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Avery family correspondence, 1841-1852

46 items

The Avery family correspondence consists of letters sent to Robert S. Avery and John Avery of Preston, Connecticut, in the mid-19th century. The letters display a strong Congregationalist religious sensibility and chronicle life in Connecticut during the pre-Civil War era.

The Avery family correspondence consists of letters sent to Robert S. Avery and John Avery of Preston, Connecticut, in the mid-19th century. The letters display a strong Congregationalist religious sensibility and chronicle life in Connecticut during the pre-Civil War era. A majority of the letters in the collection were addressed to John Avery, then a student at Yale College and, later, Yale Divinity School, from family members and friends. Avery's siblings, Robert S. Avery, Jr., and Sarah Avery, were some of John's most frequent correspondents, along with his friend James A. Darrah. Higher education was a prominent theme throughout the correspondence, and in a letter of February 14, 1842, John laid out an extensively detailed summary of his expenses at Yale for his brother Robert. The letters John received during his time in New Haven often originated from his siblings, who described weddings (February 15, 1847 et al.) and deaths, among other occurrences in their daily lives. His correspondents also displayed a pronounced religious fervor, discussing the nature of God and of Christianity in mid-19th century Connecticut; these ruminations often came to dominate their letters. Of particular interest among the religious correspondence is a lengthy letter from James A. Darrah, who described various religious denominations in Leesburg, Virginia, including Presbyterians and Methodists (June 21, 1848). John Avery received two printed commissions, dated May 1, 1851, and May 1, 1852, from the American Home Missionary Society and the Connecticut Missionary Society, both of which affirmed his position as head of the congregation of Exeter parish, in Lebanon, Connecticut.

Though the writers in the collection most frequently focused on daily life, higher education, and religion, political consciousness was not entirely absent from their thoughts. On March 22, 1841, John Avery wrote to his sister Sarah, "The Amistad captives who have been in New Haven till recently have now gone to Farmington to be brought to labor." Later, William L. Prather, one of Robert's acquaintances, provided his opinion on the Mexican War: "There is no news of importance…except the news from Mexico, which is glorious indeed, some of the most briliant [sic] victories are gained by the arms of the United States, there has been many valuable lives lost, which is to be lamented but the war with Mexico (in my humble opinion) is a just one in every sense of the word but it seems to be the opinion of every one [sic] that there will be no more fighting there now of any consequence" (April 4, 1847). Also of note is a letter dated April 11, 1848, in which F. D. Avery reported that he recently heard a "sermon by Henry W. Beecher of Brooklyn, he also preached 2 evenings. I liked him very much." Overall, the collection provides a detailed look at the religious and personal life of a Connecticut family in the mid-19th century.


David Ogden notebooks, 1812-1848

5 volumes

This collection is made up of five notebooks and diaries that Reverend David Longworth Ogden kept between 1812 and 1848. They concern intellectual debates, political and religious topics, and Ogden's life as a preacher in Whitesboro, New York, and Marlborough, Massachusetts.

This collection is made up of 5 notebooks and diaries that Reverend David Longworth Ogden kept between 1812 and 1848. They concern his intellectual life, such as his time at Yale University and his thoughts on numerous religious, political, and historical subjects, and his experiences in Whitesboro, New York, and Marlborough, Massachusetts.

Volume 1 ("Disputes") contains 87 pages of notes about debates held by members of Yale College's class of 1814 between February 23, 1814, and April 6, 1814. The debates are numbered 25-37. Ogden recorded each question and the often lengthy discussions that followed, sometimes days after the question was initially posed.

