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Charles M. Maxim papers, 1864-1870

19 items

As a soldier in the 23rd Massachusetts Infantry during the Civil War, Charles Maxim wrote to his family about his and his fellow soldiers' political beliefs, the morale and motivations of soldiers, and opinions on the performance of African American troops.

The Charles Maxim papers shed light on the attitudes of a Union soldier in the trenches during the last year of the war and the earliest period of Reconstruction in the South. An outstanding reporter of political views -- both his and his fellow soldiers' -- Maxim is at his best in discussing the morale and motivations of soldiers and the formal and informal politics during the election years of 1864 and 1868. Not inclined to extremes in his politics, he plied a middle road between the abolitionists and racial equality persons on one side and the much-despised copperheads on the other, yet never foregoing his strong Unionist principles. Even the postwar letters continue the thread of opposition to Democratic copperheadism.

Few letters in the Maxim papers contain discussions of military activities in the limited sense, though two letters include interesting discussions of the Battle of the Crater and what Maxim perceived as the failure of African-American soldiers under fire. More generally, several other letters, however, include discussions of generalship, morale, and soldiery, and the palpable increase in his resolve as the war winds down in the late spring, 1865, makes an interesting case study.

Finally, two letters from Maxim's friend and fellow veteran, J.C. Bolles, are worth special mention. In the first (July 17, 1869) Bolles describes his new homestead in Ottawa County, Kans., and the absurd fear on the parts of whites of Indian attack. The second letter (1870 June 1) includes an emotional reflection upon their service during the war, sparked by a Memorial Day celebration by members of the Grand Army of Republic.


Cummings-Durant family collection, 1844-1914

0.25 linear feet

The Cummings-Durant family collection contains correspondence related to the Cummings family of Rutland County, Vermont, and the Durant family of Boyd, Kentucky, who were related by marriage. George Durant wrote most of the letters about family news, his life in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, his political opinions, and current events.

This collection contains 82 letters and 6 additional items related to the Cummings family of Vermont, and to George B. Durant of Boyd, Kentucky, Avery Cummings's brother-in-law. Durant composed most of the letters, mainly addressed to his sister, Eliza Ann Durant Cummings, and her family in Montpelier, Vermont. Between 1859 and 1914, he wrote about his life in West Manchester, Pennsylvania; Cambridge City, Indiana; and Boyd, Kentucky. He sometimes commented on political matters and current events, including the presidential elections of 1860 (May 10, 1860, August 12, 1860, and August 25, 1860), 1864 (September 23, 1864), 1908 (February 6, 1909), and 1912 (August 22, 1912); the Sayers/Heenan prize fight (May 10, 1860); and the murder of several women in Chicago and the execution of Mrs. Mary Rogers (January 14, 1906).

On September 4, 1862, he described a trip he and his wife took to Cincinnati, Ohio, then under martial law; upon returning to Kentucky, he noted the presence of Confederate forces. Many of his early letters mention religion, including some notes on the origin of the Koran (September 4, 1859). He also discussed his work, which included a job at the Western Pennsylvania House of Refuge between 1859 and 1860, as well as a position as president of a female college in Kentucky (July 12, 1874). Following the death of his sister, he wrote to her son, David Willis Cummings ("Willis"), who remained in Montpelier. Most of his late letters concern family health and other news.

The remainder of the correspondence consists of letters written between members of the Durant and Cummings families. In one letter, T. S. Cummings told his uncle, Avery Cummings, of the reputation of girls in Providence, Rhode Island, and of his resolve to relocate there from Hartford (October 21, 1855). Two later letters from Philena M. Clifford of Danville, Vermont, provide details of the Clifford family genealogy (September 28, 1872 and April 10, 1874).

Additional material includes an unlabeled photograph, a contract between Eliza Ann Cummings and the Vermont Methodist Seminary and Female College (February 11, 1884), a contract between Avery Cummins [sic] and Orin Pithin (August 28, 1841), genealogical notes, and a manuscript diagram of the water pipe system of a house (undated).


Davis E. Castle journals, 1864-1865

2 volumes

Davis Castle's journals provide information on his service in the Signal Corps of the Army of the Potomac.

Davis Castle's journal provides limited information on his service in the Signal Corps of the Army of the Potomac. The document is made up of brief entries, at times illegible handwriting, and empty pages. Castle tended to report second hand information rather than his own experiences.

On the first "Memoranda" page following December 31, 1865, is a list of births in Davis Castle's immediate family. The pages dated November 1, 1864 and August 25, 1865 contain coded passages.


Doctor Tarbell and Mary Conant papers, 1864-1881 (majority within 1864-1865)

113 items

This collection consists of 113 letters, written primarily between Union soldier Doctor Tarbell and his fiancée, and later, wife, Mary Lucy Conant. Doctor served as a Sergeant in New York's 32nd Infantry, Co. A, and as a Lieutenant, Captain, and Brevet Major in the Commissary Regiment, U.S. Volunteers.

The Doctor Tarbell and Mary Conant papers are comprised of 112 letters, written primarily between Union soldier Doctor Tarbell and his fiancée (and later wife), Mary Lucy Conant, and one genealogical document. Doctor served as a sergeant in the New York 32nd Infantry, Co. A, and as a lieutenant, captain, and brevet major in the U.S. Volunteers. The collection covers Doctor’s war-time service in the Union Army and some of his post-war career. The Civil War letters form a remarkably dense series that highlights the intimate relationship of Tarbell and his fiancée Mary. The collection contains 35 letters from Doctor to Mary, and 46 letters from Mary to Doctor, mainly during 1864 and 1865. Additionally, Doctor wrote one letter to his parents T. B. and Lydia Tarbell, and received two letters from them and two from his siblings. The remaining 29 letters are either from relatives of Mary or they pertain to post-war activities of the Tarbells.

