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Addison D. and Minerva Skinner collection, 1864

9 items

This collection is made up of letters that Minerva Fox Skinner received from and about her husband, Addison D. Skinner of the 8th Michigan Infantry Regiment, in 1864. Skinner's letters describe his travels and discuss his homesickness; the remaining letters pertain to his death and burial.

This collection contains 9 letters that Minerva Fox Skinner of Parshallville, Michigan, received from and about her husband, Addison Dwight Skinner, in 1864. He wrote 6 letters to his wife while serving with the 8th Michigan Infantry Regiment from March 1, 1864-March 29, 1864. He described his travels to Flint, Michigan; Cincinnati, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky; and Annapolis, Maryland, and wrote of his homesickness and his love for his wife and children. In his letter of March 23, 1864, he complained that he had not yet been paid; on March 29, 1864, he reported on the spread of measles throughout the regiment and confided to his wife that the death of George Griswold, a soldier from his regiment, had been caused by a case of "clap."

Minerva Fox Sinner received 2 letters from her brother, Wells B. Fox, about her husband's failing health and death (April 24, 1864, and May 30, 1864). In his second letter, Fox expressed his sympathy and offered reassurances that Skinner had thought often of his family during his final days. He also noted his resolve for the army to march to Richmond. Helen M. Noye (later Hoyt), a nurse at the Naval Academy Hospital in Annapolis, Maryland, wrote to Minerva Skinner on May 11, 1864, offering condolences for the death of A. D. Skinner, and discussing his burial. Noye, who believed that Minerva Skinner had yet learned of her husband's death, informed Minerva that the remains could be exhumed, but advised against doing so.


Auguste Hervieu Watercolors, ca. 1819-1830

1 volume

The Auguste Hervieu watercolors consist of seven watercolor illustrations attributed to French painter and book illustrator Auguste Hervieu.

The Auguste Hervieu watercolors consist of seven watercolor illustrations attributed to French painter and book illustrator Auguste Hervieu. These illustrations are not known to have been used in any publication(s), and while it is unclear what publication(s) they were originally associated with it is possible that many were produced in relation to Hervieu’s collaboration with Frances M. Trollope during their travels together in the United States of America in the late 1820s. A number of items feature inscribed titles in an unidentified hand.

The title and contents of each watercolor illustration are as follows:
  • [Boy with hogs] - a young barefoot boy wearing tattered clothing wields a stick while opening the door to a hog corral.
  • “Love among the Quakers” - a Quaker man and woman stoically sit near each other while cupid is sat between them. Both the woman and cupid have their eyes closed while the man looks straight ahead.
  • [Fourth of July event] - a tough looking well-dressed young man who has taken his hat off while extending a hand (possibly signifying that he is a ticket-taker) poses near an open stone archway leading to a courtyard occupied by soldiers in uniform listening to a man giving a speech. The stone wall next to the young man bears several inscriptions including “Order of Celebration of the 4th July,” “502 Hog,” “Declaration of Independence,” and a partially illegible inscription reading “Tales ? ? Slaves’.”
  • “The Village Politicians” - two men and one woman holding a child observe a sign that reads “Reportie - Black List.”
  • “Love among the Negroes” - a well-dressed African American couple sit closely next to each other on a park bench while cupid covertly observes their romantic interaction with a smile. The man can be seen using a monocle to intimately examine a miniature portrait kept in the woman’s locket while she uses a fan to partially cover her face. A white waiter carrying a wine bottle and wine glasses also looks on from the background.
  • “A Philadelphia Exquisite” - a well-dressed African American man stands carrying a hat in one hand while holding a stick monocle to his eye in the other.
  • “The sad reality on arrival” - view showing the interior of a house with a group of people (possibly the Trollope family). At the center of the room there is a comically large fire that appears to have been fueled by furniture that was hewn in desperation while several leaks are shown pouring through the roof. The woman at left can be seen holding an umbrella.


Ausben W. Dech school book, 1858-1860

1 volume

This school book contains essays, poetry, penmanship exercises, maps, and mathematical problems composed by Ausben W. Dech of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, during his time at Bethlehem's Moravian Day School. Many of the maps are accompanied by brief essays. Three poems and one essay are written in German.

