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William Bose Marye collection

Identifier: MS 2458


This collection contains correspondence, genealogical, topographical and historical research material, and items of a more personal nature such as financial data, travel journals, and wills of William Bose Marye (1886-1979). Marye was a prominent authority on Maryland history, genealogy, topography, and Indian archaeology.


  • 1745-1979


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical Note

Born September 3, 1886 at Bellevue Farm near Kingsville, Baltimore County, Maryland, William Bose Marye was the only son of William Nelson Marye and Elizabeth Mary Bose (Gittings) Marye. He was educated at Marston's School (now Gilman) in Baltimore, and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1907. As a member of the Maryland Naval Militia his unit was activated in 1917 when the United States entered World War I.

During his lifetime Marye was simultaneously an antiquary, genealogist, historian, writer, and amateur archaeologist. He was recognized as a prominent authority on Maryland history, genealogy, topography, and Indian archaeology. Considered an expert on the seventeenth century topography of the Baltimore area he was especially active in discovering the names and tracing the paths of old watercourses. Genealogical research was a major occupation of his and he was the official genealogist for the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Maryland and for the Colonial Dames of America (National).

Long a member of the Maryland Historical Society he served as corresponding secretary and member of the board. He wrote many articles for the Maryland Historical Magazine as well as for journals of Pennsylvania and Delaware archaeological societies. Poetry was another interest of his and two volumes entitled Farewell to Life and Collected Poems were published. His early life was spent on his family's farm near the fork of the Little and Big Gunpowder Rivers. Later he lived in a Baltimore City apartment. He never married. After a long and productive life full of research and writing William Bose Marye died at the age of 93 on October 23, 1979.


30.4 Linear Feet (73 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection is divided into 13 sections:

General Correspondence

This section consists of both incoming and outgoing letters, dated 1904-1979, with the bulk falling in the period 1930-1970. Topics include genealogy, archaeology, travel, personal, and family matters. Major correspondents include: Ellen Buchanan, Huntington Cairns, Mamie Haughton, Henrietta Potter James, Jeter Lee Jett, Helen Jones, Ora and Hamill Kenny, George H. S. King, Warren K. Moorehead, Mrs. Peggy Stein, Fred Stiner, Wilmer T. Stone, and C. A. Weslager. Also included are letters between other persons (mostly family) dated 1863, 1880-1882, and 1901-1974.

Archaeology Correspondence

This section includes letters and telegrams dealing specifically with archaeology. This correspondence was in files created by Marye and includes such topics as Maryland archaeology and Indians, expeditions, findings, and observations. The correspondence is in alphabetical order according to correspondent and then in chronological order: Tyler Bastian, 1971-1973; Archibald Crozier, 1936-1939, 1945; E. Ralston Goldsborough, 1936-1938; Carl E. Guthe, 1935-1938; Neil M. Judd, 1931-1938; Thomas Mayr, 1930-1938, 1940; W. C. McKern, 1935-1939; Warren K. Moorehead, 1915-1919, 1921-1922, 1936-1937; H. Geiger Omwake, 1944.

Financial Material

The material is dated from 1890-1979 with the bulk falling in the period 1930-1979. However, there are many gaps. Included are checking account statements, cancelled checks and check stubs, miscellaneous bank notes, deposit slips, and statements, plus miscellaneous stock, bond, and security dividend notices and statements. There is also federal and state tax material, plus miscellaneous documents such as insurance policies, leases, and deposit certificates. Of some interest are miscellaneous items pertaining to the estates of William Bose, Victoria Gittings, and Mrs. William N. Marye.

Scholarly and Literary Material

The items in this section were apparently generated over a wide period of time from perhaps 1920 to 1960. The Scholarly Material contains a large number of typed or handwritten manuscripts and rough drafts with accompanying research notes and source citations. Much of this material was the basis for articles published in such periodicals as the Maryland Historical Magazine. Topics include Maryland and Indians, local history, and topography. Much of the material is titled and is alphabetically arranged. The Literary Material (fiction and poetry) includes a comparable number of typed or handwritten drafts and accompanying notes. There are several works of fiction of novel length or short story length, a play, and poetry, including Farewell to Life and Collected Poems. The material is alphabetically arranged by title.

Genealogical Material

This section is divided into four subsections which reflect how Marye created and maintained his records: Family Files, Miscellaneous Genealogical Research Material, Genealogical Correspondence, and Genealogical Source Files. Most of the material was apparently created in the period 1930-1970. The Family Files created by Marye include research notes, source citations, family lineages, and related correspondence. The Family Files are alphabetically arranged according to surname. Of particular interest are several files of Marye genealogy. The Miscellaneous Genealogical Research Material includes research material and source citations that were separate or separated from the Family Files. This material is unarranged because the surnames and information are so intermingled. The Genealogical Correspondence which was separate or separated from the Family Files contains a mixture of surnames and is alphabetically arranged according to correspondent. The Genealogical Source Files include genealogical data gathered by Marye from specific publications, institutions, or government agencies. The material is alphabetically arranged by name of publication or agency.