Both Tarbell and his fiancée wrote in an educated and literary style; their letters reveal an affectionate relationship. Between January and February 1864, both Tarbell and Conant wrote almost exclusively about their relationship. However, as the Army of the Potomac moved south, both writers began to focus more on the progress of the war and to assume a more fervently patriotic tone. Many of Mary's letters contain political asides ("Does the Army weary of Gen. Meade, or is it politicians & aspirants that wish to oust him?" March 13, 1864); references to life at home during wartime; and several extended lyrical passages and pro-Union sentiments. Tarbell's responses, which were also substantive and descriptive, often referred to military matters, his work as a commissary, and army morale.

At times, Tarbell's patriotism and pride in his commission shine through, as during his company's inspection by General Ulysses S. Grant (April 18, 1864). Tarbell described the journey down to Richmond, his regiment's movements, what he knew of the progress of the war, the actions of the 6th Cavalry Corps, and his encounters with southern civilians. He wrote to both Mary and his parents from Danville Military Prison, expressing his hopes that an exchange of officers was imminent (October 22, 1864, and November 20, 1864). After his release, he recounted the parades in Washington, D.C. following the ending of the war, and the review of General Sherman’s Army (May 25, 1865). On July 28, 1865, he mentioned his promotion to brevet major.

The 5 letters written to Mary during Tarbell's imprisonment are filled with sympathy and encouragement, along with family news. In a letter from Mary's young niece, Hattie Carpenter, she described the return of soldiers to Iowa (January 15, 1865). Mary A. E. Wages wrote to Miss Hardy requesting funds to establish a freedman's high school in Richmond: "The black people of Richmond are the only loyal people in the whole city...They not only need help, but are worthy objects of it" (Nov. 18, 1866).

The 13 letters from 1881 suggest that the Tarbells were in some unspecified financial difficulty, and that Doctor had been employed as a typewriter agent. The remaining 10 letters were written by Tarbell or Conant relatives and friends.

This collection also contains one genealogical document that lists the birth and marriage dates for members of the Conant and Tarbell families (1793-1884). Included is a list of Doctor and Mary Tarbell's children. This document is undated and unattributed.


George T. and Harriet Stevens papers, 1850-1920

5.5 linear feet

The collection consists of correspondence, primarily between George T. Stevens and Harriet W. Stevens of Essex County, New York , as well as documents, writings, a scrapbook, printed materials, and realia reflecting the Civil War service of surgeon George T. Stevens of the 77th Regiment N.Y. Volunteers, Harriet W. Stevens' experiences on the home front, and George T. Stevens' post-Civil War medical career in Albany and New York City, New York.

The collection consists of correspondence, primarily between George T. Stevens and Harriet W. Stevens of Essex County, New York, as well as documents, writings, a scrapbook, printed materials, and realia reflecting the Civil War service of surgeon George T. Stevens of the 77th Regiment N.Y. Volunteers, Harriet W. Stevens' experiences on the home front, and George T. Stevens' post-Civil War medical career in Albany and New York City, New York.

The Correspondence Series is divided into two sub-series. The Chronological Correspondence Sub-Series spans from 1859 to 1866 with over 560 letters. While a few other correspondents are represented, the bulk of this series reflects both sides of the correspondence between George T. Stevens and Harriet ("Hattie") W. Stevens. Beginning with their courtship in 1859, the letters reflect George's early efforts to set up medical practice in Keeseville, New York, in 1861, his entry into the army, and their relationship and experiences throughout his service during the Civil War.

George's letters give a detailed glimpse into the practices of Civil War surgeons. Beginning with his efforts to secure an appointment as an Assistant Surgeon and the internal jockeying for position that caused infighting, George's letters to Hattie provide insight into the interpersonal conflicts and partnerships that undergirded his experience as an officer. Miscommunications about a medical furlough he took from May to October 1862 due to a case of typhoid fever led to his dismissal, and George's letters speak frankly about his efforts to reenlist as well as his frustrations with barriers to accomplishing this goal. Writing reports, securing transportation and goods, and tending to administrative details also pepper George's correspondence, shedding light on the clerical demands on his time.

George wrote frequently of daily life and tasks in camp, noting food, music and reading, camaraderie, mud, weather, camp health, and more. His detailed descriptions of camp life and activity also provide glimpses of others, including those who worked for him, like Dall Wadhams, who entered the army with him and stayed until March 1862, and James Mages, a young German-American, who worked for George from September 1863 to around June 1864 when he was taken prisoner of war.

George's commentary on camp life also at times reflects information about African Americans' experiences and white soldiers' opinions on race, slavery, and emancipation. Example references include:

  • African American workers (March 12, 1863; September 6, 1863; November 23, 1863; December 20, 1863; June 25, 1864)
  • "Contrabands" and refugees (March 25, 1862; June 20, 1863; August 2, 1863; October 17, 1863)
  • African American residents in Virginia who George encountered during marches (April 9, 1862; April 13, 1862; April 25, 1862)
  • Rumors of arson in Charleston (December 19, 1861)
  • Emancipation Proclamation (January 3, 1863; January 7, 1863)
  • African American soldiers (June 27, 1864)
  • Violence perpetrated against African American soldiers at Plymouth and Fort Pillow (April 26, 1864; May 3, 1864)

George T. Stevens' letters also reflect on marching conditions, as well as details about setting up hospitals and tending to the sick and wounded. Letters describing battles reflect not only on military movements and engagements but also on the fieldwork undertaken by surgeons, amputations in particular, and the dangers to which they were exposed. He commented on medicine, transport of the wounded, illness, and death. For much of May 1864, he was stationed in Fredericksburg tending to soldiers wounded during the Overland Campaign, before returning to his regiment late in the month, and his letters reflect this work.

