Leicester Bromley Family Papers

In line with the University of Rochester’s recommendations regarding COVID-19, the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation will be closed to the public until further notice, effective Monday, March 16, 2020.

Other Views:  Print/PDF  |  EAD Note: You may browse using the navigation on the left, or use Ctrl-F to search within this finding aid.

Leicester-Bromley family papers
Creator: Leicester (Family : Rochester, N.Y.)
Call Number: D.223
Dates: 1847-1870
Physical Description: 1 box
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Subject(s)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Access
Use
Citation
Content List
Collection Overview
Title: Leicester-Bromley family papers
Creator: Leicester (Family : Rochester, N.Y.)
Call Number: D.223
Dates: 1847-1870
Physical Description: 1 box
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
James and Joyce Leicester set sail from Liverpool, England for America with their young son Robert and James's parents on August 13, 1847. Sailing aboard the Glenmore, they arrived in New York City on September 14, 1847 after a thirty-one day passage. From New York they took a steamer to Albany, and then went on to Rochester where, as James put it, "we thought we had better stay if we could."

James and Joyce had seven children: Robert, William, Hannah, Elizabeth, Charles, Richard, and George. According to the Rochester city directory they first lived on Spring Alley, then in 1850 moved to Reynolds Street (in one of the letters James describes this house), then around 1866 to Smith Street. They also seem to have changed their name to Lester, which was probably easier for Americans to correctly pronounce and spell.

James found work as a pattern-maker and in 1870 went into business with a partner. The firm of Lester & Gillard survived until about 1880, after which James seems to have managed the business himself. Joyce died on October 31, 1874. She was predeceased by daughter Hannah, who died in 1873. After his son William died in 1890, James moved to Plymouth Avenue to live with William's widow Gertrude. James died on November 2, 1904. He was survived, according to his obituary, by three sons: Robert, Charles, and George. None of these sons still lived in Rochesterâ€" Robert had moved to Boston, Charles to Chicago, and George to Denver.

When the Leicesters arrived in Rochester they faced the challenges and hardships of starting a life in a new land and eventually realized the American dream of financial success for themselves and their children. Unlike many immigrants to the United States, the Leicesters shared the same cultural background and spoke the same language as most Americans. Nevertheless, they were also strangers who had left their home, much of their family, friends, and security far behind in England. Their letters provide a rare opportunity to share the progress of an immigrant family in becoming Americans, and to glimpse life in Rochester during the mid nineteenth-century.

Other letters in the collection were written by and about Joyce Leicester's brother Thomas Bromley, who brought his family to the United States in 1850 only to have his wife and child die almost immediately in St. Louis from cholera. Shortly thereafter, Thomas went to New Orleans where he too died from a dose of medicine given him by a "botanical doctor" to cure his cholera. One letter written during the Civil War is from the Leicester's son Robert to his Uncle William in England. The letter is a lengthy, vivid account of his life as a soldier with the 14th New York Volunteers who saw action in Fredericksburg and Gettysburg.

