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Appleton-Aiken family papers, 1806-1934

1.5 linear feet

The Appleton-Aiken papers contain letters and documents relating to the family of John Aiken and his wife Mary Appleton of Lowell and Andover, Massachusetts. The collection contains correspondence about textile mills at Lowell, collegiate education, and the development of the towns of Lowell and Andover, Massachusetts, and Brunswick, Maine. The family letters also include numberous personal references to Mary Aiken's sister, Jane Appleton, both before and after her marriage to the future 14th president of the United States, Franklin Pierce.

The Appleton-Aiken papers contain over 575 letters and documents relating to the family of John Aiken and Mary Appleton, his wife, of Lowell and Andover, Massachusetts. The collection contains correspondence documenting family life among the upper classes in Massachusetts in the early industrial age, and contains useful information on the textile mills at Lowell, collegiate education, and the development of the towns of Lowell and Andover, Massachusetts, and Brunswick, Maine.

The correspondence centers on the interests of a large and powerful family. Mary and John Aiken's children were all well-educated and wrote erudite letters. Many of the Appletons and Aikens were professionally involved in education, and several series of letters include valuable information on college life and curricula at mid-nineteenth century. Charles and William Aiken attended Dartmouth College in the 1840s and 1850s, and their letters are filled with an undergraduate's opinions on coursework, professors, and education. There are also several examples of secondary school writing assignments from John and Mary Aiken's children and grandchildren.

In a different vein, the letters of Alpheus Spring Packard written while he was professor of natural history at Bowdoin College, offer a unique perspective on the development of that institution, and particularly of its science curriculum. There are many other letters relating to Bowdoin College, since the entire Appleton family seems to have retained a strong interest in the college for years after the death of Jesse Appleton, its former president. For example, Mary Aiken's mother, Elizabeth, writes particularly interesting letters about the progress of the college after the death of her husband, in 1819. Also worthy of note are several letters written by Jennie Snow, whose husband was on faculty at the University of Kansas during the 1870s.

The Aikens were heavily involved in capitalizing textile mills throughout northern New England. A few items provide particularly interesting information on the mills at Lowell, including an October, 1836, letter in which Mary describes a walk-out and strike at the mill, and a letter from her brother, Robert Appleton (1810-1851), describing a shipment of cotton arriving at the mill in 1835 from London. Robert also inspected Governor William Badger's (1799-1852) new cotton factory at Gilmanton, New Hampshire. In 1871, Mary and John's daughter Mary describes a book, Lillie Phelps' The Silent Partner, designed to improve the condition of the mill "operatives." Two other items are of some interest for the study of mill life, one a letter from J. Whitney regarding the acts of sabotage against the mill performed by Edward Webb, an employee (1834 May 1) and the other a letter in which a woman suggests women learn sewing, a skill badly deteriorating under industrialization.

The collection includes a letterbook with 25 letters written by John Aiken to his family from Europe. He wrote these letters during one of his business trips to examine textile operations; along with general travel descriptions, he reported information about cloth production and marketing. Additionally, the collection contains a diary kept by John Aiken during this trip. In the volume, which covers the dates September 1, 1847, to December 20, 1847, Aiken briefly recorded his current location or recent travel, the weather, and any sightseeing or social activities that occupied his day. Aiken noted visits to tourist attractions, including the Tower of London and the Tuileries Garden, and also used the volume to track several financial accounts accrued throughout the period. Detailed notes at the back of the volume also reflect his keen interest in the textile industry and the mills he visited while abroad.

On a more general level, the Appleton-Aiken papers are an useful resource for studying family dynamics among the upper class. The letters are filled with discussions of family members, relations between husband and wife or parent and child, and include some interesting commentary on local religious life, revivals, church meetings, and family piety.

Two photographs have been transferred to the Clements Library's Graphics Division for storage. Photocopies of these are included in Box 6 in the folder containing Miscellaneous items.