Debate topics:
  • Benefits of theaters
  • Benefits of lawyers
  • Whether a monarchy or republican government is more beneficial to literature
  • The possibility of establishing a permanent United States navy
  • The possibility of establishing a national university in the United States
  • Whether persons can expatriate themselves unilaterally
  • Benefits of studying dead languages
  • Benefits of an independent judiciary
  • Appearance of "spectres"
  • Whether temptation lessens the severity of a crime
  • Encouragement of domestic manufactures in the United States
  • Profitability of privateering
  • Legal regulation of interest on monetary loans

Volume 2 (approximately 300 pages, August 2, 1837-April 17, 1841), Volume 3 (approximately 285 pages, August 20, 1841-September 4, 1845), and Volume 4 (approximately 190 pages, July 8, 1848-November 10, 1850) are the second, third, and fifth installments of Ogden's diary, "Thoughts on Men and Things." Ogden composed diary entries and essays on numerous topics, often related to his daily experiences. Volumes 2 and 3 were primarily written at Whitesboro, New York, and Volume 4 was primarily written in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Ogden commented on current political issues, such as abolition and sectionalism; historical topics; and religious subjects, such as Baptists, Presbyterians, Christian life, missionaries, and his ministerial career. The entry dated September 30, 1844, has a copy of Ogden's letter to his congregation in Whitesboro about his desire to resign.

Volume 5 has around 60 pages of undated "Miscellaneous Observations and Extracts from various authors" compiled by David Ogden. These concern numerous religious topics, such as the Gospels and apostles, universal salvation, the divinity of Christ, the Holy Trinity, church personnel, and Church history. Some extracts are attributed to John Milton. One entry is dated at New Haven on September 29, 1812.


Gideon Bingham letters, 1840-1849

12 items

This collection is made up of 6 letters that Gideon Bingham wrote to his brother Waldo between 1840 and 1847. Bingham described life at Yale College and in Richmond, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and New Orleans, Louisiana. He discussed his job prospects, Southern customs, work as a traveling bookseller, and political issues (such as the proposed annexation of Texas).

This collection is made up of letters that Gideon Bingham wrote to members of his family between 1840 and 1849. In his letter of March 15, 1840, Bingham told his brother about a domestic altercation that he and a companion had witnessed; he also mentioned his studies, other students' increasing political awareness prior to the 1840 presidential election, and his resolution to oppose all political candidates who supported the right to slavery. From January 1844-May 1847, Bingham wrote from Richmond, Virginia (January 26, 1844, and February 15, 1845); Petersburg, Virginia (February 23, 1845); Washington, D.C. (January 10, 1845); Pittsburgh (November 25, 1845); Natchez, Mississippi (May 31, 1846); New Orleans, Louisiana (May 2, 1847); and Cincinnati, Ohio (September 30, 1849).

He often described the areas he was travelling through and referred to Southern social customs, such as the treatment of African Americans in Richmond and the city's fondness for public military displays. He noted African American musicians playing at a Washington Day parade in Petersburg, Virginia (February 23, 1845). He called New Orleans "a perfect babel of tongues & such a diversity of color & complexion you would look in vain for any where else," and he commented on burial practices in the city (May 31, 1846). His letters also pertain to political issues, such as local opinions regarding the proposed annexation of Texas. He also wrote about a judge who gambled on the 1844 presidential election (February 23, 1845) and matters relating to the United States War with Mexico (May 24, 1847). While living in the South, Bingham worked as a bookseller, often collaborating with "Mr. King." He commented on his business practices, calling on doctors and lawyers, occasionally the titles he was selling, and his observations while travelling. Bingham described a journey from Connecticut to Washington, D.C., and his sightseeing activities in the national capital, particularly with regard to paintings and sculpture. He also described a steam boat accident on the Mississippi River (May 31, 1846). In an undated letter, Bingham discussed his work presiding over a school in Orange County, New York.


Horace Holley papers, 1802-1827 (majority within 1818)

1 linear foot

This collection pertains to Horace Holley's trip from Boston, Massachusetts, to Lexington, Kentucky, in 1818. Holley regularly wrote to his wife and kept a diary while visiting cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Lexington, and while traveling through Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and Kentucky. He described his social life, the scenery, various colleges and universities, and other aspects of his travels.

