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Heber Doust Curtis papers, 1889-1890, 1900-1908, 1921-1942

1.3 linear feet

Professor of astronomy at University of Michigan. Personal correspondence, mainly with family, describing his various astronomical expeditions to Chile and Sumatra; also speeches and photographs.

The collection consists mainly of copies of letters to family describing his work in astronomy, trips to Mexico, Sumatra and Europe and comments on current events with frequent references to personal family matters. There is one letter, July 19, 1925, concerning the teaching of evolution in the schools with comments about Clarence Darrow, William Jennings Bryan, and the Scopes trial.


Howard H. Russell Papers, 1840-1946

3 linear feet

A leading figure of the Anti-Saloon movement, founder of the Ohio Anti-Saloon League, first general superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of America and superintendent of the New York Anti-Saloon League. Papers include manuscript letters, speeches, diaries and miscellaneous material, and photographs. Letters include correspondence with many prominent prohibitionists and other social reformers.

The Howard Hyde Russell papers held by the Bentley Historical Library consist of three linear feet of manuscript letters, speeches, diaries and miscellaneous material, and photographs, 1849-1946. The Russell papers include professional correspondence and speeches relating to his work with the Anti-Saloon League, biographical and autobiographical writings, diary entries, notebooks and newspaper clippings and other miscellanea; family correspondence, including papers of his father, Joseph A. Russell, and his wife, and collected historical letters.

In 1977, the bulk of the Russell papers were microfilmed along with one linear foot of correspondence, financial records, and other documents held by the Ohio Historical Society on loan from the Westerville Public Library of Westerville, Ohio. This material when filmed was interfiled with the Bentley Historical Library folders, and includes correspondence dealing with personal, business and temperance matters, 1877-1911; notes for speeches and sermons, undated; congratulatory correspondence on the occasion of Russell's 65th birthday and 40th wedding anniversary, 1920; correspondence and other papers of James B. Merwin concerning Merwin's association with Abraham Lincoln and both Merwin's and Lincoln's connections with the temperance cause; a diary, 1891, of records, 1891-1896, including an account book, notes payable, and cancelled checks; an undated typescript Russell biography and an incomplete typescript autobiography of Russell's father, Joseph A. Russell, 1899. All Ohio Historical Society material are designated "OHS"; Michigan Historical Collections materials are designated "MHC."


James and Sybil Irwin family papers, 1815-1987 (majority within 1832-1946)

6.3 linear feet (in 8 boxes)

James and Sybil (Hunter) Irwin were early setters of Washtenaw County, Michigan. Their two sons, John E. and (James) Leman Irwin, fought in the Civil War as volunteer members of the 20th Michigan Infantry. Correspondence, diaries, and ledgers from these and other branches of the family are preserved in the Irwin family papers.

The James and Sybil Irwin family papers feature letters written from various Civil War battlefields and encampments by the brothers John E. and (James) Leman Irwin. There are four additional Civil War letters from cousins Samuel H. Row, James H. Irwin, S. Baker, and S.H. Loveland, as well as a transcription of William B. Irwin's journal. The collection also provides insight into the lives of Michigan farmers in the second half of the 19th Century and early 20th Century by way of letters, ledgers, photographs, and diaries. In addition, the correspondence record details the experience of prospectors on the Minnesota Iron Range and life on a Great Lakes freighter. Also extant are sketches by Harriet (Hattie) Irwin, poetry by Harriet and Civil War veterans John E. Irwin and Samuel H. Row, and some early documents pertaining to the North Sharon Methodist Episcopal Church.

The James and Sybil Irwin family papers are divided into the following series largely as maintained by the donor: Civil War Materials; the Baker-Rice and Irwin Families; the individuals Amy (Rice) Irwin, Fred C. Irwin, Harriet S. Irwin, Isaac Irwin, James and Sybil (Hunter) Irwin, John E. Irwin, Max H. Irwin, (James) Leman Irwin, and Max H. Irwin; the North Sharon Methodist Episcopal Church; Miscellaneous items; and Postcards.


John Harris Forster Papers, 1835-1891

0.7 linear feet

John Harris Forster was a geologist, engineer, surveyor, farmer, and chronicler of life in the Americas in the mid-19th century. As he traveled about North and South America, surveying boundaries, inspecting copper mines, mining gold with the California Forty-Niners, or raising hogs, Forster wrote of his experiences in his journals and used them and his acute memory to describe his travels to family, friends, and an interested public. His journals, correspondence, and speeches are a rich source of social history and geographical and architectural information on life in the areas in which he traveled, including the Great Lakes (Michigan and Wisconsin), Far West, and Central and South America. Forster's papers are of considerable interest for their detailed descriptions of the culture and lifestyle of the native populations he encountered, the terrain and climate of the areas in which he camped and surveyed, and the hardships of life in unsettled or recently settled areas.

