Ann Henshaw Gardiner papers, 1723-1981

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Gardiner, Ann Henshaw
Ann Henshaw Gardiner was a nurse, scientist, historian, and one of the founders of the School of Nursing at Duke University. The Henshaw and Snodgrass families were farmers and politicians in Virginia and West Virginia throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. The Ann Henshaw Gardiner papers include legal and financial documents for the family, including materials related to enslaved people, as well as photographs, scrapbooks, local history and genealogical materials, and materials documenting Ann Henshaw Gardiner's career as a nurse in World War 1 and at Duke University.
15 Linear Feet
Materials in English
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Scope and content:

The Ann Henshaw Gardiner Papers begin in the early years of the settlement of Berkeley County, Virginia, with two pioneer families, those of Captain William Henshaw of Springfield MIlls, Mill Creek, and of William Snodgrass of Clifton Mills, Back Creek. Both groups married into other prominent families of the region, so that their papers furnish two hundred years of local history and genealogical material for Berkeley County. The Andersons, the Verdiers, the Turners, the Evanses, the McConnells, the Pendletons, the Robinsons, and the Rawlingses, among others, appear throughout the collection.

The early letters are predominantly business in character, concerning the land transactions of John Turner, the surveyor of Berkeley County who registered the land titles of many local families. He was related to the Snodgrass family through his marriage to Ruth Rawlings.

By 1814, the correspondence is centered in Robert Snodgrass and his brother Stephen. As Berkeley County produced wheat in abundance, the sale of flour from its mills became increasingly important. The Henshaws of Mill Creek in particular left records of sales of large quantities of flour on the Alexandria and Baltimore markets. The Snodgrasses in this period were also milling although their records are not as numerous for their sales.

Both the Henshaws and the Snodgrasses were involved in the political affairs of Berkeley County. Levi Henshaw (1769-1843) was a gentleman justice of the peace, captain of militia, a member of the county court and of the Virginia House of Delegates, and sheriff in 1840. Robert Verdier Snodgrass (1792-1861) was commissioner of county revenue, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, and colonel of the 67th Regiment of Virginia Militia. Their papers reflect these offices, both in the correspondence and in the legal papers. Levi Henshaw (1815-1896) married Sarah Ann, the daughter of Robert Verdier Snodgrass, thus uniting the papers of both families.

Berkeley County was an agricultural community, whose conditions were reflected in references to slaves in estates, as runaways, and for sale or hire.

Robert Verdier Snodgrass was concerned in both Democratic politics and legal business with Charles James Faulkner. His son-in-law, Israel Robinson, wrote to Snodgrass of political conditions in Washington, D. C. where he was an office holder. (Later Israel Robinson became clerk of the county court, a judge, and a Confederate general) The son of Robert Verdier Snodgrass, Stephen, became postmaster at Hedgesville, Va., in 1855.

By 1860 the settlement of various family estates reveals a maze of Snodgrass relatives. A letter from a cousin in 1860 comments on John Brown's raid and the arrival of the Japanese Embassy in Washington.

The outbreak of the Civil War shows divided political opinion in the family. In 1862, a letter describes the condition of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in wartime and of the Negroes in Washington, D.C., where slavery had been abolished. Stephen Snodgrass, a Unionist, did not have an easy time at Hedgesville during the war, and he had to have papers attesting his loyalty. On May 12, 1865, comment is made upon the assassination of President Lincoln.

Henshaw papers predominate after 1865. Business is dull; the collection of money, difficult.

As the family has scattered, letters of cousins come from many places, and grandchildren write to Sarah Ann (Snodgrass), the widow of Robert Verdier Snodgrass.

The first William Henshaw (1736-1799) in Berkeley County had married Agnes Anderson. William was the son of Nicholas Henshaw who came from Philadelphia to Berkeley County; thus Nicholas is the settler, William the first of that home. In 1886 correspondence begins about the history of the Anderson family; letters continue into the twentieth century.

By the 1890's Valley of Virginia Henshaw and her sisters, Mabel and Francis Little Henshaw, begin to write letters about genealogical matters; in particular, the Rawlings family is the subject of great interest.

Mabel Henshaw married Dr. Samuel H. Gardiner. Her concern for history led her to teach at Shepherd College, Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, W. Va., where she also served as librarian. Mrs. Gardiner was a district chairman of the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association with correspondence in 1915 and 1916 which reveals the methods women were using to insure the pas sage of the woman suffrage amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Gardiner, Miss Ann Henshaw Gardiner, historian, scientist, and teacher, founded nursing education at the Duke University Hospital in 1930.