This collection (79 items) pertains to Horace Holley's trip from Boston, Massachusetts, to Lexington, Kentucky, in 1818.

The Correspondence series (78 items) includes 3 letters that Horace Holley wrote to his parents while studying at Yale College (February 22, 1802-June 21, 1803); 2 letters that Holley wrote to Peter DeWitt, a friend, about religion and Holley's impression of New York City (February 8, 1804, and February 24, 1804); and 1 letter that Holley wrote to Samuel Wilson, acknowledging a Latin-language poem that Wilson had composed in his honor, printed on the back of the letter (February 20, 1827). Mary Austin Holley received a letter from Charles Caldwell on March 20, 1829, about Caldwell's attempts to sell copies of her late husband's biography, and 2 undated letters from an anonymous correspondent.

From February 5 to August 3, 1818, Holley wrote 69 letters to his wife while traveling from Boston, Massachusetts, to Lexington, Kentucky, and back. He traveled through Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and Kentucky, and wrote most frequently from New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Lexington. Holley reported on his social engagements, including balls, parties, and dinners with prominent residents. While in Lexington, he frequently dined with Henry Clay. Holley commented on each city's social customs and, to a lesser extent, interactions between persons of various Christian denominations, including Presbyterians, Baptists, and Unitarians.

While in Washington, D.C., Holley visited the United States Senate and House of Representatives. He commented on speeches and debates about various political topics, including international news regarding Spain, South America, and France. He met politicians, including James Monroe and John Quincy Adams, and recounted a visit to the White House. After leaving the capital for Virginia, Holley wrote about Mount Vernon, plantation slaves, and a coal mine.

Horace Holley kept a Diary (229 pages) from February 3, 1818, to August 9, 1818. His daily entries provide additional content about many of the same experiences that he described in his correspondence with his wife, though he wrote much more extensively on his visits to Yale College, a New York City medical college, and the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Most entries reflect his daily activities, which included attendance at balls, parties, lectures, and religious services; visits to museums; and dinners or meetings with numerous individuals. Holley's diary entries became much shorter over time. Many of the July and August entries contain only a few words.


Huntington family scrapbook, 1763-1893

1 volume

This scrapbook contains correspondence, documents, maps, and ephemera related to the family of Jabez Huntington of Norwich, Connecticut, including his sons and other descendants. The items pertain to the American Revolution, education, family history, and life in Connecticut from the 1770s to the 1830s.

This scrapbook (55 pages) contains correspondence, documents, and ephemera related to the family of Jabez Huntington of Norwich, Connecticut, including his sons and other descendants. The earliest item is a poem dedicated to Kitty Fell, written by William Apthorp in 1763, followed by a letter from William Hubbard to Andrew Huntington concerning Thomas Hutchinson's order to surrender Castle William to Colonel Dalrymple (September 13, 1770). During the Revolutionary War, Andrew Huntington received letters from his brothers Jedidiah and Joshua, who discussed escalating tensions in Boston in 1775, the gathering of Continental forces, and the progress of the war; he also received a note from Jonathan Trumbull excusing him from military duty (September 1, 1775). Other items from the late 18th century include love letters and poems to Maria Perit, cards admitting Perit to balls held at Yale College, and letters from "Lucy" at "Bethlehem" (possibly Bethlehem Female Seminary) to her brother.

A small number of items from the early 1800s pertain to the will and estate of Pelatiah Webster, Charles P. Huntington's father-in-law, and an 1802 return for the 20th Connecticut Militia Regiment. In 1814, Samuel Huntington wrote to his son Julian about his other sons' academic progress. In the 1820s and 1830s, Samuel received letters from acquaintances who discussed political issues, and in the late 1830s he wrote to his son William, discussing William's education at Wesleyan University and the possibility of his attending Harvard College. Some letters are addressed to Huntington family women, including letters from Lydia Sigourney to Mrs. Hannah Huntington (likely Andrew's wife); Maria Perit Huntington letters, often regarding literature and poetry; and letters to Ruth L. Huntington. One letter from P. H. Huntington to "Miss Perkins" contains genealogical information about the Webster, Perit, and Leffingwell families (August 13, 1891).

