Document 3: Sally Rudd to Caroline Mary Rudd, 26 March 1836, Series 2: Correspondence, George N. Allen Papers, Record Group 30/67, Box 2, Oberlin College Archives.

Document 3: Sally Rudd to Caroline Mary Rudd, 26 March 1836, Series 2: Correspondence, George N. Allen Papers, Record Group 30/67, Box 2, Oberlin College Archives.

Caroline Mary Rudd Allen
Enrolled at Oberlin College in 1837
Courtesy Oberlin College Archives.


       Sally Rudd, aunt of Caroline Mary Rudd, served as housekeeper in Oberlin to Asa Mahan[11], Oberlin's first president, and his wife Mary Mahan.[12] She urged her niece to come to Oberlin to take advantage of the educational opportunity, and promised her work in the Mahan household in exchange for room and board. The response to Sally's letter was positive, and she soon rejoiced: "To my unspeakable joy and surprise, I hear that your Father has given his consent that you should come to Oberlin." Caroline Mary Rudd graduated from the College Course in 1841, married Professor of Music George Nelson Allen (OC 1838), and remained in Oberlin for the rest of her life.


Oberlin March 26 1836

My dear Mary,

       I did not intend that your very welcome letter should lay so long unanswered, but I am determined another mail shall not leave, without my acknowliging my gratitude. You can hardly imagine the variety of sensations, that arose in my mind on perusing it, I again in imagination entered my old chamber, where I have spent so many pleasant hours, & could well think how it looked, but I expect my chicken, that now inhabits it, has grown to womans size. You write that your Pa says He could almost say that Joseph is not & Simon is not & Bengaman[A] shall not go. I was very glad the Almost was not in it, for on that word I place my hopes, & strange to tell, I am quite sanguine in my belief that you will come. I think after he has considered the thing long enough, his judgement will preponderate, & he will say you may come, on this belief, I act. I have kept the ground for you altho at times I have trembled, there has been such a rush in here you say you should like to be where you could wait on me that would indeed be very grateful to me, specialy when I have those distressing fainting turns which I continue to have, altho not very frequent, but much as I should want you, to smoth the down hill of life to me, it is not my object in pressing you to come; here my dear Mary you could have an opportunity to obtain a complete education, & with my assistance could sustain yourself. I know it must be painfull for your friends to part with you but parents do part with there children to have them educated & hundreds of Parents would rejoice to have there daughters situated as you would be here, & give them up cheerfully. Perhaps you will wonder what you would have to do. Your work would be the same that a daughters would our present [unreadable word], we have a girl that does the washing & kitchen work. You would have the parlers and Mr Mahan's study to keep in order, & what little chamber work there will be to do, but our chambers will all be occupied with boarders, that take care of there own rooms, except what we reserve for spare chambers we expect Proffessors & wives to occupy 3 of them (they have no children by the way) Mrs Mahan's nursery is below.& I have the sweetest little bedroom below you ever see, our house is very pleasant & conveniant. Mrs Mahan would want you to see to the children, & probably teach them & be ready (when not occupied with your studys) to wait on company & be a kind of minute man. She has three children two little girls one seven & the other coming 5 & a little Oberlin boy ten months old. I give you these particulars, thinking you Father might wish to know something about what your place would be. I shall be with you to release you any time, for your study, & recitations. Mrs Mahan has a great many calls but has much to do in the Ladies department, not as a teacher but as a counceler. They have a board of females to assist the Principal of which she is president & the young ladies are constantly coming to her for councel & she wants her time free as possible. As for myself I can hardly tell what place I fill unless it is the supervision of domestic concerns. Now after all the preamble I tell you if you will jog on here with Mr Finny's folks this spring you will find us ready to recieve you. I say us because Mrs M is wishing to have you come. I have found cousins very unexpectedly in this region Cousin Joseph Belcher's oldest daughter lives near here & Sam Porter the founder of this Colony is a descendant of Uncle Zebulon Rudd I never knew it till his Father came on last fall the Hon Z. R. Shipherd he happened to here my name mentioned, & inquired where I was from, on being told he says my Mother was a Rudd from Scotland & my own name is Rudd he came immediately to see me & we had quite a [cousin?] visit.

       Well Mary I will go upon the supposition that you will come. I tell you it would be a new card in your short life & you might start with the impression that now I will get instruction from all that passes before me, & I would advise you to keep a sketch book to note down the various scenes that you pass all through from day to day &c &c not travel as your Aunt Sally does with, eyes & no eyes. This is a place that the intellect is called into exercise & knowledge that is gathered by little & little may always be brought into requisition. if you should come I hope you would go through a thourough course of study & be prepared for usefulness.

       I recieved a long & very good letter from Mrs Lewis & thought I should answer it immedeately but have waited for a convenient opportunity ever since last Jan hope it will come along soon. Why has not Abigail told me she was married I don't no but she thought it my politness to write & congratulate her first but I cannot afford to write & have no answer & it is considerable over a year since I recieved a line from her. I thought much before Mrs Finny left here I to would tell her that I was in hopes that you would come on here, but I never did but if you could come it would be a charming opportunity. I have written this in great haste in the eve with a miserable pen am fearful you can not read it but I must have you if you don't come on write immediately & I will try to do better next time remember one defect to all inquirers. O how glad I should be to see all my old friends tell your Parents[B] letters from them would be very acceptable & I would answer them. I can't think any thing about those three little boys hope they will live to be a comfort to there parents I was very glad that Charles is in a way to sustain himself. I wish he would write me Weg Rudd of New York is the best correspondant I have tell Abigail to write to me very soon. your Affect Aunt Sally Rudd

Miss Mary Rudd,
              Huntington, Con. [seal]

A. Mary Rudd refers to herself as her father's "Bengamin" in a letter to George N. Allen dated October 19th 1840.
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B. Sally Rudd is referring to Mary Rudd's father, Hezekiah Rudd, and his second wife.
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