The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid

Maher Family Papers


Size: .75 linear foot

Provenance: Received from Amy G. Maher through her Last Will and Testament in 1965.

Access: Open

Collection Summary: Collection consists primarily of letters to William H. Maher (1846-1913), a businessman, writer, and political reformist, but also includes letters written to his wife Anne (Kelsey) Maher, as well as a few written to their daughter Amy Grace Maher, feminist and social activist. William also purchased a number of signatures and autographed letters from the Revolutionary, Early National, and Civil War eras.

Subjects:Collectors and Collecting, Politics and Government, War, Soldiers, and Veterans, and Women

Related Collections:  Olive A. Colton Papers, MSS-008

Processing Note: Due to the value and fragility of many of the items in this collection, the bulk of the collection is housed in Locked Cabinet D in the Ward M. Canaday Center Vault. To assist the Center's staff in retrieving items for the researcher, items stored in the locked cabinet are listed in separate sections of the finding aid. These sections immediately follow the main section. For example, under the series labeled "Correspondence" there is a sub-section titled "Correspondence/Locked Cabinet". Therefore, if the researcher fails to find the item sought under "Correspondence", he or she is directed to look under the "Correspondence/Locked Cabinet D".

Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns. Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code. The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.

Completed by: Paul Gifford, December 1985, reprocessed by Marlo A. Kitchen, August, 2002, last updated: April, 2014

Biographical Sketch

William H. Maher


1846 - born in Thompsonville, Connecticut 1866 - president of Young Men’s Club, Windsor Locks, Conn.


c.1867 - came to Toledo, worked as clerk


1870 - member of firm later known as C. Gerber & Co.


1874-75 - in Springfield, Mass., and South Dartmouth, Mass.


1877 - with Emil Grosh, established Maher & Grosh, a wholesale hardware and cutlery house in Toledo


1886 - an organizer of the Toledo Natural Gas Company


1888 - an organizer and vice-president of Union Savings Bank


1894 - co-founded the Independent Party


1913 - died in Toledo

Anne (Kelsey) Maher c. 1840 - born in East River, Connecticut


before 1872 - schoolteacher in Madison, Conn.


1872 - came to Toledo with husband William H. Maher


1919 - died in Toledo

Amy Grace Maher


1883 - born in Toledo, Ohio


1906 - graduated from Smith College


1909 - delegate to White House Conference on Child Welfare


1911 - helped establish the first open-air school for tubercular children in Toledo


1916 - founded the Toledo Consumers’ League; president until 1937


1920 - chairman of Ohio Council on Women and Children in Industry; first chairman of Ohio League of Women Voters


1921 - first president of League of Women Voters of Toledo


1938 - appointed by President Roosevelt as technical adviser in the Social Security Board


1965 - died in Toledo


Scope and Content Note

The Maher Family Collection is divided into four separate series:   S1. Correspondence, S2. Autographs, S3. Photographs and Drawings, and S4. Miscellaneous.  Because of the fragility and value of many of the items, the Correspondence and Autograph series are followed by an alphabetical listing of the materials that are stored in the locked cabinets in the vault.  Therefore, the researcher should also consult this part of the finding aid when searching for a particular item.  Also, three of the autographs are oversized and are listed in a section titled "Autographs/Oversized Cabinet, Drawer 1 at the end of this series.

The first series, S1. Correspondence, consists primarily of letters written to, or collected by, William H. Maher, between 1863 and 1906.  These letters were either written to him personally or to his company, Maher & Grosh Cutlery Company.  Two letters are addressed to Anne (Kelsey) Maher, William Maher's wife and Amy Grace Maher's mother.  There are also letters written to Amy G. Maher, mostly solicited from literary figures in the 1890s. The letters are arranged alphabetically using the names of the recipients are subheadings.   The original criterion for the preservation of these letters appears to have been the celebrity of the letter writers.  William H. Maher, as president of the Young Men’s Club of Windsor Locks, Connecticut, in 1866, attempted to engage several prominent individuals as lecturers.  Mostly negative, replies were written by Horace Greeley, P. T. Barnum, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Agassiz, and others.  Later correspondence consists of acknowledgments from Ohio Congressmen and governors and from authors with whom Maher had contact as a reviewer for the Blade.  Of note are two autographed poems: “Old Ironsides” by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1889) and “Xmas Greeting” by James Whitcomb Riley (1896).  In a letter to Maher & Grosh Cutlery Company, for a large order of knives, the writer Jack London announces his intention to use them as trade goods on a seven-year cruise around the world.  

