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Albert Morrison collection, 1841-1886

50 items

This collection is made up of letters, financial records, and documents related to Albert Morrison, a physician who practiced in Windsor, Connecticut, in the mid-19th century. The collection includes letters between members of the Morrison family and letters pertaining to Morrison's medical practice.

This collection contains 50 letters, financial records, and documents related to Albert Morrison, a physician who practiced in Windsor, Connecticut, in the mid-19th century. The collection includes letters between members of the Morrison family and letters pertaining to Morrison's medical practice.

Two manuscript documents certify Morrison's completion of a chirography course at Easthampton Writing Academy (June 1, 1841) and his successful examination at a "common school" in East Hartford, Connecticut (December 1, 1843). He received a letter from J. P. Leonard regarding a fine for his delinquency from a military regiment (July 5, 1842). Several items from the 1840s concern Morrison's education and early medical practice, including a note about the cost of attending lectures at the Berkshire Medical Institution (October 3, 1846) and 2 letters from J. W. Boynton of South Coventry, Connecticut, about the possibility of Morrison establishing a medical practice there (January 15, 1847, and January 22, 1847).

Morrison's personal correspondence includes letters between his siblings Clarissa ("Clara"), Maria, Charles, and John, as well as letters to and from his wife, Harriet E. Bartholomew. In a letter to his brother John, who had moved west, Morrison shared his opinion that New York City had become corrupt (March 20, 1863). Letters from M. L. Fisse (February 13, 1860) and Charles F. Sumner (April 8, 1861) mention the Connecticut Democratic Party convention and local politics. Four late letters pertain to John Morrison's life in Eureka, Nevada, and Hillsboro, New Mexico, in 1873 and in the mid-1880s. In the final letter, I. P. Fenton described a visit to a psychic medium who claimed to receive a communication from John Morrison via "slate writing" (July 1886). Other items include receipts, an insurance document, and a photograph and facsimile signature of Robert Morrison.


Jonathan S. Wilcox diaries, 1844-1875

13 items

The Jonathan S. Wilcox diaries document nearly 30 years in the life of a storekeeper in Madison, Connecticut, including his support for the Democratic Party, his religious and business activities, and his opposition to the Civil War.

The Jonathan S. Wilcox diaries consist of 13 volumes, spanning 1844-1875, with 1848, 1856-1858, and 1864-1865 lacking. They document nearly 30 years in the life of Wilcox, a storekeeper in Madison, Connecticut. In the various volumes, Wilcox discussed a wide variety of topics, but consistent themes are religion and the salvation of himself and his family, his involvement in the community (including democratic politics and the Total Abstinence Society), health and business concerns, and the weather.

An intensely pious man, Wilcox frequently described his church attendance and evaluated the sermons he heard (sometimes three per day spread among several churches), and gave occasional updates on the religious involvement of his children. He worried about several sons who had moved to Augusta, Georgia, whom he described as "too much engaged with the world," and noted which children had made "religious profession[s]" (January 1, 1844). On his birthday (November 1) and New Year's Day, he annually took stock of his life and professed his gratitude and devotion to God.

Wilcox sometimes described local and national politics, including his hostility toward the abolitionists, support for democratic candidates, and his opposition to the Civil War. On November 7, 1844, he expressed his support for presidential candidate James K. Polk, and criticized Henry Clay for his habits of gambling and dueling. On February 8, 1851, he recounted a trip to New Haven to participate in the Democratic State Convention, and noted the selection of Colin M. Ingersoll as candidate for the House of Representatives. He also expressed his hope for a law prohibiting the sale of "ardent spirits" (April 4, 1854), repeatedly discussed his opposition to the Civil War, which he called "bloody" and "suicidal" (January 1, 1863), and sharply criticized the Radical Republicans during Reconstruction (April 1, 1867).

Wilcox also described several extended travels, including a business trip to New York, where he and his wife saw a 13-year old Tom Thumb in 1847; an 1852 trip around Georgia and South Carolina to visit several of his sons; and a journey to Montreal, Canada, in 1868, during which he visited an Indian village.

Later entries focus more on Wilcox's health problems, especially his rheumatism, which prevented him from writing as frequently. He also noted additional family news, such as the birth of grandchildren, and the death of his son, Jonathan, Jr., during a family reunion in the Wilcox home on September 1, 1869.


Philleo-Norton family papers, 1830-1872

145 items

The Philleo-Norton papers contain the letters of Calvin W. Philleo, a a lawyer, author, and Free Soil Democrat; documents of pension claims for the widows and children of Revolutionary War veterans; legal documents entered in the suit of Sheldon et al. v. the Second School Society, Suffield; and the letters of Elizabeth Philleo as a young woman during the Civil War.

There are four main areas of interest in the Philleo-Norton papers. First are the letters of Calvin W. Philleo, written during the time that he was establishing his law practice in Suffield, launching into a successful literary career, and as he was involved with Free Soil state politics. Philleo's personal and political letters suggest that his interests ran well beyond the dull confines of his life as an attorney. His letters from 1848-1850 provide interesting commentary on Connecticut and national politics, and particularly on the Free Soil faction of the Democratic Party. The letters of C. F. Cleveland (who complains of the power of slave-interests in Connecticut), and congressmen Niles, Burnham, and Catlin provide insight into antebellum electoral politics in the state. Philleo's correspondence with editors at Graham's and Harper's reveals another side to his personality, the literary side, and provides a brief, curious look into the attitudes of an aspiring writer forced to deal with the realities of life as an attorney. Also of interest, Philleo wrote a curious, humorous letter to his brother-in-law, John, who had just gained employment on the railroad in Canada, comparing the "free" life of a railroad worker with the drudgery of law.

Secondly, Philleo's legal work preparing and representing pension claims for the widows and children of Revolutionary War veterans is well represented in the collection. The successful pension applications of the children of Nathaniel Pomroy and Jehiel Spencer are present and are apparently nearly complete (in copy). Further, there are printed items and miscellaneous correspondence, mostly with Commissioner of Pensions, L. P. Waldo, relating to pension applications, and including instruction sheets for completing applications, a pamphlet containing rules for applying for bounty land, and a sheet indicating materials required for submission to limit fraudulent applications. Photocopies of the Pomroy and Spencer applications as submitted to the Pension Office are included.

Thirdly, the legal documents entered in the suit of Sheldon et al. v. the Second School Society, Suffield, are an intriguing record of a local tax revolt in 1852. Hezekiah Sheldon and his co-petitioners to the court objected strenuously to the School Society's plans to build a new school building using tax money collected locally.

Finally, the letters of Elizabeth Philleo and her sisters contain occasional comments of general interest regarding the lives of young women during the Civil War. Lucy Norton's reactions to the defeat at Bull Run in 1861, and the news that Elizabeth relays of a family friend serving as an officer in the 55th Massachusetts (Colored) Regiment are particularly noteworthy, but it is also interesting to reconstruct the series of lectures, panoramas, and social gatherings Elizabeth attended in Connecticut and Boston during the war. There are two letters of Calvin Philleo, Sr., and Prudence Crandall Philleo, one of which, written in 1870, contains some brief reflections on the power of religious conviction in Calvin's life, from the time he was involved in revivals in New York State through his move to Illinois.