Charles Everett Adams diaries, 1874-1940

39 items (2.25 linear feet)

The Adams collection consists of 25 diaries kept by Charles Everett Adams, M.D., describing his life from age 11 to age 77. The diaries provide details about his family, education, employment, interests, and activities, including medical school, gymnastics, forestry, and the impact of the automobile, phonograph, and radio on family life in the 1920s.

The collection consists of 25 diaries (5500 pages) written by Charles Everett Adams between 1874 and 1940. They provide a highly descriptive account of his life from age 11 to age 77, with the exception of the missing diaries of his 13 trips to Europe. The diary entries record Adam's daily activities invariably starting with a report of the weather and including his exercise; what he read, bought, and sold; people encountered; and deaths in his home town. At times he compulsively kept track of the ambient temperatures, sometimes three times a day, and of the books he read and the number of pages for each.

Of particular interest is the impact of the automobile, phonograph and radio upon Adam's life. His first automobile trip was in 1907, which he found wearing and dizzying. In 1912 he bought his own car, and by 1920 he owned two cars and his wife Carrie learned how to drive. In 1923 a phonograph entered the Adams' household and became a regular part of their evening activities until it was replaced with a radio.

The nine notebooks contain school notes, quotations, gymnastics routines, and a register of guests at summer camp. The collection also contains a report of the 50th reunion of his Bowdoin class of 1884, which graduated 25 out of a freshman class of 44. The report contains biographies of the entire class of 1884.


Levi Wade collection, 1866-1902

3 volumes

This collection consists of a diary (108 pages), a school notebook (111 pages), and a scrapbook (approximately 15 pages) related to Levi C. Wade, a Massachusetts lawyer and director of the Mexican Central Railway Company in the late-19th century. The diary is an account of Wade's visit to Mexico City in the late months of 1879 to win governmental support for his proposed railway, and a record of his observations on contemporary Mexican politics. The school notebook contains Wade's lecture notes from the Newton Theological Institute and from his law studies. The scrapbook holds material related to Wade's death and to his sons, among other subjects.

This collection contains a diary (108 pages), a school notebook (111 pages), and a scrapbook (approximately 15 pages) related to Levi C. Wade, a Massachusetts lawyer and director of the Mexican Central Railway Company in the late 19th century.

Levi Wade kept a Diary while traveling to and living in Mexico City between October 3, 1879, and December 11, 1879 (108 pages). After leaving Boston for New York City on October 3, he embarked for Veracruz, Mexico, onboard the steamer City of Alexandria. He discussed several aspects of his life onboard, such as his leisure activities, other passengers, the weather, and stops at Havana, Cuba (October 9-10), and Campeche, Mexico (October 14), before reaching Veracruz on October 16. While on shore at Havana, Wade described the city's architecture and people, which he later compared to Veracruz, a city that had experienced recent political upheaval and executions. The day of his arrival, he and his traveling companion boarded a train for Mexico City, arriving on October 17. Wade remained in Mexico City until at least December 11, devoting most of his time to political maneuvering and attempts to secure the government's approval for his proposed central Mexican railway. He often remarked about the structure of Mexican politics and about specific events that occurred during his stay in the country, often providing his own commentary. Wade frequently reported on his efforts to secure government support, and met or corresponded with several prominent politicians, including President Porfirio Diaz and members of the Mexican Cabinet. Along with his observations about the country's political system, Wade also wrote about the country's people, food, and customs, as well as the foreigners he met during his travels. Though he often mentioned his frustration with the lack of progress regarding his proposal, by December 11 he seemed optimistic about eventual success, having received the president's support and that of other high-ranking officials.

