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Amelia Lippincott and Esek Hartshorne Williams letters, 1833-1848 (majority within 1838-1841)

23 items

This collection is made up of the incoming and outgoing correspondence of Amelia Lippincott Williams of New York City and her husband, Esek Hartshorne Williams of Red Bank, New Jersey. The bulk of the collection is comprised of 15 letters that Esek wrote to Amelia during their courtship and while traveling for business reasons during the first few years of their marriage. Amelia and Esek received the remaining 7 letters from friends and family members in New York and New Jersey.

This collection is made up of the incoming and outgoing letters of Amelia Lippincott Williams and her husband, Esek Hartshorne Williams. Esek wrote 16 love letters to Amelia during their courtship and early married life. Amelia also received 2 letters from friends and 1 from a niece named Mary. Esek received 1 letter from Amelia, 2 from his brother George, and 1 from a friend.

Amelia Lippincott was living in New York City when she received 7 letters from Esek H. Williams of Red Bank, New Jersey, between April 22, 1833, and November 10, 1834 (including 1 undated). His letters are affectionate and flirtatious, and often refer indirectly to the couple's romantic relationship. Esek Williams shared news from Red Bank, occasionally mentioned his work in a local store, and, on November 4, 1834, joked about Amelia's political awareness and her support of the Whigs.

After their marriage, Esek wrote 9 letters to his wife while he traveled west for business reasons; he sent 6 of these letters from Michigan in the winter of 1840-1841. He described his experiences near Fredonia, New York (December 13, 1840); Cleveland, Ohio (December 19, 1840); and Kankakee, Illinois (February 14, 1841). He mentioned his lodgings and modes of travel, and often remarked about his love for his wife and children, who remained in New York City. He spent much of his journey in southeast Michigan, where he had financial interests, and provided Amelia with news of his arrival and activities in Detroit (January 1, 1841, and January 10, 1841) and Ann Arbor (March 7, 1841). He discussed financial matters, including his difficulties with state-issued currency, "Michigan money," which he referred to as the only currency in regular circulation in Ann Arbor (March 7, 1841). On a later trip to Michigan, he noted the economic conditions in Detroit (January 1, 1843). On July 2, 1848, he composed his final letter, written from Marshall, Michigan; he expressed his intent to sell his farm in Ann Arbor. Two of his letters have pencil sketches of horses.

Amelia Lippincott Williams received dated personal letters from R. Montgomery, who shared her thoughts on fashionable hats (May 26, 1835), and a woman named Catherine Lent, who hoped Amelia could soon visit (October 1, 1835). Undated letters include 3 from friends and acquaintances, including one in which Amelia's niece Mary mentioned an outbreak of measles and a large social gathering in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. Esek H. Williams received two brief personal letters from his brother George.


Amos Beebe Eaton collection, 1822-1867 (majority within 1822-1836)

59 items

This collection contains letters that United States Army lieutenant (and later general) Amos Beebe Eaton wrote while training at the United States Military Academy and traveling in New York, Connecticut, Ohio, and Michigan. His early letters reflect the daily life of cadets at West Point in the mid-1820s, and his later letters to his wife provide family news, as well as information about the Army and contemporary politics.

This collection (59 items) contains letters that United States Army lieutenant (and later general) Amos Beebe Eaton wrote to his grandmother, Tryphena Cady of Canaan, New York, and to his wife, Elizabeth Selden Eaton.

Eaton wrote 6 letters to his grandmother between September 14, 1822, and March 26, 1826, while attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He described cadets' daily lives at the academy, including their physical regimen, and discussed the possibility of remaining in the military after graduation. Though he considered applying for the marine corps or becoming a doctor, he stayed with the army, and wrote 3 letters to his grandmother between April 16, 1828, and October 21, 1830, while he served at the Hancock Barracks near Houlton, Maine. A group of 5 letters, written to his sister and grandmother from Fort Niagara, New York, between February 21, 1831, and November 8, 1833, concern his movements with the army and his family life, including news of his new wife and young daughters. He also described Fort Niagara and shared some of his opinions on enlisted men. He wrote to his grandmother from Fort Gratiot, Michigan Territory, on July 7, 1834, commenting on his distrust of the pursuit of recognition.

