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Autograph Letter from Sybby Grant to Her Master, John Hanson Thomas
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Autograph Letter from Sybby Grant to Her Master, John Hanson Thomas


Description Conservation Provenance Inscription Credit
Description Sybby Grant was the enslaved cook of the Thomas family, who lived at 1 West Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore. At the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, Dr. John Hanson Thomas, a Maryland legislator with Confederate sympathies, declared himself in favor of secession; as a result, Union forces arrested and imprisoned him, along with other Baltimore officials, at Fort Warren, in Boston harbor. Although it remained a Union state, Maryland had a substantial number of Confederate sympathizers. In this complicated and uncertain atmosphere, on December 6 of that year Sybby Grant wrote Dr. Thomas the following letter:

Baltimore Dec 6 1861
My Friend
I take this opportunity to write you a few lines to enquire after your health. I hope you are in good health. I miss you very much indeed. I hope the time will soon come when you will be restored to your family again for I will ever hold you as a friend of mine. When ever I cook a good dinner I wish you was here to enjoy it. Yesterday we had a fine pair of canvasback ducks made a present to Miss Anna. They was cooked splendid and I wish you was here to enjoy them. Those terrapins I [put?], I done them in style, for you know that no one can do them like I can. I never get on my knees but what I ask God to remember you.
That God that delivered the children of Israel will deliver you if you put your trust in him. Good night. May God bless you. Miss Anna is well and her Ma is better. Miss Nannie & Miss Mary came down tonight to let me see them after they were dressed to go to the party. They looked very sweet, Miss Anna wearing curls. You ought to behold her face now.
No more at present
I remain your humble servant
Sybby Grant
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
5/21/2018Treatmentexamined for exhibition; tears repaired
Provenance Thomas Family, Baltimore, 1861 [1]; sale, Crocker Farm, Glencoe, Maryland, September 17 2011, lot 286; purchased by Ken Rosenberg, 2011; purchased by Michael Brown, Philadelphia, 2011. [1] Letter was written by Sibby Grant, slave owned by John Hanson Thomas. The letter remained in the Thomas family until the family papers were consigned to Crocker Farm
Inscriptions [Stamp] Top left corner of each leaf: Venice Mills
Credit Museum purchase with funds provided by the W. Alton Jones Foundation Acquisition Fund, 2016

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Creator
Period
1861
Medium
ink on paper
Accession Number
15.34.1
Measurements
Max H: 7 7/8 × W: 10 in. (20 × 25.4 cm)
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