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RG 30/349 - The Bridgman Family Papers
An asterisk (*) indicates restricted records.

Series I. Biographical Files

Box 1

Clara D. Bridgman Passports and associated documents, 1926, 1933, 1939, 1940, n.d.
Frederick B. Bridgman, announcements, biographical and obituary notices, 1896, 1909, 1925-26 (8f)

Ruth Cowles (1892-1971), 1968, 1971, 2002, n.d.

Other Family Members, 1896, 1923, 1948-85, n.d. (photocopies and originals)

Series II. Correspondence

Box 1 (cont.)

Subseries 1

Henry Martyn and Laura Nichols Bridgman

Henry M. Bridgman (1 letter), 1869?

Letters sent and received by Laura Nichols Bridgman (13 letters), 1854-55, 1861-65, 1893, 1907, 1916, n.d. (5 f)

Subseries 2

Frederick Brainerd Bridgman, Sr.

Early Letters (3 letters), [1869], 1881, 1888
Childhood & School Days (6 letters), 1888-89, 1894
Oberlin YMCA & Gymnasium (11 letters), 1888-94
Chicago Theological Seminary (9 letters), 1893-96
Spring Valley, Wisconsin (6 letters), 1896-97
African Furlough and other matters (14 letters), 1902-25
Funeral re death of Frederick Brainerd Bridgman (4 letters), 1925

Subseries 3

Davis and Strong Families

Letters from Cheyenne, Wyoming, Beloit, Wisconsin,& Kobe, Japan (15 letters and fragments), 1869-1912

Letters sent and received by Merle Davis, brother of Clara D. Bridgman (10 letters), 1895-1912,1952, 1954

Subseries 4


Letters sent by F. Brainerd Bridgman to his parents (3 letters), 1923
Letters sent and received by F. Brainerd and Helen Bridgman (7 letters), 1956-57

Letters sent by Helen Davis Chandler (4 letters), 1954, 1956, 1967
Letter sent by Ray Cowles (cousin of F.B. Bridgman, Jr.) to F. Brainerd and Helen Bridgman, 1971

Letters sent by Ruth Cowles to F. Brainerd Bridgman (2 letters), 1963
Letters sent and received by John Reuling (8 letters), 1953, 1956, 1963

Series III. Diaries/Reminiscences (mostly unpublished)

Box 2

Letter from Laura Bridgman’s Diary (typescript copy), 1871
Rev. Henry Martyn Bridgman (autobiography), 1890
Reminiscences of Zulu Boyhood, Rev. F.B. Bridgman, n.d.
Clara S. Davis at Oberlin, 1889
Reminiscences, by Clara S. (Mrs. Frederick Brainerd Bridgman), n.d.
Clara Davis Bridgman’s Diary, 1906-10
Rev. Frederick B. Bridgman’s Diary, 1913-17

Series IV. Genealogical Files

Box 2 (cont.)

Laura Bridgman’s American Ancestry, n.d.
Bridgman Family (Daniel, James), 1641-1886 & Brainerd Family, 1636-1894
Bridgman-Cowles Family Years of Work, n.d. (second copy in Box 14)
Bridgman-Cowles Family Time Line Significant Events, 1860-1925
Historical Packet from James E. Bridgman, 2001
Brainerd Family Genealogy, Laura’s Ancestry, n.d.

Series V. Guest Book

Box 2 (cont.)

Bridgman Farewell, Durban, 1912

Series VI. Newspaper Clippings

Box 3

Miscellaneous clippings, 1898-1937 (2 vols.)
The Transvaal News (unpublished newsletter), Johannesburg, 1918-19

Series VII. Printed Matter

Subseries 1. Frederick Brainerd Bridgman File

Box 4

Frederick Brainerd Bridgman, “A Modern Pioneer Missionary,” 1927

“In the Name of the Father,” Sunday Times Explorer (Rosebank, S.A.), Nov. 26, 2000

Subseries 2. Bridgman Memorial Hospital Files

Box 4 (cont.)

History of Bridgman Memorial Hospital, 1987 (2 articles)
Annual Report, 1961-62, Bridgman Memorial Hospital
Urban History & Health Nurse Ruth Cowles& Alexandra Township, 1926-1946, by Prof. Marchia Wright, Columbia College

Bridgman Memorial Hospital Booklets, 1953, n.d.

Subseries 3. Church Records

Box 4 (cont.)

East Haddam Church (CT), 1920
Old Church Records, Westhampton, re: Henry M. Bridgman, clippings1940
South Congregational Church, Brockton, Mass., 1926
Calendar, “Christian Temperance,” 1945

Papers from Church History includes Photographs, 1941 of Congregational Church, Northampton, Mass.

Subseries 4. Zulu Files (various)

Box 4 (cont.)