Between 1832 and 1836, Eaton wrote to his wife Elizabeth ("Betsy") while he traveled in New York, Connecticut, Ohio, and Michigan, on military and personal business. He often mentioned family members, religious sentiments, and general details of his daily life. Two letters were written from Detroit during the Black Hawk War, in which he briefly mentioned ill soldiers, his opinion about the mistreatment of Native Americans, and the military's pursuit of Black Hawk (July 24 and 30, 1832). In another he discussed foreign relations with France as well as abolitionism (February 12, 1836). The collection also contains 2 letters that Eaton wrote while serving as Commissary General of Subsistence in 1867.

Several letters are addressed to Amos Eaton. One, written by "Gordon" on August 10, 1832, comments on the public reaction to and possible consequences of a recently published letter of Amos's, wherein he attributes the cholera outbreak in the military during the Black Hawk War to the mistreatment of Native Americans. Also included is a letter that Amos Beebe Eaton's father wrote to his son with extracts of his communication with New York Senators about the motivations behind Eaton's statements, a partial copy of the offending letter, and the impact it had on his military career (September 21, 1838). Other material includes one letter addressed to Elizabeth Eaton from a sibling (July 3, 1836) and a copied document signed by several recruits, stating that they had recently received pay (June 9, 1835).


Ann Price Gibson Paschall diaries, 1820-1855

6 volumes

This collection is made up of 6 diaries written intermittently by Ann Price Gibson Paschall (later Jackson) between 1820 and 1855. Her entries concern Quaker meetings and her religious views; daily life in Darby, Pennsylvania; family news; and travel to New York, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.

This collection is made up of 6 diaries written intermittently by Ann Price Gibson Paschall (later Jackson) between 1820 and 1855. Her entries concern Quaker meetings and her religious views; daily life in Darby, Pennsylvania; family news; and travel to New York, Ontario, and the Midwest.

The first two diaries (April 17, 1820-September 22, 1820, and October 25, 1820-November 17, 1820) are numbered 3 and 5 in a series. Paschall wrote about household tasks, such as working in the kitchen and mending clothes; news of family and friends, including illnesses and deaths; and her young children. Many of Paschall's entries concern attendance at Philadelphia-area Quaker meetings. She frequently refered directly or indirectly to her religious beliefs; she often began entries with a Biblical citation. The third, unsigned volume (September 3, 1823-December 31, 1823) contains similar content related to the author's religious beliefs and attendance at Quaker meetings.

The fourth volume contains diary entries that A. S. P. copied from her mother's diary; she later presented the book to her brother, William P. Sharpless. Other owners included Sarah J. Sharples and her niece Mary. The original author, likely Ann Gibson Paschall Jackson, wrote several entries each month between January 1, 1830, and September 8, 1839. The introspective writings often pertain to religion, and many discuss the schism between Hicksite and orthodox Quakers. Despite their differences, Jackson remained friendly with orthodox leaders. On a few occasions, she heard speeches and sermons by Lucretia Mott. The entries also refer to social visits, local news, cholera outbreaks, and family news (particularly marriages).

The fifth diary contains daily entries dated August 15, 1840-June 8, 1843; poetry and a draft letter written in the back of the volume indicate that it belonged to Ann Paschall Jackson. The diary entries concern the author's daily life, often revolving around religious activities, such as attendance at Quaker meetings, and religious beliefs. Several entries mention an "Indian Committee." The diary also contains the author's remarks on her travels in Ohio, Indiana, New York, Ontario, and Michigan. The poems in the back of the volume concern religion and matrimony; one was copied for Ann P. Jackson by a friend.

The final diary consists of daily entries written between May 24, 1853, and February 4, 1855; references to Stephen and Mary Paschall, the author's children, indicate that the volume belonged to Ann Paschall Jackson. She wrote about her children and other family members, church news, and religion; at the time, she attended the "West Chester Meeting."


Arthur Welch letters, 1916

0.25 linear feet

This collection consists of letters, postcards, and photographs related to Private Arthur E. Welch of the United States Army, who served with the 1st Regiment, Company L, in and around Nogales, Arizona, between July and October 1916. Welch discussed everyday life along the United States-Mexico border, his work in a military ice house, and developments in the region's military conflicts.