Between 1926 and 1930, Mrs. Mabel Gardiner wrote to many friends who remembered details of family weddings in the mid-nineteenth century. As late as 1940 she corresponded with R. B. Woodworth on the history of the Tuscarora Church and other Berkeley County churches. A picture of the Tuscarora Church is with these papers. (See Picture Cab. II-7)

The heart of the Ann Henshaw Gardiner Papers is the collection of legal papers which date from 1763. Both the Snodgrasses and the Henshaws as justices of the peace and county office holders were involved in a great deal of legal business through the ions . A grouping of legal papers for both families is followed by special sections on land surveys, on estate settlements, and on militia.

The general file of legal papers begins with gants from Lord Fairfax in the 1760s, when Berkeley County was still a part of Frederick County, Virginia. Richard Rigg, the land agent for Lord Fairifax, was the first surveyor in the district settled by the Henshaws and the Snodgrasses. Rawlings family deeds appear in the 1770s.

At the end of the Revolutionary War, John Turner appears as a chain carrier for the land surveys of the County. He became county surveyor, an office which he held until his death in 1811.

Among the family wills is that of Nicholas Henshaw (died 1777). With the deaths of Robert and Stephen Snodgrass in 1830 and 1832, a great deal of administrative work for their estates enters the papers, as Robert Verdier Snodgrass was appointed executor for both men. (Robert V. Snodgrass was the sone of Stephen Snodgrass) David Hunter and Israel Robinson are the clerks of the county court in these early documents.

Schools, roads, runaway slaves, the hiring of servants mail are concerns Which occupy the papers. With the death of Robert Verdier Snodgrass in 1861, his estate is settled and the legal papers belong to the Henshaws from that date.

The second division of legal papers concerns the settlement of a number of estates, usually those of relatives . The Turner and Gorrell families had intermarried with the Snodgrasses and Henshaws. The earliest papers dating from 1798 contain the will and estate inventory of Joseph Evans. Israel Robinson was executor of the estate of Elan Miller in 1849.

A large group of legal papers concerns the acquisition of land, basic in Virginia economic life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Survey plats began in 1753 in old Frederick County, which had been established in 1738. From it Berkeley County was created in 1772. The first surveys, made for the Rawlings and Morgan families, were for land purchased from Lord Fairfax. Richard Rigg, his surveyor, signed the plats showing the Fairfax grants. Rigg is followed by surveyors Thomas Jones and Josiah Swearingen. Many names of early settlers appear in the survey papers. In the 1780' s a chain carrier, John Turner, began to make surveys. He married Ruth Rawlings, whose land plats are in the papers. John Turner became surveyor for Berkeley County and remained in office till his death in 1810. His son Thomas, who was his deputy, succeeded him as surveyor for the county; The estate papers of the Turner family, elsewhere in the legal papers, show them as early residents of old Frederick County.

In 1803 land office records appear in conjunction with the survey appears. By this time Robert Verdier Snodgrass was a county commissioner of revenue who worked with the Turners in the sale of land.

The Snodgrass family was involved in militia affairs from 1798, when Robert (d. 1830) was a 1st lieutenant in the 67th Regiment 16th Brigade, 3rd Division, Virginia Militia. This county regiment was divided into local companies, each of which was subdivided into classes of roughly seven men. Class rolls, rosters, and officers' lists make up the official papers. By 1820, Robert Verdier Snodgrass was serving as an officer. He became colonel of the 67th Regiment in 1838, thereafter making annual returns.

The constitution of the Berkeley Rangers was drawn up on November 26, 1859, to organize a company of militia from Berkeley County. This company is listed as the Berkeley Border Guards Co. D. 2nd Virginia Infantry, C.S.A. Army, under J.Q.A. Nandenbousch of Martinsburg.

The financial papers are divided between Levi Henshaw I and II and Robert Verdier Snodgrass. Bills and receipts, loans, and household accounts increased as the nineteenth century brought a less self-sufficient life on the farms of Berkeley County. The Snodgrasses no longer lived at the Bill on Back Creek, but had moved to Hedgesville.

With such long family histories in Berkeley County, it was to be expected that descendants of the Henshaws and Snodgrasses should turn to writing the history of their section of Virginia. Valley of Virginia Henshaw was a leader of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Berkeley and throughout West Virginia. Her sisters, Mabel and Frances, were in Martinsburg by 1916. They were the children of Levi Henshaw II and Sarah Ann, the daughter of Robert Verdier Snodgrass.