The series S2. Autographs, contains a collection of signed letters and autographs of Revolutionary and Colonial figures, United States Presidents, Civil War generals, and others. These are arranged alphabetically by the name of the signer.  Probably the most significant is a letter from James Madison, then Secretary of State, to the American minister in France, Robert R. Livingston, in which Madison gives instructions for negotiations with the French. An autograph album contains signatures of Colonial New England ministers, including two bookplates of the 17th-century Rhode Island Baptist John Clarke, and of congressmen of the first half of the nineteenth century.  Someone living in Maine may have assembled this album.  S3. Photographs and Drawings, contains  photographs of Amy G. Maher and of others. It also contains a pencil drawing of Miss Maher done in 1921.  The Olive A. Colton Collection should be consulted for related material.  The final series,  S4. Miscellaneous, contains additional material on the life of Amy G. Maher.  Of particular note is an executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointing Miss Maher to the Social Security Board.  Here the researcher will also find a copy of a book by Amy G. Maher entitled Littlebrook.    

Since this collection is a highly selective group of letters, it is not possible to reconstruct the activities of William H. Maher or Amy G Maher in full. Researchers interested in the Independent Party, in Toledo banking, or in Progressivism, will find only a few items of interest.




Folder Title



























































































Locked cabinet D






























































Locked cabinet D



















































Locked cabinet D



S1. Correspondence


William H. Maher Correspondence, 1863-1890, n.d

 Bennett, John, TLS, Chillicothe, Ohio,1897 December 14   

 Buckingham, William A., ALS, Hartford,Conn., 1863 October 15

 Buckingham, William A., ALS, Norwich, Conn., 1866 September 1

 Bullock, Alexander H., ALS, Boston, 1866 September 11

 Conkling, Roscoe, ALS, Washington, 1875 February 5

 Conkling, Roscoe, ALS, Washington, 1879 June 24

 Curtis, George William, ALS, Ashfield, Mass., 1866 September 11

 Dawes, Henry Laurens, ALS, Washington, 1875 February 17

 Deming, Henry C., ALS, Washington, Feb. 28

 Dickinson, Anna E., ALS, Philadelphia, 1866 September 21   

 Dickinson, Anna E., ALS, Philadelphia, 1866 September 27

 Dixon, J., empty envelope, n.d.