This collection consists of 100 letters, 2 postcards, and several photographs related to Private Arthur E. Welch of the United States Army, who served with the 1st Regiment, Company L, in and around Nogales, Arizona, between July and October 1916. Welch wrote his first 2 letters to his mother, Mrs. M. J. Welch of Willimantic, Connecticut, while in training at Niantic, Connecticut, about his life in camp. His next 5 letters recount his journey to Nogales, Arizona, and describe the scenery in Ohio, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.

The bulk of the collection consists of Welch's daily letters to his mother from July 4, 1916-October 2, 1916, about his experiences while stationed in Nogales, Arizona. He reported news of recent military developments, commented on his accommodations in camp, and discussed several aspects of his life in the army, including his training, his work in an ice house, and his attendance at Catholic religious services. He also described the area and discussed a lengthy march his unit made to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where he remained for much of August. Welch occasionally mentioned relations with the Mexicans and their independence celebrations on September 16, as well as the actions of Pancho Villa. One of his friends, Ed Ryan, wrote a letter to Mrs. Welch about his experiences after being wounded in the arm; he also mentioned Arthur's work in the ice house (September 21, 1916). By early October 1916, Welch began to anticipate his return to the East Coast. Two photographic postcards depict Arthur E. Welch in uniform and in a pair of overalls.

The non-correspondence items are 1 photograph of a group of soldiers, as well as 3 scrapbook pages containing 31 photographs of Nogales, Arizona, and United States soldiers in uniform and at leisure.


Beach-Fessenden family letters, 1838-1850

20 items

This collection is made up of letters that members of the Beach family wrote to Reverend Joseph P. Fessenden and his wife Phebe about life in Sharon Township, Ohio, in the mid-19th century. Fessenden's correspondents described their journeys from Maine to Ohio via steamboat, railroad, and stage; discussed many aspects of life in Ohio, such as religious customs and agriculture; and commented on news of family members and friends in Ohio and New England.

This collection is made up of 20 letters that members of the Beach family wrote to Reverend Joseph P. Fessenden and his wife, Phebe, from 1838-1850; several include contributions from multiple authors. The Fessendens' correspondents included Sargent W. Beach, Martha Beach, Israel Bailey Beach, Sarah Barker Beach, and Thomas Parnell Beach. The letters pertain to the writers' lives in Sharon Township, Ohio.

The Fessendens' incoming correspondence pertains to many aspects of life in Ohio in the mid-19th century. Several letters mention agricultural practices, education, and religion, including Thomas Parnell Beach's request that Joseph P. Fessenden come to Ohio to promote the antislavery cause (December 1, 1845). Others include the writers' comments on local religious denominations and their personal beliefs. Several correspondents provided detailed descriptions of their journeys from New England to Ohio, including travel by railroad, steamboat, and stage, often through the state of New York. Many letters contain and respond to news of family members and acquaintances in New England and Ohio; Israel Bailey Beach reflected on family members' deaths in his later letters.


Benneville Hiester journal, 1853

1 volume

This journal recounts the experiences of Benneville Hiester, a native of Berks County, Pennsylvania, who traveled from Pleasant Township, Ohio, to St. Louis, Missouri, and back to Pennsylvania in the spring of 1853. Hiester recorded the odd jobs he did for local farmers around Pleasant Township and Lancaster, Ohio; his trip westward through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois by railroad and overland roads; his return journey to Pennsylvania, taken primarily by steamboat; and the labor he did for nearby farmers after his return.

The Benneville Hiester diary contains about 50 pages of short daily entries about his travels from Pleasant Township, Ohio, to St. Louis, Missouri, and back to Pennsylvania in 1853.

