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Amy Kirby papers, 1824-1825

8 items

The Amy Kirby (later Amy Kirby Post) collection consists of courtship letters written to Charles Willets describing their relationship as well as Kirby's life as a Quaker.

Seven of these letters are courtship letters from Amy Kirby to Charles Willets, each one longer than the one before, until by the seventh, every page has cross-hatching. Her love for Charles developed over the course of the correspondence, and by her last letter, she wrote happily and assuredly about becoming his wife. The eighth, and final, letter is a beautiful testament of her love from Amy to Charles' parents after she had learned of her intended's death.

After having given Charles permission to initiate a correspondence while she was out visiting with Scipio friends, Amy's first letter appeared to indicate a change of heart. Although she admitted that she felt "what I may romantically call a pang at receiving" his declaration of love, she asked Charles to "dismiss me from thy remembrance without a sigh" (1824 March 9). She gave no satisfactory reason, and Charles refused to be put off. He proved himself capable of reading between the lines, and his next foray at least supplied an explanation -- however unsatisfactory. Amy confessed, "When I replyed to thy first, I did not think it prudent to announce a dedication of heart, without the knowledge of my parents -- as it was the most probable, the hand would next be required -- I therefore informed them, alone, with the circumstance, and found their approbation unattainable -- it still is and I trust ever will be -- and now Charles please, unreluctantly, relinquish the idea, for it is my duty to obey, and thine to submit" (1824 April 3). Amy went on to intimate that she felt strongly for Charles, but warned him, "think not that I intend by these acknowledgments to rekindle thy affection... I must bid adieu to thee forever..."

By the time Amy wrote again, in October, the situation had brightened, about as inextricably as it had shadowed over. Without the letters written by Charles it is difficult to deduct what the points of contention were. It appears that Amy doubted his sincerity somewhat, or else felt that she had to let Charles convince her of his sincerity for the course of a few months before she would allow herself to be persuaded of his honorable intentions. In any case, her parents no longer presented an obstacle, except that Amy could not bear the thought of parting from them or leaving Locust Grove. She handed her suitor a challenge: "therefore until thou canst teach me to believe, that Skaneateles is adjacent to Locust Grove, and that I can be happier, without parents than with, more comfortably separated from brothers and sisters, than together, and finally more happy with thee, than with anyone else, I can not I believe consent to become a Willets. . ." (1824 October 26).

He must have taught her, and quickly, for by the next spring, she was thawing: "Oh how often do I wish that the enduring ties of native home, would loose their power to charm, and then my heart, perhaps would dare to acknowledge that it gave thee the prefferance..." (1825 April 5). Amy was frank about her feelings for Charles, and stated, "I seam to think that what the hart dictates need not be repressed" (1825 January 30). In her last letter to him, she boldly shifted her focus to the physical realm: "the pressure of thy hand is indelibly stampt on my heart -- thou must never my dear C expose me or this to any one, I should blush to think that any one knew it but him to whom my hand is to be given. I fear I have written to warmly..." (1825 May 16).

The health of Charles, her family, and herself typically got a mention in Amy's letters. She put on weight, changing from 92 to 103 pounds, only to lose it all when she was confined with a cold for two weeks. She was concerned about Charles' cough, and recommended Anderson's drops. She took a molasses and butter mixture for her own sore throat. Amy also told Charles about what various Friends were up to socially, and speculated about which couples would next announce their engagements. His parents came to call on her, and she was relieved that they knew of their son's "prospect" and approved of his choice (1825 May 16).

Amy also wrote about some of the contention already surfacing amongst Quakers about their religious faith and practice. The theological disputes between reformers, led by Hicks, and the Orthodox Friends were further complicated by traveling Evangelical ministers from England, including Anna Braithwaite, who visited Hicks in January and March of 1824. Amy wrote to Charles, "it is likely you have heard of Anna Braithwaite's letter stating the antick notion doctrin professed by Elias Hicks and his reply, which is now published and to crown all Ann Shipley comes out with another printed letter affirming to the truth of A. B. statement after Elias had contradicted it, I think we grow worse and worse and what will be the end of this I know not but I believe the two women will tell more lies than one man..." (1824 October 26). The publication of Braithwaite's A letter from Anna Braithwaite to Elias Hicks on the nature of his doctrines (Philadelphia, printed for the reader, 1825) was the beginning of a pamphlet war between reformers and English Evangelicals that was still going on after the 1827-1828 separation.

When Braithwaite returned to America in 1825, Amy again expressed her own decided opinion: "O have the heard that Anna Braithwait is comeing again to America has got liberty of the monthly mg most folks are very sorry but for my part I am rather glad that she is comeing but I have little doubt but what she herself will be sorry for the truth apprehend will this time be told on her certificates" (1825 May 16). Apparently when Anna did arrive at Jericho in January of 1826 the meeting could not agree to endorse her traveling certificate as was customarily done, and finally it was just recorded as being received, without the typical approbation or the condemnation Amy had hoped for.


Appleby family papers, 1862-1902 (majority within 1864-1870)

1.25 linear feet

This collection documents the social life of rural Pennsylvania immediately after the Civil War through the correspondence of Tom Appleby and Mattie McNeal Appleby before their marriage.

This collection of Appleby family papers, which consists of approximately 350 items, documents the social life of rural Pennsylvania immediately after the Civil War as described by young people of marriageable age. In addition to documenting the re-entry into civil society of soldiers after the war, these papers show the writers' fascination and absorption with personal relationships, particularly with members of the opposite sex.

The courtship letters between Tom and Mattie comprise the bulk of the collection (roughly 110 pieces); Tom wrote a majority of these letters. All of their letters date between 1866 and 1870. The other letters in the collection are nearly all directed to either Tom or Mattie. Other letters to Tom include courtship letters from Annie Kelly during the war; courtship letters from Mattie McKibbin slightly after the war; letters from his brother, Daniel C. Montague Appleby; letters from Mattie's sister Kate; official and business letters; wartime letters from his grandfather, Daniel Montague; and wartime support letters from various girlfriends and acquaintances. Other letters to Mattie include letters from her sisters Kate and Dutton; letters from her mother, Mary; and letters from her girlfriends.

Tom Appleby was a morally upstanding, attractive young man, so courtship and marriage played a large part in his life after the civil war. His first girlfriend, Annie Kelly, was younger than Mattie. She supported the war effort in theory, and hated "copperheads," but was terribly unhappy about Tom's decision to volunteer for the Union Army. She encouraged Tom not to serve again when his term was up: "I never want to see you going Drafted while there is any honorable way of getting away with it" (1865 April 8). Even before the war Tom's romantic interests were shifting to Mattie McKibbin, as evidenced by a letter from his brother Dan, which mentioned that Tom was escorting Miss McKibbin (August 27, 1862). On May 9, 1866, a disgruntled Annie wrote Tom, "it might perhaps be interesting for you to know that your humble friend is still in existence." Although unhappy, Annie accepted Tom's informal breaking of their courtship, and she did not write him again until 1868, when she gave the news that she had married David Willes on April 28.

