The Hemenway family collection is made up of correspondence, documents, books, and other items related to the family of Asa and Lucia Hunt Hemenway, who worked as Christian missionaries to Siam (Thailand) in the mid-19th century. Most items pertain to family members' lives in the United States after their return in 1850. One group of letters pertains to the ancestors of Maria Reed, who married Lewis Hunt Hemenway.
The Hemenway family collection contains correspondence, documents, books, and other items related to the family of Asa and Lucia Hunt Hemenway, who served as Christian missionaries to Siam (Thailand) in the mid-19th century. Most items pertain to family members' lives in the United States after their return in 1850.
The Correspondence series is divided into two subseries. The Cotton Family Correspondence (26 items, 1819-1848) primarily consists of incoming personal letters to Frances Maria Cotton, whose father, siblings, and friends shared news from Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts. Her brother Henry, a member of the United States Navy, wrote about his travels to Cuba and Haiti on the USS St. Louis in the 1830s. The subseries also includes letters to Frances's father, John Cotton, and her husband, Joseph Reed.
The Hemenway Family Correspondence (116 items, 1857-1899) is comprised of letters between members of the Hemenway family. Lucia Hunt Hemenway wrote to her niece, Isabella Birchard, and her son, Lewis Hunt Hemenway, about her life in Ripton, Vermont, in the late 1850s and early 1860s, and corresponded with her sisters, Charlotte Birchard and Amanda Tottingham. Her letters contain occasional references to the Civil War. Other items include a letter from M. R. Rajoday to Asa Hemenway, written in Thai (March 23, 1860), and a letter from S. B. Munger to Asa Hemenway about Munger's experiences as a missionary in India (February 23, 1867).
The bulk of the subseries is comprised of Lewis Hunt Hemenway's letters to Isabella Birchard, his cousin, written between the 1860s and 1880s. He discussed his studies at Middlebury College, his decision to join the Union Army, and his service with the 12th Vermont Infantry Regiment, Company K, in Virginia in 1862 and 1863. He later wrote about his work at the King's County Lunatic Asylum in Brooklyn, New York; his medical practice in Manchester, Vermont; and his brief stint as a partner in an insurance firm in Saint Paul, Minnesota. His letter of February 16, 1877, includes a illustrated view of Saint Paul's city limits. Lewis and his wife, Maria Reed, corresponded with their children. Their daughter Clara also received letters from her grandfather Asa Hemenway.
The first item in the Diaries and Writings series is a diary that Lucia Hunt Hemenway kept while traveling from Boston, Massachusetts, to Thailand with other missionaries onboard the Arno between July 6, 1839, and September 21, 1839 (approximately 50 pages). She described her fellow passengers, discussed the religious meetings they held while at sea, and anticipated her missionary work in Thailand. A second item by Lucia Hemenway is a religious journal in which she recorded around 22 pages of Biblical quotations for her son Lewis from December 1, 1844-February 1, 1846. The final pages contain a poem entitled "Sunday School" and a list of rhymes that her son had learned.
The journals are followed by 15 speeches and essays by Lewis Hunt Hemenway. He composed Latin-language orations and English-language essays about politics, literature, the Civil War, death, and ancient history.
Maria Reed Hemenway kept a diary (39 pages) from November 20, 1875-, primarily about her children's lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, after September 1877. The final item in the series is a 47-page religious sermon or essay attributed to Asa Hemenway (undated)
The Documents and Financial Records series (7 items) includes Asa Hemenway's graduation certificate from Middlebury College (August 10, 1835); a documents certifying his position as a missionary for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (June 29, 1839, and May 26, 1851); and a United States passport for Asa and Lucia Hemenway (December 26, 1838). Two account books belonged to an unidentified owner and contain records of debts and credits, dated December 1, 1830-December 1, 1831 (volume 1) and December 1, 1831-December 1, 1832 (volume 2).
The Photographs and Silhouettes series (9 items) includes silhouettes of Lucia and Asa Hemenway, photograph portraits of two Thai women, a portrait of an unidentified Thai man, and a portrait of King Mongkut. Two photographs show a tree and buildings near the missionary compound where the Hemenway family lived.
The Books series (22 items) includes volumes in English, Sanskrit, and Thai. Subjects include the history of Thailand, Christianity, and missionary work in southeast Asia.
A volume of Genealogy (approximately 40 pages) contains records pertaining to the births, marriages, and deaths of members of the Hunt family and their descendants, as well as a history of the descendants of Ralph Hemenway of Roxbury, Massachusetts. Manuscript notes and letters are laid into the volume.
The Artifacts and Fabrics series includes baskets, textiles from Thailand, coins, and bottles.