In addition to passing references to additional battles, the military engagements or their aftermath that George T. Stevens' letters reflect on include:

  • Siege of Yorktown and Battle of Lee's Mill (April 1862)
  • Battle of Williamsburg (May 1862)
  • Chancellorsville Campaign and Second Battle of Fredericksburg (April and May 1863)
  • Battle of Franklin's Crossing (June 1863)
  • Battle of Gettysburg (July 1863)
  • Bristoe Campaign (October 1863)
  • Battle of Rappahannock Station (November 1863)
  • Battle of Mine Run (December 1863)
  • Battle of the Wilderness (May 1864)
  • Battle of Spotsylvania Court House (May 1864)
  • Battle of Cold Harbor (June 1864)
  • Siege of Petersburg (June 1864)
  • Shenandoah Valley Campaign (August 1864)
  • Third Battle of Winchester (September 1864)
  • Battle of Fisher's Hill (September 1864)

George and Harriet discussed their own health in good detail. George experienced a difficult bout of typhoid fever beginning in May 1862 and another illness in April 1864, which brought Harriet to tend to him during his recoveries. George and Harriet both commented on military and political events. Harriet was an avid reader of the news, tracking the 77th Regiment's movements and engagements. George commented several times that she was better informed than he was. "The rumors you have in regard to our moving are only the reports of the soldiers in camp who know as much of our future movements as they do of the next arctic expedition in search of Sir John Franklin," he wrote on January 24, 1862. Both were candid in their criticisms of military leaders.

As his regiment was periodically stationed near Washington, D.C., including for several months in late 1861 and early 1862, George's letters contain commentary about conditions in the city. Harriet's occasional trips to visit George in camp or to tend to him during bouts of illness also found her staying in D.C. She remained in the city hoping to visit George while the Battle of Gettysburg was being fought. Her letters during these times provide additional insight into how women and camp followers experienced D.C. and how residents responded to war news.

Harriet's letters written while she was staying with family at Wadham's Mills and Crown Point provide information about the home front. Discussions of finances, family news, anxiety for George's wellbeing, military events, health, music and reading, and more pepper her letters. As she and George wrote each other frequently, both sides of their conversation are often represented, showing the back-and-forth dialog that the couple sustained throughout the war. Notes written on envelopes by Harriet W. Stevens in later years identify letters that were of interest to her or provide clarifying information, hinting at George and Harriet's ongoing consultation of their wartime correspondence. George and Harriet's interest in botany is also well represented in the series. They discussed plants and sent each other pressed flowers and leaves.

Frances ("Frankie") Wadhams Davenport Ormsbee is also well reflected in the series. While she contributed only a small handful of letters, George T. and Harriet Stevens commented regularly on her and her husband George Davenport, beginning with a reference to their courtship in a letter from May 13, 1859. George T. Stevens discussed visits with George Davenport while they were both in active service, as well as with Frances while she was visiting him in camp. Letters referencing Frances, as well as George's own letters detailing his preparations for Harriet to visit him in camp, provide insight into officers' wives' experiences staying in the military encampments. Upon George Davenport's death at the Battle of the Wilderness, George T. Stevens wrote home with news he had about the nature of his death and burial, and corresponded with Harriet and Frances as they worked to recover his body and process their grief.

Several letters from other members of the Stevens and Wadhams families are also present. Additionally, as Wadham's Mills was located near the Canadian and Vermont borders, the series at times reflects on affairs in those regions. For example, Harriet W. Stevens' letter from December 19, 1861, states, "...the most prominent business men in Canada were drilling men three times a week. Frankie & I think that if we go to war with England, we shall just put on pants & go to." She also wrote of news regarding St. Albans Raid (October 20, 1864; October 23, 1864; October 30, 1864; November 2, 1864).

Correspondence from after George's service is far less frequent. It includes a letter from a former patient whose arm he saved during the war (February 19, 1865), a few letters from other members of the 77th Regiment, and material relating to the Stevens's move to Albany. One item written by James McKean on May 3-June 8, 1865, outlines reactions to news of the Civil War in Honduras, including references to an African American man and young indigenous Honduran boy.

George T. Stevens included sketches and drawings in some of his letters to Harriet. Letters that include pen-and-ink illustrations are listed below:

  • February 20, 1861: wedding ring designs
  • December 17, 1861: George T. Stevens' furnishings at the Regimental Head Quarters
  • December 29, 1861: decorated encampment of the Vermont 4th
  • January 8, 1862: sketch of Fredericksburg and vicinity
  • January 12, 1862: map of cross-roads where he got lost in D.C.
  • January 21, 1862: portrait of Dall Wadhams to illustrate weight loss
  • January 29, 1862: sketch of his quarters
  • February 2, 1862: possum
  • February 5, 1862: sketch map of Washington and Georgetown area
  • February 9, 1862: hospital wards
  • December 19, 1862: principal building of the Soldiers' Home in Virginia; chain bridge that slowed their march
  • March 11, 1862: makeshift tent while on march near Fairfax Courthouse
  • March 18, 1862: camp scene with makeshift tent near Alexandria
  • March 29, 1862: agricultural tools used by African Americans; wooden gun with hog's head placed in the muzzle
  • April 3, 1862: sketch map of march route in Virginia
  • April 9, 1862: musical notations and sketch of buildings
  • April 25, 1862: birds-eye-view of three farms and sketch of a farmhouse's steps and door
  • April 25, 1862: sketch of three farms
  • November 18, 1862: pattern for chevrons and illustration of where they will be attached to sleeves
  • November 27, 1862: steaming plum pudding served at Thanksgiving
  • December 25, 1862: camp for the 77th Regiment decorated for Christmas
  • February 24, 1863: snowball fight in camp
  • April 9, 1863: sketch of military insignia on the hat worn by a young girl who accompanied Abraham Lincoln on a review of the army
  • October 17, 1863: sketch map of troop positions
  • September 8, 1864: traced floral patterns