Zulu Mission, 1835-98
The Bridgman Family Missionaries of Zululand
The Story of Laura Bridgman of Umzumbe, n.d.
The Transvaal News, Johannesburg, 1918-19 (stored in box 3)
Song Book to Record Albums, Songs of the Veld
Old-Umzumbe Mission Station Reports, n.d.
An English-Zulu Dictionary, 1880
Elementary Zulu, 1921

Subseries 5. Miscellaneous Files

Box 4 (cont.)

The Norfolk Hotel, n.d.
Genevieve Davis Olds (Clara S. Davis’ Sister) Missionary in Japan, Oberlin grad, 1939

Four articles:

Bridgman Foundation, 1989
Cape Times
“The Society of Southern Africa in the 19th and 20th Century,” 1981
“Missionaries of Early Days,” n.d.


“John Merle Davis: Autobiography,” n.d.

Inquiry from Emily Walhout to J.F. Duggan, re: Bridgman letters in the American Board for Commissioners of Foreign Missions collection at Harvard, 1986

Series VIII. Writings

Box 4 (cont.)

Notebook of Frederick B. Bridgman,, Jr.: “Animal, Botany, and Ecology,” lecture notes, 1928-1928

Writings by Helen Chandler (sister) in honor of Clara Bridgman (82nd birthday); by Laura to Henry on 1888, 58th birth date;& Hanna, the Mountain Blossom

Series IX. Photo Albums

Box 5

Photo Albums (5 volumes), c. 1890s – 1930s

Box 6

Loose album pages, 1891-1961 (copies)

Series X. Photographs

Subseries 1. Bridgman Memorial Hospital

Box 7

Miscellaneous 1928, 1939, n.d. (23 photos)
Nurses, n.d. (7 photos)
Triplets/quads., 1948-49 (4 clippings, 3 photos)
Farewell to Clara Bridgman, 1940 (1 photo)
Doctors (incl. Crinsoz de Cottens) (5 photos)
Mothers & Babies (5 photos)
Misc. Staff, 1928-32 (25 photos)
Cornerstone, 1928 (2 clipping, 4 photos)
Medical Procedures, 1946 (7 photos)
Bridgman Memorial Hospital, Johannesburg, 1928 (1 photo)
District Car Service, n.d.(3 photos)
Nurses Home, n.d. (1 photo)
Hospital Garden, n.d. (1 photo)
Ruth Cowles, n.d. (1 photo)

Subseries 2. Family Photographs

Box 7 (cont.)

Rev. Frederick Bridgman, n.d. (3 negatives)
Childhood Photo of Fred Bridgman, 1872 (1 photo)
Clara & Fred Bridgman, Merle Davis [Oberlin Photos], n.d. (5 photos)
Rev. Henry Martyn Bridgman, n.d. (2 photos)
Henry’s Family, c. 1884 (1 photo)
Henry M. & Laura B.N. Bridgman, Sophie S. Davis, 1866, 1868, n.d. (5 photos)
Rev. George Burr Cowles, n.d. (3 copies)
Amy Bridgman Cowles, n.d. (2 photos)
Misc. Family, 1912, 1915, 1917, 1941, 1925, n.d. (1 postcard, 14 photos)

Maine, 1925 (8 photos)
Unidentified photos, 1913, n.d. (5 photos)
Miscellaneous Oberlin, n.d. (3 photos)
Wedding photo, 1960 (1 copy)
Painting, n.d. (1 copy)
Family (Daguerreotypes)

Laura B. Nichols Bridgman, Silas, Phoebe Nichols, n.d. (2 photos)
Henry Martyn Bridgman, n.d. (2 photos)
Oversized Family Photographs (see oversized Box 10)

Subseries 3. Missionary Photographs

Box 8


First school in Johannesburg, 1913 (1 photo)
YMCA and miscellaneous, n.d. (3 photos)
Reading Braille at Blind Institution, n.d. (1 photo)
Women’s prayer group, n.d. (1 photo)
Mines and gold dump, n.d. (6 photos)
Ox cart, church, and Nombulasi, n.d. (3 photos)
Central church, n.d. (1 photo)
Pamphlet – The Hub of South Africa, n.d. (1 photo)
Helping Hands Club, n.d. (9 photos)
Cape Town, n.d. (2 photos)
Unzumbe Mission Station, n.d. (3 photos)
Beatrice Street Church (1 folder)

Inside, n.d. (1 photo)
Outside, n.d. (1 photo)

Taletha Home for Girls (1 folder)

Alice Wier, n.d. (1 photo)
Taletha Home, n.d. (4 photos)
Taletha Home for Girls, 1952 (1 photo)
Taletha Home, laundry and sewing, n.d. (2 photos)


Building and village, n.d. (16 negatives)
Group photos, miscellaneous, n.d. (13 negatives)

Missionaries (other)

