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Gibbons family papers, 1858-1941 (majority within 1868-1941)

180 items

The Gibbons family papers are made up of correspondence, land indentures, and lecture notes of the Gibbons family of Muskingum County, Ohio, Kansas, and Oregon. A primary focus of the collection is Thomas A. Gibbons, a teacher in late 19th century Ohio.

The Gibbons family papers consist of 180 items, dated from 1858 to September 10, 1941, though the bulk falls between July 11, 1868 and September 10, 1941. The collection contains letters, financial papers, documents pertaining to land ownership, lecture outlines and notes, and miscellaneous papers.

These papers reveal many difficulties confronted by a middle class family during this time period, such as obtaining education and employment. The letters also periodically mention notable historical events such as a new draft law (August 21, 1918), the undeclared war on Germany (September 10, 1941), and the lowering of Canadian lumber tariffs by Roosevelt. Among the more local concerns is the mention of a classmate's tuberculosis (August 9, 1940).

The 44 financial papers consist mostly of receipts and cashed checks. The land documents include deeds and indentures for land in Ohio, Kansas, and Oregon. The lecture outlines, notes, and drafts are primarily those of Thomas Gibbons in Ohio. They discuss subjects such as biology, classical history, education, and physiology. The miscellaneous papers include documents such as teaching certificates, a memorial, and letter fragments.


Stiles family papers, 1852-1932 (majority within 1870-1916)

15 linear feet

The Stiles family papers are made up of 3,480 letters, one diary, several financial documents, a photograph, a poem, and printed items related to sisters Ellen E. and Alice M. Stiles of Southbury, Connecticut, in the later 19th and early 20th century. The correspondence is primarily the incoming and outgoing correspondence of the Stiles sisters, their family, and friends. The largest groups of letters are communications with Sarah J. Whiting ("Jennie") of New Haven; educator Mary J. Robinson ("Robie") of Minnesota, California, and elsewhere; and teacher Rose M. Kinney of Oberlin, Ohio, the Tillotson Institute in Austin, Texas, and other locations.

The Stiles family papers are made up of 3,480 letters, one diary, several financial documents, a photograph, a poem, and printed items revolving around sisters Ellen E. and Alice M. Stiles of Southbury, Connecticut, in the later 19th and early 20th century.

The correspondence is primarily incoming and outgoing correspondence of the Stiles sisters, their family, and friends. In the early 1850s, Ellen ("Nellie") E. Stiles, received letters her from friend Emma Gilbert ("Emmie" or "Em," daughter of a Methodist Minister), Lottie R. Pierce, cousins, and others while Ellen attended school at Southbury, Connecticut, and lived in New Haven. In 1856, Emmie began her schooling at Music Vale Seminary in Salem, Massachusetts, and by 1857, lived in Ridgefield where her family kept boarders and had a class of five music scholars.

Alice ("Allie") Stiles sent her father letters while she attended E. A. Roberti's school in New Haven. Nellie and Allie corresponded regularly throughout their lives, whenever apart. In the 1860s, Ellen wrote lengthy letters, with remarks on boys, flirtation, peers' relationships, copperheads, dresses, clothing, fashion, everyday life, household activities, family, interpersonal relationships, church attendance, sicknesses, deaths, and news on health and medical conditions of family and friends. When Ellen became ill in 1874, she traveled to Castile, New York, and remained at the Castile Sanitarium/Castile Water-Cure from 1875 to 1876. Letters from this period include several from Dr. Cordelia Greene, director of the institution.

Their most regular and prolific correspondent was Sarah J. Whiting "Jennie," who spent her life in New Haven, Connecticut. Alice received letters from her friend Mary J. Robinson ("Robie" or "Robbie"), a teacher with ties to the American Missionary Association. Robie spent much of her time in Lake City and Marshall, Minnesota. She worked as a teacher and private tutor. From 1882 to 1884, she taught at Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; in 1886 she wrote from the Daytona Institute for Young Women in Daytona, Florida; from 1888 to 1889 she lived in Ormand, Florida; and in the 1890s she lived in Monrovia, California, and taught at the Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Beginning in the mid 1870s, Alice and Ellen received letters from educator Rose M. Kinney of Oberlin, Ohio. Rose's letters include correspondence from the later 1880s, when she taught at the Tillotson Institute, Austin, Texas.