The Bundled Correspondence Sub-Series reflects the original bundling of these sub-sets of letters, with each then arranged chronologically. One bundle consists of nine letters and documents from ca. 1859-1860, as well as undated items, relating to Miss Slater's School for Young Ladies in Lansingburgh, New York. The other bundle includes six letters from 1868 relating to resolving an incident when George T. Stevens received double payment while in the service in 1864.

The Documents Series is divided into four sub-series. The Chronological Documents Sub-Series consists of eleven items ranging in date from 1856 to 1864, including Castleton Medical College admission tickets; a subscription receipt toFlag of Our Union ; a partially printed notebook listing voters in the town of Keene in 1858; a small leather wallet containing notes documenting George and Harriet's travels in 1861, money received, and letters; an 1864 document from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer relieving Stevens of duty; General Orders 222 from 1864; a partial copy of the regiment's participation in military campaigns from May to July 1864; undated GAR Roster; and an undated list of three people, "not paid."

The bundled documents sub-series represent the original bundling of the documents as they arrived at the Clements, but each grouping was then arranged chronologically. The Bundled Military Documents Sub-Series consists of:

  • Five Civil War Passes, 1861-1862
  • Six Reports of Sick and Wounded, compiled by George T. Stevens, December 1861- May 1862
  • Approximately 66 documents relating to "Monthly Reports of Hospital Supplies &c," February 1863- March 1865
  • Seven lists of casualties and enlisted men, primarily for the 77th Regiment, 1864-1865

The Bundled G.A.R. Documents Sub-Series consists of the following bundles:

  • "Papers relating to Soldiers & Sailors Union," with three petitions, 1866-1867, to charter subordinate unions in Eastchester, Utica, and Newburgh, New York, respectively, and one letter stating why the Yonkers Soldiers' and Sailors' Union would not be represented in a convention. A note written by Harriet W. Stevens in 1920 states that the Soldiers' and Sailors' Union merged into the Society of the G.A.R. in George T. Stevens' Albany office in 1867.
  • "Papers relating to the formation of the society of the Grand Army of the Republic of the state of New York," with approximately 23 documents dating between December 1866 and December 1867. These include general orders and circulars from the Headquarters Department of New York as well as undated petitions to apply for a charter for a post of the G.A.R. All of the petitions are blank, except one with a single signature.
  • "Special Orders [GAR], 1867," with 11 documents, written by Frank J. Bramhall or George T. Stevens regarding G.A.R. procedures
  • "1867," with approximately 25 documents dating between September 1866 and November 1867, many relating to G.A.R. charters, membership applications, reports and rosters, and other business.

The Miscellaneous Bundled Documents Sub-Series consists of two rolled bundles:

  • 8 appointments, certificates, and diplomas for George T. Stevens, 1864-1881, including his Army appointments to Assistant Surgeon and Surgeon, Army discharge, diploma from Castleton Medical College, certificate for his honorary degree from Union College, as well as several certificates for medical societies and the military organizations
  • 3 genealogical documents, including a blank genealogical form, "Ancestral Chart, 1879;" a copy of the chart filled out for Charles Wadhams Stevens' ancestry; and a small version of the Charles Wadhams Stevens genealogy.

The Writings Series includes:

  • George T. Stevens manuscript drafts of autobiographical writings. Dated notes range from 1910 to 1914. Sections include: Childhood; The School at Chazy; Elizabethtown; Personal Reminiscences: My First Wage Earning; My First Engagement as Schoolmaster; School at Keeseville; My First Field of Practice; [Leaving Keeseville and Entering the Army]; My Time as a Soldier; Notes of the Life in the Army; Williamsburgh; Albany Beginnings of Botanical Experiences; The Nature Club; [A Trip to Europe].
  • George T. Stevens biography, a brief two-page manuscript outlining his Civil War service and professional and academic achievements, particularly in relation to ophthalmology.
  • George T. Stevens typed reply to a G.A.R. questionnaire with manuscript additions, providing information about his military service and post-war career. Includes additional text, "Beginnings of the Grand Army of the Republic in the State of New York."
  • Harriet W. Stevens, "Some War Time Recollections by the Wife of an Army Surgeon," a 42-page typed draft with manuscript corrections of a paper she read before the National Society of New England Women. Particular attention is paid to the Peninsular Campaign of 1861, her visits with George T. Stevens in camp in 1863, stays in Washington, D.C., and tending to George during his bouts of illness. A shorter, 13-page copy is also present.
  • Frances Davenport Ormsbee, "A War Reminiscence," a 12-page typescript that relates George Davenport's service, her visits with him during the war, his death, and efforts to locate his grave and recover his body. Also includes a photocopy of a transcribed letter from June 10, 1865, from Frances describing the retrieval of George Davenport and Captain Ormsbee's bodies.
  • "Army Papers Written by Members of the Sixth Corps," with three different unattributed and undated items: "June 20th Fight at Mechanicsville," 2 pages, and two partial military recollections, 4 pages and 16 pages respectively.