The scrapbook also contains documents, maps, and other materials related to the Huntington family. Visual items include property maps (cataloged separately); a photograph of Ebenezer Huntington's home in Norwich, Connecticut; a card photograph of Benedict Arnold's birthplace; and engravings of Norwich Bridge, women at leisure, and "Cromwell at Ripley Castle." Genealogical notes, poems, instructions for making a doll, and legal documents (many of which relate to property ownership) are also present. Newspaper clippings pertain to the history of the Huntington family, particularly to Jabez Huntington and his sons.


Jared and Susannah Arnold papers, 1799-1857 (majority within 1800-1851)

0.5 linear feet

The Jared and Susannah Arnold papers are a collection of letters, written primarily by family members, pertaining to business and family matters. Legal documents regarding shipping, deeds for ships, etc. are also included in the collection.

The Jared and Susannah Arnold papers consist primarily of correspondence written between the couple and their children in the early 19th century. The earliest items in the Correspondence series, which makes up the bulk of the collection, are personal letters written and received by Jared Arnold and Susannah Brainerd before their marriage; these include material from Jared to his brothers, Simon and Joseph, as well as several addressed to Susannah by female friends. Many of the early letters detail the couple'scourtship; following their marriage, they corresponded with friends and family about their travels to New York, Baltimore, and other cities on the East Coast. Later material in the collection reflects the lives of the Arnolds' three sons, who frequently wrote their parents and, less often, each other; their son Owen, for example, shared his experiences at Yale College in the mid-1830s, and on one occasion detailed his expenses (February 6, 1835). Later, Owen wrote from his teaching post in Milledgeville, Georgia, while Jared drew a map of land along the Chemung River near Elmira, New York; Owen's letter of April 27, 1843 contains several pencil sketches, including a hawk and rough patterns. Two of the letters are written on printed reports: the Commercial Reporter and Shipping List from Mobile, Alabama (December 6, 1837) and a report of "The Trustees of the Planters and Merchants Bank of Mobile" (April 3, 1847).

Documents in the collection include two shipping receipts; a document related to the ownership of the Exchange, of which Jared Arnold was captain, by Jozeb and Horace Stocking; and a power of attorney appointing Jared Arnold legal representative for Jozeb Stocking.


John Tyler sermons, 1763-1787, ca. 1800

14 items

This collection contains 14 sermons and drafts of sermons copied and composed by Reverend John Tyler, an Episcopalian preacher who lived in Norwich, Connecticut.

This collection contains 14 sermons and drafts of sermons copied and composed by Reverend John Tyler, an Episcopalian preacher who lived in Norwich, Connecticut. Tyler based most of his sermons on at least one Biblical verse or story, often related to the concept of grace or salvation. His "Three Sermons on Confirmation," which utilize stories of the Apostles, are accompanied by a list of places and dates the sermons were preached, dated as late as 1821.

Around 1765, Tyler delivered a farewell address to the president, teachers, and students of Yale College, and in 1770 he delivered an oration at a funeral in Groton, Connecticut. Other sermons related to special occasions include Tyler's dedication for Trinity Church in Pomfret (now Brooklyn), Connecticut; introductory and concluding remarks for a conference; and a blessing for a school. One undated prayer, which incorporates text from the order for the burial of the dead in the Book of Common Prayer, laments the death of George Washington. This prayer is not in John Tyler's published eulogy on the life of General George Washington.

Tyler also copied passages from other authors' works on religion, and wrote an "Articuli Religionum" in Latin. The collection also includes Tyler's copy of a sermon that Reverend Naphtali Dagget preached at Yale College in 1763, while Tyler was a student there.