 Eggleston, George Cary, ALS, Berkeley Heights, N. J., 1874 June 12

 Fletcher, James Cooley, ALS,  Newburyport, Mass., 1866 September 7

 Foster, Charles, TLS, Fostoria, Ohio 1890 October 9

 Foster, Charles, TLS, Washington, 1891 May 4

 Gardner, Eugene Clarence, ALS, Springfield, Mass., 1898 February 9

 Garland, Hamlen, ALS, Chicago, April 6

 Hamilton, Gail, ALS, 1867 June 19

 Hawley, Joseph R., ALS, Hartford, Conn., 1866 August 27

 Hoadly, George, LS, Columbus, Ohio, 1885 July 10

 Holland, Josiah Gilbert, ALS, Springfield, Mass., 1866 August 4

 Hughes, Thomas, ALS, 1878 October 8

 Johnson, Rossiter, ALS, New York, 1892 December 10

 Johnson, Rossiter, ALS, New York, 1893 December 29

 Kennan, George, TLS, Washington, 1902 April 3

 Maynard, Horace, ALS, Frederick, Md.,1866 September 8

 Mitchell, Donald G., sig., New Haven, Conn., undated

 Munsey, Frank A., ALS, New York, 1904 August 31

 Parkman, Francis, ALS, undated

 Parsons, Alfred, ALS, London, 1890 April 7

 Pingree, Hazen S., TLS, Detroit, 1901 January 26

 Shaw, Albert, TLS, New York, 1900 January 3

 Sherman, John, ALS, Mansfield, Ohio,1893 July 27

 Shee, John Dawson Gilmary, ALS, New York, 1869 March 27

 Taylor, Bayard, ALS, Kennett Square, Pa., 1866 August 25

 Taylor, Bayard, ALS, Kennett Square, Pa., 1866 September 24

 Tilton, Theodore, ALS, Brooklyn,1866 October 27

 Trumbull, James Hammond, ALS, Hartford, Conn., 1865 October 30

 ndecipherable, ALS, Cincinnati, 1901 June 12   

 Whitlock, Brand, TLS, Toledo, 1906 November 13   

 Whitney, Adeline, ALS, Milton, Mass., 1870 July 24


Maher & Grosh Cutlery Co.- Correspondence, 1878-1906

 Cox, Jacob Dolson, ALS, Washington, 1878 December 13

 Cox, Kenyon, ALS, Long Beach, Cal., 1894 April 16

 Forsyth, George A., ALS, San Antonio Tex., 1890 December 31

 Fullerton, Joseph Scott, ALS, Chattanooga, Tenn., 1895 August 24

 Jefferson, Josephine, ALS, Buzzards Bay, Mass., 1896 August 26

 Piatt, Donn, ALS, West Liberty, Ohio, 1889 November 2

 Schwatka, Frederick, ALS, Rock Island, III., 1890 December 24

 Sherman, John, ALS, Washington, 1882  March 20

 Shillaber, Benjamin P., ALS, Chelsea, Mass., 1890 April 8

 Undecipherable, ALS, Bartow-on-the-Sound,  N.  Y., 1883 September 27


Anne (Kelsey) Maher - Correspondence, 1874-1891

 Booth, Mary L., Editor Harper's Bazaar,  ALS, New York, 1874 August 4

 Murray, W. H. H., ALS, Guilford, Conn., 1891 November 23


Amy Grace Maher - Correspondence, 1895-1934

 Bennett, John, ALS, Chillicothe, Ohio, 1897   November 7

 Bennett, John, ALS, Chillicothe, Ohio, 1897   November 20

 Brooks, Elbridge S., ALS, Boston, 1897, January 5, with circular

 Burnett, Frances Hodgson, ALS, undated

 Douglas, Paul H., TLS, Chicago, 1932, September 2

 Hagedorn, Hermann, ALS, Fairfield, Conn., 1915, September 7

 Jamison, Cecile Viets, ALS, New Orleans, 1895 December 8

 Jenks, Tudor, ALS (with sketch), ALS, 1896 December

 Perkins, Frances, TLS, Washington, 1934   February 16   

 Stoddard, W. 0., ALS, Madison, N. J., 1897 January 2


Correspondence/ Locked File Cabinet D

William M. Maher Correspondence

Agassiz, Louis, ALS, Nahant, Mass., 1866 August 23

Barnum, Phineas Taylor, ALS, Bridgeport, Conn., 1866 September 5

Greeley, Horace, ALS, New York, 1866 August 29

Hayes, Rutherford B., ALS, Fremont, Ohio, 1887 September 5

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, ALS, Boston, 1866 August 30

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, ALS, Boston, 1867 November 12

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, ALS, Boston, 1868 January 7

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, ALS, Boston, 1873 January 1

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, holograph poem “Old Ironsides,” Boston, 1889, Feb. 28

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, ALS, Boston, 1889 February 28

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, draft ALS, Boston, 1889 February 28        

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, autographed photograph, Boston, 1889 May 29

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, photograph, undated

Maher & Grosh Cutlery Co.

London, Jack, TLS, Glen Ellen, Cal., 1906 August 1

Amy Grace Maher

Riley, James Whitcomb, holograph poem, “Xmas greeting,” 1896 (with     

    newspaper clipping)




Adams, William Taylor, ADS <fragment>,  undated

Arnold, Edwin, ALS, May 16, to Walfred

Banks, Nathaniel Prentice, sig., undated

Beauregard, Pierre Gustave Toutant, ALS, North Carolina, 1865    November 4

Bernadotte, Jean Baptiste Jules, LS, VIII floreal 6 <1800 April 26>    

Bernard, Sir Francis, DS, Boston, 1766 February 6

Berthier, Louis Alexandre, LS, 1807 May 29, to Gen. Drouet

Besant, Sir Walter, ALS, 1878 February 12, to N. Martin Middleton

Bryant, William Cullen, sig., 1874 June 22

Burnett, Frances Hodgson, ALS <fragment>, London, no date    Burroughs, John, holograph poem, undated

Butler, Benjamin F., sig., undated

Clinton, George, ALS, Greenwich, 1799 October 27, to Samuel Royce

Everett, Edward, ALS, Charlestown, Mass., 1836 December 30, to Hezekiah Barnard

Hancock, Winfield Scott, ALS, Norristown, Pa., 1863 August 14, to Col.    <illegible>

Howe, Julia Ward, LS, Boston, undated, to Mrs. Landers

Jackson, Henry, LS, North Kingstown, R. I., 1779 June 11, to Maj. Gen. Gates

Jones, Samuel M., ALS, Toledo, 1898 December 25, to Dr. Mary Law

Lee, Henry, DS, 1792 October 26, to Bushrod Washington

Longstreet, James, ALS, Gainesville, Ga., 1896 November 15, to J. D. Miller, New York

Lindsey, Ben D., sig., undated

Moody, Dwight L., SIG, East Northfield, Mass., 1898 July 30

Moore, Thomas, ALS, 1833 November 11 to Thomas Clarke

Morse, Samuel F. B., ALS, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., 1864 August 19, to Rev. Lewis T. Clover, Springfield, Ill.

