Scope and arrangement
The collection consists of family and general correspondence, Ford's published and unpublished writing, commonplace books, notes and keepsakes, and a small number of photographs. The material spans parts of her childhood in Amherst through her death in 1893.
The Emily Fowler Ford papers are arranged in five series:
Emily Ford's general correspondence consists of her drafts of letters sent and received responses from friends. Correspondents include M.J. Browne, Marie Benchely, Fanny Foster Clark, Katharine Gilman and other members of the Gilman family, Marie Taylor, Esther B. Carpenter, and Gertrude May. The papers include social requests and personal correspondence about trips taken, literature read, and acquaintances visited. There are eight letters from Emily Dickinson (ca.1853). Several letters from Olivia Coleman are included in the undated section of the collection. These letters appear to predate Ford's marriage and evidence an intimate relationship between the women. The papers also include professional correspondence with publishers and editors about her work, including a letter to George Eliot.
Ford's family correspondence consists of both drafts of letters sent and received responses. They include numerous letters from Ford's father, William Chauncey Fowler, some from her brother William, and a few from her brother Charles; there are also several letters from her mother, Mary C. Fowler and letters that Ford wrote to her grandparents as a child. Letters from Gordon Ford are throughout the collection along with letters from all of the Ford children, and several of the grandchildren. The earlier letters from the Ford children include ones written while separated on trips detailing daily activities and instructions on behavior. An 1883 letter from her daughter Mabel Percy (Ford) Mayo-Smith describes her excitement at becoming engaged. Other family correspondence includes letters from relatives such as E.E. Goodrich, Chauncey Goodrich, Eliza Ann Fowler, William Webster, Catharine Hand, and letters from Ford's nieces and nephews. The topics of the correspondence mainly include visits and news of family members, along with many condolence letters upon Gordon Ford's death.
The Writings series contains both handwritten and printed versions of Ford's work from adolescence until her death in 1893.
This series contains numerous different types of documents. It includes records of receipts and accounts, event pamphlets, Ford's school report card, sketches, calling cards and social invitations, legal papers, recipes, and an autograph or remembrance book given to her by Noah Webster. Non-paper materials include locks of hair, pressed leaves, and small gifts from her children. There are also several genealogical papers, including two eighteenth-century documents (1744 and 1764).
Photographs in the collection include images of Emily Ellsworth (Fowler) Ford, Gordon Lester Ford, Malcolm Ford, Rufus J. Barr, John and Emily McCoy, and unidentified individuals. There are, additionally, several photographs of Hildesheim, Germany and the Ford family library.