57 microfilms (1449 theses)
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. 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.
13 linear feet — 1 oversize folder
The Frederick G. Novy collection documents the career and research interests of this noted bacteriologist, including information from the period of time when he was a member of the San Francisco Plague Commission (1901).
The collection has been divided into the following series:
- University of Michigan Student Notebooks
- University of Michigan Medical School
- San Francisco Plague Commission
- Research Files/Laboratory Notebooks
- Reprints and Writings
- Miscellaneous; and Visual Materials.
37 linear feet — 45 oversize volumes — 1 oversize folder — 33 digital audiovisual files
The Royal Copeland collection, consisting primarily of correspondence, speeches and writings, scrapbooks, and articles, relates primarily to Copeland's medical career as professor of homeopathic medicine at the University of Michigan, dean of the New York Homeopathic Medical College and Flower Hospital, and New York City Commissioner of Public Health, and as United States Senator.
Approximately 150 items (0.5 linear feet)
The Science and Medicine collection contains miscellaneous items that document various aspects of science and medicine in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. Fields covered include anatomy, astrology, astronomy, botany, dentistry, geography, medicine, paleontology, physics, and physiology.
- Agriculture, plants, and seeds
- Communication and travel
- Collecting specimens for natural history museums
- Epidemics (influenza, cholera, yellow fever)
- Higher education and honorary degrees
- Land surveying
- Mathematics and navigation
- Medical techniques and treatments for diseases, wounds, and afflictions
- Medicinal recipes
- Mental health
- Scientific and medical texts and lectures
- Technological developments and experiments in machinery, and architectural projects
- Venereal diseases
- April 19, 1788: Description of riot set off by alleged body snatching by medical students in New York
- August 31, 1792: Order for an inoculation
- June 30, 1796: Request to Charles Wilson Peale from members of a Paris museum to exchange specimens, including mastodon and opossums
- January 15, 1826: Thomas Nuttall to a bookseller named Mr. Brown concerning 10 boxes of natural history specimens he is sending from Oahu, Hawaii
- August 7, 1832: Account of the course and spread of Cholera in Albany, and fears that southern slaves will suffer the most from Cholera
- September 13, 1833: Description of bright flashing lights appearing in the sky
- August 24, 1835: Recommendation of a physician of the 'new school' of medicine who does not utilize bleeding, blistering, or calomelization (mercury cure)
- December 15, 1840: Description of eye surgery performed on a patient at the Medical College of Geneva, New York
- January 12, 1842: Discussion of constructing a microscope to view bacillaria
- May 8, 1844: Astrological reading that predicts the recipient will marry a man from the north with light brown hair
- September 19, 1848: Rules and customs of telegraphing
- : Request for a list of names of locals with eye problems on letterhead for Narcissa Waterman, Eye Doctress
2.5 linear feet
This Suckley collection is only a small residuum of a much larger collection, yet what remains provides important documentation of several aspects of nineteenth century life, particularly relating to commercial life in antebellum New York City and the Methodist Church.
Boxes 1 and 2 consists primarily of in-coming correspondence dated between 1791 and 1839, centering on the personal and professional life of George Suckley, with the earliest material originating in the family of his first wife, Miss Lang, in England. The letters contain some information on English Methodism (1:1-6, 16-18). Of particular interest are the letters of the Methodist missionary, Francis Asbury (1:10-11) and of the wife of Richard Reece, who began his itinerant ministry in 1787 (The Christian Advocate and Journal, May 13, 1846, contains a brief sketch of Reece's life). The letters of Catherine Rutsen Suckley and Joseph Holdich include discussions of the Methodist Church in America, and the missionary Freeborn Garretson, is discussed in several letters (1:21-23,25,26,32).
George Suckley's business correspondence includes dealings with the English firm of Holy, Newbould and Suckley (1:33-42,47) and two sets of letters from agents who Suckley retained to manage his vast land holdings, John Reed in upstate New York and John Rangeley in Maine. Among the personal correspondence are several letters from Philadelphia lawyer(?) Cornelius Comegys and letters from three of George Suckley's sons. John Lang Suckley wrote frequently to request money to pay his servants; Rutsen Suckley assisted in managing his father's properties, and Thomas Holy Suckley was a college student.