Mary Wait and Alden Scovel collection, 1820-1888

1.5 linear feet

This collection contains incoming letters to Alden Scovel and a group of diaries kept by Mary Wait Scovel. The Scovels were related by Mary Wait's marriage to Alden Scovel's cousin, Hezekiah Gould Scovel.

This collection contains material related to Alden Scovel and Mary Wait Scovel. The Scovels were related by Mary Wait's marriage to Alden Scovel's cousin, Hezekiah Gould Scovel.

The Alden Scovel Correspondence (69 items) consists of Scovel's incoming personal correspondence, dated April 24, 1820-April 29, 1850 (primarily 1820-1824). He received letters from family members, including his brother Ashley and his uncle Sylvester, who provided news from Albany, New York, and Williamstown, Massachusetts, and from other acquaintances. Charles F. Stuart described his life in Aurora, New York, and Samuel Bradstreet wrote several letters about legal issues related to disputed land holdings in northern New York State. Additional items include an invitation to a Yale alumni reunion (May 20, 1836), a certificate regarding funding that Scovel received from the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America Board of Missions (April 29, 1850), and a report about the Albany Juvenile Bible Society (undated).

The Mary Wait Scovel Papers are divided into several series. The Correspondence and Documents subseries (7 items) includes letters that she received from S. Wait in Albany, New York (March 22, 1867); C. Johnston in Memphis, Tennessee (October 7, 1870); and G. [Foierson] in Columbia, Tennessee. Her correspondents discussed personal news, Mary's order of printed cards, and the estate of James M. [Elrea?]. Other items include a patent deed (April 25, 1870), a brief undated note to Mary, and blank forms regarding membership in a lodge of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows and the payment of fuel rations.

The Diaries, Account Books, and Commonplace Books subseries (16 volumes) consists primarily of journals dated August 27, 1838-March 16, 1885, including an unbroken series of diaries kept by Mary Wait Scovel between June 15, 1864, and March 16, 1885 (14 volumes). Scovel wrote primarily about her social life; charitable work; daily activities in Nashville, Tennessee; and travel in Arkansas and Florida. She occasionally commented on current events: several Civil War-era entries concern war news and related events, and her entry of April 30, 1875, describes a lynch mob. In addition to diary entries, the first 4 volumes contain financial records, poetry, essays, genealogical notes, and medical recipes. Volumes 6-16 include records of Mary Wait Scovel's incoming and outgoing correspondence. Some of the pre-printed diaries used by Mary Scovel were originally intended for use by military medical personnel. Enclosures include clippings, additional pages of notes, and plant material.

The Programs, Pamphlets, and Ephemera subseries (76 items) consists largely of programs from charity concerts, theatrical presentations, and celebrations, often held in support of and in honor of schools and other institutions in Nashville, Tennessee. Other items include advertisements and business cards, a menu, an unused memorandum book, and a calendar for January 1874-August 1875. The series contains a list of suggested candidates for an election held in January 1868, several advertisements regarding the benefits of sending children to kindergarten, and an advertisement for The Spirit of Arkansas, which features an illustration of a Native American man riding a grasshopper and chasing another man, with the caption "They have no G. Hoppers and Indians there!"

The Newspaper Clippings subseries (5 items) includes pages and excerpts from the Nashville Whig ([1846]), Nashville Union (April 24, 1862), The Wright County Times (Monticello, Minnesota, February 2, 1888), and the Nashville Banner (April 21, 1888), as well as a published compilation of Clippings from the Tennessee Papers with Other Interesting Items ([April 1865]). The Nashville Whig featured a printed illustration of businesses along Nashville's public square, including H. G. Scovel's storefront.


Myron Barrett letters, 1837-1856

33 items

The Myron Barrett letters contain correspondence from his friends and family, who discussed various aspects of life in the mid-19th century, often with a focus on education.