Tom's second girlfriend, Mattie McKibbin, was wiser and probably older than Annie Kelly. Mattie turned down a suitor, "Frank," and her letters reveal the pressure on women to marry. Frank wanted to know, "how that old maid of McKibbin's is getting along," she wrote to Tom on February 14, 1866. "He (Frank) is the same man who less than one year ago went to tell McKibbin's favorite daughter that she was the very star of his existence and also wondered how I could refuse, or rather slight, the undivided love of a man of his years for the friendship of a boy." Mattie, who was older than Tom, felt awkward about her age, and was uncomfortable turning down the suitor, but obviously hoped that Tom would consider her for marriage. "Let him go about McKibbin's old maid I can bear it as bravely as he can his disappointment" (February 18, 1866).

Like Mattie McNeal, Mattie McKibbin taught school and wrote intelligent, thoughtful letters. When no marriage proposal came from Tom, Mattie McKibbin became jealous of Mattie McNeal. Mattie McNeal, on the other hand, could not believe that Tom was not seriously involved with Mattie McKibbin. Tom declared in one letter to Mattie McNeal that he was fed up with women in general and sarcastically concluded, "Oh but after all women are a good institution, and have good hearts (i.e. when they have any at all)" (November 26, 1867). In his letter of December 12, 1867, Tom tried more seriously to explain his relationship with Mattie McKibbin, stating that he felt they corresponded "as brother and sister." Mattie McKibbin set her sights elsewhere, and in January 1868 married a Mr. Lefferty, ending her somewhat tempestuous relationship with Tom. "I suppose Lefferty will not allow me to send letters about his house," Tom predicted (January 30, 1868).

During the late 1860s, Tom corresponded often with Mattie McNeal, who wrote while teaching school at "Amberson's Valley." Although Tom had several girlfriends, he was fairly conservative in his thoughts and actions. Both he and Mattie McNeal felt a certain intellectual and moral superiority over some of their companions. Mattie turned down a date in Maryland because he was "as dumb as -- well a mule...I want somebody along who is intelligent" (October 28, 1866). Tom agreed with her, stating, "I know it is a pleasure indeed to talk to an intelligent, sensible lady, on subjects scientific or intellectual" (December 4, 1867). Tom felt that he should not allow his emotions to overwhelm his intellect, especially with love: "So I get in love, step by step and don't plunge head over heels in a day or week" (November 5, 1867). Additionally, Tom did not believe he should have more than one girlfriend while in a serious courtship: "That where there is an engagement; or an intention to bring on an engagement; that it is unwise and impolitic to receive the attentions of another" (January 12, 1868). Mattie agreed with Tom's caution against yielding to the emotions of love: "Hope neither of us may love an imaginary being of our own fancy, but each other as we are, with many faults and failings" (July 25, 1869). Mattie even considered being nicknamed "Miss Modesty" a compliment (January 4, 1868).

The two young adults focused more on morality as they became involved in evangelical Christianity. Both Tom and Mattie were Presbyterians, though Tom often went to Methodist services. Mattie once went to an immersion baptism ceremony, although she was not sure what she should make of the ritual: "I though it was quite gay to see the gentlemen dive under, but when it came to the ladies it made me shudder" (December 8, 1866). Both Mattie and Tom decided they wanted to make a public declaration of their faith in Christ. "The greatest desire of my heart is that I may love and serve God acceptably," Tom wrote Mattie (January 5, 1868). Mattie agreed, but showed a considerable amount of self-deprecation, stating, "I do so much want to be a Christian, a child of God but I am so sinful, so unworthy, and deserving only God's wrath and curse" (June 4, 1868). Tom, too, felt that he was lacking in goodness, but both persisted in their religious search, with guidance from the minister of the Presbyterian Church in Shade Gap, Mr. W.C. Kuhn. Mattie's letters to Tom often discuss her religious views and activities at length, including her opinions of sermons and preachers. She also discussed aspects of her work as a schoolteacher, such as her decision to hold evening spelling lessons in addition to regular classes.

If Tom was unhappy about his own impure thoughts and actions, he was doubly unhappy about his brother, Daniel. Dan was in many ways Tom's opposite. He was frivolous and carefree. While in the army, he wrote, "I have one or two sporting women, but I want one of respectability to go to church with" (March 24, 1865). He signed some of his letters "Blossom." Dan retained his wild ways while working with Tom in the dry goods store in Mount Union.

Both Mattie and Tom disapproved of Dan's behavior. As Tom experienced his religious revival and Dan became more seriously involved with his cousin Allie, Tom's disapproval grew: "I fear his precepts have not always been the most wholesome. He seems restrained by nothing save the restraints of society, and these he violates behind the curtains" (February 16, 1868). Allie's mother disapproved of their relationship, so Dan and Allie arranged "clandestine meetings." In her letter to Tom on April 10, 1869, Mattie was impressed and almost jealous of the disobedient behavior of Dan and Allie: "Dan and Jim brought them [Kate and Allie] home the old lady never dreaming that Dan was within 300 miles of her daughter. ha! ha!" Yet in her next letter, possibly because she was rebuked by Tom, Mattie wrote, "I don't approve any more of Allie's style than I do of Dan's" (April 14, 1869). In May 1869, Dan eloped with Allie, heading west to Quincy, Illinois. The last letter from Dan (January 21, 1870) described how he developed close business contacts and personal friendships with the Jewish community.

Early in their letters Tom and Mattie discussed politics frequently, although they were rarely in agreement. Tom was a moderate Republican while Mattie was more conservative, although she supported the Civil War. When she was invited to represent republican interests in Rohrersville, Maryland, she declined. "I think they are radicalized," she wrote Tom on October 13, 1866, "I see negro equality exemplified very often, last Sabbath I saw a white man walking beside the blackest negro I ever saw. Suppose he was an abolitionist." The Civil War was discussed infrequently, with emphasis being on the effects of war and not on battles. Tom's heart went out to the mothers who lost their sons in the war: "It is indeed a sacrifice to give an only son to one's county" (December 22, 1867).

Mattie and Tom particularly enjoyed discussing their relationship and the relationships of other people; Mattie often reported on social and leisure activities at Amberson's Valley. In their letters before 1868, Tom and Mattie wrote to each other in a teasing, somewhat guarded fashion. "I should like to say 'good evening Mattie' have a hand shake and just one sweet kiss. Of course I wouldn't get the latter," Tom wrote to Mattie on March 13, 1867. As they grew more at ease with each other, their letters became less guarded and more affectionate. Throughout their correspondence, Mattie never feared to speak her mind, and tended to be more forthright than Tom. When Tom offended her in his description of human nature, Mattie fired back at him, "Men do well term all their weaknesses 'woman like,' when women would scorn to employ their minds for a moment with the narrow thoughts that men confine themselves to, not speaking of their degrading habits and vulgar speeches" (January 4, 1870).

Mattie even felt free to ponder the differences between married and single life: "I often wonder which is happier, an independent maiden, or a loving and loved wife. But guess Paul is about right, in his conclusion that those who marry do well , but those who remain single do better" (September 12, 1868). Despite her conclusion, she did long to marry Tom, and began to get impatient. When giving Tom her birth date, she complained it was "enough to shock the nerves of a delicate, sensitive spinster" (April 10, 1869). Mattie brought up the words "spinster" and "old maid" frequently after she turned 26. Mattie's illness in 1869-1870 delayed their wedding, and at one point Tom was concerned that she would never recover. When she did recover, both looked forward to the happy date, although they tried to treat it with the seriousness they felt it deserved.

