Mary Elizabeth Post Collection

TITLE: Mary Elizabeth Post Collection 

DATE RANGE: 1875 - 2000


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 1 Box (.5 linear feet)



RESTRICTIONS: This collection is unrestricted.   

CREDIT LINE: Mary Elizabeth Post Collection, Y-MS 11, Yuma County Library District

PROCESSED BY:  Benjamin Findley, July 2013


Mary Elizabeth Post was an influential school teacher in early Yuma. She was born in Elizabeth Town, New York on June 17th 1841. Her early years were marked with a love of learning, which was supported by her father who purportedly hired tutors to come to their home when the local school was not in session. By the time she was 15, Mary had begun to teach classes as well as take them. In 1862 Mary’s family moved to Iowa where she followed, teaching in a number of different schools around the state. 

Turning down the position of Preceptress at Upper Iowa University due to low pay, Mary decided that she might have better prospects in the West. On January 15, 1872 she took a train to California with the intention of starting a private school for girls. However, she was invited to teach at Ehrenburg, Arizona and after some consideration she took the offer. She spent four months teaching in Ehrenburg. 

After Mary left Ehrenberg she spent the next several years teaching in Yuma, Arizona and San Diego, California. Eventually she settled in Yuma full time. She continued teaching in Yuma until her retirement in 1912, and later received an honorary master’s degree in education from the University of Arizona for her long service to the schools of Arizona. After her retirement, Mary continued to tutor and teach English as a second language. She died in Yuma on September 15, 1934.


Series I: Biographical

Includes significant information about Mary Post, including a newspaper articles both about and written by Mary Post. Also inlcudes a copy of an employment contract between Mary and the Yuma School District, a pay voucher from 1910 and a copy of Mary’s death certificate.

Series II: Correspondence

Contains two letters written by Mary Post, including an 1875 letter to her brother about meeting Martha Summerhayes in Ehrenburg, Arizona.  Also includes correspondence about her as well as letters from the Elizabeth Town Historical Society requesting information about the Post family. 

Series III: Hall of Fame

Contains material related to Mary Post’s induction into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame in 2002.

Series IV: Manuscripts

Contains notes and pre-written speeches for an actor to play Mary Post in a historical character re-enactment. Also includes a handwritten copy of a short autobiographical sketch written by Mary Post in 1931.

Series V: Memorabilia

Contains a calling card inscribed with Mary’s name, and a flyer listing instructions for teachers in 1872

Series VI: Photos

This series contains photocopies of photographs.

Series VII: Publications

This series contains a six volume encyclopedia, The Fine Arts, from Mary’s private library.


Box Folder Title Dates
1 1 Biographical

1886 –

2007, n.d.

  2 Correspondence 1875 – 2003
  3 Hall of Fame 1988 – 2002
  4 Manuscripts: Historical Character Re-enactment 1992, n.d.
  5 Manuscripts: Mary Elizabeth Post 1931
  6 Memorabilia n.d.
  7 Photos n.d.
  8 Publications: The Fine Arts Vol. I – II 1906
  9 Publications: The Fine Arts Vol. III – IV 1906
  10 Publications: The Fine Arts Vol. V – VI 1906
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