This school book contains 89 pages of essays, poetry, penmanship exercises, maps, and mathematical problems that Ausben W. Dech composed between December 2, 1858, and March 4, 1860, while he attended the Moravian Day School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Dech drew 33 maps of individual states, regions of the United States, and foreign countries. Many of his earlier maps include rivers, though unlabeled, and most of the later examples indicate the presence of mountains. Several state maps are accompanied by brief essays, often describing the primary natural resources or the state's history. Maps of Maine, France, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Connecticut are accompanied by pencil sketches of houses and ships. For a complete list of maps, see Additional Descriptive Data below.

Most early entries consist of essays and penmanship exercises, though Dech also wrote and copied poetry and worked out mathematical problems. One poem, entitled "An Indian's Gratitude," is attributed to "McLellan" (most likely New England author and poet Isaac McLellan (1806-1899)) and four entries are in German, including one essay and three poems. A small cross-stitched token reading "A token of love" is laid in between pages 56 and 57.


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.


Boston to St. Louis travel diary, 1837

1 volume

The Boston to St. Louis travel diary recounts an arduous month-long journey between the two cities made by rail, steamboat, and stagecoach in the fall of 1837.

The Boston to St. Louis travel diary recounts an arduous month-long journey between the two cities made by rail, steamboat, and stagecoach in the fall of 1837. The anonymous author, a staunchly religious man, refused to travel on Sundays and attended Sunday religious services at Presbyterian churches throughout his travels, which took him through northern New York, down the Erie Canal, across lower Michigan and northern Illinois, and finally down the Mississippi River to St. Louis. The diarist wrote daily entries about frequent delays, bad weather, his route, the scenery, and various traveling companions, many of whom he knew. Though the initial leg from Boston to Rochester, New York, proceeded without difficulty, he became stranded in Cleveland and was frequently held back by poor, muddy roads as he proceeded by stagecoach from Detroit to Chicago. He finally reached St. Louis on November 28 and concluded the journal on November 30, a lonely and homesick Thanksgiving. Though the author's daily entries fully chronicle the hardships of travel in the early 19th century, they also provide interesting anecdotes and commentary, including encounters with wild animals along the road, and news of the murder of abolitionist minister Elijah Parish Lovejoy, which the diarist first heard about in Chicago, but also later in Alton, Illinois, where the murder made "abolitionism…more than ever the topic of conversation" (November 25). The final two pages of the volume consist of a table of distances, fares, and expenses incurred throughout the trip.


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 F. Tew papers, 1837-1905

1.25 linear feet

The Charles F. Tew papers contain letters and documents related to Union officer Charles Tew and his family. The letters document Tew's early career in the navy, his Civil War service, and his family's post-war activities.

The Charles F. Tew papers contain letters and documents related to Union officer Charles Tew and his family (1837-1905). The 1985 series is comprised of 448 letters, 2 diaries, 19 military documents (including orders, supply notes, commissions, and furloughs), 1 roll call notebook, 1 subpoena, 9 financial records (receipts), 3 printed items, and 11 items of ephemera.

The letters begin in 1841, during Tew's early career in the United States Navy, and were written to and from Tew, his mother, and his brother. Tew's letters detail his experiences as a young sailor aboard the Columbus, and include descriptions of ship life. In one letter, Tew complained to his mother that they begin scrubbing the deck early in the morning, and that "if you go below the mate will lick you with out mercy…I am sick of a sailor's life" (September 16, 1841). Several letters deal with his attempts to obtain a discharge. He explained to his mother that if he is not released from service he will simply run away again: "I will never consent to stay here five years on any account whatever I had rather they would throw me overboard with a forty two pound shot tied to my neck" (January 17, 1842). Soon after, the navy agreed to discharge Tew.

Most of the 1850-1860 items are incoming letters to Tew from friends and family, dealing with daily life, town gossip and scandals (such as an illegitimate birth (January 9 and 10, 1851)), firefighting, and cockfighting. Of note is a letter discussing "spirit rappings" (February 22, 1850), and a letter about newly instated fugitive slave laws (November 28, 1850).