In January 1853, Hiester lived in Pleasant Township, Ohio, where he chopped wood and performed other tasks for local farmers. In his journal, he mentioned the names of those for whom he worked, as well as his work at a nearby poorhouse and his labor digging graves and building pig sties. On February 19, he visited Joseph Hiester and his son Daniel in Boylston, Ohio, and on March 7, he left Lancaster for Columbus, Ohio, where he boarded a train for Cincinnati with a companion named Jacob. Hiester noted the cost of his ticket and provided brief descriptions of his journey across Ohio and Indiana, including a stop at Vandala, Indiana, to visit acquaintances. On March 20, he and Jacob traveled on the "National Road" to Illinois, and they arrived in St. Louis, Missouri, on the 22nd. Hiester set out for Pennsylvania on the same day, paying $10.50 for a steamboat ticket on the Elephant, which traveled along Ohio River to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which Hiester reached on April 4. From there, he went to Harrisburg and then to his home near Bern, which he reached by foot on April 6. The final entries, which Hiester wrote regularly until May 1 and again from June 14 to June 22, concern the daily weather and his manual labor. The entry for June 21 mentions his work with tobacco.


Berdan family papers, 1819-1857

61 items

The Berdan family papers contain the journal of David Berdan, Sr. describing his travels through Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois in 1819-1820 on behalf of the New York Emigration Society, and the correspondence of David Berdan, Jr., while working as law clerk in New York City and on a trip to Europe in the 1820s.

The Berdan family papers contain the journal of David Berdan, Sr. describing his travels through Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois in 1819-1820 on behalf of the New York Emigration Society, and the correspondence of David Berdan, Jr., while working as law clerk in New York City and on a trip to Europe. The collection also contains correspondence and humorous writings of James Berdan and other miscellaneous material. The collection is arranged into four series by author: David Berdan Sr.'s journal, the correspondence of David Berdan Jr, correspondence and manuscripts of James Berdan, and additional material from other authors.

The journal of David Berdan, Sr., is a detailed account of an Odyssean journey through New York, Pennsylvania, and the frontier towns and wilderness of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, mostly on horseback. The travelers endured winter blizzards, mud, ice, swollen rivers, and lame horses, all faithfully recorded in Berdan's journal. There were some dramatic moments on the journey, of near-starvation, near-freezing, and near-drowning, all related in Berdan's phlegmatic style.

Because of the nature of the mission, Berdan made diligent notes on topography, soil conditions, timber, and access to waterways of all potential settlement sites. He provides physical descriptions of the towns visited en route, including St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Erie. In Cincinnati, he stopped long enough to meet with General (later President) William Henry Harrison, who advised him on the route ahead and provided him with a passport, addressed to his Native American acquaintances, to provide safe passage for Berdan's party.

Berdan's journal records his experience when taken to meet Captain Anderson, chief of the Delaware Nations. Anderson had recently sold the Delaware lands to the United States government as part of a treaty agreement, and planed to leave, with his tribe, for the Arkansas Territory. Anderson says to Berdan that the whites "would sometimes bring whiskey among them of which they were very fond and when intoxicated would be very troublesome and revengeful. He had warned his countrymen when hunting to keep on their own grounds and not molest the whites." (p. 62) In St. Louis, Berdan observes a local custom in which a party of townsfolk -- made up of men and boys armed with cow and sheep bells, conch shells, horns, and pots and pans -- proceeds to the residence of a newlywed couple. Making noise until the groom appears, the crowd demands either a "grand ball" or money enough to treat the entire company. Despite having failed in his primary mission, Berdan's account remains as a depiction of the western wilderness of 1819-1820, its nascent settlements, and the harsh realities of early travel.

The correspondence of David Berdan, Jr., to his friend and fellow Union graduate James Marshall, provides a glimpse into the life of an educated, sensitive young man of limited means struggling to find his way in New York City in the 1820s. His letters describe his life of work and study in New York City, with keen observations of the progress (and foibles) of fellow Union graduates. He himself gradually matures from the fond reminiscence of his dissipated days at Union to a growing repudiation of the drinking and gambling lifestyle -- the results of which he observes at first hand.

Another subject in the correspondence is Berdan's experiences (or lack thereof) with women. He fondly remembers female acquaintances at Union, presses James Marshall for descriptions of women he encounters, and relates several instances of his own brief social contacts. David gradually accepts that his pecuniary existence and limited prospects will afford him no opportunity to associate with suitable women, much less to entertain the prospect of marriage in the near future.

