Charles S. Burns papers
Charles S. Burns (1846-1937) was a teacher in Maryland during the late nineteenth century; he also worked for the Customs House in Baltimore, Maryland. The Charles S. Burns Papers consist of correspondence, both letters and postcards, from family members, friends, and organizations to which Burns belonged. The subject matter includes notices for membership dues owed the Order of the Golden Chain, news of family events, crop output, and solicitations from former students seeking Burns's help at the Baltimore Customs House. In addition, there is correspondence pertaining to the Sun Mutual Aid Society of Baltimore.
Important Information for Users of the Collection
There are no restricted files in this collection
Charles S. Burns papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.
Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.
This collection is PROCESSED.
Charles S. Burns was born in Manchester, Maryland, in 1846, one of several children born to Lydia Burns (b. April 23, 1806). His father, about whom little is known, died before Burns was four years old. Though the family's chief occupation was farming, Burns and several other siblings left the farm in pursuit of different careers. Before coming of age, Burns lived in the household of Michael Ritter, a farmer, who maintained a close relationship with Burns until Ritter's death ca. 1879. Burns lost his first wife, Mary Ann, on November 23, 1870. Their son, Robert (d. June 11, 1916), affectionately referred to as "Robbie" by all the family, was nine months old in 1870. Burns later remarried (ca. 1877), but his second wife's name is unknown. His letters from siblings reveal a closely-knit family.
Charles S. Burns held a variety of jobs. He began teaching school in Montgomery County, Maryland, circa 1866 at school #7, "Frog Pond," which was another name for the Burtonsville School. He also taught in Sandy Spring in 1870 and was still teaching as late as 1888, chiefly at both the YMCA in Baltimore and the Baltimore Business College. In 1888, Burns also worked in the Baltimore Customs House. Work took him to many areas around central Maryland: Laurel, Burtonsville, Annapolis Junction, and Baltimore. Socially, Charles enjoyed a wide correspondence and was a member of Druid Lodge No. 29, Order of the Golden Chain, a Masonic organization.
Charles S. Burns died on March 24, 1937, at the age of ninety-one. He was survived by his daughter from his second marriage, Mrs. W. E. Beall of Laurel, Maryland.
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Charles S. Burns Papers cover the years 1870 to 1911 with the bulk of the material dating between 1870 and 1888. Most of the collection consists of correspondence, both letters and postcards, from family members, friends, and organizations to which Burns belonged. The subject matter includes notices for membership dues owed the Order of the Golden Chain, news of family events, crop output, and solicitations from former students seeking Burns's help at the Baltimore Customs House. In addition, there is correspondence pertaining to the Sun Mutual Aid Society of Baltimore.
Custodial History and Acquisition Information
The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the Charles S. Burns Papers from Carmen D. Valentino, a rare books and manuscripts dealer, in 1989.
Processed by James Emmons, March 2007.
The materials were placed in acid-free folders and stored in an acid-free box.
EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Jennie A. Levine, March 2007. Markup checked and verified by Jennie A. Levine, March 2007.
Arrangement of Collection
This collection is arranged as two series.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series 1: Correspondence, 1870-1911 and undated (123 items)
This series consists primarily of letters and postcards addressed to Charles S. Burns from family members, especially Burns's mother Lydia, his former guardian Michael Ritter, brothers Calvin, Amos, Simon, and George, and sisters Ida Phair and Sophia Carrick. Among his other correspondents are his close friend, Andrew W. Stephen of Westminster, and C. H. Moore, J. P. Hasby, and George F. Prechteh. Family news, tragedies, illness, the condition of crops, and inquires about Burns's life make this series particularly rich documentation of daily life in Maryland at the end of the nineteenth century. Several letters relate to his teaching career in Sandy Spring, including official correspondence from the Office Board of School Commissions, Montgomery County, as well as several letters from students. There are also letters concerning night classes at Baltimore Business College and the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). Many of the postcards contain brief notices and receipts from the Sun Mutual Aid Society of Baltimore and from the Order of the Golden Chain, Druid Lodge No. 29. Other postcards were received from Burns's family and friends. Also included are three letters from Charles S. Burns to his second wife.
The arrangement of the collection is by format: letters precede postcards. Within these groups, the letters to Burns are in chronological order. Also in chronological order are the postcards in the three groupings 1876-1911 and undated, Order of the Golden Chain, and Sun Mutual Aid Society.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|Correspondence -- To Charles S. Burns, 1870-1879||series 1||box 1||folder 1|
|Correspondence -- To Charles S. Burns, 1880-1888||series 1||box 1||folder 2|
|Correspondence -- From Charles S. Burns, 1877-1878||series 1||box 1||folder 3|
|Correspondence -- Postcards, 1876-1911 and undated||series 1||box 1||folder 4|
|Correspondence -- Postcards -- Order of the Golden Chain, Druid Lodge No. 29, 1888-1906||series 1||box 1||folder 5|
|Correspondence -- Postcards -- Sun Mutual Aid Society, 1881-1883||series 1||box 1||folder 6|
Series 2: Broadsides and Note, ca. 1870-1889 and undated (6 items)
Series II comprises several broadside advertisements and Burns's list of varieties of apples, pears, and peaches. The broadsides represent several agricultural companies active in the latter part of the nineteenth century, such as Thomas Dec. Ruth's Prize Fertilizer, A. J. Fleur and Co. Produce, and the Charles V. Wantz Cigar Company.
The broadsides, in chronological order, precede Burns's list.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|Broadsides, 1872-1889 and undated||series 2||box 1||folder 7|
|Varieties of Apples, Pears, and Peaches, undated||series 2||box 1||folder 8|
The University of Maryland Libraries also hold the Charles Fleetwood Hanna Papers. Like Charles S. Burns, Charles Fleetwood Hanna worked at the Baltimore Customs House.
For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.
Selected Search Terms
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.
- Burns, Charles S., 1846-1937 -- Correspondence
- Fraternal Organizations -- Maryland -- Baltimore
- Maryland -- Social life and customs -- 19th century
- Teachers -- Maryland -- Correspondence