Munsey, Frank A., 2 sigs., undated



Ney, Michel, ALS, Paris, X floreal 4 <1802 April 24>, to Gen. Berthier

Page, Thomas Nelson, ALS, Philadelphia, 1889 April 3, to J. M. Stoddart, Philadelphia

Payne, John Howard, ALS, undated, to J. Winston, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Putnam, Rufus, DS, Marietta, Ohio, 1801 June 20, to Dudley Woodbridge

Rogers, Samuel, ALS, London, 1841 July 20, to Mr. Sumner

Rosecrans, William Starke, DS, Tullahoma, Tenn., 1863 July 13

Saint Gaudens, Augustus, SIG., undated

Scott, Winfield, ALS, Richmond, Va., 1837 February 23, to Lieut. Keyes

Seward, WilIliam H., ALS, Auburn, 1860 June 28, to John C. Rives

Sherman, William Tecumseh, SIG., undated

Sickles, Daniel E., SIG., undated

Webster, George, DS, Wheeling, W. Va., 1849 April 9

Whittier, John Greenleaf, SIG., 1866 February 19

Wilkes, Charles, ALS, Washington, 1835 March 25, to Comm. James Barron, Philadelphia


Autographs/Locked Cabinet D

Album of autograph signatures, bookplates, etc.

Adams, John Quincy, LS, Washington, 1817 November 6, to Jeremy Robinson

Agassiz, Louis, ALS, 1863 January 14, to G. B. Emerson

Boudinot, Elias, DS, Middlesex Co.,   Mass., July 1761

Bryan, William Jennings, SIG., undated

Buchanan, James, ALS, Washington, 1827 December 13, to Thomas

Burr, Aaron, ALS, 1807 January 30, to Capt. Bissell

Chase, Salmon P., ALS, Cincinnati, 1845 March 4, to Robert F. Paine

Clay, Henry, DS, Lexington, Ky., 1849 May 12

Clinton, Sir Henry, LS, New York, 1781 Aug. 29, to Rear Adm. Thomas Graves

Collins, Wilkie, ALS, Broadstairs, Kent, 1862 July 29, to Sampson Low

Darwin, Charles, ALS, Beckenham, Kent,  June 29

Davis, Jefferson, ALS, New Orleans, 1876 May 20, to Gen. D. H. Maury

Franklin, Benjamin, DS, Philadelphia, 1787 October 9, to David Rittenhouse

Jefferson, Thomas, DS, Monticello, Va., 1816 December 31, to John Barnes

Lafayette, Marquis de, ALS, Paris, 1826 April 17, to Duke of Bedford, London

Knox, Henry, ALS, Philadelphia, 1793 January 5

Madison, James, LS, Washington, 1803  February 23, to Robert R.Livingston, Paris

Monroe, James, DS, Washington, 1822 May 23, to Ephraim Cutler

Randolph, John, ALS, Washington, 1825April 1, to Messrs. Fish and Grinnell

Rochambeau, Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de, ALS, 1782 February 9, to Gov. <Benjamin> Harrison

Schuyler, Philip John, ALS, New York 1786 October 1, to Stephen   Van Rensselaer

Stevenson, Robert Louis, DS, 1887 March31, to Willis & Trantum

Trumbull (Trumble), Jonathan, ALS, Lebanon, Conn., 1757 April 27, to Committee of the Pay Table,   Hartford, with: Fitch, Arzel, DS, Lebanon,  Conn., 1757 April 14, to Jonathan Trumble

Trumbull, Jonathan, DS, Hartford, Conn., 1774 May 14

Tyler, John, DS, Washington, 1843 March 21

Van Alen, Anne, ALS, Greenbush, N. Y.,1794 January 11, to John E.Van Alen;  with: fragment of other letter

Van Buren, Martin, DS, Washington, 1840 June 16

Webster, Daniel, ALS, Boston, 1843 August 29, to Richard Smith, Washington

Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of, ALS, London, 1846 February 20, to  Sir Robert Peel, Bart., London


Autographs/Oversized Cabinet, Drawer l


Fillmore, Millard, DS, Washington, 1850, August 29 (Cert. of Appt. John D. Whitford)

Jackson, Andrew, DS, Washington, 1831 April 1, to Allen Tindell


S3.  Photographs and Drawings

Florence E. Allen, photograph, autographed, January 29, 1934

Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia, 1876, Stereograph

Johanna Gadski, photograph, autographed, n.d.

Amy G. Maher , photograph, n.d.

Amy G. Maher, pencil portrait (OVERSIZED CABINET, Drawer 1, folder 11)

Unknown Woman, photograph, n.d.


S4.  Miscellaneous

Bank statement, Merchants National Bank,  Cincinnati, to Agnes M. Durban, Nelson Business College, March 21, 1891

Sheppey, Marshall, TLS, Toledo, 1910 January 29, to Frank Tiernan

Roosevelt, Franklin, executive order authorizing appointment of Amy G. Maher to position in Social Security Board (2 photostats)

Littlebrook by Amy Grace Maher

Miscellaneous note regarding autograph collection, author unknown, n.d.

Autograph book (locked cabinet D)


Last Updated: 6/9/16