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Margaret Izard Manigault papers

Creation: 1779-1857
Accession: 0502


Manigault's papers consist of her own diaries and correspondence between her and Gabrielle Josephine du Pont (1770-1836), both which document the life of a female member of Charleston's merchant-planter elite during the Early National Period, and the web of connections linking Charleston, New York and Philadelphia society.


  • Creation: 1779-1857



4.2 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

Margart Izard Manigault (1768-1834) was the daughter of Ralph Izard (1741-1804) of Charleston, South Carolina, and Alice de Lancey (d. 1832) of New York. Ralph Izard was a member of the Continental Congress and a U.S. Senator from South Carolina, 1789-1804.

Because of her family's wealth and status, Manigault spent much of her youth in France, where she was educated. She married Gabriel Manigault (1758-1809), a Charleston planter and amateur architect, in 1785, and had twelve children, most of whom predeceased her: Elizabeth (1785-1822), Peter (1788-1788), Gabriel Henry (1788-1834), Anne (1791-1792), Charlotte (1792-1819), Harriet (1793-1835), Charles Izard (1795-1874), Emma (1797-1815), Maria (1798-1800), Edward (1800-1808), Caroline (1803-1817), and George (1807-1808).

The Manigaults lived in Charleston at his plantation, the Oaks, in St. James, Goose Creek Parish. Like many South Carolinians, the Manigaults spent the summers in New York and Philadelphia. The Manigaults moved to New York permanently in 1805 but later settled in Philadelphia, where they lived both in town and at "Clifton," a country estate on the Delaware River near Bristol.

After her husband’s death, Manigault spent much of her time at her house in Philadelphia on Spruce Street near that of her brothers Colonel George Izard and Ralph Izard Jr, her sister Anne Deas, and her mother.

Manigault died May 3, 1824 in Philadelphia.

Scope and Content

Manigault's papers provide excellent documentation of the life of a female member of Charleston's merchant-planter elite during the Early National Period, and of the web of connections linking Charleston, New York and Philadelphia society.

The correspondence consists of 249 original letters, written in both English and French by Mrs. Manigault to Gabrielle Josephine du Pont (1770-1836) over the period 1798 to 1824. The two women had met when Josephine's husband Victor du Pont had been stationed in Charleston as French consul. Mrs. Manigault wrote extensively about her family, servants, fashion, music, the social scene and mutual friends and acquaintances. The letters were returned to Mrs. Manigault's son in 1865 and later reacquired by a member of the du Pont family. The collection also contains photocopies of Mme. du Pont's letters to Mrs. Manigault, as well as typescripts and photocopies of all of the original letters.

The three diaries are believed to have been part of a much larger series, now lost. The first covers the period from November 1793 to August 1794, when the Manigaults had fled to New York to escape the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia. The second contains two portions separated by a gap: a period at Sullivan's Island and Charleston, S.C., in 1796, and later, New York, in 1805 and 1806. The third diary covers the period from 1806 to just before Gabriel Manigault's death in the fall of 1809. This last volume includes descriptions of trips to "Clifton" and of a journey overland from New York to Charleston and return in 1808.

The diaries are well-written and collectively give a vivid picture of the life of an upper class woman, describing social activities, acquaintances among the elites of New York, Philadelphia and Charleston, the many illnesses and deaths in Mrs. Manigault's extended family, travel, reading habits, entertainments, etc. Among the families with whom the Manigualts socialized were the Allens, Barclays, Bayards, Chews, Crugers, De Lanceys, Goolds, Hamiltons, Izards, Jays, Kembles, LeRoys, Livingstons, Morrises, Pinckneys, Wattses, and Wraggs. The first volume contains references to John Robinson and Gilbert Stuart, both of whom painted portraits of the family while in New York, and comments on John Jay and his wife. The third volume contains Mrs. Manigault's comparison of the New York and Charleston assemblies and her comments on the recent introduction of the waltz to New York.

Associated with the diaries are three loose items: a two-page account of a journey from London to Cambridge University, probably by a member of the Izard family (1779); a four-page letter from D. B. Heyward in Millbrook, England, to "Gabriel" (probably Mrs. Manigault's grandson) describing a visit to Ireland and the reaction to the Sepoy Mutiny; and a note in the hand of Mrs. Manigault's son Charles I. Manigault, listing cattle and mules.

Existence and Location of Copies

An annotated version of the diaries is available in "The Diaries of Mrs. Gabriel Manigault, 1793-1809," ed. by Joseph P. Monigle, M.A. thesis, University of Delaware, 1959. Copies may be found in the Published Collections Department under the call number CT275.M3 .M6 and in the Manuscripts and Archives Department in Accession 2196.

Related Materials

Manigault family papers, 1685-1971 (1068), South Carolina Historical Society.

Ralph Izard family papers, 1778-1826 (MSS 27524), Library of Congress.

Manigault, Morris, and Grimball family papers (#976), Souther Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Louis Manigault papers, 1776-1883 (RL 10127), David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Language of Materials


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Margaret Izard Manigault papers
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:
Language of description note:
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA