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Hurd-Arno Family Correspondence

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Hurd-Arno

Scope and Content of the Collection

Mainly letters from Mary Olivia Hurd Arno to her mother, 1886-1897, with six letters of Augusta Jaquins Hurd to her father and brother, 1858-1866, and seventeen miscellaneous letters either to her or retained by her.

Along with domestic matters and family relationships, topics include: pioneer settlement in Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Dakota Territory, land speculation, taxes, insurance costs, salaries, and the hard financial times of the 1890s. Marital problems and divorce, the daily lives of frontier women, farmers and carpenters, the weather, including a 1896 Midwest tornado, problem of obesity, small pox vaccination, and local camp meetings are also discussed in the letters.

This collection has been published, see: The Letters of Ann Augusta Jaquins Hurd and Mary Olivia Hurd Arno, 1858-1897, edited by Helen Hazen Cooperman (Chicago: Cooperman, 1988).


  • Creation: 1858-1921



Materials are in English.


The Hurd-Arno Family Correspondence is open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Hurd-Arno Family Correspondence is the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biographies of Ann Augusta Hurd and Mary Olivia Hurd Arno

Two Wisconsin pioneer women, mother and daughter.

Ann Augusta Jaquins Hurd (generally referred to as “Augusta”) was born February 28, 1834, at Bainbridge, New York, the descendant of New York and New England families. As several of her siblings moved westward into Wisconsin, she followed, and though she was trained to teach school she married Asa Hurd of Brandon, Wisconsin in 1859. The young Hurds bought land in Minnesota and attempted to become successful farmers.

Augusta and Asa Hurd had one daughter born in 1862, whom they named Mary Olivia. Six and a half months later Asa joined the Union Army as a wagoner of Company E, 10th Minnesota Infantry and Augusta and her baby rejoined her sister in the more settled and stable town of Brandon, Wisconsin. Asa never returned from the war, having apparently been killed in April, 1865, outside Montgomery, Alabama, while foraging for his company, although there is some possibility he simply disappeared west as veterans sometimes did. Augusta never remarried. She supported herself and her daughter Mary by land speculation in Minnesota and South Dakota at a time when settlers were pouring into the Territories. She had the skill to buy and rent houses and land, while she also traveled back to Bainbridge New York to be with her father. When he died, Augusta became active in the Suffrage Movement.

Mary Olivia Hurd married Daniel Clark Arno in 1884 and a long and difficult relationship began, as Mary Olivia’s letters to her mother reveal. Dan Arno was quick-tempered and sometimes abusive. He was a skilled carpenter and builder of houses, often away from home, leaving Mary to cope with the hardships of rural life and isolated motherhood in or near Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Mary followed her mother’s example of dealing in westward speculation, but a severe financial and agricultural depression kept profits low and farming was arduous. Mary’s letters to her mother between 1886 and 1897 refer to her longing to be near her, and in 1898 Ann Augusta Hurd permanently left New York and settled with her daughter in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, in a home built by her son-in-law, Dan Arno. Augusta Hurd died in 1921 and Mary Hurd Arno died in 1925.


0.4 Linear Feet (1 box)


Letters of a Wisconsin family mainly written by Mary Olivia Hurd Arno to her mother, Ann Augusta Hurd, 1886-1897. Also, six letters Ann Augusta Hurd wrote to her father and brother, 1858-1866, and a few miscellaneous letters to or from family or friends.


Organized by writers: first, Augusta Hurd’s letters, then the correspondence of Mary Olivia Arno to her mother Augusta, followed by miscellaneous letters retained by Augusta Hurd, in alphabetical order.

Collection Stack Location

1 22 6


Gift of Helen Hazel Cooperman, 1981.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2006.

Inventory of the Hurd-Arno Family Correspondence, 1858-1921 Midwest.MS.Hurd-Arno
Finding aid prepared by Virginia Hay Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States