The School Notebook (111 pages) holds 94 pages of notes from lectures Wade attended while studying at the Newton Theological Institute (1866) and approximately 16 pages of legal forms and similar notes pertaining to his legal studies (1871-1872). Wade studied the Biblical Gospels with Horatio B. Hackett (pp. 1-56), Christian ethics with Alvah Hovey (pp. 57-90), and symbology and Christian doctrines with an unnamed instructor (pp. 91-94). The section on the Gospels contains lectures on the differences and similarities between the four books, as well as on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. "Events in Galilee Till the Second Passover," (pp. 32-41) speculates on the locations of various Biblical events, and includes verses clipped from a King James Version of the Bible. Other lectures are about Christ's final days, crucifixion, and resurrection. Alvah Hovey's lectures focused on Christian ethics, and its practical applications. The final section of religious lecture notes concerns Christian creeds, symbolism, and doctrinal sources. The final portion of the book (pp. 96-111) contains copied examples of legal forms and similar information about legal practice, notes on real estate, and a list of books Levi Wade had read (p. 97).

A Scrapbook (approximately 15 pages), complied by an unknown creator, consists of programs, reports, and newspaper clippings from 1879 to 1902. The first page shows clippings from the Westminster Review related to Levi's sons, Levi, Jr., and Robert, and many of the following pages contain programs for concerts or other events. The two printed reports are the "9th Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the Mexican Central Railway Co." (December 31, 1888), and a report from the president of Bowdoin College (1898-1899). Additional newspaper clippings are about a variety of topics, such as poetry and the development of transportation. Many relate to the death of Levi C. Wade, including an obituary from the Newton Graphic (March 27, 1891), a report on his funeral, and tributes.


William Jenks collection, 1794-1884 (majority within 1794-1868)

1.5 linear feet

The William Jenks collection consists of letters, financial documents, prayer notes, and miscellaneous items related to the prominent New England Congregational clergyman, biblical and oriental scholar, and social reformer William Jenks.

The William Jenks collection (973 items) consists of letters, financial documents, prayer notes, and miscellaneous items, related to the prominent New England Congregational clergyman, biblical and oriental scholar, and social reformer William Jenks. The collection includes 885 letters (122 undated), 37 official and financial documents, 37 prayer notes and miscellaneous items, and 14 printed documents.

The Correspondence series (885 items) largely consists of personal letters addressed to Jenks and his wife from friends, colleagues, parishioners, and family members. Religious themes are apparent throughout. Many of the earliest items are from Jenks' brothers John, Samuel, and Francis Jenks; other pre-1805 items from colleagues and concerned parents of students concern his teaching career in Cambridge. For example, Sarah Dunlap of Salem, Massachusetts, described a treatment for her son's "bad quincey" (swelling of the throat), so that Jenks could administer it while her son was under his care (June 4, 1800). Other ministry-related items include an invitation to "dance at the house of Mr. Lyman" from the Committee of the Congregational Society in Bath, Maine, received just before Jenks' move to Maine (December 17, 1805). While in Maine, Jenks received letters from his parishioners and other members of Bath society, as well as from his old friends and business colleagues in Boston and Cambridge. One letter from Jonathan Greenleaf states that he wished to send Jenks some of his books so they can be scattered into the hands of individuals, for the sake of religion and literature, and "where they will be read and preserved", rather than sent to a library (December 24, 1813). Jenks wrote a few of the letters in the collection, including a warm and affectionate letter to his wife (September 7, 1811). In another letter, dated April 15, 1812, Jenks implored someone to care for an African-American friend in need of assistance. Jenks also received a letter recommending John Gloucester (the first African-American ordained Presbyterian priest) as a possible leader of missionary work in Africa (January 31, 1815).

The bulk of the letters related to Betsey Jenks are from her sister, Sally Belknap Russell (later married to a man named Pope). Sally discussed the sickness and death of their father Ezekiel Russell, life in Boston, and other personal matters. Particularly after 1808, various brothers, sisters, cousins, and the Jenks children wrote many of the family letters. Though these are warm and affectionate, they also contain news of the deaths of parents, siblings and spouses. For example, the June 24, 1810, item is from Jenks’ sister Abigail Dana describing her husband's suicide. Also of note are three letters regarding a servant who was trying to hide from her abusive husband (October 6, 1807; November 12, 1807 Nov 12; and November 1807).