Mattie's sisters, Kate and Dutton, who wrote to Mattie while she was away teaching, offered their own views on marriage. Dutton, Mattie's senior by six years, was increasingly concerned with her single status. "I think on the whole an old maid is to be pittied, but instead of pity they may expect the sneers and jeers of the more favored ones" (January 7, 1869). Kate, on the other hand, felt perfectly happy with her single status, and found suitors to be a nuisance. In one letter to Mattie [late 1867], she wrote that she had a "Drake" to keep her company, but also wrote, "I do not care for him at all ... but some of the folks think we are deep in love and I make them believe so all I can. I don't care I am going to leave this neck of the woods soon not to return." When Dutton, in a shared letter with Kate, wrote that she wished that "some sensible man" would court her or Kate, like Tom courted Mattie, Kate disagreed: "Now I for my part do not want any of the low-lifed creatures that call themselves: Lord's of Creation. Pretty Lords indeed! Staying out nights until 12 o clock and then coming home to abuse there poor neglected wives" [October 1868].

Some time after Mattie's marriage, Dutton married James Elliot Harper. Kate, of course, remained single and did not leave Shade Gap as she had hoped. Before Mattie's death, she and Tom were friendly, exchanging letters and even visits, so it was natural for Tom to turn to Kate when seeking a second wife and mother for his children. The letters unfortunately provide scant information about Mattie's death or Kate's marriage to Tom.


Charlotte and Martha Wray papers, 1839-1872

0.25 linear feet

This collection contains the incoming and outgoing correspondence of Charlotte and Martha Wray, sisters who lived in Washington County, New York; Detroit, Michigan; and Iowa in the 19th century. The letters span Martha's time as a schoolteacher in Detroit, Michigan; Charlotte's work as a teacher in Albany, New York; and Charlotte's experiences in Iowa prior to the Civil War.

This collection contains approximately 110 letters, of which Charlotte Wray wrote about 90 to her sister Martha. Additionally, Martha and Mary Jane Wray each wrote 1 letter, and Charlotte and Martha Wray received about 18 letters from cousins and other family members. Charlotte's letters discuss her experience as a schoolteacher and her life in Albany, New York, and in Iowa, where she lived after the late 1840s. Charlotte's letters also include content on the arrival of new immigrants, her declining health, and her husband's medical practice during the Civil War.

The earliest items in the collection include a 1-page essay by Mary Jane Wray, Charlotte and Martha's sister, titled "of Solitude" and dated September 18, 1839, and a poem Charlotte wrote about her sister. The correspondence begins on May [15], 1842, with a letter from Martha about her arrival and teaching in Detroit. When Mary Jane traveled to Detroit in 1844, she wrote home about the birth and first weeks of her son Van (August 25, 1844).

Charlotte wrote approximately 20 letters to Martha after moving to Albany, New York, around October 1845, where she taught school. She gave news about her life and friends in Albany, such as her intent to turn down a marriage proposal (January 19, 1846) and student expenses at the New York State Normal School (March 15, 1846). In a later letter from Albany, written around the summer of 1846, she explained her reasons for leaving the school, based on the belief that she could earn more money sewing.

After June 22, 1847, Charlotte wrote approximately 70 letters to Martha describing her married life with Thomas. They moved to Garnavillo, Iowa, in the summer of 1847. She informed her sister about life in Iowa, including her travels, the experiences of other new immigrants, and her homes in Garnavillo, Farmersburg, and Monona. Charlotte also discussed married life and her husband's medical practice. She reflected on the Civil War in two letters, mentioning the draft, financial aspects of the war, and her husband's wartime medical practice (August 21, 1862, and February 1863). Following Charlotte's death around March 1863, Martha received 7 letters from her brother-in-law, who described Charlotte’s final sickness and death (March 31, 1863) and the devastating impact on the family.


Crittenden family papers, 1837-1907 (majority within 1849-1889)

4 linear feet (approx. 1300 items)

The Crittenden family papers contain the letters of a Kentucky family living in the California and Nevada frontiers. The material centers on the family of Alexander Parker Crittenden and his wife Clara Churchill Jones, and includes letters from their parents, siblings, and children. The collection also contains diaries, documents and financial records, and family photographs (daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite, and other paper prints). The collection documents the murder of Alexander Parker Crittenden as well as family members who fought on the Confederate side of the Civil War and who participated in mining and prospecting in the West.

The Crittenden family papers contain the letters and documents of the family of Alexander Parker Crittenden and his wife Clara Churchill Jones Crittenden. The bulk of the collection consists of personal correspondence between members of the extended family, including Mr. and Mrs. Crittenden, seven of their eight (surviving) children, Clara’s parents and siblings (the Jones family), and Mary Crittenden Robinson (Alexander's sister). In addition to correspondence, the collection contains diaries, documents and financial records, and 96 family photographs (daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite, and other paper prints), including one carte-de-visite of Laura Hunt Fair.

The Correspondence series (approximately 1,280 items) covers several topics of interest. The letters by Clara and Alexander Parker Crittenden (hereafter A.P.C.) illustrate the passionate courtship and strained marriage of a couple living in California in the 19th century; Laura Crittenden Sanchez’ correspondence presents a picture of a woman’s life on the 1860s western frontier in California and Nevada; and Ann Northey Churchill Jones’s letters to her daughter Clara provide frank commentary on womanhood. The following summary is a brief description of the collection’s major correspondents and the content of their letters.

The collection includes over 260 letters from his wife Clara, which span the length of their relationship, from their first meeting until his death. The courtship letters are full of expressions of youthful passion. Especially valuable are A.P.C.'s letters describing San Francisco in the early 1850s, which contain information about the Gold Rush and early statehood, and include discussions about women in California, and troubles he experienced from not having a wife present to care for him. The 1860s letters written from Nevada to Clara in California provide a good account of early Nevada, as well as insight into their deteriorating marriage. However, the twenty letters written during Clara's 1870 transcontinental trip to the East Coast, exhibit an apparently genuine change of heart in Crittenden, who had purchased and redecorated a lavish new home as a surprise for Clara on her return. Almost every letter begs her to cut the trip short and return.

A.P.C.'s eldest son, Churchill, is represented by 62 letters to him from his father, and 62 letters written by Churchill to his parents and siblings, largely from 1858 and 1861, while he was studying at Hanover College. While at Hanover, Churchill developed Union sympathies, which upset his Kentucky-born father. Of note is a letter from A.P.C., who at the time was the leader of the southern wing of the California Democratic Party, to Churchill defending southern rights for secession (December 10, 1860). Churchill wrote six letters while in the Confederate Army. The collection also contains 60 letters from James Love Crittenden. His early letters discuss school life, ante-bellum politics, and family relations. He wrote 10 letters while fighting with the Confederacy.

Clara Jones Crittenden wrote 19 letters in the collection: two to her husband, one to her eldest son, Churchill, and sixteen to her daughter Annie (“Nannie”). The letters to Annie are almost all dated November-December 1864, and reflect the deep gloom Clara felt following the murder of her son Churchill in October 1864.

Laura Crittenden Sanchez wrote 71 letters to her mother, 87 to her sister Nannie, and a few to other family members. They present a view of domestic life on the 1860s western frontier. Of note are Laura’s routine comments that reflect the values of a woman raised to believe in the Southern ideals of gentility and womanhood. However, she also held advanced ideas on women’s rights and divisions of duties in the home. Her husband, Ramon B. Sanchez, shared these beliefs and described his role in housework and his ideas of manhood, in his letter to Nannie Crittenden (July 25, 1862).