The Scrapbook Series consists of one volume with material primarily relating to George T. Stevens' post-Civil War life and career tipped or pasted in. Dated items range from 1861 to 1918. Material relates to his work with the Albany Medical College, Nature Club of Albany, the Albany Institute and its Field Meetings, the Grand Army of the Republic, military reunions, the Troy Scientific Association, the Soldiers and Sailors Union, and some references to his publications. Some material relates to his medical career, primarily ephemera from medical associations, lectures, and notices of his awards and achievements. Two Civil War-era items include an 1861 newspaper clipping from Keeseville announcing George T. Stevens' appointment in the Army and an 1861 printed circular calling to organize a Bemis Heights Battalion. Only a handful of items relate to Harriet W. Stevens and their social life. Formats include newspaper clippings, postcards, disbound pages, fliers, programs, advertisements, business or calling cards, and circulars, among others.

The Photographs Series features the following:

  • 10 cartes-de-visite of "Officers of the 77th Regt. NYS Vols." Named individuals include Winsor B. French, Henry J. Adams (of the 118th Infantry), David J. Caw, [Isaac D.] Clapp, Martin Lennon, and "Robert."
  • Approximately 12 photographs of George T. Stevens appear in a variety of formats, including cartes-de-visite, cabinet cards, studio portraits, a framed photo, among others. The tintypes, ambrotypes, and daguerreotypes are detailed separately below.
  • 10 photographs of Harriet W. Stevens dating from 1861 into her older age.
  • 15 photographs of Frances Virginia Stevens Ladd, ranging from when she was a baby through her older age. Dated items range from 1866 to 1922, and several show her wearing theatrical garb.
  • 5 photographs of Charles Wadhams Stevens, ranging from when he was a baby into his middle age. Dated items range from 1868 to 1880.
  • 2 photographs of Georgina Wadhams Stevens, one a tinted reproduction of a photo on a cabinet card, and another a cyanotype of an interior scene displaying a framed painted portrait of her, likely anteceding her death.
  • 3 photographs of George Trumbull Ladd.

In addition to the above, the Photographs Series also includes two tinted ambrotypes of George T. Stevens; one tinted tintype of George T. and Harriet W. Stevens with George and Frances Davenport; one tinted daguerreotype of Frances and George Davenport; and a ca. 1864 tintype of George T. Stevens in the field in Virginia, wearing his uniform while mounted on a horse, with his groom, Austin, standing with his mule.

The Printed Materials Series primarily consists of pamphlets dating from 1850 to 1915 and includes material relating to the Sons of Temperance, Castleton Medical College, the Independent Order of Good Templars, Masons, and an Ex-Soldiers' Handbook. One pamphlet includes George T. Stevens' address to the Survivors' Association of the 77th Regiment, "The First Fighting Campaign of the Seventy-Seventh N.Y.V." There are also 165 copies of the print, "The Chimneys - April 5, 1862. Drawing by George T. Stevens." Six books are located in the Clements Library's Book Division. Please see the list in the Additional Descriptive Data below for a complete list.

The Realia Series includes the following items:

  • Pair of white leather gloves, with note by Harriet W. Stevens: "These white kid gloves were G. T. Stevens worn when we were married."
  • George T. Stevens Civil War uniform items, including dark green silk surgeon's sash, white cotton gloves, blue shoulder strap, and golden hat ornament.
  • Pair of white cotton gloves, with note by Harriet W. Stevens, "worn by Chas. W. Stevens when he was a drummer boy at Albany Academy."
  • Pair of children's leather gloves and shoes. Note by Harriet W. Stevens suggests they belonged to Frances V. Stevens Ladd.
  • Pair of knitted white and blue socks with ribbon, in envelope labeled "These were Little Georgies socks," likely referring to Georgina Wadhams (1871-1882).
  • 1910 G.A.R. badge.


George T. Anthony papers, 1858-1890

64 items

The George T. Anthony papers consist of letters written to his brother while serving in the Civil War and letters about postwar politics in Kansas, where Anthony held numerous political positions, including governor from 1877-1879.

George Anthony's correspondence is valuable both from what is said and who is saying it. The Civil War letters in this collection are entirely from George to his brother, Benjamin, who was at home tending to the former's business affairs. Thus many of the letters contain an insight into the difficulties of operating personal matters from a distance of several hundred miles. Not only was Benjamin at home handling the reins of business, he was also avoiding the draft as best he could. This bone of contention prompted a number of impassioned sermons from George, out in the field with "my little command."

Anthony writes at length, philosophizing on the principles of war. He argues for a hard line in crushing the rebellion by brute force, a la Grant, whom he regards as "the great military genius of the age." By the same token, Ben Butler is portrayed as a weak sister at best, and Anthony applauds his removal. His desire to see hard fighting is frustrated by orders to stay put and hold his few square yards, orders which he accepts meekly.

Anthony's heavy-handed outlook spills over into Reconstruction, where he favors a retributive policy over clemency. He is surely one of the first to call for the impeachment of Andrew Johnson (March 10th, 1865), although the crime in question is the latter's inebriation on Inauguration Day.

The post-war letters highlight state politics in Kansas. They indicate that Anthony's sister, Cynthia, was involved in philanthropic work in the Reconstruction south. Three letters from an uncle, David Anthony (1801-1874), provide a marvellous view of an old-line Quaker of "wiry tenacious vigor" (according to George), whose piety does not exclude a penchant for wheeling and dealing in big business.