Letters from the 1820s through the 1840s contain materials related to various speaking engagements in Massachusetts and invitations to the meetings of area historical societies. Also present are business letters and circulars from the many societies and churches in which Jenks held memberships; these concern diverse topics, such as staffing issues and library collections. During this time, Jenks also maintained correspondence with his children and siblings. His son wrote several letters in 1831 about travels in Spain, Marseilles, Malta, and Sicily. Also of note is a letter in which Jenks discussed a sinking ship near the North Pole (December 3, 1829), and another that contains notes on the "correct" version of the English language Bible (July 17, 1835). Jenks discussed Cotton Mather's Wonders of the Invisible World, referring to it as being "published immediately after the Witchcraft Excitement in 1693" (June 26, 1841).

Many of the items from the late 1840s through the 1860s, and almost all of the letters written after Jenks' death in 1866, are related to Jenks’ son Lemuel. In one, Lemuel described in detail a religious festival in Manzanas, Cuba (April 5, 1848). In another, Craigie Jenks described his service in the 7th Regiment of the Kansas Militia during the Civil War (October 25, 1864). Five items dated after Jenks' death are addressed to William Jenk's daughter, Sarah Judith Jenks, who married Jerome Merritt.

The Receipts, Documents, Reports, and Notes series (37 items) contains Jenks’ business documents, speeches, and financial papers.

Included are reports for social societies in which Jenks was with a member, such as:
  • Society for promoting historian knowledge (1816)
  • Boston Society for the Religions and Moral Instruction of the Poor (1821)
  • Massachusetts Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (1825)

The series contains addresses delivered to the Delta Young Mens Athenaeum by E. Maxwell Seal (1839) and the Bath Society for the Suppression of Public Vice (undated). This series also holds a copy of the law enacted by the Massachusetts state congress to bring William Jenks and others into the Society for the Religious and Moral Instruction of the Poor (1820) as well as 8 receipts, largely of payments to William Jenks for services rendered. Another item of interest is an 1852 list of Massachusetts church congregations (various denominations) noting increasing numbers of attendance from March 8 and April 12 because of added converts.

The Prayer Notes series (20 items) consists of small slips of paper with prayer requests for sick or recently departed family members of the church community. The minister usually read these during the church service. Though most of the notes are undated, one item is from 1815, when Jenks was at the Bath Congregational Church, and several others are from 1821, when he was at the chapel on Central Wharf.

The Miscellaneous Notes series (17 items) contains a variety of written and visual material. One item is a drawing of the Manana ("Mananas") Island Petroglyph (writing carved in stone by early Native Americans) with a description of the location and the inscription. Another is a two-page description of "Monhegan Island and of the inscription found there" (1851). Other notes include items in Hebrew, Arabic, Latin, and one other language that may be Phoenician or Aramaic. The genealogical item traces the line of Nathan Webb of Charlestown, starting with John Webb of Shrewsbury, England, 1531. Images include a plan of houses to be built on Atkinson St. [Boston] (1825), a sketch of a thatched roof cottage drawn by A.M. Jenks (1882), and a drawing of the Manana Island Petroglyph on a rock. A four-page account of travel to Russia, particularly St. Petersburg, is also noteworthy for its description of Russian landmarks and tourist attractions (undated).

The Printed Material series contains 14 items related to the religious, genealogical, and antiquarian societies with which Jenks was involved. Included are the rules and bylaws of the Eastern Society in Bath, Maine (1811); two religious pamphlets encouraging prostitutes to turn to Christianity (1824); a report of the "Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries to its British and American Members" (1836); a poem entitled The Worker, written by Jenks (1857); and The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 5, Number 4 (October 1851), pages 375-486. Images of William Jenkins and Alpheus Hardy, both undated, are also part of the series .