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Isaac William Ward and Nancy Ward Martin family papers

Collection MS-2003-053: Isaac William Ward and Nancy Ward Martin family papers


  • Creation: 1858-1979

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of the papers of Isaac William Ward and his granddaughter Nancy Ward Martin from 1858-1979. Issac William Ward's papers include personal correspondence, gift receipt letters concerning his donations to libraries and museums, photographs, and articles and obituaries about Ward, as well as some business documents.

Nancy Ward Martin's materials including correspondence, diaries, address books, articles, photographic materials, and Ward family genealogical information and ephemera. The bulk of her correspondence is with her husband and family. The diaries, which date from 1924-1977, concern social events and housekeeping matters.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical note: Isaac W. Ward

Isaac William Ward was born in Belfast, Ireland on September 13, 1834. His father was Arthur Ward and his mother Martha (Jones) Ward. The Ward family was well-known in the Belfast community for over 200 years. He married Jane Kirker and they had three sons, John Kirker, Arthur George, and William James.

Ward worked in the linen industry and in 1849 served an apprenticeship with Belfast Linen Firm. Ward’s success in the linen business allowed him to donate to local museums such as the Belfast Municipal Art Gallery and Museum. He was also an amateur astronomer who published many articles and was the first to discover a supernova in the Andromeda galaxy in 1885. A modest man, he used the pen-names "Belfastiensis" and "Linea" when contributing to Belfast newspapers and astronomical journals.

Ward died on October 11, 1916 in Belfast.


“Authority on Belfast History,” Belfast Evening-Telegraph, October 11, 1916.

Beesley, D. E. “Isaac Ward and S Andromedae.” Irish Astronomical Journal, vol. 17(2), p. 98-102.

Biographical note: Nancy Ward Martin

Nancy Ward Martin was the granddaughter of Issac William Ward. She was born on August 11, 1899 in Belfast, Ireland to John Kirker Ward and Margaret Jane Gordon. In 1927 she married Alexander Reid Martin and soon after their marriage they immigrated to the United States. The couple lived in both New York and Connecticut and had several children, including two sons, Roger and Gordon. Nancy Ward Martin died on March 27, 1986 in Connecticut.


"Nancy Ward Martin," Find A Grave, Accessed March 19, 2020.

"Nancy Ward Martin," United States Census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02643; Page: 61B; Enumeration District: 31-827

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Naturalization Petitions of the US District Court for the District of Maryland, 1906-1930; Microfilm Roll: 39; Microfilm Serial: M1640


4.25 Linear Feet (4 containers)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of the papers of Belfast resident Isaac William Ward and his granddaughter Nancy Ward Martin. Materials include correspondence, diaries, address books, genealogical materials, photographic material, business and donation records, as well as clippings and articles.


Collection is arranged into two series: I. Isaac William Ward papers, II. Nancy Ward Martin papers. Series I is further arranged into four sub-series: A. Correspondence; B. Photographs; C. Documents; and D. Articles and obituaries. Series II is arranged into five sub-series: A. Correspondence, B. Ward family genealogy; C. Photographic materials; D. Diaries; and E. Ephemera.


Purchased from Constance and Gary Hillman in 2003.

Isaac William Ward and Nancy Ward Martin Family Papers
Kelly J.S. McGovern, 2003; Rachael Young
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States