Skip to main content
Notice: The Library is open for research by appointment only, please visit our research services page for more information.

Phoebe George Bradford diaries (microfilm)

Creation: 1832-1837
Accession: 0964


This collection consists of microfilms of volumes 1, 6-10, 15, 16, and 24 of the diaries of Phoebe George Bradford (1794-1840), a native of Cecil County, Maryland, and resident of Wilmington, Delaware. The diaries contain descriptions of social doings and daily activities, opinions on family matters and religion, and occasional references to national matters and local happenings.


  • Creation: 1832-1837



1 item(s)

Biographical Note

Phoebe George Bradford (1794-1840) was the wife of Moses Bradford (1788-1874), editor of the Delaware Gazette and later the Delaware State Journal.

She was born on April 26, 1794, at Mount Harmon Plantation on the Sassafras River near Earleville, Maryland, to Sidney George Jr. (1755-1806) and Mary Louttit George (1765-1811). After her father died in 1806, she moved to Wilmington, Delaware, with her mother.

On May 17, 1817, she married Moses Bradford (1788-1874). At the time of their marriage, Moses Bradford was editor of the Delaware Gazette. The couple resided at Middle Neck plantation in Cecil County, Maryland until 1824, when they returned to Wilmington where he became the editor of the Delaware State Journal. He later managed the Maryland estates from the couple's home in Wilmington. While living in Wilmington, Phoebe Bradford was active in the social and church scenes. While she attended various churches regularly, she considered Trinity Lutheran Church at Fifth and King Streets her spiritual home. She was active in many civic and church societies. Because of her family's economic status and her husband's political status, Phoebe was a vivacious Wilmington socialite with connections to the area's most prominent families.

After leasing a home just outside of downtown Wilmington for many years, in 1838, the Bradford's constructed a large stone mansion at Eleventh and Washington Streets. Phoebe George Bradford and Moses Bradford had four children: Julius (died in infancy), Sidney George (1817-1849), Edward Green (1819-1884), and Julius (b. 1829). Phoebe Bradford died suddenly on February 13, 1840, while on a shopping trip in Wilmington.

Scope and Contents

Microfilm of nine volumes (volumes 1, 6-10, 15, 16, and 24) of Phoebe George Bradford's (1794-1840) diaries. Bradford's diaries detail both her private and public activities. The latter were church-related and included attending meetings of the Provident Society and Female Bible Society. She was also an active member of the Female Colonization Society of Wilmington, which was organized in 1834 to raise funds for the promotion of education in Liberia. The 1834 diary also contains copies of the society's minutes and constitution. Bradford was a deeply religious woman, and her diaries detail Bible study, reading of religious tracts, church membership, spiritual reflections and concerns about salvation.

Bradford's diaries describe regular visits with friends, which often included afternoon tea, and contain much information about local social events and gossip. Her diaries occasionally allude to her sons, mentioning their school attendance and her assistance with their lessons. Bradford writes about her singing lessons and piano playing and describes housework and sewing, which included making quilts and mantuas. She recorded her illnesses, suffering from dyspepsia and depression.

The diaries provide a detailed records of nineteenth-century middle class, female religious volunteer associations, a glimpse of daily domestic and social activities, and the private thoughts of a woman deeply concerned with spiritual salvation.

Location of Originals

Originals owned by Historical Society of Delaware, Wilmington, Delaware.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright held by owner of originals. Not to be reproduced.

Related Materials

Phoebe George Bradford diaries (microfilm) (Accession 0689), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Phoebe George Bradford diaries (microfilm) (Accession 1012), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Phoebe George Bradford diaries (photocopy) (Accession 1164), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Language of Materials


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Phoebe George Bradford diaries (microfilm)
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Revision Statements

  • 2021: Ashley Williams

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA