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August F. W. Partz letters, 1864

16 items

The August F. W. Partz letters pertain to Partz's experiences while living and traveling in New York, Ohio, and western Illinois during the Civil War. Partz, a mining engineer, discussed a business opportunity in Santa Fe, guerilla warfare and attacks on trains traveling through the Midwest, and military news from Missouri.

This collection contains 16 letters that mining engineer August F. W. Partz wrote to his business partner, C. Elton Buck, between May 16, 1864, and October 31, 1864. Partz wrote from the Mamakating Mine in New York (3 items); Cleveland, Ohio (2 items); and Quincy, Illinois (11 items). The letters are drafts or writer-retained copies; some pages have more than one letter written on them.

Some of Partz's letters pertain to his business interests, particularly regarding a mining opportunity in Santa Fe, New Mexico; he also mentioned the possibility of bringing German laborers to the United States to work with nickel (October 3, 1864). Most of Partz's correspondence concerns his attempts to travel from New York to Santa Fe via Cleveland, Ohio, and Missouri. He spent October 1864 in Quincy, Illinois, waiting for an opportune moment to continue his journey, which had been rendered dangerous by guerilla attacks on trains in Missouri. Partz discussed the opinions of Missouri and Kansas residents and refugees, attacks on passenger trains, and military developments in Missouri, especially those related to General Sterling Price. For a time, Partz considered traveling to the Southwest by way of California. In one letter, he mentioned his fear of Native American hostility (October 1, 1864).


Camilla Sink journal, 1857-1915 (majority within 1857-1877, 1900)

1 volume

The Camilla Sink journal contains entries about Sink's daily life from 1857-1876, as well as genealogical information about her descendants, essays about her life and character, and a diary that one of her children kept in 1900. Camilla Sink's entries, copied by her children into this single bound volume, pertain to her life and her children's lives in New York, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

This volume (994 pages) contains Camilla Sink's journal, copied by one of her children (February 1, 1857-November 1, 1877, pp. 1-837); poems, biographical sketches, proverbs, and genealogical information (pp. 838-928); and a diary kept by one of Sink's children (January 1, 1900-December 10, 1900, pp. 928-994).

Camilla Sink's journal entries are prefaced by remarks about her life, death, and character, written by one of her children. Sink wrote almost daily from February 1, 1857-April 13, 1877, but illness led her to write only sporadically until her final entry on November 1, 1877. She most frequently commented on the weather, her social activities, and news of her children and their families. Sink lived in Rome, New York, and spent time visiting her family in Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; and Elkhart, Indiana. Sink provided news of her illnesses and ailments, or those of her children and other acquaintances, and sometimes discussed her feelings about bereavement and aging. Some of her entries from the spring of 1861 mention marching soldiers; in mid-April 1865, she wrote about the death of Abraham Lincoln and the journey of his funeral train. On September 29, 1876, she recounted a visit to Washington, D.C., and entries from early October 1876 concern her visit to the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.

The second section of the volume contains poetry, writings, biographical sketches, and genealogical information copied by and written about Camilla Sink and her descendants. Poetry and proverbs concern topics such as bereavement, and one of her children wrote a memorial poem in her honor (pp. 886-887). Genealogical information pertains to the births, marriages, and deaths of Camilla Sink's parents, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. A second series of journal entries, written by one of Camilla Sink's children, concerns the author's daily life and social activities in 1900. Items laid into the volume include a photographic postcard with a girl's portrait; a newspaper clipping; 3 certificates related to the academic progress of Chester Weier and Gladys Kleckner in Monroe, Michigan (June 20, 1907-June 14, 1912); and a certificate regarding Gladys Kleckner's confirmation at St. Stephen's Church in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, on March 14, 1915.


Charles David Williams papers, 1878-1923

3 linear feet

Bishop of the Michigan Diocese of the Episcopal Church, 1906-1923, and advocate of the "social gospel" views of Walter Rauschenbusch. Papers consist of correspondence, notebooks on labor and social issues, and biographical material.

The papers of Charles D. Williams, Episcopal bishop of Michigan, include correspondence concerning personal and church affairs and the social gospel movement, including correspondence with Walter Rauschenbush, Samuel Mather, and Lucretia Garfield; also sermons and addresses, 1885-1923, journals of European trips, 1896, 1917, and 1921, notebooks on social and labor problems, material on the 1908 forest fire at Metz, Michigan (Presque Isle County), and material on the Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, Ohio in 1898; biographical writings by his sons, Benedict Williams, his wife Lucy V. Williams, and his secretary, Charles O. Ford; letters of condolence from fellow clergy, including Reinhold Niebuhr; also photographs.


