Mary DuBois Berry Family Papers (1818-1925)

Finding Aid Completed by Eric Roth, October 19, 2000
Last revised December 2013
Volume: 0.33 cu. ft.
Acquisition: These papers were found in the DuBois Fort in September, 2000.
Access: Unrestricted.
Copyright: Request for permission to publish materials from these records should be discussed with the Archivist and Director of the Huguenot Historical Society.

Biographical Note

Mary DuBois was born on March 3, 1838 in New Paltz, NY to Daniel I. DuBois and Magdelene Hasbrouck. In 1875 she married Rowello William Berry (d. before 1902) and later had two children: Marie A. (b. 1877), and Louise D. (b.1879). She inherited the historic DuBois Fort (now owned and operated by the Huguenot Historical Society) and adjoining properties in New Paltz from her father upon his death in 1852. Mary DuBois Berry also resided in Boise, Idaho during the 1870's. She died at New Paltz on January 14, 1902.

Collection Description

The collection consists of papers kept by Mary DuBois Berry, her father Daniel DuBois, and other family members relating to a variety of subjects, including real estate, social affairs, travel, architectural repair, and family news. Types of records in the collection include letters and correspondence, estate and legal papers (wills, mortgages, legal correspondence, etc.), account books and receipts, photographs and postcards, academic diplomas, and other miscellaneous and ephemeral materials. The majority of the records concern affairs at New Paltz, but some items also relate to Mary DuBois Berry 's residence in Boise, Idaho, as well as other cities visited by family members and friends. The physical condition of the collection is overall very good and the legibility of the handwriting quite legible.

The correspondence chiefly consists of letters written to Mary DuBois Berry from friends, family and suitors, including Marvin E. Parrot, A.E. Van Dusen, P.B. Heaton, J.M. Hasbrouck, Jason, W. Donaldson, and Mary C. Rose. The letters are particularly useful because of their high descriptive content, which is somewhat unusual in comparison with letters found in other local collections. The overall content of the letters focuses on social issues among Mary's friends and admirers. The correspondents describe parties and other social events in New Paltz in much detail, often including a significant amount of town gossip. Suitors and friends attempt to arrange meetings with Mary and gently chide her for not responding to their letters. They discuss local elections, military parades, and give descriptions of faraway cities, notably, St. Louis, Seattle, New Orleans, Victoria, and Honolulu. The letters also discuss marriages, illnesses, and deaths among friends and family members, mostly of New Paltz. Of particular importance are a couple of letters written in 1874 by Mary DuBois ( Berry ) concerning the care of affairs at the family property and house at New Paltz. The house mentioned in these letters is most likely the DuBois Fort.

In addition to the letters, the collection also includes records pertaining to the family-owned land and buildings at New Paltz. Wills and accompanying legal documents of Mary DuBois Berry 's father Daniel DuBois (d. 1855) and grandfather (d. 1817) detail the succession of the title and ownership of the family's real estate. Bonds and mortgages between Mary DuBois Berry and James McLaury dating from the 1870's as well provide information on the relationship between landowner and tenant, as well as the costs of family's rental properties. The remainder of the estate and legal papers consist of legal correspondence from 1911 to 1925 between Mary's daughter Louise DuBois Berry Dingman relating to the rental of and repairs made to the house and barn; the installment of a steam boiler; and other matters of estate such as tree removal, brick setting, and stove lining. There are also photocopies of an 1839 document listing New Paltz town residents who contributed money to install a town clock in the tower of the Dutch Reformed Church.

Financial papers in the collection fall into two distinct periods: 1818-1855, and 1886-1891. Receipts from the first period generally detail transactions involving Daniel DuBois at New Paltz, Kingston, and Poughkeepsie. Numerous receipts (1818-1855) and an account book (1844-1852) provide information regarding the sale and purchase of many items and services, including domestic goods, building supplies, tailoring, school tuition, medical expenses, newspaper subscriptions, court fees, and bookkeeping. Of interest are payments made by Daniel DuBois regarding his children's school tuition and books. Most of the financial documents from the 1820's consist of promissory notes, but there is also one receipt from 1826 for "ditching" on the property of Gene Hasbrouck, widow of Roelif Hasbrouck, and another receipt from 1828 documenting a purchase of shingles. Also among the financial papers is an account book regarding the settlement of the estate of Simon DuBois from 1839-1842, and a letter to Daniel DuBois dating from 1844 discussing the quality and price of cloth. Receipts from the second period, 1886-1891, relate mainly to purchases of goods and services made by Mary DuBois Berry at New Paltz and Utica, New York, regarding house and furniture repair, domestic supplies, kitchenware, and taxes.

Other materials in the collection include photographs and postcards of the DuBois Fort (1887-ca. 1900); and daguerreotypes and ambrotypes of Mary DuBois Berry , her brother Daniel DuBois, and her cousin George DuBois (ca. 1850's), and the family of R.W. Berry. There are also two academic diplomas of Louise DuBois Berry dating from 1898 and 1904, respectively; a volunteer enlistment form for the 156th Regiment of the New York State Militia filled out by Mary DuBois in 1862; a newspaper clipping dating from 1898 containing the text of the 1755 will of Daniel DuBois in both French and English; an 1883 issues of "The Huguenot," which was a publication circulated by the New Paltz Academy, and a small diary, 1888-1889, sent to Louise Berry by her friend identified only as "Lizzie."

The materials in this collection share provenance and informational content with the Daniel and Simon DuBois Family Papers (1695-1864), particularly in relation to the DuBois Fort and other real estate owned by the DuBois family in the town of New Paltz . There are also genealogical notes and correspondence of Mary Dubois Berry datingn from 1868-1891 housed with the Hendricus and Mathusalem DuBois Family Papers (1702-1927). Both of these collections are also maintained by the Huguenot Historical Society. There are also items with DuBois family history located in the Bible and Rare Book Collection, Ciphering Book Collection and other artificial collections stored at the Society.

Folder/Item List

Correspondence (1858-1888)
Estate and Legal Papers (1810-1925 and undated)
Financial Papers:
Miscellaneous (1862-1897)
Photographs and Postcards (1887-ca. 1900)
Loose items:
     Five daguerreotypes (ca. 1850)
     Two academic diplomas, Louise D. Berry (1904, 1908)
     Diary, --, Lizzie (1888-1889)