Skip to main content

Grant-Bradbury family papers

Call Number: RH MS 965


The Grant-Bradbury Family Papers are those of Mary Amelia Grant, a professor of classical languages at the University of Kansas at Lawrence from 1921 to 1960. The collection contains many of the donor's personal papers, but is largely comprised of correspondence, diaries, legal documents, and photographs which document the lives of her parents and maternal grandparents of Topeka, Kansas, her father's Grant family ancestors of Livingston County, Michigan, and her mother's Bradbury ancestors of Yorkshire, England.


  • Creation: 1716 - 1987


Language of Materials

English; Italian

Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Grant and Bradbury Families

The Grant and Bradbury family members represented by these papers include the donor, Mary Amelia Grant, and her Grant and Bradbury family ancestors and contemporaries. Mary Amelia Grant was born November 10, 1890 at Topeka, Kansas to Emerson Warren and Jane (Jennie) Bradbury Grant. She earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the University of Kansas at Lawrence in 1913 and 1914 respectively, and a doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1919. Dr. Grant joined the University of Kansas faculty in 1921, taught classical languages, was curator of the University's Wilcox Museum of classical antiquities, and published many books. She retired in 1960, and in 1975 was named to the University's Women's Hall of Fame. Dr. Grant died in 1987 at Lawrence.

Dr. Grant's father, a native of Livingston County, Michigan was a son of Amelia Jane (Hitchcock) Grant and Elisha Wilcox Grant, whose Massachusetts heritage dated to the Revolutionary War. Dr. Grant's mother, Jennie (Bradbury) Grant, was the daughter of William H. and Mary (Brown) Bradbury. William H. Bradbury was born in England in 1829. His father was Timothy Bradbury, who with his brothers operated cotton mills in England, extending their business interests to America in the 1820s. William Bradbury emigrated to America in 1851, settling in Dwight (Livingston County), Illinois, where he practiced law and was a published writer of essays and poetry. He served as a military clerk in the 129th Illinois Voluntary Infantry during the Civil War and was a paid correspondent to large newspapers in America and England. His Civil War letters, which are housed in the Library of Congress, are published in the book titled While Father is Away: The Civil War Letters of William H. Bradbury, edited by Jennifer Cain Bohrnstedt. Bradbury and his wife invested in Kansas land following the war, and in 1880 moved to Topeka, Kansas.


8 Linear Feet (16 boxes + 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder)

Scope and Contents

Mary Amelia Grant's family papers contain correspondence, diaries, legal documents, published and unpublished writings, clippings, and photographs regarding her Grant and Bradbury family members. The collection consists primarily of 19th and early 20th century correspondence and legal documents. The latter trace the English roots of the Bradbury family and the ties of its members from England to America. The correspondence includes 19th century correspondence between Bradbury family members living in Saddleworth, England and Ashton-under-Lyne, England with those living in the United States, letters from the siblings of Dr. Grant's grandmother (Mary Brown Bradbury) who resided on the Isle of Man, Dr. Grant's transcriptions and summaries of her grandfather William H. Bradbury's Civil War letters, and her transcriptions of letters written by her cousin Gilbert Venable Bradbury while serving in World War I. Many of the letters to Dr. Grant's parents of Topeka, Kansas are to her mother, Jennie Bradbury Grant, written chiefly from her mother's Bradbury parents, brothers, and uncles. Included in Dr. Grant's personal correspondence are her letters to her parents while studying in Italy in academic year 1919/1920, as well as her incoming letters in succeeding decades from Marco Peyrot, an Italian professor with whom she studied in Italy.

The collection's family diaries include many kept by Dr. Grant's father and mother, dating from 1870 to 1931, and original diaries or transcripts of diaries kept from 1860 to 1896 by Dr. Grant's grandfather, Elisha Grant. Included are manuscripts of the writings of William H. Bradbury and of Dr. Grant's aunt Kate Bradbury Griffith. In Box 13 Folder 12 are needlepointed medallions that contain locks of hair and photographs of William H. and Mary Bradbury. With few exceptions, each document in the collection is accompanied by Mary Amelia Grant's separate handwritten transcription, occasionally with added commentary or explanation. Her transcriptions are in English for letters received in Italian. An audio cassette of Mary Grant's funeral service is in Box 13. Oversize documents and newspapers are at RH MS R197 and RH MS R199.

The collection's photographs (at RH MS-P 695) contain daguerrotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes as well as prints. Included are images of the Bradbury family residences in England, Illinois, and Topeka, as well as formal portraits and candid photographs of various family members. A majority of the prints are of Dr. Grant's uncle Elwood S. Bradbury of Kansas City, his wife Ada Venable Bradbury, and their children.

Physical Location

RH MS 965

Physical Location

RH MS R197

Physical Location

RH MS R199

Physical Location

RH MS-P 965

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Mary Amelia Grant, 1980; the Mary Amelia Grant estate, 1989.

Related Materials

Grant, Mary A. (Mary Amelia), 1890-1987, Personal papers, PP 238, University Archives, Spencer Research Library.

Bohrnstedt, Jennifer Cain, Jennifer Cain Bohrnstedt collection, RH MS P750, Kansas Collection, Spencer Research Library.

Bradbury, William H., 1829-1900, While father is away: the Civil War letters of William H. Bradbury, E505.5 129th .B73 2003, KU Libraries.

Processing Information

Preveiously shelved at: RH MS 299

Guide to the Grant-Bradbury Family Collection
Grant-Bradbury family papers
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2007; revised by, cl 2010; Finding aid encoded by mh, 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Grant, Mary A. (Mary Amelia), 1890-1987, Grant-Bradbury family papers, Kansas Collection, RH MS 965, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States