This series holds 16 letters from A.P.C. to his daughter Nannie, 6 to her husband Sidney Van Wyck, and many letters of condolence received by the family at the time of Parker’s murder. Van Wyck, who held evangelical beliefs, was deeply concerned about the well-being of his pregnant wife. He sent 117 letters to Nannie between January and May 1870, while she was in San Francisco and was he in Hamilton, Nevada, attempting to strike it rich prospecting for silver. He gave a rich account of life in a snowy Nevada mining town. The collection also includes approximately 40 business letters concerning Sidney's mining interests between 1879 and 1882. After 1874, the collection constitutes letters addressed largely to members of the Van Wyck family, including 8 letters from Nannie's daughter Clara Van Wyck to her brother Sydney Van Wyck, Jr.

Mary Crittenden Robinson, A.P.C.'s older sister, wrote 23 letters to Clara Crittenden, almost entirely in 1863. They are domestic in content, with occasional references to politics and society. Mary also wrote to A.P.C., and to various nieces and nephews, and her children are represented as well: Mary, Kate, and Tod, Jr.

The collection also contains letters from Clara Jones Crittenden's parents and siblings.

Clara's father Alexander Jones, Jr., wrote 5 letters to Clara, including one offering consolation on her husband's murder (November 7, 1870), and 3 to his granddaughter Nannie. Ann Northey Churchill Jones, Clara's mother, sent her seven letters from 1839-1841. She provided a frank commentary on womanhood and discussed childbirth, the proper preparation of breasts for nursing, a mother’s role in fixing children’s values, marital relations and what a wife could do to improve them, and how a woman should deal with an unworthy husband.

Clara's brother Alexander Jones III wrote 21 letters to A.P.C. and Clara (1849, and 1857-1870). These describe frontier Texas, news of the Civil War, and Confederate patriotism. In one notable letter, he described life in Brownsville, Texas, and advised using birth control (January 30, 1860). Clara's sister Mary "Mollie" Farquhar Jones Joliffe wrote 15 letters, 1858-1870, primarily made up of family news. Her wartime letters are a window onto the hardships of Confederate civilian life. William Marlborough Jones is represented by 13 Civil War and Reconstruction era letters, which reflect on the costs of the war to both the family and the nation. Of note is a 12-page account of the war near Jackson, Mississippi (November 7, 1870), and his report on the fall of Vicksburg (July 7, 1863). Sister Rebecca Churchill Jones Craighill, wrote 13 letters (1858-1899) to multiple recipients. In 1866, she composed excellent reflections on the war and criticized a Virginia friend who had eloped with a Yankee officer.

The collection also contains letters from two of Clara’s uncles: 8 from Marlborough Churchill and 2 from George Jones.

The Journals series (2 items) contains an official transcript of a journal of Elizabeth Van Wyck, and a diary kept by Sydney Van Wyck. The Elizabeth Van Wyck journal is a transcript of a reminiscence of her life from age 7 until November 12, 1808, when she was 26. The copy was made in 1925, at the request of Elizabeth's great-grandson, Sidney M. Van Wyck, Jr. The second item is a detailed journal kept by Sydney Van Wyck during his time at school in the 1840s. In it, he described his life at school and many of his family members.

The Documents and Financial Records series is made up of four subseries: Estate Papers, Insurance Papers, Legal and Financial Documents, and Account Books.

The Estate Papers subseries contains 11 items concerning the property of A.P.C. and 24 items related to Howard J. Crittenden. These include A.P.C.'s last will and testament and court records surrounding his murder and the handling of his estate (1870-1875). The Howard J. Crittenden items document Howard's financial holdings at his death and how his estate was divided.

The Insurance Papers subseries (3 items) includes a record of the Hartford Fire Insurance Company (1871) and a fire insurance policy from Pacific Insurance Company for Clara Crittenden (1872).

The Legal and Financial Documents subseries (16 items) consists of bank notes, telegraphs concerning business dealings, receipts for goods and payments, contracts, and personal tax bills. Of note are contracts signing over gold and silver claims in Nevada to Howard Crittenden. These include locations in White Pine, Nevada, such as "Lucky Boy Tunnel" and "Adele mining ground" (1869).

The Account Books subseries (3 items) contains a 12-page account book for A. Hemme (1873), a 20-page account book for S. M. Van Wyck (1873-1874), and a mostly empty National Granit State Bank account book of Thomas Crittenden (1874).

The Photographs and Illustrations series contains 106 photographs of Crittenden family members. These include cartes-de-visite, tintypes, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, cabinet cards, and several modern reproductions. They depict many of the Crittenden family members, including several Crittenden men in Confederate uniform, Clara Crittenden, Clara Van Wyck, and Laura Fair, among others. See Additional Descriptive Data for the complete list.

In addition to the photograph, this collection also contains an ink sketch of the floor plan of a San Francisco cottage (in the letter dated July 4, 1852).

The Miscellaneous series (9 items) contains school report cards, Laura Van Wyck's application to become a Daughter of the Confederacy (which includes a heroic account of Churchill Crittenden's death in the Civil War), Nannie Crittenden Van Wyck's address book (with contacts in Saint Louis, Chicago, Kentucky, New York, and Brooklyn), a newspaper clipping about mining in Nevada, and 3 unattributed writing fragments.

The folder of supplemental material relates to Robert E. Stewart's publication Aurora Ghost City of the Dawn, Las Vegas: Nevada Publications, 1996, including a copy of the book and 10 photographs taken by Stewart of Aurora and the Ruins of the Sanchez home.


Dey-Scott papers, 1821-1822

56 items

This collection contains courtship letters written from a young divinity student to his future wife. These letters show how a religious young man perceived of and expressed himself to the woman he loved, and are perhaps most interesting because of the resistance he faced from her parents.

Fifty-one of the collection's 56 letters are those Richard wrote to Lavinia during their courtship in 1821 and 1822, while the last letter in the collection is one he wrote to her about two weeks after their wedding. Two contain locks of hair. In addition, the collection contains four letters Lavinia received from her cousin Walter in 1822. These letters show how a religious young man perceived of and expressed himself to the woman he loved, and are most interesting because of the resistance he faced from her parents.

Richard filled his letters with expressions of love for his "ever dearest Lavinia" and his desire to be with her and be married. "Oh, my beloved Lavinia, how eagerly have my hopes anticipated the time when we should share every hope and wish together." (1821 Oct 2).

Lavinia's parents did not approve of their young daughter's suitor. In a letter dated December 19, 1821, Richard reported to Lavinia a conversation that occured between her father and Capt. James VanDyke, which allegedly outlined why Col. Scott opposed his daughter's swain:

"Your Father replied, that 'he could not mention any particular reasons for not allowing me to visit you, but that he had various grounds for believing that I had not in the least degree altered my former idle habits, and that he had understood that I had supped at Mr. Runyon's tavern on Friday evening last with a party of dissipated fellows.' -- which was utterly false, as I was engaged at the college with our society."

Richard added that Col. Scott said "he firmly believed that I was not in earnest in professing my regard to you, and that he was sure after he had conversed with you upon the subject that you would yield to his wishes."