Charles Wochna letters, [1953]-1954

27 items

This collection is made up of 27 letters that Lieutenant Charles Wochna wrote to his parents while serving with the United States Marine Corps in Korea and Japan during the Korean War.

This collection contains 27 letters that Lieutenant Charles Wochna wrote to his parents while serving with the United States Marine Corps in Korea and Japan during the Korean War. Though only one letter is fully dated (January 1, 1954), the letters cover much of his time abroad.

While stationed abroad, Wochna attended artillery training, participated in several amphibious landing exercises, and constructed bunkers. In their spare time, the American soldiers often played volleyball or other sports. A few letters, written late in the war, discuss Wochna's anticipation of returning home via Japan; in the March 14 letter is a list of items he wished to be shipped to him, and some sketches of emblems that were on his desired clothing. In addition to news of life in Korea, he also mentioned taking periods of rest and relaxation in Japan, and reported purchasing souvenirs in both countries.

Wochna occasionally commented directly on military operations, detailing his experiences upon landing on an unidentified beach (May 15), mentioning the proximity of a peace delegation (August 7), and relaying news of recent operations. In a letter dated June 11, he summarized two schools of thought regarding the presence of American military operations in the country. Other letters refer to the general progress of the war. Wochna's correspondence also reflects his ongoing concern for family members and friends who remained in the United States. He often responded to news of his family, including sadness upon hearing of his grandfather's death (June 14). Wochna frequently offered advice to his brother Jerry, then a student, and requested news about the current football seasons of the Cleveland Browns, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and Ohio State Buckeyes. He attempted to follow the teams while stationed abroad.

Charles Wochna sent several letters on stationery bearing colored images, which include:
  • the USS Talladega
  • the insignia of the 1st Marine Corps
  • combat ribbons signifying participation in the Philippines, China, and Japan during the Second World War
  • combat ribbon signifying participation in the Korean War

Dr. Charles E. and Jeri Baron Feltner Great Lakes Maritime History Collection, 1978, 2018, and undated

17.5 cubic ft. (in 30 boxes, 3 Oversized Folders)

Collection of research materials (mostly photocopies) of Dr. Charles E. Feltner. The collection’s focus is Great Lakes diving, maritime history (both American and Canadian), shipping history, and shipwrecks. Other major topics include 1905 and 1913 storms, insurance, marine casualties, merchant vessels, sailing, shipbuilding/construction, and underwater logging.

Dr. Charles E. and Jeri Baron Feltner Great Lakes Maritime History Collection, 1978, 2018 and undated, 17.5 cubic feet in 30 boxes and 3 oversized folders contains the research materials (mostly photocopies) of Dr. Charles E. Feltner. The collection’s focus is Great Lakes diving, maritime history (both American and Canadian), shipping history, and shipwrecks. Other major topics include 1905 and 1913 storms, insurance, marine casualties, merchant vessels, sailing, shipbuilding/construction, and underwater logging.

The photocopies are from numerous historical collections and/or research institutions housing the collections, almost always identified in detail by Dr. Feltner. If the source information was on or in the folder, it was retained during processing. Of particular note are copies from the Louden G. Williams collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Bowling Green State University.

The contents includes: articles, bibliographies, copies of manuscripts, correspondence, essays, geological surveys, information on diving on shipwrecks, rigging and masting, marine vessel enrollments, insurance, legislation, maritime genealogy bibliographies (American and Canadian), newspaper clippings, Old Mariners’ Church, Detroit, photographs (some of which are originals), reports, ship salvage, shipwrecks, vessel inspections, underwater archaeological surveys, underwater heritage research, U.S. Lighthouse and Life-Saving services, and Dr. Feltner’s original notes, correspondence and essays. Boats of particular interest in this collection include the Calypso, the Challenge, the Chicora, the Daniel J. Morrell (built in 1906, sank in 1966), the Edmund Fitzgerald, the Huron Brave (a fictitious ship), and the Lady Elgin. Included are also materials concerning Dick Race, Jacques Cousteau, and Peter Elias Falcon. Materials from corporate authors include Association of Canadian Lake Underwriters, Board of Lake Underwriters, Bureau of Navigation, Inland Lloyds, Institute of Marine Engineers, Lake Underwriters (this is the American underwriters), U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Lake Surveys, U.S. National Archives, and U.S. War Department Corps of Engineers. Many locations are documented in this collection. Major, but not inclusive, locations include Buffalo, NY, Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, Detroit, MI, Mackinaw City, MI, Milwaukee, WI, Ontario, Canada, Port Huron, MI, Presque Isle, MI, Sandusky, OH, Sault Saint Marie, MI, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and Thunder Bay.

