Main content

Rachel Leah Lindeman album


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Mrs. Rachel Leah Lindeman was born Rachel Leah Hassell during the first half of the nineteenth century. She was baptized by the Lall-Bazar Baptist Church of Calcutta, India, on November 30, 1856. In 1857 Miss Hassell married Mr. Peter Stephen Lindeman, who had also been baptized by the Lall-Bazar Church on September 30, 1855.

Wenger, Edward Steane.The Story of the Lall Bazar Baptist Church Calcutta: Being the History of Carey's Church from 24th April 1800 to the Present Day. Calcutta: Edinburgh Press, 1908.

The Rachel Leah Lindeman album is a presentation album which was given to Lindeman on March 18, 1862, in honor of her birthday. The album, which contains thirty-four pages of photographs, poems, artwork (pencil sketches, ink drawings, cartoons, illuminations, watercolors, etc.), elaborate calligraphy, and pressed flowers dating from 1862 to 1877, is a fine example of a Victorian presentation album with colonial Indian influences.

The album includes eleven hand-illuminated poems. The first poem, an acrostic poem using the letters in Rachel Leah Lindeman's name, was written by a "dear friend" in honor of Lindeman's birthday. Subsequent poems include the following: "Wreaths of Memory" (illuminated border signed J. T. and dated June 3, 1856), "A Prayer" (dated November 26, 1877), "O for a heart to praise my God," "Sabbath 29th November 1863" by R. W. Chill, "The Lily and the Rose" (dated April 24, 1862), "The Lily of the Valley" (dated April 24, 1862), "Brougham Castle Westmorland" (with accompanying sketch), "Our Traveler" (with two accompanying cartoons), "Temple of Jupiter Olympius" (dated April 24, 1862), and "Lay of the Deserted Influenz'ed" (with accompanying cartoon). Most of the poems contain religious or floral themes and are written in elaborate calligraphy. At least one of the poems, "Sabbath 29th November 1863," was written by one of Lindeman's fellow church members at the Lall-Bazar Baptist Church in Calcutta. The poem's author, R.W. Chill, was both a member of the church as well as an agent of the Seaman's Friends Society which sought to convert American sailors in the ports of colonial India.

In addition to these calligraphic poems, the album also includes many sketches and drawings. Many, but not all, of the illustrations are signed and dated. Some of the common names and initials from the illustrations include: J. T., W. B. Nyss, H. H. H., and S. J. Two of the most unique pages of illustrations bear drawings with an Asian feel. One page near the front of the album includes an illustration depicting a vibrant floral arrangement with a stylized bird painted on the surface of a pressed leaf. The following page includes two small (approximately 3 x 4.5 inch) drawings on fine, silky paper of an Asian costume and boat. Other illustrations in the album depict British buildings (Westminster Abbey, Melrose Abbey, and Brougham Castle Westmorland), wildlife scenes, flowers, and Martin Luther, as well as a head-and-shoulders profile of an exotic woman. Many of the floral drawings are signed "W.B. Nyss," most certainly the lithographer W. B. Nyss who was working in India in the 1860s.

The album also includes several mid-nineteenth century portrait photographs. A few of these photographs depict British royals, including Queen Victoria and Prince Consort Albert. Another photograph underscores the background of the album's owner, Rachel Leah Lindeman, who resided in colonial India in the 1850s and 1860s. The oval photograph shows a young woman in indigenous dress looking away from the camera. The name "B. F. Simpson ferit." is written beneath the photograph as is the photograph's title "A Lepcha female." This photograph also appeared in the 1868 volume

The People of India: A Series of Photographic Illustrations, with Descriptive Letterpress, of the Races and Tribes of Hindustan, Originally Prepared Under the Authority of the Government of India, and Reproduced by Order of the Secretary of State for India in Council (London: India museum, 1868). Additional photographs depict Rachel Leah Lindeman's family members including her "mother's father" and "Uncle Charles." Most of the photographs in the album are surrounded by detailed hand-drawn frames.

Finally, three loose leaves (pages 15-20) torn from the 1853 publication

Cæsar's commentaries on the Gallic and Civil Wars: with the supplementary books attributed to Hirtius ; including the Alexandrian, African and Spanish wars (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853) are laid into the final pages of the album.

  1. Item 0008: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0093 medium

Purchase, 2008.

Processed and encoded by Lora J. Davis, July 2009.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2009 July 6
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Rachel Leah Lindeman album, 1862-1877.
Item 0008

Print, Suggest