The Civil War letters begin on November 5, 1861, when Tew wrote that he and his regiment had reached Annapolis, Maryland. The majority of the letters from this period are from Tew to his wife and family, with some letters addressed to either Tew or Amelia from other friends and family members. The letters indicate that, though Tew missed his family greatly, he was proud of his service for his country: "I am winning an inheritance for my children, and for them a name and a country that they may never be ashamed of" (November 28, 1861). Tew often exhibited frustration at the men who did not enlist, as he believed their reluctance to join the cause only lengthened the war. Tew suggested that their civilian pay should be cut in order to encourage them to enlist (November 21, 1863). Though the series does not include Amelia's letters to Tew, his responses indicate that she was often frustrated by his absence. Tew's letters contain vivid descriptions of army and officer life, battles and expeditions, and his illnesses and injuries. Tew described his part in the capture of New Bern and the ensuing skirmishes (March 16, 1862), Drewry's Bluff (May 22, 1864), Cold Harbor (June 5, 1864), and the siege of Petersburg (June 12-August 11, 1864). Tew wrote that many of his men had grown hard and accustomed to battle: "They are without fear as you may say, heardened to the sight of blood…O Wife you know not what it is to meat death face to face, yet I fear it not…" (April 9, [1862]). Beyond the battlefield, Tew discussed his impressions of and dealings with Southern civilians. He described commandeering houses and burning the homes of those who gave information to the Confederate Army (June 15, 1862). He noted the capture of several Confederate prisoners, mentioning that he wished he could have killed them in revenge for the death of Union soldiers (July 30, 1862). African Americans and slaves are also a frequent topic of discussion, and Tew claimed that, though the people in Maryland have slaves do all of their work, "they cannot be as happy as we are at home with our wives and daughters to do our work so neat for us" (November 1861). Tew occasionally discussed his views of African American troops.

Tew resigned from the service in August 1864, but reenlisted in 1865, to the consternation of his wife. In a letter from March 18, 1865, Tew defended his actions, claiming that he was not a bad husband, nor was he deserting his family. After his reenlistement, Tew felt unwelcome in his new regiment (March 23, 1865). The letters from this period contain a discussion of Lincoln's assassination (April 26, 1865), as well as a first-hand account of the execution of the assassination conspirators (July 10, 1865).

After the war, the series consists primarily of family letters, including several from Charles F. Tew, Jr (1877-1880), who traveled around the United States working odd jobs, including painting, piano tuning, and picking cotton, until he died suddenly in Colorado of an illness. His last letter is dated February 21, 1880, and is followed by a payment for transporting his body back to Massachusetts, and a letter from the hospital containing information on his death (May 17, 1880). Family letters, written primarily by Amelia, Charles, and their children, continue through the next few decades, providing accounts of late 19th century family life. Topics include illnesses, romances and marriages (accounts of Mabel Tew's wedding are provided in letters from January 8 and 15, 1888), work, births, vacations, and general family events.

Also included in the series are several printed documents, including a navy broadside (1837); a pamphlet providing "Instructions for Officers on outpost and patrol duty" (March 25, 1862); and a subpoena to appear at a court martial for men who had gone AWOL (October 19, 1865). Also present are three bound volumes: Tew's roll call notebook for the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment (1862-1865), and two diaries from 1862 and 1865 that contain occasional brief entries.

The 2015 series consists of approximately 250 items, primarily Civil War-era military documents and returns related to ordnance, camp equipage, and clothing. Other military documents concern details, furloughs, and passes for Tew and members of his companies. Application materials for pensions, disability, and other matters area also included. The series also features seven letters from 1849 relating to Charles F. Tew's travels to California to participate in gold mining. Ten letters from Amelia M. Tew to her mother in the mid-1850s detail her young and growing family. These are accompanied by various other family letters, documents, and receipts from 1809 to 1902.

The series also includes several photographs, ephemera, and two essays. One, "An Incident at New Berne, N.C." relates to a Civil War battle in which Tew commanded. The other, "My Childhood Days in the First Third of the Century," is a partial memoir written by a mother for her child. Two autograph albums, one from ca. 1833-1836 and ca. 1874-1878, are at the end of the series.