Of particular note, rare insurance materials are included in the collection. Also of special interest are diving educator’s materials, a single slide of an artist’s drawing of the Daniel J. Morrell breaking up in 1966 (See Box 28 Wreck files…), meteorological wreck charts and shipwreck locations, ship model plans/ building, and notes on how to conduct research.

This collection is likely one of the top ten marine history research collection in the United States, complied from research collections in national and international historical institutions. Original variant spellings were retained in the box and folder listing.

The Photographs folder includes one image each of a Northern Line vessel, the Edmund Fitzgerald, and Goderion.

All items in Oversize Folder 1 measure 11x17 inches. All items in Oversized Folder 2 measure 11x15 inches. The contents of Oversize Folder 3 have varying measurements as noted in the box and folder listing.

Arrangement: Collection materials are organized by size, then alphabetically and chronologically within original order.

Cataloging Note for Marine Historians: Please note that pre-existing Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) do not match normal maritime designations, especially for ship designations ex. Chicora of 1895 (Steamship). Also, Enrollments is not an official LCSH. The Archivist provided the most descriptive finding aid and best cataloging possible for this collection, in consultation with Professor Jay Martin.

Processing Note: Duplicate copies and peripheral non-Michigan materials, both primary and secondary sources, and miscellaneous notes were withdrawn from the collection during processing, a total of 1 cubic foot. Acidic materials and poor quality photocopies were photocopied and the originals were withdrawn. All withdrawn materials and duplicates were returned to the donor as per the donor agreement, amounting to 9.5 cubic feet. 70 titles were separately cataloged. 17 items were added to the Michigan Vertical Files.


Dwight-Willard-Alden-Allen-Freeman family papers, 1752-1937

2,910 items (11 linear feet)

This collection is made up of the papers of five generations of the Dwight, Willard, Alden, Allen, and Freeman families of the East Coast and (later) U.S. Midwest, between 1752 and 1937. Around 3/4 of the collection is incoming and outgoing correspondence of family members, friends, and colleagues. The primary persons represented are Lydia Dwight of Massachusetts and her husband John Willard, who served in the French and Indian War; Connecticut mother Abigail Willard along with her husband Samuel Alden, who ran an apothecary in Hanover, New Jersey; Allen Female Seminary School alumna and teacher Sarah J. Allen; American Civil War surgeon Otis Russell Freeman; Presbyterian minister and temperance advocate Rev. Samuel Alden Freeman; and prominent public librarian Marilla Waite Freeman. The papers also include diaries and journals, writings, school certificates, military and ecclesiastical documents, photographs, newspaper clippings, advertisements, business and name cards, invitations to events, and brochures for plays and other performances.

The collection is arranged first by family grouping, then by material type. These series roughly reflect the arrangement of the collection when it arrived at the William L. Clements Library.

The Dwight-Willard-Alden Family Papers are comprised of around 250 items, dating between 1752 and 1884. One fifth or so of this grouping is predominantly correspondence between Lydia Dwight/Lydia Dwight Willard, her father, stepmother, siblings, husband, and sons, 1752-1791. These intermarried families were based largely in Sheffield and Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The letters include discussions about mending and cleaning clothing; feelings about their father/husband gone to serve in the French and Indian War; putting up a monument to replace faltering graves; the return of Elijah and Col. Williams from the field on account of sickness; coming and going of soldiers; moral and practical advice; teaching and boarding young students during the war; settling into (“no longer free”) married life; the death of Bathsheba Dwight; the meeting of local men in private homes and the training of minute men in Stockbridge; the prolonged case of smallpox experienced by Lydia’s son in 1785; and news of John Willard, Jr.’s admission to Harvard.