He did not understand her parents' opposition to him and expressed his frustrations at being unable to see Lavinia. Richard encouraged her to trust in God and rely on the Lord's strength to get them through their difficulties. "Let me ask my dear girl to reflect on what I wrote you some weeks ago, and seriously resolve to approach with all your sorrows to your Father in heaven, -- to open your heart before him, -- to cast all your cares upon him -- and to repose yourself entirely on the will of him who constantly wills and does what is best for you..."

In addition to relying on the Lord, the couple relied on third parties to further their courtship. Many of the letters mention arrangements the couple made to see one another or send letters via sympathetic friends and relatives. Lavinia's aunt, in particular, was a great source of support to them and offered advice about how to win over the skeptical parents.

Adding to the couple's relationship woes was the illness and death of Lavinia's mother, who died on the 5th of December, 1821. Richard tenderly expressed his concerns about Lavinia's attending the funeral in a letter two days later:

"I have been unable to remove from my thoughts for a moment the distress which I anticipate you will endure tomorrow. -- I know well by bitter experience that it will be a trying day for you.- I dread the hour when I shall follow your dear Mother to her grave. -- It will not only awaken my sorrows for you, but it will recall all the distress I suffered when I took a last look of the coffin which contained the lifeless body of my own beloved Mother. -- Oh, my dear, dear Lavinia, my heart bleeds for you. -- I cannot tell you what have been my feelings for the last two days. -- I have at times thought that all my troubles were greater than I could bear, and I have wished that I had never lived to see this day of sorrow to you. -- If I could only be with you, and if we could mingle our tears together, and unite in prayer to the God of our mercies, I should be less miserable. -- But to be separated from all that I hold dear upon earth, and to hear that you are suffering so much distress, -- this is the grief which weighs me down and makes me almost weary of my life."

The last letter in the collection is the only one written after the couple's marriage, while Richard is visiting relatives and looking at job prospects. He sent Lavinia greetings from many people and continued his loving, rather paternalistic tone, reminding his wife to "remember your promise to me, my beloved Lavina, to offer up your daily petitions to the God of our mercies, and let nothing prevent the discharge of this duty."


Dwight-Willard-Alden-Allen-Freeman family papers, 1752-1937

2,910 items (11 linear feet)

This collection is made up of the papers of five generations of the Dwight, Willard, Alden, Allen, and Freeman families of the East Coast and (later) U.S. Midwest, between 1752 and 1937. Around 3/4 of the collection is incoming and outgoing correspondence of family members, friends, and colleagues. The primary persons represented are Lydia Dwight of Massachusetts and her husband John Willard, who served in the French and Indian War; Connecticut mother Abigail Willard along with her husband Samuel Alden, who ran an apothecary in Hanover, New Jersey; Allen Female Seminary School alumna and teacher Sarah J. Allen; American Civil War surgeon Otis Russell Freeman; Presbyterian minister and temperance advocate Rev. Samuel Alden Freeman; and prominent public librarian Marilla Waite Freeman. The papers also include diaries and journals, writings, school certificates, military and ecclesiastical documents, photographs, newspaper clippings, advertisements, business and name cards, invitations to events, and brochures for plays and other performances.

The collection is arranged first by family grouping, then by material type. These series roughly reflect the arrangement of the collection when it arrived at the William L. Clements Library.

The Dwight-Willard-Alden Family Papers are comprised of around 250 items, dating between 1752 and 1884. One fifth or so of this grouping is predominantly correspondence between Lydia Dwight/Lydia Dwight Willard, her father, stepmother, siblings, husband, and sons, 1752-1791. These intermarried families were based largely in Sheffield and Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The letters include discussions about mending and cleaning clothing; feelings about their father/husband gone to serve in the French and Indian War; putting up a monument to replace faltering graves; the return of Elijah and Col. Williams from the field on account of sickness; coming and going of soldiers; moral and practical advice; teaching and boarding young students during the war; settling into (“no longer free”) married life; the death of Bathsheba Dwight; the meeting of local men in private homes and the training of minute men in Stockbridge; the prolonged case of smallpox experienced by Lydia’s son in 1785; and news of John Willard, Jr.’s admission to Harvard.

The remaining four fifths of this grouping are largely incoming correspondence of Abigail Willard Alden (1771-1832) and her daughter Abigail Alden (1809-1854). Their correspondents were located in Stafford, Connecticut; Hanover and Lancaster, New Hampshire; Lunenburg, Vermont; and elsewhere. They begin with letters from siblings and parents to the newly married Abigail Willard Alden (ca. 1800); Samuel Alden travel letters to New York City; and news of a Stafford doctor named Chandler who had promised marriage to a woman and then fleeced her for $500 before fleeing to parts unknown. A group of letters regard pharmacy matters, the burning of Samuel Willard’s drugstore (January-April 1802), and the state of Anti-Federalists and Federalists in Stafford (1802). A large portion the letters include content on sickness and health, with varying degrees of detail, including several family members sick and dying from measles in 1803. Other topics include Hanover, New Hampshire, gossip on local premarital sex; a debate on whether or not to hire a black female domestic laborer; comments on a local suicide attempt; a young woman deliberating on objections to women spending time reading novels (April 10, 1806); and treatment by a quack doctor. These papers also include two diaries, poetry and essays, two silhouettes, genealogical manuscripts, and miscellaneous printed items.

The Allen Family Papers are largely incoming letters to Sarah Jane Allen prior to her marriage to Samuel A. Freeman (around 300 items), and from her father-in-law Otis Russell Freeman (around 60 items) between 1860 and 1865. An abundance of the letters were written to Sarah while she attended the Allen Female Seminary in Rochester, New York, and afterward when she lived at Honeoye Falls, New York. They include letters from her parents, cousins, friends, and siblings. A sampling suggests that the bulk are letters by young women attempting to eke out a life for themselves through seminary education, teaching, and domestic labor. Among much else, they include content on Elmira Female Seminary, New York state travel, and female friendship and support.

The Otis Russell Freeman letters date between 1862 and 1865, while he served as a surgeon in the 10th and 14th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers. He wrote about the everyday camp life with a focus on the health and sickness of the soldiers. His letters include content on the defenses of Washington, D.C., fighting at Cold Harbor and outside Richmond, Virginia, the surrender of Robert E. Lee, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and Lincoln's body lying in state at Jersey City. Two carte-de-visite photographs of Otis Freeman are present.

A diary kept by Sarah J. Allen began on the day of her marriage, September 26, 1865, documents her honeymoon to Niagara Falls. It ends in November 1865. The remainder of the volume is filled with recipes for baked goods, pickles, and other foods. The printed items include ephemera from Sarah Jane Allen’s tenure at Elmira Female College five issues of the Callisophia Society’s newspaper The Callisophia (vol. 1, nos. 1, 3-6; March/April 1860-January/February 1861), as well as a Catalogue of Books in Callisophia Library, December 1862.