The John Harris Forster papers are arranged in seven series. Correspondence primarily contains letters written by Forster to various family members, and is arranged chronologically by year. The Thomas Forster series contains materials of John's father, chiefly correspondence and documents pertaining to family and financial matters. Journals and Manuscripts is arranged by year, with titles provided on the contents list. Scrapbook Materials consist of clippings from various newspapers (most of which are unidentified). Forster evidently was a journalist correspondent for these papers, and his columns seem to be excerpts from his journals, with slight modification. His Speeches and Addresses to various Michigan organizations also are based to a large extent on his journals, but there are exceptions, such as the very interesting one detailing life as a Swine-herd in California. Miscellaneous consists mostly of biographical materials and financial documents. Photographs includes portraits and view of the family farm near Williamston, Michigan. For related materials on Forster, including biographical clippings, correspondence to his wife, family documents, and other Forster writings, the researcher should consult the Mullett Family Papers.


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.


Rhoda B. Stoker diary, 1920-1935 (majority within 1924, 1933, 1935)

1 volume

This diary contains Rhoda B. Stoker's recollections of a car trip she took with her family in August 1935. They traveled from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Idaho, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, California, and Nevada. The volume includes family and travel photographs from 1920, 1924, 1933, and 1935.

This diary (1 volume) contains Rhoda B. Stoker's recollections of a car trip she took with her family in August 1935. They traveled from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Idaho, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, California, and Nevada. The volume includes family and travel photographs from 1920, 1924, 1933, and 1935. The volume, comprised of two ruled spiral notebooks bound together with yarn, contains around 170 pages of material: the first 46 pages (recto) are numbered 1-[46], and the remaining pages (verso) are numbered [47-183].

Stoker's narrative (pages 1-[46]) recounts the trip she took with her son Edwin and "Aunt Clara King" from August 4, 1935-August 20, 1935. The family traveled by car from their home in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Vancouver, British Columbia, and followed the Pacific Coast south to Los Angeles, California. On their return journey, they drove from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City via the Mojave Desert and Las Vegas, Nevada. Stoker recorded details about the group's experiences and expenses, including the names of restaurants they visited, the car's odometer reading, and the amount and cost of gasoline they purchased; she combined all trip expenses at the end of her account (p. [46]). Stoker described the scenery and cities they visited, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, and discussed traveling by car ferry.

Stoker pasted photographs and postcards into her diary, sometimes including descriptions of photos she intended to add. Most images have captions, which include information about the location, date, and photographer. The pictures depict the Stoker family, their companions, and scenery from trips to the Pacific Coast in the summers of 1933 and 1935, including the family's lodgings, redwood trees, bridges, steamers, car ferries, military boats and submarines, and the family's car. One series of photographs depicts animals (prepared with taxidermy) at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Painted postcards and postcard sets show cities such as Tijuana, Mexico; San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Victoria, British Columbia, as well as scenes from California's Pacific coastline.


Samuel S. Robinson Papers, 1852-1888

1 linear foot (8 volumes and 3 folders)

Mine manager in the American west and northern Michigan. Letterpress books containing business correspondence detailing his work with the Quincy Copper Mine in Hancock, Michigan, as superintendent of the Detroit Bridge and Iron Works, and in Georgetown, New Mexico, and Twin River, Nevada; also include miscellaneous letters, and partial calendar to the letterpress books.

The collection consists primarily of letterpress books recording copies of outgoing correspondence. There is a partial calendar to some of the letters compiled by a descendant, Arney Robinson Childs in 1964 and a diary written in 1852-1853 while living in New England, with the last entry noting his departure for Michigan.

Many of the letters reflect the operations of his business enterprises and related matters--land speculation, dealing in mining stocks, the difficulties of procuring labor and supplies, shipping on the lakes, the almost insurmountable hardships of overland transportation into new country. But, since many of the letters are personal ones, they record much about the manners and customs of the day: in New England, where Robinson kept in touch with his childhood acquaintances; in the frontier west, described vividly in letters sent back east; and in Michigan, which remained home base for him and his family until his death on his farm at Pontiac in 1904.