Box 3 contains family correspondence written after George's death in 1846. Among the family members represented are George's children Rusten, Mary, and Thomas Holy Suckley, and his grandson Dr. George Suckley (1830-1869). George's letters are the most intrinsically interesting, as they were written during a period in the 1850s when he was practicing in Oregon and Washington Territory and considering land investments in California. During this same period, Dr. Suckley was the recipient of several letters from David and Jack Green (apparently cousins of some sort). One item (3:39) relates to George's Civil War service. The later correspondence heavily concerns New York charities. One interesting letter (3:52) is a stableman's apology for drunkenness on Christmas.
Boxes 5 through 9 are arranged in folders by subject. Of particularly interest are materials that document the various New York City rental properties owned by Rutsen Suckley, recording rents collected and upkeep expenses between the 1840s and 1870s. The cost of living in New York can be calculated from bills and receipts for a wide range of products and services.
The Sylvester Dana papers contain 148 items arranged chronologically, the vast majority of which are letters written to Sylvester Dana during the period of his ministry at Orford, N.H. However, there are three letters written by Dana, some significant church documents, and several miscellaneous letters. Seen as a whole, the collection provides insight into the religious lives of northern New Englanders during the period of the Second Great Awakening and the development of religious fervor among both ministers and laity, as well as provides information on the local history of a Congregational church.
The Dana papers contain detailed descriptions of revivals and local religious gatherings in New England and Pennsylvania, and news of particular churches, including Congregational and other denominations. In one series, a student, Daniel C. Blood, describes the religious atmosphere among the students at Dartmouth College, 1826 to 1828, always in the hope that a revival awaits them. Numerous Congregational clergymen kept Dana posted on the state of religion in their congregations. In one letter (81), Rev. Jail Mann describes a revival among children in Massachusetts cotton factories, noting, without a trace of irony, "These factories became, as it were, temples of divine worship and houses of prayer."
All three letters written by Dana (133-135) were written when he was in his late seventies, and show Dana's command of Biblical scholarship, his condemnation of all war, and his strong grasp of current affairs. Sylvester's brother, Anderson wrote 22 letters, all from Wilkesbarre, Pa. Anderson was an outspoken critic of Pennsylvania's Gov. Thomas McKean (26, 28, 55), and he also disapproved of President Jackson (122, 124). As expected, throughout his correspondence, Anderson reports on religious events, economic conditions, and efforts to settle their father's estate. Anderson also discusses a secret affair that his brother Eleazar had, which ended with the woman's miscarriage (38, 42).
The earliest items in the collection are important documents relating to the founding of the Presbyterian Church at Orford, the first church in town. These include the church covenant (1), which includes a brief outline of church doctrine followed by a signed confession of faith, records of subsequent church proceedings (2, 3), and the minutes of a 1786 meeting of the Grafton County, N.H., Presbytery (4). The Orford Church withdrew from the Presbytery in 1789 to become Congregational. Finally, letters of recommendation for people moving to other congregations are included in folder 139, and public complaints read at the Church of Orford are in folder 140.
66 linear feet — 2 oversize folders
Important certainly for the study of influenza and poliomyelitis research, the Francis papers also document changes in the way scientific research, particularly medical research, was managed. In his correspondence files, the records from his work in combating influenza and poliomyelitis, and his participation in various professional societies, the researcher will find Francis interacting as a member of a scientific community, working with others, soliciting and exchanging views, and administering, when needed, vast programs of testing.
The Thomas Francis, Jr. papers have been arranged into seven series: General; Correspondence; Poliomyelitis Vaccine Evaluation Center; Organizations; University of Michigan; Speeches, Articles, etc.; Topical Files; and Personal/Biographical. Specific topics covered in the collection are mentioned in the descriptions of individual series. In sum, the collection documents more thoroughly Francis' work since coming to the University of Michigan in 1941. Francis' fame rests upon his research and his heading-up of influenza and poliomyelitis testing programs. For some topics, use of the Francis papers will require of the researcher at least a basic level of knowledge of epidemiology or disease control. Other subjects, such as the administration of research projects and the ways in which information is transmitted within the scientific community are less specialized and capable of being understood by the informed layperson.
Parts of the Francis papers have not yet been completely processed. Most of these subseries pertain to Francis' organizational commitments and to his membership on various boards and commissions. Types of records in these unprocessed subseries consist of minutes of meetings and procedural records. These unprocessed records are indicated on the finding aid along with the bulk size of the subseries.