The Samuel Alden Freeman Family Papers include approximately 300 largely incoming letters to Presbyterian minister S. A. Freeman, plus printed materials, ephemera, photographs, and bound volumes, dating in the 1810s and from the 1860s to 1880s. Correspondence of his second wife Olive dates from the 1810s in central New York. The collection includes letters to S. A. Freeman from his first wife Sarah, daughter Abigail Alden Freeman (1873-1925), and Sara Harriet Freeman (1879-1946). These materials include courtship correspondence of Sarah Jane Allen and S. A. Freeman. A considerable portion relates to Presbyterianism and at least one temperance society pledge sheet is present. Approximately 50 photographs, about half of them identified, are largely of Samuel A. Freeman and the Freeman daughters Marilla and Abigail. Among the printed ephemeral items are advertisements for programming at Corinthian Hall (probably Rochester, New York), items related to a Sunday School Association (including a printed broadside catalog of books at a N.J. Sunday School), and pamphlets on Presbyterianism. A medicinal recipe book from the mid-19th century and a commonplace book of poetry are examples of the S. A. Freeman family bound volumes.

The collection concludes with letters, photographs, ephemera, and printed items comprising the Marilla Waite Freeman Papers. Around 600 letters are largely incoming to public librarian M. W. Freeman from female educators and librarians. They discussed their profession, books, reading, and intellectual topics. A small clutch of letters, about three dozen manuscript and typed poems, and a dozen or more newspaper clippings, 1900s-1910s, comprise poet Floyd Dell’s contributions to the collection. Marilla also corresponded with poets and writers Margaret Todd Ritter, Robert Frost and Mrs. Frost, and Marie Bullock about public and private recitations and lectures. Examples of subjects covered by the printed materials include orations, educational/school/college items, library-related items, newspapers and clippings, fliers, women's clubs, New York City theater, the American Library Association, Poetry Society of America, poems by various authors, such as Ina Robert and John Belknap, visiting and business cards, and travel.


Ellen Rice journal, 1848-1849

128 pages (2 volumes)

The Ellen Rice journal contains the daily thoughts of a deeply religious woman devoted to her sisters and family, while she worked in her sister's household.

This intelligent, articulate young woman wrote in her journal every evening, recording far more than the day's events. Although she did note newsworthy items at the local and national level, she rarely gives the reader much of a clue what she had been doing all day long. The brief moments when she allowed herself to complain about her situation make it clear she worked long days attending to the needs of her nieces and nephews, and that she was responsible for most of the family's sewing. She chose not to dwell on drudgery. Instead, she celebrated her love of God, of Nature, and of her relatives, particularly her sister Susan.

Ellen felt close to God when she was close to Nature. In springtime, living in Boston made her "feel confined in a cage and long to soar away to my native element and live in the temple of Nature" (1:32). She believed that "no one can cultivate and watch the growth of Flowers, without feeling their hearts expand and fill with thoughts of God which exerts a beneficial influence upon the character. One ray of religious love sheds a light upon the character which no sunbeam can outshine" (2:11). She was occasionally critical of the preachers who did not deliver the word of God as purely as nature did. After one sermon, she accused the preacher of not having a "deep mind," and she chastised another for using "coarse and common" comparisons and expressions, even though his ideas were good (2:21, 1:53).

Ellen continuously returned to the concept of nature as a sublime channel to God:

"What pent up feelings it awakens to roam again o'er the hills among the trees, rocks and flowers. I look upon these as not merely inanimate objects, for there seems to be a connecting link between them and our spirits a something which awakens all the fine feelings and emotions of the heart and makes us keenly sensitive to the wisdom and Goodness of God and his love and mercy to us" (1:46).

In addition to connecting spiritually with God through nature, she was attuned to spiritual connections with people, through their letters. When reading "line after line traced by the loved one's hand, the image rises before me and I hear the spirit breathing the words I read" (1:17).

She felt divided between her home with Mary and her home with her parents, but there was one steady attraction that always made her old home in Wayland more appealing -- her sister Susan lived there. "My heart whose every chord vibrates to her own, yearns to be near her and enjoy the happiness which true sisterly love only can know," she frequently declared (2:3). After expressing her excitement that Susan would soon visit her, she added, "surely it is natural that I should rejoice at the thought of meeting a Sister whose love is pure and strong and in whom I find an echo for every thought and wish" (2:39).

Tension arose when her brother-in-law refused to let her go visit Susan, even though she could easily have been spared from his house for a few days: "I think he cares but little for me or my feelings, but I will not entertain unkind feelings towards him for Mary's sake" (1:38). Even though her relationship with William was cool, she resolved that if her sister died, she would willingly "give up all my youthful hopes and pleasures and devote my life to them, for I love them too well ever to trust them to the care of another" (1:30).

There were men in her life, or wanting to be in it, but she did not really respond to them. She visited and corresponded with Jared, and initially argued that men and women ought to able to have as close friendships as women were allowed to have. "I know it is not customary but that does not prove that it is wrong," she wrote, and insisted that she "can see no reason why those of different sex cannot be friends as well as those of the same" (1:20). A few weeks later, however, she decided to break off the correspondence "for several reasons," but her true feelings for him remained obscured. After they moved to Lexington, Mr. Thayer, a traveling daguerreotypist, fell for her, and startled her with his frank declarations. She told him she did not feel she could be any more than a "common acquaintance" of his, although she was "extremely sorry to disappoint his anticipations" (2:22). He eventually left town, after urging her to reconsider, and presenting her with her likeness in a beautiful case. The third suitor, Mr. Gammell, announced that he wanted her for his "chosen companion," but she remained unmoved (2:49). The cares of her sister's household overwhelmed her, and soon after she succumbed completely.


Fenno-Hoffman family papers, 1780-1883 (majority within 1789-1845)

1.25 linear feet

The Fenno-Hoffman papers contain the personal correspondence of three generations of the Fenno and Hoffman families of New York City. Correspondence from, to, and between the family members of Maria Fenno Hoffman, daughter of John and Mary (Curtis) Fenno of Boston and Philadelphia, and wife of Josiah Ogden Hoffman of New York.

The Fenno-Hoffman papers contain the personal correspondence of three generations of the Fenno and Hoffman families of New York City. It appears that the collection was initially assembled by Maria Fenno Hoffman, who was the bridge linking the Fennos and Hoffmans, or one of her children. The majority of the letters in the collection are addressed to Maria, and those written following her death are mainly from her three children. As a whole, the collection forms a diverse and uniformly interesting resource for the study of family life, politics, and literary culture in the early Republic. The Fennos and Hoffmans seem all to have been blessed with literary talent and excellent educations, enjoying interests ranging from politics and commerce to publishing and writing, but cursed with short lives and disastrous fortune. Their correspondence creates a vivid impression of a once-wealthy family struggling with adversity and personal loss. Yet despite all of their connections to the centers of political and social power, and despite all the setbacks they encountered, the overriding impression gleaned from the Fenno-Hoffman correspondence is of the centrality of family in their emotional and social lives.

The collection can be roughly divided into two, interrelated series: the letters of the Fenno family, and the somewhat later letters of the Hoffmans. Within the Fenno series are 25 letters from John Fenno to his wife, Mary, and six from Mary to John, written primarily during two periods of separation, in the spring of 1789, and summer, 1798. This correspondence conveys a sense of the passionate attachment these two held for each other, expressed with their exceptional literary gifts. John discusses the founding of the United States Gazette in 1789, including a visit with Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia where he had gone to purchase type. His letters are full of political commentary relating to the establishment of the federal government in 1789 and the young nation's Quasi-War with France, 1798. Although Fenno's letters to his wife are filled with political opinions, he urged her not to get involved in political controversies herself, nor to form opinions of her own. Mary apparently felt free to express herself to her husband, but significantly, her letters tend to mirror his staunchly Federalist political sympathies. The collection also contains four letters from John Fenno to his children, in which he discusses the French Revolution (1794) and general political news (1797-98), while doling out some fairly standard fatherly advice.