Gray family papers, 1861-1882 (majority within 1861-1865)

33 items

The Gray family papers document the family relationships of William and Eckley Gray, while serving in the Union Army, and Lucy Doan Gray, William's wife and Eckley's mother, as she managed the family farm in New Salem, Illinois.

The papers of William and Eckley Gray present an unusual view of side-by-side service of a father and son during the Civil War. As a junior officer and enlisted man, respectively, the Grays present strikingly different personalities, the stable and directed father paired with his unstable and seemingly rudderless son. Information on military aspects of the war is relatively scarce in the Gray papers. However, the collection provides excellent insight into the effect of the war on family relationships, hinting obliquely at some of the long term effects that the war had on some of its participants.

In a sense, the heart of the collection is the letters written by Lucy Gray. More than anything, the anguished tone of her letters stands out, as she pleads with the men to return home and assist the family and farm, or as she complains about the Eckley's profligacy, drinking and gambling. The tension between mother and son, and his occasional, half-hearted efforts to patch things between them take on a particularly tragic tone given the apparent aimlessness of his later life and his death by drug abuse.

Among the more interesting individual letters in the collection are three letters from Eckley to his mother, one describing a night-time bombardment at Vicksburg (1863 July 9), another discussing the anti-Lincoln attitudes of the soldiers of the Veterans Reserve Corps (1864 October 10), and an extraordinary letter (July 19, 1864), bemoaning Lincoln's latest call for troops and his apparent inhumanity.


Handy family papers, 1670s-1980s

77 linear feet

[NB: This is a TEMPORARY finding aid for an IN-PROCESS collection; some restrictions apply]. The Handy Papers document the lives and professional activities of four generations of the Handy Family of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. The collection largely revolves around James Henry Handy (1789-1832), Isaac William Ker Handy (1815-1878), Moses Purnell Handy (1847-1898), Sarah Matthews Handy (1845-1933), Frederick Algernon Graham Handy (1842-1912), Egbert G. Handy (1858-1938), Rozelle Purnell Handy (1871-1920), Sarah V. C. Handy (1876-1963), and H. Jamison Handy "Jam Handy" (1886-1983). The Handy family were largely educated, politically active, literary southerners, who were a part of many of the social and intellectual currents of especially the mid- and late-19th century. The papers offer resources for study of the Civil War, particularly its effect on Virginia civilians and southern prisoners of war at Fort Delaware; the history of southern families; late nineteenth-century American politics; Presbyterian history; late nineteenth-century newspaper journalism; the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1892-93; and genealogy. In its current, temporary housing, the papers include 30 boxes of correspondence, 27 boxes of family papers and topics files, six boxes of World's Columbian Exposition papers; eight boxes of photographs, plus separately housed images; four boxes of newspapers and newspaper clippings; 12 boxes of Jam Handy and Jam Handy Organization papers; 60 boxes of scrapbooks; and six boxes of books and serials (plus many loose books and other printed items).

[NB: This is a TEMPORARY finding aid for an IN-PROCESS collection. This current scope note pertains almost entirely to Handy family papers acquisitions of the 1980s (an estimated 60-65 boxes of the total 153 boxes). Among the in-process materials are 60 boxes of scrapbooks, largely kept by Rozelle P. Handy and Sarah V. C. Handy].

The Handy Papers document the lives and professional activities of four generations of the Handy Family of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. The collection largely revolves around James Henry Handy (1789-1832), Isaac William Ker Handy (1815-1878), Moses Purnell Handy (1847-1898), Sarah Matthews Handy (1845-1933), Frederick Algernon Graham Handy (1842-1912), Egbert G. Handy (1858-1938), Rozelle Purnell Handy (1871-1920), Sarah V. C. Handy (1876-1963), and H. Jamison Handy "Jam Handy" (1886-1983). The Handy family were largely educated, politically active, literary southerners, who were a part of many of the social and intellectual currents of especially the mid- and late-19th century. The papers offer resources for study of the Civil War, particularly its effect on Virginia civilians and southern prisoners of war at Fort Delaware; the history of southern families; late nineteenth-century American politics; Presbyterian history; late nineteenth-century newspaper journalism; the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1892-93; and genealogy.

In its current, temporary housing (see the box listing in this finding aid), the papers include 50 boxes of correspondence, 26 boxes of family papers and topics files, six boxes of World's Columbian Exposition papers; eight boxes of photographs, plus separately housed cased images; four boxes of newspapers and newspaper clippings; 12 boxes of Jam Handy and Jam Handy Organization papers; 60 boxes of scrapbooks; and six boxes of books and serials (plus many loose books and other printed items).

The following is a former description by Curator of Manuscripts Galen Wilson, for the Handy Family Papers acquisitions of the 1980s (50-60 boxes of materials):

"Isaac Handy's fondness for history led him to the belief that he lived at an important moment in the life of the nation, and every wrinkle of the sectional crisis of the 1850s and 60s seemed to confirm. His correspondence and diaries from the eve of the war through its conclusion are a reflection of a well-educated southerner's reaction to the events unfolding about him and provide insight into the development of his political sympathies. Even after his arrest in July 1863 and his incarceration at Fort Delaware, Handy remained conscious of being part of "history in the making," not only continuing his twenty-five-year habit of keeping a diary, but in planning for a future book on Fort Delaware, soliciting memoirs of war service from his fellow prisoners. Handy saved these manuscripts, plus the correspondence he received while in prison (much of it from Confederate civilians), pasting them into two large scrapbooks. These have been disbound and the material cataloged item-by-item and interfiled chronologically in the collection's correspondence. Drafts and copies of the book which Handy wrote about his confinement, United States Bonds, are present in the collection.

