The Edson family papers are made up of letters that Hanford Wisner Edson and Elmer Rockwood Edson wrote to their parents and sister while attending and teaching at Philips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, and Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in the late 1880s and early 1890s. The brothers wrote of their coursework, social activities, acquaintances, and finances, and responded to news from home, particularly information about their sister Helen's frail health. Printed programs are also present.
0.25 linear feet
Collection processed and finding aid created by Meg Hixon, March 2012
Scope and Content:
The Edson family papers (110 items) are mostly made up of over 100 letters that Hanford Wisner Edson and Elmer Rockwood Edson wrote to their parents and sister while attending and teaching at Philips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, and Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in the late 1880s and early 1890s.
Elmer Rockwood Edson discussed his social life, leisure activities, and classes at Phillips Exeter Academy (1886-1890) and Williams College (1891-1894). He frequently mentioned his limited finances, and sometimes attached receipts or noted recent purchases, especially of clothing. Additionally, he wrote about his regular attendance at church services and his occasional games of tennis. On December 12, 1891, he sent a four-page letter to his sister Helen in which he described the developmental stages of tadpoles and frogs, illustrated by two drawings.
Hanford Edson wrote about his experiences while attending and teaching at Williams College and while teaching at Robert College in Constantinople, Turkey. He discussed his participation in Williams College's glee club, his decision to move to Turkey, and his life in Williamstown, Massachusetts, after his return from Eurasia. Both brothers commented on the frail health of their sister Helen.
The collection has programs for three events:
13th Annual Contest for the Graves Oratorical Prize (June 22, )
Commencement Concert by Williams College Glee and Banjo Clubs (June 24, 1889)
Reverend Hanford Abram Edson (1837-1920) and his wife Helen had at least four children: Hanford Wisner (July 4, 1871-1923), Elmer Rockwood (b. November 1872), Helen M. (b. October 6, 1879, m. Charles Taft Ennis), and Caroline M. (b. January 1881). The Edson family lived in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Hanford Wisner Edson graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 1890 and taught mathematics at Robert College, a private boarding school in Constantinople (now Istanbul), Turkey, until the mid-1890s, when he returned to Williams College as an instructor of elocution and rhetoric. After an unspecified incident in February 1896, he was admitted to the state asylum in Northampton, Massachusetts, but he later became a minister and book salesman.
Elmer Rockwood Edson attended the Phillips Exeter Academy until 1890 and attended Williams College between 1890 and 1891. He became a surgeon after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1899 and worked in Indianapolis, Indiana; Biloxi, Mississippi; Seattle, Washington; and Wheatland Township, New York, where he lived with his father, brother, and sister Caroline in 1920. Both Edson brothers were members of the Delta Upsilon fraternity while at Williams College.
1995. M-3159.2 .
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.
Rules or Conventions:
Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
Additional Descriptive Data:
"College Professor Insane." The New York Times 23 February 1896.
The Delta Upsilon Decennial Catalogue. Delta Upsilon Fraternity, 1902.
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