All nine of the Fenno children who survived infancy are represented as writers in the Fenno-Hoffman Papers, each one of whom seems to have been blessed with literary talent. The most frequent correspondents among the Fennos -- Maria, Charles J., and Edward -- display an intense interest in the affairs of their family, and express a powerful attachment for one another.

The collection contains twenty letters from Maria Fenno Hoffman (1781-1823), wife of lawyer and judge Josiah Ogden Hoffman (1766-1837), and most of the other letters in the collection were addressed to her. The letters written by Maria were nearly all addressed to her children and contain information on the family, laden with large doses of motherly advice. Among her most notable letters is one addressed to Washington Irving, whose fiancée, Matilda Hoffman, Maria's step-daughter, had died shortly before their wedding day.

The young British Navy officer, Charles J. Fenno, wrote thirty-nine letters, all to his siblings, and the collection also includes one letter to Charles from British Navy officer Charles Williamson (1757-1808), advising him to take an appointment in the West Indies. Fenno's letters include detailed descriptions of his attempts to cope with the debts incurred by his brother, John Ward Fenno, his part in the Tripolitan War and the turmoil in Haiti in 1802-3, naval sparring between French and English on the high seas, and family matters. With the typical Fenno style, Charles' letters provide an excellent view of these conflicts from the perspective of a young junior officer. His last letter was written while on vacation at Coldenham, N.Y., five weeks before his death.

Charles' younger brother, Edward, wrote 69 letters to his sister and surrogate mother, Maria, and 31 to his brother, James, along with a few miscellaneous letters. As lengthy as they are literate, Edward's letters provide an engrossing, running commentary on all facets of life in New Orleans during the 1820s and 30s, when it was still more a French city than American. His interests range from politics to business, high society to love affairs (his own, as well as others'), the annual yellow fever season, death and dying, race relations, piracy, and military exploits. They offer an intimate and detailed view of Louisiana during the years in which it was undergoing a rapid Americanization, and Edward's membership in the American militia, and his keen observational abilities provide a memorable account of the changes. His last letter to Maria, written a month before her death, discusses the necessity of family loyalty.

Comparatively speaking, the other Fenno children are represented by only scattered letters. Only two letters survive from the shortest-lived of the adult Fennos, John Ward, both written in 1797. In these, Jack discusses the acute controversy between Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) and the Federalist Gazette of the United States. Three of Harriet Fenno Rodman's letters survive -- containing social news and observations -- along with seven poems, including love poetry to her husband. Harriet's daughter, Anne Eliza Rodman, is represented by 24 letters, mostly addressed to her aunt Maria Hoffman, that include excellent descriptions of politics, society, and race relations in St. Augustine. George Fenno's four letters, also to his sister Maria, reflect the tedium felt by an educated urbanite set down in the countryside. Mary Elizabeth Fenno Verplanck's nine letters describe social life in Philadelphia, Fishkill, and Ballston Springs, and her efforts to mend a serious rift between her fiancée (later husband) and her brother-in-law Josiah. The ill-fated Caroline Fenno apparently had little time to write before dying, leaving only two letters describing life in Albany in 1804. James Bowdoin Fenno's six letters concern the business climate in South Carolina and Georgia and, as with all other Fenno correspondence, underscore the importance of family ties.

The second major series of correspondence in the Fenno-Hoffman Papers is centered on the children of Josiah Ogden Hoffman and his second wife Maria Fenno, Charles Fenno, George Edward, and Julia Hoffman. This series also includes eight letters from Josiah to his wife and sons, consisting principally of advice to his wife on how to run the household and, to his sons, on how to study industriously and become a credit to their "indulgent father." The letters he received in his old age from his children are particularly revealing of Josiah's personality. In these, Josiah appears as a hypochondriac and as a literal-minded businessman obsessed with commerce who had difficulty understanding any mindset other than his own.

As a poet and writer, Charles never ceased to perplex and irritate his father. Charles was a sensitive, observant man and an exceptional literary talent whose ability to express his thoughts and feelings grew as he grew older. His 62 letters to his brother (1826-1834, 1845) and sister (1833-1845) include discussions of many issues close to his heart, from his literary career to the "place" of the artist in society, from the continual rack and ruin of his personal finances to his family relationships, pastimes, politics, and general reflections on life. His letters to George are pun-filled and witty, even when he was in the throes of adversity. Charles wrote nine letters during his famous western trip, 1833-34, some of which were rough drafts intended for publication in the American after his sister Julia edited them. His letter of July 22, 1829 offers a marvelous description of an all-night party, and the single extant letter to his father (April 26, 1834) exhibits an uncharacteristic interest in politics, perhaps to please the elder Hoffman. There are also five excellent letters from a classmate of Charles, written while Charles was recuperating from the loss of his leg in New York. These are enjoyable, but otherwise typical schoolboy letters describing the typical assortment of schoolboy pranks.

The largest run of correspondence in the series of Hoffman letters, and the core of the collection, consists of the 63 letters from Julia to George. Julia's letters (1834-45) relate her experiences in several residences, particularly in the Philadelphia home of Jewish philanthropist, Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869). Julia comments frequently on Charles's literary activities and George's checkered career as a civil engineer. Much of what she writes is commonplace yet her style makes each episode intrinsically interesting. There are no letters from George. Considering that George was Julia's executor in 1861 and was responsible for Charles's well being after being committed to an asylum in 1849, suggests that George may have assembled the collection. The only item in the collection written by George is a love poem written for Phoebe on their first wedding anniversary. He was the recipient of letters from his brother and sister, but also his cousin William J. Verplanck, niece Matilda Whitman, sister-in-law Virginia Hoffman, and nephew Ogden Hoffman, Jr.

There is a single letter from Ogden Hoffman (1794-1856), Josiah's son by his first marriage to Mary Colden, in which he gives friendly advice to his young half-brother Charles. Ogden appears to have been a valued friend to his half-siblings. He was considered the outstanding criminal lawyer of his generation. There are no letters from the servant, Caty, but there are several excellent discussions of her, particularly in Julia Hoffman's letter of February 18, 1837 and James Fenno's letter of December 1, 1821.

Among the few miscellaneous pieces written by non-members of the family are four letters from Rebecca Gratz, a close friend of the family whose name runs throughout the entire collection, particularly in Julia Hoffman's correspondence.


Gerald T. and Charlotte B. Maxson Printed Ephemera Collection, ca. 1750s-1999 (majority within 1850s-1900)

approximately 5,000+ items in 23 volumes

The Gerald T. and Charlotte B. Maxson printed ephemera collection contains over 5,000 pieces of assorted ephemera, the majority of which were commercially printed in the United States during the mid to late 19th-century.

The Gerald T. and Charlotte B. Maxson printed ephemera collection contains over 5,000 pieces of assorted ephemera, the majority of which were commercially printed in the United States during the mid to late 19th-century.