"Let me be coldly indifferent or stupidly unconscious of the fascination of refinement in society and I shall spend a few more years in quiet study and in the indulgence of those delicious reveries attendant upon solitude. The pleasures I shall receive from such habits will be less substantial and less productive of excitement but they will be purer and better adapted to my situation. Adieu then to the airy hopes I have in my happier moments encouraged -- my way is plain before me. The road is strewn with thorns that will tear me in my eagerness to advance but philosophy shall cover me as with a garment and protect me from impediments that will be thrown in my path. Henceforward Literature shall be my mistress and in her embraces and in still stronger attachment to my friends I shall be prepared to endure the contention of the world and to commence and continue the arduous work of building up my fortune and my fame." (David Berdan, Jr. to James Marshall, 11, 18 February 1823).

David's letters also describe his time as a teacher at a boarding school. He finds little satisfaction in the work, but paints a colorful and entertaining picture of the working class family with whom he boards, predicaments brought about by the promiscuous behavior of the eldest daughter, and his struggles to resist his attraction to her younger sister.

David's letters reflect his enthusiasm for a trip to Europe suggested by his friend. The prospect of the journey helps him to forget his occasional bouts of "melancholy" and dissatisfaction with his current career, and inspires an almost spiritual longing. He views it "as a light sent down from heaven to illumine the darkness of the path which fate has spread before me...". (David Berdan, Jr. to James Marshall, 25 July 1824). He mentions his illness only in passing, hoping that it does not fasten upon him until after the completion of his journey. He begins his travels with a trip back to Union College, through New York and Ohio to Virginia, and then sails for Gibraltar. Only two letters from Europe are included in the collection. In them David describes the richness of its history and strangeness of the sights. "The Moors are bare legged, wear long grizzled beards and are wrapped in winding sheets so they contrive to look as grim and ghastly as ever Lazarus did." (David Berdan, Jr. to James Marshall, 10 November 1825) He doesn't neglect to report on the charms of the Spanish women at the theater: "But the dancing -- Lord preserve a poor fellow who has been out of sight of women for forty days. The female dancer seemed to exult in the complete exposure of a very handsome pair of legs." David died on the voyage home and was buried at sea. He was 24 years old.

Also included in the collection are 15 satirical pieces, unsigned, but possibly written by David's brother, James Berdan. These sketches, with titles such as "Manifesto of the Ugly Club" and "The Society for the Diffusion of Gumption," parody cultural events of the time -- social clubs, lecture series, and debating societies. Eight letters from James Berdan are also in the collection including three to his future wife Jane Simms.

Additional material consists of various letters and papers related to the Berdan family including the resolution of the New York Emigration Society authorizing David Berdan Sr.'s eplorator trip, a letter describing the death of Margaret Irving and a letter describing David Berdan Jr.'s death.

Also with the additional material is a handwritten manuscript of the eulogy for David Berdan, written by William H. Seward and presented to the Adelphic Society of Union College on July 21, 1828. It contains an account of David Berdan's personal history, excerpts from his letters, and much praise of his character and academic prowess, all in high oratorical style: "...he never spurned from him aught but dishonor, he despised nothing but what was low, he knew not in his own bosom the existence of envy, and affectation never dwelt in a heart so humble as his." (p. 10)


Calvin Durfee scrapbook, 1851-1879

1 item

This collection contains the disbound contents of a scrapbook that Massachusetts minister Calvin Durfee kept during the mid-19th century. The scrapbook includes Durfee's journal about a trip through New York and the upper Midwest in 1851, newspaper clippings containing biographical sketches he composed, and manuscript sermons.

This collection contains the disbound contents of a scrapbook that Massachusetts minister Calvin Durfee kept during the mid-19th century. The first item is Durfee's 14-page journal describing his domestic travels from April 22, 1851-June 20, 1851. He embarked from South Dedham, Massachusetts and travelled, often by steamboat, across northern New York, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The journal records Durfee's daily activities, including delivering sermons and making social calls in numerous cities, and also contains a genealogical record of his sister's family, the Lashiers of Maine, New York (page 10).

The journal is followed by biographical sketches of pastors from Pittsfield and Lanesboro, Massachusetts, clipped from the Berkshire Courier (approximately 14 pages); the clippings include manuscript annotations. Two additional clippings are a history of the pastors of the Presbyterian Church at Whitfield, Massachusetts, and a note regarding the marriage of Durfee's son Charles. The collection also contains 7 sermons that Calvin Durfee delivered by between 1852 and 1876, consisting of 6 manuscripts and one newspaper reproduction. Four of the sermons are between 18 and 30 pages long.