Among the many individual areas of American Civil War interest are Isaac W. K. Handy's description of the battle between the ironclads Monitor and Merrimac, and the journal which Moses Handy kept during his service in the Confederate army in 1865. The soldiers' reminiscences collected by Isaac Handy at Fort Delaware include several exceptional accounts, including biographical and autobiographical sketches of M. Jeff Thompson, the mayor of St. Joseph, Missouri, turned "Swamp Rat" militia commander. Thompson played a major role during the summer of 1861 in defending Missouri's slave system from John C. Frémont's emancipation proclamation.

Other Civil War war-related materials include Isaac Handy's 1861 sermon on "Our National Sins" and fast-day sermons from the same year. The reminiscences of a myriad of former Confederate officers are scattered throughout Handy's correspondence of the late 1870s, all intended to be used in a history of the war planned by the Philadelphia Times. Also present is some documentation of Frederick A. G. Handy's father-in-law, Edwin Festus Cowherd, a Confederate soldier.

While the Handy collection provides thorough documentation of life among the eastern Handys, it also contains a significant body of correspondence from the westward sojourn of Isaac and Mary Jane Handy from 1844 to 1848. Isaac and his wife wrote over 100 letters from Missouri, in which they described the powerful ideological lure of the west, their family's adjustment to new surroundings, and the social and political climate of the old southwest. An index to these letters, prepared by Isaac Handy, is present, along with an original binding. Isaac's diary for the years spent in Missouri provides a valuable point of comparison for the letters.

Political and social commentary flows throughout most of the collection, from Jesse Higgins' campaign for reform of the federal legal and judicial systems, 1805-1806, through the fin de siècle political interests and involvements of Moses Handy.

The political impact of Reconstruction plays a major role in the collection, particularly in the letters of Congressman Samuel Jackson Randall (1828-1890) of Pennsylvania. The election of 1896 is well documented and the collection includes much correspondence with the Republican President-maker Mark Hanna. For his efforts on behalf of the Republican Party in this election, Moses Handy had hoped to net a foreign consulate through Hannah but was disappointed. Handy's transition from Confederate soldier to Republican politico is subtly documented and provides an interesting case study in political opportunism.

The Handy Family Papers are an important resource for the history of the Presbyterian Church during the 19th century. The 2nd Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., was a major focus of James Henry Handy's life, and the early history of this congregation is well documented in correspondence dating from the 1820s. Rev. Daniel Baker was the first pastor of the congregation, and although Baker's tenure was controversial, James remained a close friend of Baker's for the rest of their lives. The collection thus contains items concerning Baker and his relationship with the 2nd Church, and several letters written by him after he left to assume a pastorate in Savannah, Georgia.

Isaac Handy's vocation as a Presbyterian minister and his avocation as an historical researcher merge in this collection, deepening the documentation of the church. Perhaps spurred by being asked to contribute some biographical sketches to William B. Sprague's Annals of the American Pulpit, Handy sought out primary documents relating to the colonial Presbyterian clergy and congregations. Aspects of his own career in the church is documented through a scattered series of letters from former parishioners--many of which were received during his imprisonment at Fort Delaware--and in letters written by Isaac to his sons. A thick file of Isaac's sermons is present, several of which were published. Among these sermons is "The Terrible Doings of God" (23:31), which concerns the Yellow Fever Epidemic near Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1855. He delivered this eulogy at a Baptist church for members of several different Portsmouth churches. Handy earned acclaim during the crisis by staying to help the victims rather than fleeing to safer ground.

Isaac Handy's literary flair was inherited by Frederick and Moses, and both pursued careers in newspapers. Moses' career is more thoroughly documented than Frederick's, and much of the correspondence written between 1869 and 1890 concerns Moses' efforts in the newspaper business. There are several folders of general newspaper correspondence dating from 1865 to 1897, an entire box of unsorted clippings by and about the Handys, and boxes of mounted clippings of Moses, Sarah, and Rozelle Handy's published writings. Journalistic endeavors of other family members are also present.

One of Moses Handy's greatest claims to fame was his role as chair of Department O (Publicity and Promotion) for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893. His involvement with the Exposition is documented in correspondence, reports, financial papers, brochures, photographs, and memorabilia. The advertising campaign begun in 1890 has been cited as the prototype of modern publicity strategies, and the Handy Papers offer an unparalleled view into the inner workings of the key department. The collection also contains information about the San Francisco Mid-Winter Exposition (1893), a sort of subsidiary event to the main Chicago attraction, and the general correspondence for 1891-93 contains some references to the World's Fair.

Isaac Handy's lifelong ambition was to publish "The Annals and Memorials of the Handys and their Kindred." Beginning in the 1850s, he gathered genealogical data on all descendants of "Samuel Handy, the Progenitor," an Englishman who emigrated to Maryland to farm tobacco. Three drafts of this work, in increasing thickness, were completed in 1857, 1865, and the 1870s. Isaac was prepared to publish the work in the 1870s and had an advertising flier printed, but when subscriptions did not meet expectations and Handy died in 1878, the project foundered. The manuscript then passed to Moses Handy, whose own intentions for publishing the book never reached fruition, possibly due to his untimely death at the age of fifty. In 1904, Isaac's youngest surviving son, Egbert, acquired the manuscript from Moses's widow, Sarah Matthews Handy, but his publication plans did not gather momentum until 1932.

