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Albin Kendall Putnam papers, 1821-1850

69 items

The Albin K. Putnam papers contain the scattered correspondence of an Episcopal priest and his family in New England.

The Albin K. Putnam papers contain the scattered correspondence of an Episcopal priest, documenting a life from its early setbacks in obtaining an education to its early termination in a lingering death. The collection is composed of three main sections. First are letters written by friends and relatives of Dorothy Abbott Putnam, 1821-1830 (29 August 1821-30 March 1830; 10 October [n.d.]), principally on religious topics. Second are letters by Albin K. Putnam from the time of his entry into Dartmouth College in 1834 to his death in 1847 (27 September 1834-3 January 1849). These detail Putnam's years as a student and priest, his illness and death, and his wife's difficult adjustment to widowhood. Interspersed are a few other letters not specifically relating to Albin and Fanny but which provide a more rounded picture of the Putnam family as a whole.

The third series of letters (6 August 1849-5 June 1850) document an intriguing chronicle of an old-age romance, in which William Spaulding, Dorothy Putnam's newly widowed brother-in-law, recalls how forty years earlier, he had wooed Dorothy before marrying her sister. This culminates in a second proposal of marriage, and a second refusal.


Soundings records, 1977-1998 (majority within 1980-1994)

6 linear feet

Ann Arbor, Michigan, women's center founded in 1977 to help women cope with adjusting to life after widowhood or divorce. Soundings' main focus has been on job readiness, but it has offered workshops, programs, and individual and group counseling sessions on such topics as reentry into the workforce, assertiveness training, personal finance, and physical and emotional health and well-being. Records include background and history materials, administration, board of directors, grants and fundraising activities, finances, and audiovisual materials. Also includes the records of the Domestic Violence Project, Inc., a separate agency.

The collection is divided into seven series: Background, Administrative, Domestic Violence Project, Board of Directors, Grants and Fundraising, Financial, and Audiovisual. Types of materials and information include audio tapes and videotapes (primarily featuring interviews with Soundings staff and members), albums, photographs, slides, clippings, newsletters, annual reports, program files, client letters, workshop files, board meeting minutes, financial summaries, funding information and grant proposals, background and miscellaneous information, and files from the Domestic Violence Project, Inc. (a related agency).


Wadsworth family papers, 1833-1853

15 items

The letters in this collection are from Alice Colden Wadsworth to her son and his family, who were early settlers to Michigan.

Most of the letters in this collection are from Alice Colden Wadsworth to John and Maria, and although it is far from a complete run of correspondence, these letters give a fair picture of both the anxious mother and the young frontier family. Alice kept hoping her sons would return to the east, fantasizing that once William became an attorney, he would "go into partnership with some friend in the city, and come and live with us." When she heard that John had sold his farm, she "almost wished that you would purchase a situation in Durham, that we might enjoy the happiness of living near each other. . . . Then I could often see my own little Alice Colden and teach her to love me." Years later she admitted that her sons had succeeded better than the young men who stayed in New York, but still lamented, "oh, my dear son, you fixed your habitation too far away!"

Although her son William wrote frequently, and gave Alice news of his brothers' family, months would go by before she would hear from John and Maria directly. The young people were probably too busy establishing themselves in the new settlement to write home very often, and even if they succeeded in scratching out a letter, the mail service was undoubtedly undependable. In addition to farming and raising a family, John and Maria were actively involved in the growing community in Monroe. By 1838, John was holding "many respectable offices" as a Whig, and in 1843, his mother congratulated him for "pleading the cause of Temperance, and forming Societies," and was delighted that in "every work of piety and benevolence, your dear Maria participates and enjoys." In a letter to Maria, John gave a lengthy description of how almost the entire Whig ticket, including himself, lost in the local elections of 1840: "I say never mind, because this child is not yet dead & they cannot kill me yet, I am resolved to be something or nothing -- & next year I will try them again, perhaps as Senator to the State Legislature." Although he was never a Senator, he did get elected Supervisor of Raisinville in 1843. Still an ardent Whig, he wrote despairingly to his father-in-law about the 1844 national election; "Henry Clay defeated by one James K. Polk -- let the nation weep."

The modest financial, political, and social success enjoyed by the Wadsworths was severely overshadowed by the deaths of two of their children. Their second child, Joseph, probably died in 1840. In a letter to Maria, who was back in Durham visiting her family, John lamented their loss, comforting himself and his wife with the words, "Our Joseph is, or may, be seen running about, & pratling the praises of the lamb -- Our dear children are not our own, they are bought with a price, and that price is the blood of the Lamb & the purchaser God, they are committed to us for safe keeping, let us discharge our trust, as becomes those who are to give an account." Two years later their daughter Alice died while Maria was confined after the birth of another child. The New York relatives send a letter full of heartfelt sympathy and assurances. Susan, for instance, wrote, "Grievous as is this trial may it be blessed to each one of us, and our beloved Alice be made the means in God's hands of drawing each one of us nearer to himself." The last letter in the collection is to Maria from her son John, busy studying for college, intimating that at least one child made it through the precarious years to young adulthood.