Historical Material

This section contains files created by Marye which include research notes, source citations, manuscript drafts, plats, maps, and related correspondence. Topics include Maryland Indians (paths, roads, villages), local history (especially Baltimore County), natural history (rivers, streams, wildlife), and some archaeological references. The material is alphabetically arranged by topic and was apparently created in the period 1925-1975 with the bulk falling in the period 1930-1960.

Research Notebooks and Journals

Making up the bulk of the section are some sixty research notebooks comprised of abstracts from deeds, wills indentures, and other land and legal data along with some genealogical and archaeological references. Twenty-seven of the notebooks are in Roman numeral sequence but with many numerical gaps; 16 are marked with letter/s; and 15 are without coverboards but presumably part of the Roman numeral set or the letter-marked set. The research notebooks were apparently created in the period 1920-1935. Another two notebooks, dated 1934 and 1935, are without markings of any kind and contain the same type of information. Many detached coverboards with the same type of data on the inside boards are included. Research done for the Colonial Dames of America is found in eleven notebooks numbered in Roman numeral sequence apparently created in the period 1920-1930. The notebooks include research notes and source citations pertaining to persons seeking membership in the Colonial Dames of America. There is a large journal containing a name index keyed to the notebooks. Research notes and source citations for the Burton, Cobbs, Jett, and Gilder lineages are found in four research notebooks. The notebooks are alphabetically arranged and fall in the period 1927-1930. Research on a variety of topics including Baltimore and Harford County place names, land data abstracts, and some genealogical information is found in three notebooks probably created in the period 1920-1935. Three travel journals describing trips to Scotland and the Shetland Islands, plus a canoe trip in Maryland fall in the period 1910-1914. There is also a garden club account book and a date book created by relatives of Marye (Mrs. William N. Marye and Mary Forman Day) dated 1910-1945. Finally, three scrapbooks: Volume I, dated 1910-1945, primarily comprised of photographs and observations of expeditions on the Susquehanna and Conowingo Rivers (1916). Also family photographs, recollections of Bellevue, and anecdotes; Volume II, dated 1910-1940, containing primarily photographs, postcards, and observations of travel on the Orkney and Shetland Islands (1910). Also family photographs and recollections of Bellevue farm; Volume III, dated 1925-1960, containing family photographs, postcards, and newspaper clippings mounted on pages containing genealogical data on the Marye family as well as other families.

Miscellaneous Research Material

This section includes intermingled research notes, source citations, rough drafts, maps, and plats probably created in the period 1910-1960. Topics include local history, topography, abstracts of deeds, wills, and other land and legal records, and some archaeological references. Also included are photocopies of deeds, wills, land patents, land surveys, indentures, and other land and legal documents that Marye used in his research and writing. Oversized photocopies and maps have been removed to the oversize file.

Legal Documents

This section chiefly contains copies of wills and codecils. Items pertaining to Mr. Marye are dated 1914-1979. Other items (mostly relating to Marye's family) are dated 1767-1969.

Early Day Family Manuscripts

Most of the principals (ancestors of Marye) include Edward A. Day, John Y. Day, William Y. Day, Other names that appear are G. G. Brewer and W. L. Young. The items, dated 1745-1879, include indenture contracts, codecils, deeds, depositions, receipts, plats, and letters, and are chronologically arranged.

Early Unidentified Manuscripts

Includes letters, plats, poems, and other items whose creators are unknown. Undated and unarranged.

Correspondence Transcriptions

These are transcriptions of letters dated 1800-1811. They are in chronological order with major correspondents including F. Fuller, P. Fuller, Sarah Goldsborough, John Lytton, John Potter, and Samuel Potter.


Items dated 1907, 1913-1929, and 1955-1976. Included are garden plans and purchase lists, lists of valuables, address lists, and Christmas and Easter card lists. Also Marye's Bachelor of Arts diploma from Johns Hopkins University (removed to the oversize file).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequest of William Bose Marye in 1979.

Related Materials

MS 0563, Marye-Gittings collection, circa 1838-1928

PP 0031, William B. Marye photograph and ephemera collection, circa 1840-1956

PP 0276, William Bose Marye family album, circa 1881-1974

Scope and Contents

A large part of the William Bose Marye Collection is correspondence; genealogical, topographical, and historical research material; and items of a more personal nature such as financial data, travel journals, and wills. Based primarily on subject or type of material the collection is divided into 13 sections which reflect how Marye created his records (primarily by subject), or what in the processor's judgment belonged together to make logical sense for future users. Much of the material, particularly the research material, is intermixed so there is some overlap among the sections. There was also a problem of accurately dating the material, especially the research notes, so inclusive dates are often broad.

Guide to the William Bose Marye collection
Under Revision
Charles L. Rodgers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Revision Statements

  • 2020-02-13: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Sandra Glascock

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States