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Anna Ridgely Hudson Diaries

Identifier: BC304


Young woman in Springfield, Illinois, who wrote about her social and religious activities and her feelings about these, while growing into womanhood as the daughter of a prominent Springfield banker, Nicholas H. Ridgley. Anna was one of thirteen children. Her father came from Maryland, where his father owned a tobacco plantation. In 1835 he was appointed the cashier from the State Bank of Illinois and remained with it until it closed. In 1866 he and two of his sons formed the Ridgely National Bank of Springfield. In 1854 he established the Springfield Gas Works. He was also involved in the building of several railroads in Illinois. Mr. Ridgely was a Whig and then a Democrat, who did not favor the election of Abraham Lincoln. Anna attended Mr. Eastabrook’s Female Academy where, among other studies, she wrote compositions and short stories. Because of her father’s prominence in the city, she grew up and socialized with the children of many prominent Springfield residents. She was also a very religious girl who chose to go to church meetings instead of parties if held on the same night. She suffered from an unrequited love for several years. Then in 1873 she married James Lawrence Hudson, a hardware merchant in Springfield, and they had three children.

Diaries and a composition book document the late adolescence and young adulthood of this Springfield girl. Her composition book, written when she was twelve years old and a student at the female academy, contains several short stories. Her diaries discuss her fervent religious beliefs and the entries often end with a prayer. She describes the many social events she attends with her sisters and frequently Arthur Bailhache accompanies them. She attends “French soirees” at the Governor’s mansion. She describes the funeral procession of Governor Bissell in 1860 and the decoration of homes throughout the city when it celebrates Lincoln’s election. She also writes her misgivings about that election. She writes openly about a failed love affair that occurred prior to her marriage.


  • 1860-1862, 1865-1872


.42 Linear Feet (1 manuscript box)

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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collection Repository

112 North Sixth Street
Springfield IL 62701 US
(217) 558-8923