Missionary coworkers, 1913, 1953, n.d. (7 photos)
Missionary group, n.d. (1 photo)
Miscellaneous missionary, 1900, n.d. (5 photos)
Missionaries in Hubarndale, MA, 1943, 1948, 1950 (4 photos)
Misc. “Missionary “ Packet,” n.d. (44 photos)
Inanda Seminary, 1936-37, (2 photos)
Japanese connection, n.d. (1 article, 1 copy)

Subseries 4. Zulu Tribe Photographs

Box 9


“ A Wooing He Would Go,” n.d. (1 photo)
“ Courting finery,” n.d. (1 photo)
“ He goes a’courting,” n.d. (1 photo)


Miscellaneous, 1925, n.d. (3 postcards)
Home of Heather Zulu, n.d. (2 photos)
Zulu Pottery, n.d. (2 photos)

People, Other (Groups/Individuals)

Coming Home From Spring, n.d. (1 photo)
Competitive dancing on a gold mine, n.d. (2 photo)
Miscellaneous photos, 1900, n.d. (26 photos)
Old Zulu men and Zulu women, 1934 (2 photos)
Young Zulu Warrior (Witch Doctor?), n.d. (1 photo)
Zulu baby, n.d. (2 photos)
Zulu Christian Families, n.d. (2 photos)
Zulu dressed for trip to town, n.d. (1 photo)


Menu’s shawl, wedding dance, n.d. (1 photo)
Last touches before wedding dance, n.d. (1 photo)
Zulu bride and mother, n.d. (3 photos)

Witch Doctor

Zulu Witch Doctor, n.d. (1 photo)


Old Zulu Woman, n.d. (1 photo)
Native girl, married women, n.d. (1 photo)
Woman from Transkei Cape Colony, n.d. (1 photo)
Native Mother Gunding, n.d. (5 photos)

Subseries 2. Family Photographs (cont.)

Box 10 (Oversized Box)

Family photos

Laura Brainerd Nichols Bridgman, c. 1890s-1903 (framed)
Clara Davis Bridgman (2), c. 1930s-1940s
Rev. Frederick Brainerd Bridgman, n.d.
Rev. Frederick Brainerd Bridgman with Zulus ?, Belfare, 1920 (framed)

Series XI. Scrapbooks

Box 11

Scrapbooks, c. 1881-1905, c. 1928-33 (2 books, 5 loose pages)

Series XII. Sound Recordings (see Series XVI for CD's for the following - Box 17)

Box 12 (Oversized Box)

Mrs. Clara Bridgman with the Lord’s Prayer in Zulu, November 10, 1947 (1 album)
Motsieloa and Monare, Griffiths Motsiela and Company, n.d. (1 album)
Songs of the South African Veld, Josef Marais Band, n.d. (7 albums and sheet music)
Zulu Sacred Singers, n.d. (2 albums)

Series XIII. Artifacts

Box 13 (Oversized Box)

Zulu Weapons and Tools

Ball Weapon, n.d.
Spear, n.d.
Whip, n.d.
Hatchet, n.d.

Trowel for Cornerstone of the Bridgman Memorial Hospital, 7 January 1928

Box 14

Zulu Items

Zulu Beadwork, n.d.
Beaded Gourd, n.d.
Zulu Doll, n.d.

Family Items

Laura B. Nichols Bridgman’s Spectacles, n.d.
Spoon, n.d.
Brass Plate (Clara D. Bridgman), 1925
Oberlin Senior Prom brush, 1931

Series XIV. Miscellaneous

Box 15 (Oversized Box)

“Mfundisi Bridgman ne Nkosikunzi,” certificate in foreign language, (framed), n.d.

“Bridgman-Cowles Years of Work Under the American Board Zulu Mission” (1860-1925), chart, n.d.

Series XV. Research Files of John Bridgman (Photocopies)

Box 16

Amy Bridgman Cowles and other family members, 1858, 1923, 1929, 1934, n.d.
“ Bridgman Family Missionaries of Zululand,” September 1, 1986
“ One Hundred Years of the American Board Mission in South Africa, 1835-1935,” by Rev. J. Dexter Taylor, D.D., n.d., 5-50

“ Stories of the Early American Missionaries in South Africa,” Parts I and II, by Mary W. Tyler Gray, n.d., 7-71 (2f)

Miscellaneous, lists of missionaries, printed matter, compiled 2003 (2f)
Photographs, American Board Mission, Bridgman Family, 1909, n.d.

Series XVI. CD-ROMs

Box 17

CD-ROMs (3), Bridgman Family Papers, documents and photographs [2004/024]
CD-ROMs (2 copies of each)

1. “Songs of the South African Veld, vols. 1-2, Josef Marias and His Brushveld Band
2. “Zulu Sacred Singers, Griffiths Motsieloa and company, Mrs. Clara Bridgman with the Lord’s Prayer in Zulu.” [2004/024]

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