The Myron Barrett letters contain correspondence from his friends and family, who discussed various aspects of life in the mid-19th century, often with a focus on education. Barrett had a wide range of acquaintances across the country, especially several friends who wrote from various educational institutions and, following his stint as a teacher in Columbus, Ohio, from that city. Many of the friendly, personal letters concern agricultural pursuits or teaching, and several letters from J. Collins provide a glimpse into cadet life at West Point in the 1840s. Additional material depicts various aspects of everyday life in the period, including one letter discussing a surgical operation to remove a cancerous tumor from a young woman (March 17, 1846).


Nathan Williams family correspondence, 1816-1851 (majority within 1839-1851)

30 items

This collection contains correspondence related to Nathan W. Williams, a Yale graduate and preacher in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, including incoming correspondence from friends and family members and his siblings' correspondence with their father, Reverend Thomas Williams of Providence, Rhode Island. Family members shared social news and updates about their travels, and Nathan's friends commented on their lives around New England. The collection also includes three framed, silhouette style paintings of Nathan W. Williams and his parents, Thomas and Ruth, by artist Edward Seager.

This collection contains correspondence related to Reverend Thomas Williams of Providence, Rhode Island, and to his son, Nathan W. Williams, who attended Yale and later became a preacher in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. Nathan received 8 letters from friends, 5 from his father, 2 from his brother Thomas, 1 from his sister Sarah, and 1 from his brother Stephen. He also wrote 2 letters to his sister Mary, 2 to his father, and 1 to the Congregational Church at Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. The remaining items include 1 letter Reverend Thomas Williams wrote to his wife Ruth, 2 letters he received from his daughter Sarah, 1 from his son-in-law, and 1 from his son Thomas.

Reverend Thomas Williams and his son Nathan exchanged 7 letters between December 19, 1849, and November 11, 1850. In 5 letters to Nathan, Thomas Williams shared family news from Providence, Rhode Island, including travel plans and updates on Nathan's siblings and their families. Nathan, in return, wrote about his wife, Frances, and daughter, Anna, describing a "donation party" held for them by his congregation in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts (January 15, 1850). In his letter of November 11, 1850, Nathan was concerned that his sister Mary and her husband "Mr. Grover" were planning to travel to the South for her health and discussed the drawbacks at length. Thomas Williams also wrote one letter to his wife Ruth while living in Foxboro, Massachusetts (May 6, 1816), and received letters from two of his children. In his April 19, 1839 letter, Thomas Hale Williams wrote of his attempts to find a place to live in Hartford, Connecticut, and drew the floor plan of one of the possible choices. Sarah Williams Cotton wrote of her first week of married life in Pomfret, Connecticut (April 29, 1850), and of a visit to her brother Nathan (October 24, 1850).

Nathan W. Williams also received letters from his classmates at Yale College, as well as from his siblings. One acquaintance, Benjamin T. Eames, thanked Williams for sending information on Yale's entry requirements (July 6, 1839), and another, M. Patten, mentioned raising money to pay for Nathan's tuition (January 5, 1842). William S. Huggins, a former classmate, wrote 4 letters between 1846 and 1850, in which he provided news of his recent travels to Washington, D. C., where he witnessed a speech by the Speaker of the House (February 20, 1850), and to western New York and Niagara Falls (October 19, 1850). In the summer of 1849, Nathan's brother Thomas wrote two letters concerning books, and Nathan wrote twice to his sister Mary in Philadelphia, describing his social life and hoping to meet her in New York City (January 4, 1842, and May 8, 1842). Sarah Williams (later Cotton) also corresponded with her brother and sister-in-law (February 6, 1850), as did Nathan's brother Stephen (August 16, 1851).

Nathan Williams also wrote a response to the call from the Congregational Church in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, on January 29, 1849, provisionally accepting a position as the church's pastor but requesting vacation periods and a visit to the town.

The collection also includes three framed, silhouette style paintings of Nathan W. Williams and his parents, Thomas and Ruth, by artist Edward Seager. The Nathan Williams portrait is dated May 1834; his parents' silhouette portraits are undated.