The sisters received letters from their cousin H. S. Osborne in San Francisco, 1863-69 and 1884-87, and cousin Annie of East Oakland, California. H. S. Osborne's April 23, 1865, letter includes a description of San Francisco's response to news of the death of Abraham Lincoln. Other correspondents included Cordelia Sterling of Stratford, Connecticut; Mary A. Babbitt of Ansonia, Connecticut; cousin A. E. Wright; Emily A. Mitchell of Brooklyn, New York; Annie E. Stockwell at South Britain, Connecticut; Walter J. Webb; Annie M. Upton of Salem, Massachusetts; members of the Gilbert family at Nichols Farms; and William H. Sage of New Haven.

The papers include a pre-printed pocket diary of Ellen E. Stiles, covering the year of 1856, in which she recorded visits of family and friends, church attendance, letters sent and received, parties, and other aspects of her daily life. A book or reading list is tucked into the back of the volume.

S. J. "Jennie" Whiting kept a memory album between 1848 and 1858, containing autographs, poetry, sentiments, pre-printed illustrations, and original watercolor illustrations of flowers by F. L. Norton.

The collection concludes with a poem by Harriet Lavina Wheeler, beginning "Within a house not far from town..." (undated); two folders of receipts and other financial miscellany of Alice and Ellen Stiles; three newspaper clippings; one oval photograph portrait of Jennie Whiting, and three printed items.


William Leontes Curry papers, 1857-1868 (majority within 1861-1864)

115 items (0.5 linear feet)

The William L. Curry papers provide excellent documentation of a Union cavalry officer's life in the western theater of the Civil War, as well as some description of being a prisoner of war.

The William L. Curry papers provide excellent documentation of a cavalry officer's life in the western theater of the Civil War. Educated, highly motivated, and occupied with everything from active campaigning to the stultification of awaiting exchange as a prisoner of war, Will Curry's letters evoke the varied emotions felt by many soldiers serving in a conflict that seemed to have demoralized everyone who came in contact. For over three years, Curry fought off his longing for home and family and his repulsion at the degrading influence of the war on soldiers, and remained steadfast in his determination to do his service and see his enlistment through to the end.

While there are comparatively few letters describing campaigns or battles, the collection provides particularly good insight into the non-combatant experience of war -- training, learning to forage, performing scout and guard duty, and idling away in a parole camp. A few scattered letters suggest the depth of feeling cavalry men could hold for their horses, particularly, in Curry's case, his old horse, Billy. Equally valuable are the letters received by Mattie Robinson (later Mrs. Curry) from women friends, describing the home front, local politics, and life during war time, and from friends and relatives in the military service. The overall impression is one of a very tightly knit community, that zealously maintained ties even while separated by the exigencies of war or aging. There are two particularly fine letters discussing battles during the Atlanta Campaign, one written in the flush of "victory" describing Kilpatrick's raid to Jonesboro (1864 August 23) -- although the modern assessment is that the raid failed to accomplish its object -- and another, sadly incomplete, describing the battle of Lovejoy Station.

The collection includes five pocket-sized journals, four of which provide a nearly unbroken record of Curry's service in the 1st Ohio Cavalry. Although the journal entries are very short, the continuity of the documentation constitutes an important record of the activities of the regiment. There is a gap in the sequence of journals, however, from December 31, 1862-March 18, 1863, when Curry was a paroled prisoner of war at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio.

Memorandum book and journal, 1857-1858

Journal, 1862 January 1-December 31

Journal, 1862 October 2 (very sparse entries)

Journal, 1863 March 18-1864 March 1 (much smearing of pencil throughout, some illegible)

Journal, 1864 March 1-December 30

The entries in Journal 4 are longer and more informative than in the other journals, particularly for the Chickamauga Campaign. Journal 4 includes an excellent, though still somewhat brief, account of the battle itself and the withdrawal to Chattanooga.

Will Curry's letters are supplemented by a small number of letters from friends and relatives in other Ohio regiments, including his brother Ott Curry and Stephen B. Cone (both in Co. A, 121st Ohio Infantry), Samuel H. Ruehlen and Will Erwin (Co. K, 1st Ohio Cavalry), James Doig Bain (Co. E, 30th Ohio Infantry), David G. Robinson (Co. E, 86th Ohio Infantry); George P. Robinson (Co. D, 40th Ohio Infantry), Oratio McCullough (Co. K, 136th Ohio Infantry -- 100 days), and Frank W. Post (unidentified regiment).

After the war, Curry was active in veterans' organizations and wrote several historical sketches of his regiment and the campaigns in which they participated. Although the Clements does not have any of these histories in its holdings, a partial list is provided below for reference.