The remaining four fifths of this grouping are largely incoming correspondence of Abigail Willard Alden (1771-1832) and her daughter Abigail Alden (1809-1854). Their correspondents were located in Stafford, Connecticut; Hanover and Lancaster, New Hampshire; Lunenburg, Vermont; and elsewhere. They begin with letters from siblings and parents to the newly married Abigail Willard Alden (ca. 1800); Samuel Alden travel letters to New York City; and news of a Stafford doctor named Chandler who had promised marriage to a woman and then fleeced her for $500 before fleeing to parts unknown. A group of letters regard pharmacy matters, the burning of Samuel Willard’s drugstore (January-April 1802), and the state of Anti-Federalists and Federalists in Stafford (1802). A large portion the letters include content on sickness and health, with varying degrees of detail, including several family members sick and dying from measles in 1803. Other topics include Hanover, New Hampshire, gossip on local premarital sex; a debate on whether or not to hire a black female domestic laborer; comments on a local suicide attempt; a young woman deliberating on objections to women spending time reading novels (April 10, 1806); and treatment by a quack doctor. These papers also include two diaries, poetry and essays, two silhouettes, genealogical manuscripts, and miscellaneous printed items.

The Allen Family Papers are largely incoming letters to Sarah Jane Allen prior to her marriage to Samuel A. Freeman (around 300 items), and from her father-in-law Otis Russell Freeman (around 60 items) between 1860 and 1865. An abundance of the letters were written to Sarah while she attended the Allen Female Seminary in Rochester, New York, and afterward when she lived at Honeoye Falls, New York. They include letters from her parents, cousins, friends, and siblings. A sampling suggests that the bulk are letters by young women attempting to eke out a life for themselves through seminary education, teaching, and domestic labor. Among much else, they include content on Elmira Female Seminary, New York state travel, and female friendship and support.

The Otis Russell Freeman letters date between 1862 and 1865, while he served as a surgeon in the 10th and 14th Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers. He wrote about the everyday camp life with a focus on the health and sickness of the soldiers. His letters include content on the defenses of Washington, D.C., fighting at Cold Harbor and outside Richmond, Virginia, the surrender of Robert E. Lee, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and Lincoln's body lying in state at Jersey City. Two carte-de-visite photographs of Otis Freeman are present.

A diary kept by Sarah J. Allen began on the day of her marriage, September 26, 1865, documents her honeymoon to Niagara Falls. It ends in November 1865. The remainder of the volume is filled with recipes for baked goods, pickles, and other foods. The printed items include ephemera from Sarah Jane Allen’s tenure at Elmira Female College five issues of the Callisophia Society’s newspaper The Callisophia (vol. 1, nos. 1, 3-6; March/April 1860-January/February 1861), as well as a Catalogue of Books in Callisophia Library, December 1862.

The Samuel Alden Freeman Family Papers include approximately 300 largely incoming letters to Presbyterian minister S. A. Freeman, plus printed materials, ephemera, photographs, and bound volumes, dating in the 1810s and from the 1860s to 1880s. Correspondence of his second wife Olive dates from the 1810s in central New York. The collection includes letters to S. A. Freeman from his first wife Sarah, daughter Abigail Alden Freeman (1873-1925), and Sara Harriet Freeman (1879-1946). These materials include courtship correspondence of Sarah Jane Allen and S. A. Freeman. A considerable portion relates to Presbyterianism and at least one temperance society pledge sheet is present. Approximately 50 photographs, about half of them identified, are largely of Samuel A. Freeman and the Freeman daughters Marilla and Abigail. Among the printed ephemeral items are advertisements for programming at Corinthian Hall (probably Rochester, New York), items related to a Sunday School Association (including a printed broadside catalog of books at a N.J. Sunday School), and pamphlets on Presbyterianism. A medicinal recipe book from the mid-19th century and a commonplace book of poetry are examples of the S. A. Freeman family bound volumes.

The collection concludes with letters, photographs, ephemera, and printed items comprising the Marilla Waite Freeman Papers. Around 600 letters are largely incoming to public librarian M. W. Freeman from female educators and librarians. They discussed their profession, books, reading, and intellectual topics. A small clutch of letters, about three dozen manuscript and typed poems, and a dozen or more newspaper clippings, 1900s-1910s, comprise poet Floyd Dell’s contributions to the collection. Marilla also corresponded with poets and writers Margaret Todd Ritter, Robert Frost and Mrs. Frost, and Marie Bullock about public and private recitations and lectures. Examples of subjects covered by the printed materials include orations, educational/school/college items, library-related items, newspapers and clippings, fliers, women's clubs, New York City theater, the American Library Association, Poetry Society of America, poems by various authors, such as Ina Robert and John Belknap, visiting and business cards, and travel.


