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Bulkley-Shelland family papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00264

Scope and Contents

The Bulkley-Shelland Family Papers consist of 1.5 linear feet and primarily consist of material related to Annie Dorothy (Trickey) Shelland, James C. Shelland, and Julia Ellen (Bulkley) Shelland with a few items about other family members and friends. The collection dates from 1864 to 1961 and contains family history, correspondence, photographs, sermons and other writings, travel diaries, and Julia Bulkley's scrapbook of news clippings. The papers are arranged by family member as follows:


The bulk of the papers date from 1864 to 1900. The correspondence consists primarily of letters between Annie Trickey and James Shelland from directly before and after their marriage. James' work as a travelling minister had him constantly on the road resulting in a monthly or bi-monthly exchange of letters. They provide an interesting window on the life of a "long-distance" couple in the late 1800s. The majority of the surviving letters were written by Annie.

Before their marriage, the two were close enough for Annie to provide comfort and encouragement to James regarding his work. Later letters discuss family goings-on, updates on their children, home, illnesses, interesting reading material, and provide news of or messages from mutual friends. They also include logistics about planning visits, and admonishment for late replies, such as "I really had begun to think your wife was forsaken and left for some other woman - it was quite a relief to see an envelope directed in your hand writing and to find inside a letter from you." Letters penned by James contain advice on home maintenance as well as updates on his work building churches and raising money.

The papers also contain some correspondence by Julia Bulkley, including an interesting set of letters to her step-daughter Annie (Shelland) Williams, which discuss their friendship and travel together. There are also a few letters between James Shelland and his children and grandchildren.

The collection also includes sixteen diaries chronicling the travels of James Shelland and Julia Bulkley between 1886 and 1890. The diaries contain daily accounts of their travel as well as notes on educational facilities they visited. Julia Bulkley's scrapbook contains news articles and other printed material related to her work at Plainfield High School and position on the board of education in Plainfield, New Jersey.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1864-1961


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works in this collection created by Bulkley-Shelland family members. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Annie Dorothy Trickey was born on October 12, 1847 to John Trickey, a contractor and lumber dealer, and his wife Elizabeth in Dover, New Hampshire. Annie attended the Fort Edward Institute, a Methodist Episcopal boarding seminary in Fort Edward, New York, where she met her future husband and became good friends with Julia Bulkley. After graduating with high honors, Annie married James C. Shelland in 1868 and, according to her obituary in the Aberdeen, South Dakota Daily News, "shared with him the vicissitudes of an itinerant minister's life." Annie (Trickey) Shelland died on May 7, 1897.

James Caedmon Shelland was born January 13, 1845 in Westford, New York, to Isaac and Abigail Wright Shelland, who were farmers. He attended Westford Academy and Fort Edward Institute, studied business, taught school, and worked as a journalist before entering Union College in 1868. He left Union in 1870 to join the Methodist Episcopal church as a pastor in the Wyoming Conference in Pennsylvania. He worked as a travelling minister, evangelist, lecturer, and writer in Pennsylvania and New York State, including among the Albany Praying Band of Christianized Indians. In 1883, the Wyoming Conference sent him as a missionary to the Dakota Territory where he worked in Alexandria, Vermillion, Aberdeen and, in 1892, as a teacher in the Sisseton Indian Boarding School. Later, the Shellands moved to northern Minnesota where Rev. Shelland worked under the auspices of the Congregational Church. In 1900, three years after Annie's death, James Shelland married her close friend from school days, Julia Ellen Bulkley.

Julia Ellen Bulkley was born April 25, 1848 in Danbury, Connecticut to farmers Turney and Olive Bulkley. Educated at Fort Edward Institute in Fort Edward, New York, she rose through the ranks in the Plainfield, New Jersey school system from high school classroom teacher in 1869 to superintendent of schools. Bulkley joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1892, and almost immediately took leave to work toward a Ph.D. at the University of Zurich. After earning her doctorate in 1895, she served the University of Chicago as Associate Professor of Pedagogy and Dean of Women until her marriage to James Shelland in 1900. In 1898, Bulkley was cited in Harper's Bazaar as one of America's "leading feminine educators." After their marriage Julia and James Shelland travelled extensively in Europe and the Middle East, visiting schools in other countries. Julia Bulkley died on January 31, 1935, followed by James Shelland on September 14 of the same year.

Two of James and Annie's children survived to adulthood: John, born in 1872, and Annie, born in 1878. Annie (Shelland) Williams was a teacher, writer, and superintendent of rural schools in Minnesota. She was also chairman of the Parks and Highway Commission of the General Federation of Women's Clubs. She died on April 4, 1964.


1.313 linear feet (5 containers)


The Bulkley-Shelland Family papers primarily includes material relating to Annie Dorothy Trickey, James Shelland, and Julia Ellen Bulkley. The collection contains family history, correspondence, photographs, lectures, travel diaries, and Julia Bulkley's high school scrapbook.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection came to the Sophia Smith Collection in 1990-1992 via the Minnesota Historical Society, where they were originally donated by Hildred Shelland Long. Additional materials were donated by her niece Carolyn Shelland Buscher.

Related Materials

Related materials are in the Frank and Hildred Long Papers in the Minnesota Historical Society.

Processing Information

Processed by Alexandra Bush, 2016.

Bulkley-Shelland family papers
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Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:22-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063