Mabel (Henshaw) Gardiner wrote a thesis on the history of Martinsburg in 1930 for the degree of Master of Arts at the University of West Virginia. This work was developed into Chronicles of Old Berkeley by Mrs. Gardiner in collaboration with her daughter, Ann Henshaw Gardiner. Published in 1938, this history is based on the Ann H. Gardiner Papers and contains the diaries which Captain Levi and Hiram Henshaw kept on trips to Kentucky, ca. 1828-1830.

Ann Henshaw Gardiner graduated from Shepherd College and went into training in nursing at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She saw service in World War I in a United States Army base hospital in France (U.S. Base Hospital NO. 6). In 1927 she wrote her thesis "The Development of the External Form of the Squid Embryo," at Kansas State Agricultural College for the degree of Master of Science. With the manuscripts of this work are pamphlets and papers of Francis Noyes Balch on Cephalopods.

Broadsides and pamphlets refer to Berkeley County and its history, to estate sales in the county, to the Whig Party, to the militia, and to the Free masons.

Clippings pertain to family members and to the story of Martinsburg and West Virginia. A series of articles by B. F. Voegle on local history is also in clipping form.

Among the miscellaneous material is a manuscript arithmetic book, 1790-1791, which was used by Robert Snodgrass II.

The volumes contain a number of old account books and other records. Family data for the Snodgrasses is preserved in their Age Book, 1821-1861 for each generation from William to Robert Verdier Snodgrass, as well as a list of the family slaves and their ages. Daybooks and farm books date fray 1803 to the 1840's. Four postal card albums, an autograph album, and scrapbooks with many other miscellaneous volumes are in the collection.

At the end of the papers are two albums and two manuscript histories of the first ten years of the Duke University School of Nursing. Pictures, programs, invitations, and clippings in the first album document the beginning of the nursing program in 1930. In the second album are photographs of nursing and laboratory classes

A number of letters, poems, and pamphlets unmounted in albums, conclude the nursing papers On December 27, 1934, the Duke University School of Nursing Alumnae Association was organized with a constitution. A reprint from the Southern Medical Association Journal contains the speeches made in April, 1931, at the dedication of the Medical School. Among the pictures are a number of photographs of members of the various classes of the Nursing School. The Henshaw family is well illustrated by pictures of individuals, their homes, and antique furnishlngs. For further details on this collection, see F. Vernon Aler, History of Martinsburg and Berkeley County, West Vlrginia; Willis F. Evans, History of Berkeley County West Virginia; and A. H. and M. H. Gardiner, Chronicles of Old Berkeley.

119 items and 9 vols., added 5-30-71, are letters, financial and legal papers, and scrapbooks and albums of the Henshaw, Snodgrass, and Gardiner families. Manuscripts of the early nineteenth century pertain to the settlement of estates, land transactions, and the hiring of Negro slaves and their deposition. The volumes center in nine scrapbooks and albums - five of which contain post cards of France and all of which are illustrative of the career of Miss Gardiner.

1 item and 1 cassette tape added, 1-24-73: Copies of the address Miss Gardiner gave at the fortieth anniversary banquet of the Alumni Association of the Nursing School of the Duke Medical Center, April 10, 1970.

2 items added, 5-5-84: Letters written by Robert Verdier Snodgrass to his wife Sarah Ann Snodgrass, in Hedgesville, Va., while he was attending a session of the state legislature in Richmond as a delegate. He describes the city of Richmond and a party given by Governor David Campbell, and mentions political colleagues, a military parade, and the failure of the legislature to elect a United States Senator.

Description from the Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Manuscript Card Catalog.

Acquisition information:
The Ann Henshaw Gardiner Papers were acquired by Duke University through purchases and gifts 1965-1984.
Processing information:

Processed by: David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Staff, circa 1984.

Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller.

Photographic materials series reprocessed to separate nitrate negatives by Tracy M. Jackson, July 2023. Previously scanned nitrate negatives in the Nursing: France, World War 1 folder, as well as nitrate negatives duplicating photographic prints elsewhere in the series, were removed and discarded.


The collection is arranged into the following series: Correspondence, Diaries, Financial Papers, Legal Papers, Genealogical Materials, Local History Materials, Photographic Materials, Scrapbooks, Miscellaneous, and Oversize Materials.

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Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Access note. Some materials in this collection are fragile audiovisual/photographic formats in the form of nitrate negatives that may need to be reformatted before use. Contact Research Services for access.

Terms of access:

The copyright interests in The Ann Henshaw Gardiner Papers have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], The Ann Henshaw Gardiner Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.