The Maxson collection provides a valuable resource for the study of 19th-century visual culture, commercial advertising, and humor in addition to the role of gender, ethnicity, and race in advertising. American businesses are the predominant focus of the collection, though many international businesses are also represented. While trade cards are by far the most prevalent type of ephemera found in this collection, an extensive array of genres are present including die cut scrapbook pieces, photographs, engravings, maps, serials, and manuscript materials.

The 23 binders that house the Maxson collection were arranged by the collectors themselves. Items are organized somewhat randomly in terms of topical arrangement. While pockets of related materials can be found here and there (for instance, the entirety of Volume 16 contains circus-related items while Volume 11 contains an extensive number of Shaker-related materials), for the most part any given subject may appear in any given volume. In some cases, items are clustered as a result of having been acquired together or due to a documented common provenance. Occasional typed annotations written by the Maxsons help provide additional context for certain items.

The Maxson Collection Subject Index serves as a volume-level subject index for materials found throughout the binders. The subjects indexed here are generally representative of both visual and commercial content. In addition to more general subjects, many names of specific people, places, buildings, events, and organizations that appear in the materials have also been listed. Researchers engaging with this collection should be aware that they will encounter numerous examples of racist caricatures, especially ones depicting African American, Native American, Irish, and Chinese people.


Griffin family and Lydia Sigourney papers, 1807-1885

0.75 linear feet

The collection consists of correspondence related to the Griffin family of New York City and includes 58 letters that George Griffin and his family exchanged between 1833 and 1854 with author Lydia H. Sigourney of Hartford, Connecticut. Additional material includes correspondence among members of the Griffin family that provides commentary on family life, two extended trips to Europe, Protestant theology, and higher education. The final series in the collection is a 3-page manuscript copy of Sigourney's poem on the death of American poet John Trumbull.

The collection consists of correspondence related to the Griffin family of New York City and includes 58 letters that George Griffin and his family exchanged between 1833 and 1854 with author Lydia H. Sigourney of Hartford, Connecticut. The second series of the collection includes several folders of correspondence among members of the Griffin family, especially letters of fatherly advice that George Griffin wrote to his sons Edmund Dorr Griffin (1804-1830) and George Griffin, Jr. (1811-1880). In addition to narratives of family life, the bulk of these letters involve accounts of two extended trips to Europe as well as discussions of Protestant theology and higher education. The final series in the collection is a 3-page manuscript copy of Sigourney's poem on the death, in 1831, of American poet John Trumbull.

Sigourney Correspondence, 1833-1854: This subseries consists of Lydia H. Sigourney's correspondence with her close friend and intermediary, George Griffin, and his family in New York City. Thee letters from Lydia Sigourney, dated in 1857 and 1858, may or may not have been to Douglas Smith. In them, she offered a brief remark on her own aging and disclaimed the notion of striving to appear young; content on shipping books to the U.S. Consul; and an interest in agricultural sciences.

Much of Sigourney's correspondence with George Griffin directly involves her work as an author and her position as a woman in that profession. She frequently sent him copies of her written pieces, some of which had already been published in periodicals, asking for advice about the content of the work and about how she might pursue publication. In the course of doing so, she remarked upon her writing and revision process. These letters also specifically address her negotiations, often through Griffin's work as intermediary, with the Key & Biddle, Harpers, Leavitt, Lord & Co., D. Appleton, and Van Nostrand publishing firms, as well as the publication of her Letters to Young Ladies (1833 and 1841), Poems (1834), Sketches (1834), Girl's Reading-book (1838), and Letters to Mothers (1838). Additionally, a small number of letters from 1840 deal with Sigourney's trip to Europe.

Griffin, in turn, kept Sigourney apprised of developments with publishing firms as well as on the sale and review of her work. He candidly offered his response to works she had sent him, as well as general advice on the direction of her literary career. As a writer himself, he too sought feedback for his work, which took the form of theological essays. A manuscript copy of one of the reviews of his book, The Gospel its Own Advocate , appears in this series. Both correspondents also reflected on the challenges facing the publishing industry during the financial crisis of the late 1830s (especially the Panic of 1837) and shared their opinions on the state of American literary culture.

This series also includes letters that Sigourney exchanged with George Griffin's wife, Lydia Butler Griffin, and daughter Caroline. These pieces tended to relate family news and household matters but also included reflections on reading and Sigourney's involvement in various charitable societies. She briefly remarked on her relationship with her African American servant, Ann Prince. In addition, Sigourney conveyed in her letters to George Griffin that she valued the responses of his wife and daughters to her work. Finally, the series contains 2 letters composed by Charles Sigourney, Lydia Sigourney's husband.

Griffin Family Correspondence, 1807-1885: The Griffin Family correspondence contains over 150 letters, dated between 1807 and 1885, that relate to George Griffin (1778-1860) of New York City and his family.

Most of the letters from the 1820s deal with Edmund Dorr Griffin (1804-1830), the second son of George and Lydia Butler Griffin. A handful of these items chart his religious convictions and pathway to becoming an Episcopal minister. The bulk of these letters, however, are ones that Edmund exchanged with his parents, siblings, and friends during the extended trip he took to Europe between October 1828 and April 1830. George Griffin's letters to Edmund during this trip are full of advice and directives about where to travel, what to observe, and practicalities about money. He also kept his son informed about matters that were unfolding among the Episcopal churches in New York and at Columbia College. Although George Griffin was the primary writer of these letters, many of them include notes from other family members as well, with accounts of family life, including the courtship and marriage of Edmund's older brother Francis to Mary Sands.

Edmund's letters home narrate his journey and impressions of Europe in extensive detail. George Griffin actively compiled his son's epistles to have them published in periodicals, and upon Edmund's death in September 1830, these travel accounts (not all of which are included in the collection) made up the bulk of the "Remains" compiled by Francis Griffin and published in his brother's memory in 1831. Letters pertaining to the preparation and reception of this document, as well as a 12-page account of Edmund's final days, can be found in Series I and II of the collection.

Another group of letters from 1830 chart George Griffin, Jr.'s (1811-1880) sudden religious awakening and decision to pursue ministerial training under the care of his uncle, Edward Dorr Griffin (1770-1837), a Congregational minister and the president of Williams College. Later letters in the collection reveal that George Griffin, Jr., eventually became a farmer in Catskill, New York, and deal with his efforts to sell his hay. He would also travel to Europe, in 1850, with his ailing sister Caroline (1820-1861). While they were away, their father conveyed advice regularly and procured letters of introduction, some of which remain in the collection.

Additional materials include subjects related to male and female friendship; family financial matter; the births, deaths, or marriages of family members; education; Protestant theology; health and medicine; early telegraph communication; and family genealogy. The handful of items that date to the 1870s and 1880s include a printed piece called "Dear Erskie!" which contains a series of riddles, and a fifteen-page booklet that includes two poems titled "Picnic" and "Archery."

Lydia Sigourney Poems and Photograph

This series consists of four items: a 3-page manuscript copy of Sigourney's poem on the death of American poet John Trumbull in 1831; her poem "Tomb of Josephine"; a "List of L. H. Sigourney's published poetical works" (ca. 1857? in her hand); and a carte-de-visite seated portrait of Lydia H. Sigourney. The photograph was published by E. & H. T. Anthony & Co., New York, from a photographic negative in Brady's National Portrait Gallery. It is signed by Lydia H. Sigourney to her friend Mrs. E. Douglas Smith.