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Polly Heckewelder Papers

Polly Heckewelder Papers

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Polly Heckewelder Papers




2012



Profile Description

Creation: 19.01.2012
Language: English

Title: Polly Heckewelder Papers
Dates: 1810-1860
Identification: PP HJM
Location: internal
Language: GermanEnglish

Johanna Maria "Polly" Heckewelder (sometimes referred to as Mary Heckewelder) was born on April 16, 1781 to John Heckewelder (1743-1823) and Sarah Ohneberg (1746-1815) in Salem, a Native American mission on the Muskingum River in Ohio. She was said to be the first "white" woman born in the Ohio territory. Shortly after her birth, Ms. Heckwelder's parents, who were missionaries among the Native Americans, were captured by a hostile tribe. At this time the family was moved to Upper Sandusky, Ohio and then near Detroit. A missionary couple brought Ms. Heckewelder from Ohio to Bethlehem, Pa on horseback. She was educated at the Female Seminary in Bethlehem. After completing her education, she taught school before losing her hearing a few years later. Throughout her adult life, she lived with her parents, who returned to Bethlehem in 1810, and in the Single Sisters' house in Bethlehem. Ms. Heckewelder enjoyed a certain degree of celebrity status in Bethlehem and was sought after for both her portrait and autograph. In 1861, Ms. Heckewelder founded the Freedman's Aid Society; the members sewed clothing and other items for soldiers. In 1865, the group changed its name to the Ladies' Sewing Society. Ms. Heckewelder died on September 19, 1868. When the Ladies' Sewing Society began sewing cloth dolls for charity in 1872, they named the doll Polly after Ms. Heckewelder. The tradition of these handmade dolls continues today.


This collection consists of letters written by various individuals to Johanna M. "Polly" Heckewelder while she lived in Bethlehem, PA. Additionally, there is an unsigned and undated affidavit requesting Ms. Heckewelder certify that she was the first white child born in Ohio.


Restrictions

nonrestricted


Related Material

John Heckewelder Papers; Indian Missions


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