George W. Pray Papers, 1844-1890

1.5 linear feet — 1 oversize volume — 1 microfilm — 6,307 digital images

Physician; member of the first graduating class of the University of Michigan in 1845; papers include journals, correspondence, physician's records.

The Pray collection includes journals, 1844-1849, covering his years as a student at the University of Michigan and in the Medical Department of Western Reserve College, Cleveland, Ohio. In addition, there is correspondence exchanged with his wife, Adele, primarily during the year 1879 when they were separated due to his service in the Michigan House. Other materials of interest include various personal and business account books and record books from his medical practice.


Henry Murfey letter book, 1855-1856

54 pages (1 volume)

The Henry Murfey letter book contains copies of 12 letters addressed to Henry, of Cleveland, Ohio, ostensibly from his deceased sister and father via a spirit-writing medium. The letters date from December 28, 1855, to September 20, 1856. The longest and most revealing of the letters details the experience of his sister Mary's physical death, her arrival at a "large spiritual temple," and her introduction to a spirit guide named "Flora." Mary then described her visit to the planet Saturn and its inhabitants.

The Henry Murfey letter book is a wallet-size, leather bound notebook containing 12 letters recorded over 54 handwritten pages and dating from December 28, 1855, to September 20, 1856. The letters are each addressed to Henry Murfey of Cleveland, Ohio, ostensibly from his deceased sister Mary (11) and father John (1) via a spirit-writing medium.

The letters are written in reverse chronological order, with the final letter located at the beginning of the letter book. The longest and most revealing of the letters details the experience of Mary's physical death, her arrival at a "large spiritual temple," and her introduction to a spirit guide named "Flora." Mary then described her visit to the planet Saturn and its inhabitants. Later letters assured Henry of the veracity of their communication and assured him that she often thought of him and communicated with him through the movement of inanimate objects. Several letters are undated, including one by Murfey's father John. The final three pages contain a crossed-out note, a recipe for an herbal remedy, and random calculations.


Moses Warren, Jr., letters, 1796-1797

12 items

The Moses Warren, Jr., letters document Warren's travels through New York and the Western Reserve with the Connecticut Land Company.

The Moses Warren, Jr., letters contain 12 letters written by Warren to his wife, Mehitabel, in 1796-1797, with a gap from August 1796 to March 1797. Warren wrote the first letter while onboard the Lark on May 4, 1796, and the rest while traveling around upstate New York and eastern Ohio with a group of surveyors for the Connecticut Land Company. In his correspondence, he described his work and colleagues, interactions with Native Americans, and the difficulties of surveying, including bad weather and illness.

In several of his letters, Warren made observations about Native Americans. On July 9, 1796, he recounted signing a treaty and smoking a peace pipe with Prince Cato and the Missisago Indians at "Port Independence." In the same letter, he also listed the gifts exchanged, and compared the Missisago language to that of the Mohegan. While in Youngstown, Ohio, he noted the scarcity of Native Americans, whom he believed were avoiding his party out of fear, and described the initial wariness of the "Tawa" (Ottawa) men (July 31, 1797).

In other correspondence, he described the men of his party, who were "very active & well informed, except 3 or 4" (May 8, 1797), and gave details about their health and tasks. Of his own work, he noted an assignment to "run the 5th East & West line to Pennsylvania" (June 18, 1797). At times, weather and accidents interfered with the group's progress: a "deluge" of rain near Buffalo Creek in New York caused delays (May 25, 1797) and a man drowned while accompanying a horse across a river (June 18, 1797). Warren also frequently described illnesses, such as dysentery and ague, which struck many of them while traveling.


Native American collection, 1688-1921

0.25 linear feet

The Native American collection contains miscellaneous letters and documents concerning Native American Indians in the United States, Canada, and the West Indies, and their interactions with British and American settlers.

The Native American collection is comprised of approximately 125 miscellaneous letters and documents concerning Native American Indians in the United States, Canada, and the West Indies, and their interactions with British and American settlers (1689-1921). Topics range from land agreements, legal issues, treaties, descriptions of travel through Indian Territory, Indian uprisings and conflicts, Indian captivities, prisoners of war, Indian enslavement, and interactions with Quaker and Moravian missionaries. Tribes include the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cree, Iroquois, Ojibwa, Oneida, Ottawa, Kickapoo, Seneca, Shawnee, Sioux, among others, and concern activities in Canada, New England, the Midwest, the South, and the western frontier. Also present are items written in Cherokee, Mohawk, and Ojibwa.