The Boys’ Room: Maggie’s Story

Three Wylie Women: A Generation of Late Nineteenth-Century Mothers
As you explore the exhibit, click on images to learn more about the artifacts and to read full transcriptions and view full-size scans of the letters.

For the exhibit, the Boys’ Room serves as the stage for the story of Maggie Wylie Mellette, the mother of four boys, Wylie, Charlie, Anton, and Dick. The life of the Maggie Wylie Mellette exemplified the difficulties of mothering and maintaining the idealized vision of maternity. Her struggles with chronic illness and her eventual move out west impacted her ability to mother and raise her boys. Maggie’s health problems were attributed to a severe case for scarlet fever which she suffered as a child. Further exacerbating her condition, the vast and laborious expectations of mothering took a toll on her health, eventually motivating her husband Arthur to seek a “better climate” for his sickly wife.

Confused on who's who? Take a look at the Family Relationship Chart at the end of this exhibit.

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