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Prestonia Mann Martin and the Mann Family of New York

Research by Enid Mastrianni, Page 4

June 6, 2004, Documents

There was another letter written by Julia Doolittle Mann to her late daughter's children, Ella and Kate. I wonder if the reference to Julia Bond et al. "being on the safe side" has anything to do with antislavery activity? Julia Puterbaugh Marshall, who has the scrapbook that the following letter comes from thinks this letter was probably written also in 1855.

Watertown March 22nd

My Dear Children,
You cannot imagine how pleased I was with your little bundle of letters. Last week I took them to Mannsville to show to grandpa he thought the girls were doing nicely I think mother has her hands full to teach & take care the rest of the little ones. I hope you will learn as fast as you can for a year or two & then come out here & go to school perhaps go to the Institute. They have an examination & Aunt Sophia has gone & I am here all alone. I think of you all a great deal but do not think you so far out of the world as you imagine for I have been there. I was very glad to hear from friends you wrote about. I am glad the children have found some little cousins to play with, give my love to Mrs. _____, I don t know as she will remember me, Mrs. Mann likewise.

We have had a very severe winter & it is quite cold yet I am glad to have it ___. I think perhaps we shall have it warmer in May. I suppose you are having pleasant spring weather. I should like to know how come you expect to see that Silver Lake Eddy & ____ look very pretty sailing over it. I hope you will not be disappointed. I think when you get there you will in reality be at the far west.

Now Helen I think you was a little naughty in harboring the first thought that I had ceased to feel an interest & a very great one too in all your movements. I hope you will all like your new home & it is not impossible that I shall one day come & see you. You will remember that present I had when at Ohio. That is _ard up for traveling. I have lent it once or twice & it comes back in gold again safe. I had a letter from Dr. a few days since he says he thinks he shall be married but he doesn t know when nor who too. I wrote him I stood in readiness to come. Maxcy is in the crockery business & likes it, he has purchased a house & expects to go to housekeeping soon. Julia Bond is going home to Mannsville in June to spend a few weeks all the rest on the safe side yet.

Tell the dear husband I want to know if he keeps up good courage in going to the new home. I hope you will find provisions cheaper than where you are now. They are high here butter is 25 cents and rising. But dry good are very low this spring. I hope it will not be long before I shall hear from you again. I called to see Mrs. Fanning a short time since she has a fine little boy she said when I wrote I must give her love to you all. Sophia is sitting here she says I must give her love to all kiss all the dear ones for Grandma.
Julia Mann
I got out my folder on Dr. John Preston Mann and looked over his advertising circulars and my notes.

The first advertising circular he produced is housed at the NY Academy of Medicine Library in their rare book room. They will not allow the document to be photocopied, so all I have are my notes: This one page, double sided broadsheet features 9 before and after pictures along with testimonials from parents of young patients and testimony from adult patients--also has a list of names of clients/cured patients. All of the pictures in this appear in the latest (1870-80s?) brochure. This one only gives a NYC address (23 West 41st Street, NYC). The only non patient/famous person mentioned in this version is HW Beecher, who is quoted, "Dr. Mann is a personal aquaintance of mine. He is skillful, successful, and honest. I should put a child of mine under his care, if I was so unhappy to need such service."

What appears to be the second circular he produced I located in the Gerrit Smith collection at Syracuse University. The testimonials are dated and the latest one is Nov. 1857, so it was produced after that date. At the end it has a list of 15 references; the first three are Hon. Gerrit Smith, Peterboro', Madison Co., N.Y., Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, Brooklyn and Rev. Samuel J. May, Syracuse, N.Y. This one asks potential clients to write to him at 13 Laight St., NYC.

The last circular I have found is large and elaborate. It was in the Archives and Special Collections at the Amherst College Library in their Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers. (Aside: There is a new book out based on the diaries and letters of a woman of this family. I believe her name was Elizabeth Porter Phelps. The book, if memory can be trusted, was written by Elizabeth Pendergast Carlisle. The book discusses how a white servant girl has a child with a black man who worked nearby in 1810 in Hadley MA. I found this fascinating and the earliest reference I've come across of a white woman with an African American man in New England.) [Editor's note:  the book is Earthbound and Heavenbent: Elizabeth Porter Phelps and Life at Forty Acres (1747-1817) by Elizabeth Pendergast Carlisle, Scribners, 2004]

This third circular states that "Dr. J. P. Mann has had thirty-nine years' experience (eighteen in New York City) in the treatment of deformities. He graduated from the Geneva Medical College in 1842 and moved to NYC sometime after 1855 as far as I can determine. So that makes the date of this brochure anytime between 1873-1881. Here he has two addresses 133 West 41st Street, NYC where he "...has established offices and reception days..." Monday and Saturday A.M. and at 1202 Washington Street, Boston, Tuesday and Wednesday A. M.

This circular features dozens of before/after pictures that text assures us are "...from photographs taken from life." The references of abolitionists are gone, replaced by copious testimonials of those cured of "spinal curvature, club feet, hip disease, contracted knee joints and short limb."



1. Correspondence, Enid Mastrianni to Afrolumens Project, June 6, 2004.

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