Additional printed material includes a program from Charles S. Durfee's ordination in Newburyport, Massachusetts, on September 8, 1869; a related letter of congratulation; and a printed invitation from the First Presbyterian Church of Newburyport (August 24, 1869). The original scrapbook cover is housed with the collection.

Biographical Sketch Subjects: Pittsfield
  • Thomas Allen
  • William Allen
  • Thomas Penderson
  • Heman Humphrey
  • Rufus William Bailey
  • John W. Yeomans
  • Chester Dewey
  • H. N. Brinsmade
  • John Todd
  • S. A. Allen
Biographical Sketch Subjects: Lanesboro
  • Daniel Collins
  • John De Witt
  • Noah Sheldon
  • Ransome S. Cook
  • John Furgerson
  • Edward Joab Brace
  • Martyn Tupper
  • Chauncey Eddy
  • Charles Newman

Charles Otto Henthorn papers, 1862-1864

13 items

Charles Henthorn's papers consist of letters home during his service in the 77th Illinois Infantry, including descriptions of African Americans in the army, towns and plantations in the South, and his thoughts on the war.

The Henthorn papers consist of seven letters written by Henthorn to his father, Nelson, two to his younger brother, George, three to his sister, Sarah, and one letter from Nelson to George Henthorn. Charles Henthorn is an unusually powerful writer and provides thoughtful, evocative descriptions of the events unfolding around him. His observations on the varied roles of African Americans in the army are particularly noteworthy. They are depicted in several ways: as informers on Confederate sympathizers hiding from the Union Army, as victims of racism and southern hatred, and as highly motivated and effective soldiers at the Battle of Milliken's Bend. Henthorn appears to have a much more positive attitude toward blacks than many of his fellow soldiers, and he appears equally to be aware of this fact.

Equally interesting are Henthorn's descriptions of the land itself, including fine descriptions of towns in Indiana and Ohio, and of evacuated plantations in Louisiana. He makes several references to hostile southern attitudes toward the Union troops, and describes an instance of pillaging by members of his regiment. There are two second-hand accounts of battles, the Battles of Richmond and Milliken's Bend, but by and large, there is very little martial content in Henthorn's letters. He is instead at his best in his reflections on the effect of the conflict on the soldiers and civilians. The final two letters in the collection provide (respectively) an insight into the depth of Henthorn's religiously held pro-Union, anti-slavery views, and an account of a copperhead rally in Lacon during the 1864 presidential election which featured a coffin containing a likeness of Lincoln with buzzards flying overhead.


Edward W. and Allen D. Chesebro letters, 1846-1847

12 items

This collection contains twelve letters written by Edward W. Chesebro of Guilderland, New York, and Allen D. Chesebro of Gallupville, New York, to John Carhartt of Bridgeport, New York, in the mid-1840s. Edward described his teaching career and made observations about the educational system and about his brief stay in the South. Allen provided updates on Edward and on other members of the Chesebro family.

This collection contains twelve letters written by Edward W. Chesebro of Guilderland, New York, and Allen D. Chesebro of Gallupville, New York, to John Carhartt of Bridgeport, New York. Edward wrote ten letters between January 3, 1846, and February 21, 1847, primarily about his career as a schoolteacher in Guilderland and Bangall, New York. He frequently shared his opinions of his students, who often performed far below his expectations, and expressed his frustration with their shortcomings, both academic and moral. He also gave his generally negative opinions upon the state of education in the region and the importance of attending the State Normal College at Albany while pursuing an educational career. In October 1846, he described his travels along the Erie and Ohio Canals.

The letters include updates on Chesebro's family members, and he occasionally mentioned contemporary political issues, including violence at the New York Democratic Convention (April 2, 1846). About the American South, he wrote, "I returned as perfectly disgusted…as any live man could be" with the people, the climate, and slavery (December 7, 1846). In two additional letters, Allen D. Chesebro (1822-1902) of Gallupville, New York, discussed his own travels throughout New York, Edward's plans to move to either Texas or Mississippi, and news of the Chesebro family.