With a great deal of vigor, Egbert attempted to update the manuscript, now sixty years out of date, and had a new advertising circular printed. Again, death removed the Annals' main advocate. The manuscript remained in the possession of Egbert's widow, Minerva Spencer Handy, and in the 1940s she gave it to Frederick A. G. Handy's widow, Lelia Cowherd Handy, then living in Arlington, Virginia. Before her death in 1949, Leila entrusted the material to her granddaughter Mildred Ritchie. The Clements Library acquired the manuscript from Mrs. Ritchie along with other family papers. A century and a third after Isaac began the project, the Annals were published by the Clements Library in 1992. The Handy Family Papers contain various drafts of the manuscript, plus many notes and letters concerning its publication."

[NB: This is a TEMPORARY finding aid for an IN-PROCESS collection. This current scope note pertains almost entirely to Handy family papers acquisitions of the 1980s (an estimated 60-65 boxes of the total 153 boxes). Among the in-process materials are 60 boxes of scrapbooks, largely kept by Rozelle P. Handy and Sarah V. C. Handy].


Isaac Jackson papers, 1862-1865

95 items

Isaac Jackson's letters provide details about the daily life of a soldier in the 83rd Ohio Infantry, with particularly good descriptions of the Vicksburg Campaign, the Teche expedition, and the munitions explosion in Mobile, Ala.

The Isaac Jackson papers are an outstanding example of the Civil War correspondence of an ordinary soldier. While Jackson may not have been a literary giant, and while he was "merely" a rank private, his letters are crammed with interesting details about the daily lives and extraordinary moments of a soldier's life. Although possessed of deep moral convictions and a keen interest in the politics of his fragmenting country, Jackson was not inclined to introspection or lengthy moralizing. His letters are instead chronicles of his activities -- all of his activities -- spiced with his thoughts of the moment. Whether lamenting the lack of patriotism at home, extolling the virtues of southern fruits and vegetables, or discussing his meals, Jackson brings a keen eye for observation to nearly every topic. His observations on the southern citizenry, camp life and regimental politics, or the movements of troops are evocative and unfailingly interesting, and the last letter in the collection (1865 May 28) is one of the best descriptions available of the massive munitions explosion that rocked Mobile.

The most detailed letters in the collection are those written during the Vicksburg Campaign, and particularly during the siege, proper, when Jackson was almost constantly occupied with military matters. His letters from the Teche expedition are equally important, and are perhaps more so, in that they document a far lesser known series of events. Throughout, Jackson maintained an optimistic, even cheerful attitude, and unlike many of his fellow soldiers, seldom elected to focus on the blood in which he was immersed.

The Jackson papers were edited by Isaac's grandson, Joseph, and published almost in their entirety in 1961 (see above for reference). Seven letters that currently reside in the Clements' collections were not included (1862 August 14, 18, 22, 25; 1863 April 23; 1864 September 4; and 1865 May 28), two of which (1863 April 23 and 1864 September 4) were written by William Hedges, a friend in the 83rd Ohio. Two letters contained in the published volume were not included in the donation, 1862 November 1 (to Ethan A. Jackson), and 1863 February 27 (to Sarah Jackson).


John Otto typescript, [ca. 1902]

646 pages

This typescript contains John Henry Otto's detailed recollections about his service in the 21st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, Company D, during the Civil War.

This typescript (646 pages) contains John Henry Otto's detailed recollections about his service in the 21st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, Company D, during the Civil War. The narrative is divided into an introduction and 52 chapters, with outlines provided at the beginning of each chapter. Otto made two longhand copies of his reminiscences around 1902 and presented them to his sons August and George; Vincent R. R. Carboneau, Otto's grandson, created another longhand copy in early 1943. This typescript, completed by Carboneau's daughter, Phyllis McGrath, in 1977, is a typed version of Carboneau's manuscript, with original spelling, grammar, and punctuation intact.

The typescript, based on Otto's original war diaries, concerns the entirety of his Civil War service, from his initial enlistment in August 1862 to his final discharge in June 1865. An early chapter contains brief notes about his previous military experiences in the Prussian army, with which he served in wars against Denmark (1848) and Austria (1850-1851), and he occasionally referred to his wife and children in Wisconsin. He discussed Wisconsin residents' response to the war and the renewed call to arms in late 1862 and shared stories of his interactions with civilians and military personnel throughout his time in the South, including other German-American soldiers and both Union and Confederate sympathizers. Otto encountered runaway slaves and freedmen and occasionally referred to the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1864, he expressed his negative opinion of George McClellan and McClellan's nomination for the presidency.

Most of Otto's reminiscences concern his daily experiences, and some parts of the narrative are structured like a diary. Otto described camp life, winter quarters, drilling, equipment, and the areas he passed through and visited in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. In September and October 1864, he visited Wisconsin on furlough. The typescript includes his detailed recollections of the Tullahoma Campaign, the Atlanta Campaign, Sherman's March to the Sea, and the Carolinas Campaign; numerous skirmishes; and major engagements such as the Battle of Perryville, Battle of Stones River, Battle of Hoover's Gap, Battle of Chickamauga, Battle of Resaca, Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Battle of Peachtree Creek, Siege of Atlanta, and the Battle of Averasboro. He recounted in-battle movements, the experience of coming under fire, and deaths. Otto witnessed a few executions, including that of at least one deserter, and wrote about the capture of Confederate prisoners and equipment. While in the Carolinas near the end of the war, he befriended a young mulatto boy, "Joe Hooker," who returned with him to Wisconsin in 1865. After the 21st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment participated in the Grand Review of the Armies in May 1865, Otto remained in Washington, D.C., where he did some sightseeing. The final pages of the typescript include a copy of Sherman's farewell address to the army.