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Historic Sotterley papers

Identifier: MSS-049

Scope and Contents

The Historic Sotterley papers contain materials primarily about the history of Sotterley Plantation ("Sotterley"). The collection consists of architectural materials; biographical sketches; correspondence; deeds; land surveys; obituaries; newspaper clippings; notes; obituaries; photograph albums; publications, such as one book and booklet; and transcripts. The bulk of the material is dated from circa 1890 to 2015.

The collection largely documents the history of Sotterley; its architectural and landscape features; and the lives and experiences of different individuals--including enslaved persons--who interacted with Sotterley over the years. Significant individuals and topics in this collection include the Sotterley Oral History Project, an effort of the Sotterley Education Committee to gather oral histories from individuals who helped develop Sotterley; Chas. A. Howard, a county surveyor who created numerous land surveys of Sotterley and neighboring areas; and the Briscoe, Plater, and Satterlee families, who were involved with the construction or ownership of Sotterley.


  • 1636, 1674, circa 1716-2021

Language of Materials note

Materials entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open without restriction.

Administrative History

Originally founded as "Sotterley Foundation" in 1961 by former Sotterley owner Mabel Satterlee Ingalls, Historic Sotterley Plantation, Inc. researches the history of the Sotterley Plantation; preserves the plantation; and -- through tours, events, and other programs -- educates its visitors about Sotterley and its history.

Sotterley Foundation was designated as a historic property by the National Park Service and the National Trust of Historic Preservation in April 1961. Sometime in or after 1993, Sotterley Foundation changed its name to Historic Sotterley Plantation.

The organization is currently governed by a board of trustees, whose members have included John Hanson Briscoe, former speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, and Maryland Women's Hall of Fame member Agnes Kane Callum.


-Materials from within the collection, particularly Jeanne K. Pirtle's 2013 book "Sotterley Plantation". -"Sotterley Plantation," Sotterley Plantation, accessed September 11, 2018,


2.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes and 4 oversized folders.)


Historic Sotterley Plantation is a non-profit entity that preserves the Sotterley Plantation and educates visitors about the estate and its history. The Historic Sotterley papers document the history of Sotterley, as well as the experiences of individuals associated with the plantation, and include correspondence, deeds, land surveys, oral history transcripts, newspaper clippings, and photographs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Historic Sotterley Plantation transferred this collection to the St. Mary's College of Maryland Archives in June, 2017, in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding. Two folders from the John H. Biscoe papers (MSS 025), one folder from the John Bohanan papers (MSS 027), as well as one item from the Jane Yowaiski papers (MSS 026), were added in September and October 2018. Additionally, Jeanne K. Pirtle's book, "Sotterley Plantation," was added to this collection as part of its "Publications" series. More material expected.

Related Archival Materials note

Many of Sotterley's photographs have been digitized, and are available on the Digital Maryland website:

A selection of Sotterley's oral histories have been added to the SlackWater Oral History Collection:

There are additional Sotterley materials in MSS 001 J. Frank Raley papers Series XIII Sotterley Plantation:

Processing Information

Steven Gentry, Archives Technician, Fall 2018.

Historic Sotterley papers
Finding aid prepared by Steven Gentry, Archives Technician
2018 September
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the St. Mary's College of Maryland Archives Repository

Calvert Hall
St. Mary's College of Maryland
47645 College Dr.
St. Mary's City MD 20686-3001 United States