James and Joyce had seven children: Robert, William, Hannah, Elizabeth, Charles, Richard, and George. According to the Rochester city directory they first lived on Spring Alley, then in 1850 moved to Reynolds Street (in one of the letters James describes this house), then around 1866 to Smith Street. They also seem to have changed their name to Lester, which was probably easier for Americans to correctly pronounce and spell.James found work as a pattern-maker and in 1870 went into business with a partner. The firm of Lester & Gillard survived until about 1880, after which James seems to have managed the business himself. Joyce died on October 31, 1874. She was predeceased by daughter Hannah, who died in 1873. After his son William died in 1890, James moved to Plymouth Avenue to live with William's widow Gertrude. James died on November 2, 1904. He was survived, according to his obituary, by three sons: Robert, Charles, and George. None of these sons still lived in Rochesterâ€" Robert had moved to Boston, Charles to Chicago, and George to Denver.When the Leicesters arrived in Rochester they faced the challenges and hardships of starting a life in a new land and eventually realized the American dream of financial success for themselves and their children. Unlike many immigrants to the United States, the Leicesters shared the same cultural background and spoke the same language as most Americans. Nevertheless, they were also strangers who had left their home, much of their family, friends, and security far behind in England. Their letters provide a rare opportunity to share the progress of an immigrant family in becoming Americans, and to glimpse life in Rochester during the mid nineteenth-century.Other letters in the collection were written by and about Joyce Leicester's brother Thomas Bromley, who brought his family to the United States in 1850 only to have his wife and child die almost immediately in St. Louis from cholera. Shortly thereafter, Thomas went to New Orleans where he too died from a dose of medicine given him by a "botanical doctor" to cure his cholera. One letter written during the Civil War is from the Leicester's son Robert to his Uncle William in England. The letter is a lengthy, vivid account of his life as a soldier with the 14th New York Volunteers who saw action in Fredericksburg and Gettysburg.Scope and Content Note: The Leicester- Bromley Family Papers consists of 19 letters the Leicesters wrote to their family back in England between 1848 and 1870. Most of the letters are to Joyce's parents, the Bromleys who lived at 24 Dover Street, Preston, Lancashire.Provenance: The letters remained in the family for 130 years, and when in the 1970s a Miss Bromley, perhaps the last living descendant of the Bromley family, died at Heaton Chapel, Stockport, Chesire. She bequeathed them to her neighbor who then gave them to her daughter-in-law, Mavis Darbyshire. Finding the letters to be of great interest, Mavis Darbyshire transcribed them and then decided that they should return to the place of their origin. She wrote to a Rochester newspaper seeking a home for them which the Rush Rhees Library responded to and Ms. Darbyshire donated the letters in 1990.

Scope and Content
The Leicester- Bromley Family Papers consists of 19 letters the Leicesters wrote to their family back in England between 1848 and 1870. Most of the letters are to Joyce's parents, the Bromleys who lived at 24 Dover Street, Preston, Lancashire.

Subject(s):
Correspondence
Leicester (Family : Rochester, N.Y.)
Bromley (Family : Lancashire, England)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The letters remained in the family for 130 years, and when in the 1970s a Miss Bromley, perhaps the last living descendant of the Bromley family, died at Heaton Chapel, Stockport, Chesire. She bequeathed them to her neighbor who then gave them to her daughter-in-law, Mavis Darbyshire. Finding the letters to be of great interest, Mavis Darbyshire transcribed them and then decided that they should return to the place of their origin. She wrote to a Rochester newspaper seeking a home for them which the Rush Rhees Library responded to and Ms. Darbyshire donated the letters in 1990.Access
The Leicester-Bromley family papers is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], Leicester-Bromley family papers, D.223, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Administrative Information
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rare Books and Special Collections staff (Mary Huth and Lori Birrell)
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL:


Content List
Box 1, Folder 1James and Joyce Leicester to Father Bromley, [August 1847]
Box 1, Folder 2James and Joyce Leicester to Bromley parents, September 26, 1847
Box 1, Folder 3James and Joyce Leicester to Bromley parents, January 2, 1848
Box 1, Folder 4James and Joyce Leicester to Bromley parents, April 30, 1848
Box 1, Folder 5James and Joyce Leicester to Bromley parents, December 26, 1848
Box 1, Folder 6James and Joyce Leicester to Bromley parents, August 22, 1849
Box 1, Folder 7Thomas and Jane Bromley to Bromley family, [January 1850]
Box 1, Folder 8Thomas Bromley to Bromley parents, July 27, 1850
Box 1, Folder 9James and Joyce Leicester to Bromley parents, August 1, 1850
Box 1, Folder 10James Preston Smith to Father Bromley, December 22, 1850
Box 1, Folder 11Margaret Peterson to James Leicester, December 30, 1850
Box 1, Folder 12James and Joyce Leicester to Bromley parents, January 19, 1851
Box 1, Folder 13James and Joyce Leicester to Bromley parents, February 6, 1853
Box 1, Folder 14James and Joyce Leicester to Bromley parents, February 6, 1853
Box 1, Folder 15Robert Leicester to Grandfather Bromley, February 13, 1854
Box 1, Folder 16Joyce Leicester to Father Bromley, November 4, 1863
Box 1, Folder 17James Leicester (Lester) to Brother William?, April 5, 1863
Box 1, Folder 18Robert J. Leicester (Lester) to Uncle William Bromley, October 31, 1863
Box 1, Folder 19Harry Bromley to Mother?, April 22, 1870
Box 1, Folder 20Transcriptions of letters done by Mavis Darbyshire


Other Views:  Print/PDF  |  EAD