote books, and compiled genealogies. His biographies of his father and Joseph Head Marshall were published commercially, as were his travel books on Europe and the St. John River. The collection includes book manuscripts, unpublished manuscripts, and four family trees, three of which are in blackprint. There are 1,379 names on his largest chart, "Paternal Pedigree" (1907). Loring Woart Bailey, Jr. (1868 - 1943) worked for the Bank of British North America in Quebec. The collection includes the manuscript of his unpublished novel Mixed Society. The sixth child of Loring Woart Bailey and Laurestine, George Whitman Bailey, became a physician and served as Medical Inspector of Schools in Fredericton. He donated part of the collection.

Approximately sixty per cent of the documents in the collection are by or related to Alfred Goldsworthy Bailey (1905 - ), the second son of Loring Woart Bailey, Jr. and Ernestine Valiant Gale. Alfred Goldsworthy Bailey did undergraduate work at the University of New Brunswick and graduate work at the University of Toronto. In 1931 he married a fellow student, Jean Craig Hamilton. They have no children. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1934. A fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada enabled him to study at the London School of Economics the following year. From 1935 to 1938 he was Associate Curator and Assistant Director of the New Brunswick Museum. In 1938 he was appointed Professor and Head of the History Department at the University of New Brunswick, where he also served as Dean of Arts (1946 - 1964) and Vice President, Academic (1965 - 1970). As chief executive officer of the university library (1946 - 1960) he systematized the collection and advised Lord Beaverbrook on his donations. In 1970 he was made Professor Emeritus but continued to play an active role in the university. Since 1951 he has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He received honorary doctorates from the University of New Brunswick (1970), McGill (1975), and Mount Allison (1979). In 1978 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. The City of Fredericton honored Dr. Bailey in 1984 by making him a "Freeman of the City."

Bailey has been writing poetry for publication in periodicals since his high school and college newspapers printed his early poems. His first book, Songs of the Saguenay appeared in 1927; his chapbook Tao (1930) was well reviewed. At the University of New Brunswick he was the leader of the Bliss Carman Society from which The Fiddlehead Magazine emerged in 1945. Two major collections of his poetry have been published: Thanks for a Drowned Island (1973) and Miramichi Lightning (1981). He is one of the best-known poets of the Maritimes. The collection includes Bailey's poetry manuscripts and notes on his own poems.

Bailey has published a number of scholarly articles and two books: The Conflict of European and Eastern Algonkian Cultures 1500 - 1700 (1937; revised 1969) and Culture and Nationality (1972). Manuscripts of both books are in the collection; there are also two unpublished book-length manuscripts, New Brunswick and Confederation and Seven Autobiographical Essays, which contains a chapter on Lord Beaverbrook. Bailey edited The University of New Brunswick Memorial Volume (1950) and The Letters of James and Ellen Robb (1983). He was a co-editor of Literary History of Canada (1965, revised 1976). He wrote articles on a wide range of topics in Canadian history and culture, notes about several of his colleagues, and poetry and prose for The Fiddlehead. Manuscripts and offprints of Bailey's articles are in the collection.

The collection is in good physical condition for the most part. The Goldsworthy-Gale papers in the collections were put in chronological order, numbered, and described by Frances Firth during the 1950's. Miss. Firth also entered accession numbers and descriptions on some of the manila envelopes containing the documents. The annotations on other envelopes appear to be the work of George Whitman Bailey. Alfred Goldsworthy Bailey wrote explanatory notes on manila envelopes and loose sheets for a number of documents. An unknown processor arranged most of the letters between 1852 and 1888 in several overlapping chronological series, with detailed handwritten descriptions in pencil on both sides of three-by-five inch note pads.

Most of the papers were placed in forty-one filing boxes. To some extent the works of a single family member had been put together, but only the letters mentioned above had been organized, and one third of the boxes were miscellaneous assortments of papers written by several family members. One of the boxes was discovered to contain three china dishes and a pen set. In addition there were three packing cases of papers that were even less organized. The collection was restricted to readers with special permission because of the difficulty of locating individual items and the risk of damage. A grant through the Arrangement and Description Backlog Reduction Cost-Shared Cooperative Program of the National Archives of Canada enabled the University of New Brunswick Library to hire archival assistants to organize the Bailey Family Collection and prepare a finding aid. The organizing principle is consistent with the origin of the collection in the work of a family rather than isolated individuals. Jacob Whitman Bailey, Loring Woart Bailey, Alfred Goldsworthy Bailey, and the other principal authors of the collection appear in each category in which they are represented. The unpublished documents are now classified as follows: genealogy; correspondence; poetry and fiction; and scholarly writings and travel manuscripts. The documents were taken out of the manila envelopes, flattened, and collated. Extra copies were placed in separate storage. The documents in the collection take up half as much shelf space as before. Two bound copy books of family and other poetry have been included with the documents, together with the typewritten transcriptions of the copy books. Frances Firth's work on the Goldsworthy-Gale papers was incorporated into the correspondence series as the first item. All other Bailey family letters have been placed in chronological order from 1801 to 1987. Letters from Colin Mackay to Alfred Goldsworthy Bailey are filed as a separate series. All correspondence has been indexed.

Undated scholarly manuscripts are arranged alphabetically, while reprints are filed in chronological order. Bound manuscripts, clippings, and pamphlets were placed at the end of the collection. Items of special interest (algae specimens, postage stamps, letter seals, etc.) were originally scattered throughout the collection. To facilitate easy access, they have now been grouped at the end.


Bailey, Joseph Whitman. The Curious Story of Dr. Marshall.
      Cambridge, Mass.:  Murray, 1930. 

Bailey, Joseph Whitman. Loring Woart Bailey:  The Story of
      a Man of Science.  Saint John, N.B.:  McMillan, 1925.

Bailey, Loring Woart.  Genealogy.  Bound Manuscript, 1858.

Bailey, Loring Woart. A Series of Letters and Events in the
      Life of Professor Jacob Whitman Bailey.  Bound Manuscript,

Lee, Robert E., Jr.  Recollections and Letters of General
      Lee.  Garden City, N.Y.:  Garden City Publishing, 1924.

Letters of Edward Jenner, ed. Genevieve Miller.  Baltimore:
      Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1983.

National Union Catalog.  Washington, D.C.:  Library of

[Ruthven, Patricia]. Alfred Goldsworthy Bailey:  A
      Checklist of His Work and Related Criticism.  Fredericton:
      University of New Brunswick, 1978.


Alfred Goldsworthy Bailey gave unflagging encouragement and good advice. Harold Holland of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick encapsulated the fragile blackprint genealogical charts and took measures to protect and classify the algae specimens. Professor Ronald Taylor of the University of New Brunswick Department of Biology kindly identified specimens and compared them with the herbarium of his own department. The project was initiated and coordinated by Mary Flagg of Harriet Irving Library.

Linda M. Hill
B.A. (George Washington), M. Phil., Ph.D. (Yale)
Archival Assistant, Harriet Irving Library
University of New Brunswick
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5H5


All items within the collection have been numbered and placed in acid free file folders and pamphlet boxes.

Series 1, 2, and 5 have been fully described and entered. A print-out follows the Inventory.

For Series 3 and part of Series 4, there is a manual list. This will be finalized and placed on-line by the archives staff.

Series 2, Correspondence and Family Notes, has been indexed

Karen Skinner
B.A. (Brandon)
Archival Assistant, Harriet Irving Library
University of New Brunswick
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5H5
March 1988


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