I'm not certain of the details but my grandmother required nursing care and moved out of the family home sometime in the 1960's. I remember visiting her in the nursing home in 1968 or 1969. Care of the house fell to my uncle and eventually it was torn down. Papers relating to my family's history were boxed up and donated to the University of Michigan. They now reside in the Bentley Historical Library, Ann Arbor, MI. They are safe there and have benefited many people researching women in the Civil War, but they have been frustratingly unavailable to me.
I first discovered that these papers existed several years ago while doing an online search for Hannah Carlisle. Imagine my excitement when I found this:
The papers of the Daniel Carlisle family of Buchanan, Mich. include thirty-two family letters (Aug. 17, 1862-Apr. 7, 1866) relating to Mrs. Hannah L. Carlisle, who served as a nurse during the Civil War. Seventeen of the letters were written by Mrs. Carlisle. They are chiefly from the Post Hospital at Columbus, Ky., where she was matron. She expresses her dislike of Copperheads and Secessionists. She tells of troop movements on the river, raids of guerrilla bands, the destruction of Secessionists' homes, hospital life, food and a Thanksgiving dinner, the celebration at the fall of Vicksburg, and the capture of Jefferson Davis. She often comments on the weather and the plague of mosquitoes. Later Mrs. Carlisle was in charge of a Columbus, Ky., school for the American Freedmen's Aid Commission, and she tells of the clashes between military and civil law officers, the plight of the Negroes, and the rough treatment accorded them.
I knew about the papers several ears ago when I took Mom on a trip to Michigan to visit my aunt and uncle. They shared family photos and what history they knew. We visited the cemeteries and toured the area. From a research standpoint it was a very fruitful trip even though Mom wasn't up to a detour to Ann Arbor. I did call the library to see what it would cost to have the collection copied and mailed to me. I think it took me a week to recover from the shock!
The time has finally come and I will traveling to Ann Arbor in April. I have been looking at the library's catalog and found this:
The Carlisle family collection consists of two feet of material dating from 1860 to 1972. The papers relate to various members of the Daniel Carlisle family of Buchanan, Michigan. The collection contains correspondence between Hannah L. Carlisle and her husband, Daniel Carlisle. Include as well are letters and eight of Hannah Carlisle's diaries, written between 1885 and 1900 and largely concerning her life in Dead wood, South Dakota.
Other family members represented in the collection are William and Phyllis Carlisle and Vivian Carlisle. The letters of William D. Carlisle concern his service in the US Navy during World War II. The letters of Phyllis Carlisle relate both to her student life at the University of Michigan during the early 1940s and to her service in the Waves during the war. The letters of Vivian Carlisle were written while a student at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University during the 1940s.
Other items of interest is a folder of genealogical material and a letter written by Francis A. Carlisle while serving in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, describing his experiences.
I'm not sure how Mom will feel about the fact that the library has letters that she wrote but I am very excited that I will get to see them. I can't wait to see what is in the "folder of genealogical material" I know that Isaac Ashley Carlisle was a Spanish-American War veteran but this is the first I've found that indicates that his son Francis served too.
Here's where I need help.
The only library I have ever been to is the Onondaga County Public Library in Syracuse. I have no idea what to expect from a large research library. The family papers take up 1.5 - 2 linear feet of shelf space. Mom thinks there may be some old pamphlets that were donated as part of the collection but even so the size sounds overwhelming. The main focus of the trip is to view and copy as much of this collection as I can but I would also like to have time to visit my aunt and uncle and make a few stops in Berrien and Cass Counties too.
I only have a week and I need two full travel days. How many days should I plan to spend in Ann Arbor? Will it takes days to make copies or will I be done quickly? I think the letters will be quick but eight diaries! There is no indication how large the folder of genealogical material is.
What questions should I ask the library ahead of time?
What do I need to take besides a notebook, my computer and a flash drive?
Any other thoughts or tips would be much appreciated!