Center for Archival Collections

Reference Services | Manuscripts by Subject | CAC Homepage

Mary Jackson Collection - MS 776

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


The Mary Jackson Papers were donated to the Center for Archival Collections in 1998 by Mary Jackson and through the assistance of Paul Yon, Director of the Center for Archival Collections. The collection is open to all researchers. Researchers are responsible for securing permission to reproduce unpublished materials.

Biographical Sketch

Mary Louise Drummer was born March 6, 1923 in Ottawa, Ohio, the seventh of ten children. Mary, reared a Catholic, was educated by the Precious Blood nuns. She married a man named Campbell during World War II, and they became the parents of one son, Michael. Her husband was killed in action at Okinawa in 1945. In 1947, she married Frederick Eckman (MS 775), and their son Thomas was born on October 2 of that year. Typical of many couples taking advantage of the G. I. Bill, the Eckmans first lived in Columbus, Ohio, where Fred attended the Ohio State University and Mary kept house. There Eckman earned his bachelor of arts (cum laude, 1948), master of arts (1949), and doctoral degree (1954) in literature.

Eckman worked as an instructor of English at Glennville State Teachers College in Glennville, West Virginia (1949-1951) and as an assistant instructor at the Ohio State University (1952-1954), and Mary supplemented the family income by part-time work and babysitting. When Eckman became a member of the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin (1954-1960), Mary began teaching at the Jeffrey Nursery School. The marriage was a troubled one, however, and the couple divorced in 1960.

In 1961, Eckman accepted a position in the English Department at Bowling Green State University. In 1962-1963, Mary and Thomas lived in Spain for nine months. On their return to Toledo, Ohio, Thomas completed his high school education, graduating from Scott High School in 1966. He enrolled as a freshman at the University of Texas-Austin for the summer term. On August 1, 1966, he was among those killed by a sniper shooting from the University Tower. In Thomas' memory, Frederick and Martha Eckman established the Thomas F. Eckman Memorial Collection in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of BGSU's Jerome Library, donating the core poetry collection and establishing a fund for its continued growth.

Training as a VISTA volunteer in 1966, Mary was sent to New York City where she was instrumental in establishing daycare programs throughout the city. Meanwhile, her son Michael Campbell entered the army in the mid-1960s, and while serving in Korea married Li Song. Two children were born to the couple. Song was hospitalized for mental illness, and Mary raised the two boys during the next fifteen years. In June 1968, Mary married Henry Jackson, a retired labor leader. He died six years later. Mary was involved in progressively more responsible positions in New York City daycare and social service agencies. She retired in 1984.

Scope and Content

The Mary Jackson Collection includes an autobiography, correspondence, literary works by Frederick Eckman and a small number of photographs.

The correspondence is from Frederick Eckman to his son Thomas and to Eckman's first wife Mary and covers the period from 1962 to 1965, primarily during the time Mary and Thomas spent in Spain. The sixty-six letters reveal the complex nature of their relationship following their divorce and can be used in conjunction with the letters from Mary to Fred found in Eckman's papers (MS 775) to give the researcher some understanding of their personal lives. There is no correspondence after 1965, and it appears that they no longer were in contact with each other.

The poetry included in the collection (some in typescript form) was all written by Frederick Eckman, and is often dedicated to or addressed to Mary, highly personal poetry, which in the context of this collection reveals again the sources for many of Eckman's later works.

The photographs include three original photographs and four copies depicting Mary, Fred, and Thomas Eckman at various times from 1955-1966.

Series Description


No arrangement
Includes a curriculum vita for Mary Jackson detailing her work experience and her autobiography covering the years 1947-1960, the time of her marriage to Frederick Eckman.


Arranged chronologically
Correspondence from Frederick Eckman to his son Thomas and to his ex-wife Mary.


ca. 1947-1960s
No arrangement
Seven poems by Frederick Eckman, some dedicated to Mary.


No arrangement
Photographs of Frederick, Mary, and Thomas Eckman.


Box 1


  1. Curriculum vita and autobiography of Mary Jackson, written in 1997
  2. Correspondence from Frederick Eckman to Thomas Eckman, 1964
  3. Correspondence from Frederick Eckman to Mary Eckman (Jackson), 1962
  4. Correspondence from Frederick Eckman to Mary Eckman (Jackson), 1963
  5. Correspondence from Frederick Eckman to Mary Eckman (Jackson), 1964
  6. Correspondence from Frederick Eckman to Mary Eckman (Jackson), 1965
  7. Poetry by Frederick Eckman, n.d.
  8. Photographs of Frederick, Mary, and Thomas Eckman, ca. 1955-1966

Manuscripts by Subject | Rare Books & Special Collections