Charles Grant, vicomte de Vaux papers, 1756-1805

0.5 linear feet

Correspondence and documents related to Vaux's support of the colonists in the Revolutionary War, his business interests, and his efforts to relocate to Canada.

The Charles Grant, vicomte de Vaux papers are composed of 8 unbound letters and 2 volumes containing correspondence, notes, and other writings. A total of 32 items that had been laid into the front of the volumes have been removed to their own folders.

The Unbound Correspondence series contains letters spanning May 8, 1778, to April 26, 1779, and primarily concerns Vaux's activities during the American Revolution, including his attempt to send aid to the colonies on the ship Comtesse de Brionne (May 8, 1778). A letter from June 1778 pertains to permission obtained from congress to arm a ship. Several other letters deal with Vaux's naval pursuits and contain news of the trans-Atlantic shipping business.

The Bound Volumes and Removed Items series contains two bound volumes of manuscripts, as well as the loose documents originally laid into the volumes, now arranged chronologically into folders. Materials in the series span approximately 1756-1805, though much of the material is undated.

Volume 1 contains correspondence, drafts, and documents, primarily dating from the period during which Vaux resided in Great Britain to escape the French Revolution. The items relate mainly to Vaux's attempts to organize a military regiment and to his efforts to settle in Canada. One undated document, entitled "State of the case of Charles Grant Viscount de Vaux in Great Britain," documents Vaux's life and history, and relates to his ancestry, birth, exile from France, attempts to build a military career in Britain, and literary works ([n.d.]; Folder 2). Vaux and his supporters' attempts to secure a military post or some other means for him to settle in Canada are a constant theme throughout. Also of interest are several letters that contain information on Vaux's son, Romain Grant, who remained in France when Vaux fled and was arrested attempting to travel to London without a passport (pp. 17-21).

Volume 2 primarily contains essays related to travel and notes on regions outside of France, such as Mauritius and the Americas. Included is a journal titled "Journal du voyage de Louis-Charles Grant de Vaux . . . lorsqu'il revenoit de l'isle Maurice en France en 1758" (Travel Journal of Louis-Charles Grant de Vaux. . .when returning from the island Mauritius in France in 1758). The journal begins on page 73 of the volume. Also included is the essay "Amerique ou Nouveau Monde," which contains an account of the history of the Americas from its discovery by Columbus in 1492, with descriptions of different regions such as Virginia, California, Nantucket, and the West Indies (begins on p. 25). The loose items include letters and notes related to the American Revolution and Canadian settlement. Of particular interest is "Memoire au congrés ameriquain," a draft of a letter to the American Congress describing vessels Vaux lost off the coast of America during the Revolution, and asking for some land in Ohio and Connecticut as recompense for his losses (1782).


Ewing family papers, 1773-1937 (majority within 1773-1866)

4.75 linear feet

This collection is made up of correspondence, legal documents, financial records, school essays, ephemera, and other materials related to the family and descendants of Maskell Ewing of Radnor, Pennsylvania. The bulk relates to Maskell Ewing and his son, Maskell Cochran Ewing.

This collection is made up of correspondence, legal documents, financial records, school essays, ephemera, and other materials related to the family and descendants of Maskell Ewing of Radnor, Pennsylvania. The bulk relates to Maskell Ewing and his son, Maskell Cochran Ewing.

The Ewing family correspondence dates between 1784 and 1937, though the bulk falls between 1789 and 1845, with later groups dating from the Civil War and the mid-20th century. The earliest items include letters from Elinor Gardiner Hunter to her son James, written in the late 18th century, and incoming correspondence addressed to Maskell Ewing (1758-1825), often related to his financial affairs. Throughout the 1820s, Maskell Cochran Ewing (1806-1849) received letters from his mother and sisters while he studied at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. These letters reflect his military education and document women's lives in rural Pennsylvania in the early 1800s. Maskell Cochran Ewing occasionally wrote letters from the academy, and received letters from former classmates in the years immediately following his graduation. Several letters addressed to Maskell Cochran Ewing date from the Civil War.

The Ewing family's diaries, journals, school books, and a sketchbook primarily belonged to Maskell Cochran Ewing and James Hunter Ewing. One of Maskell Cochran's journals contains notes from a surveying expedition for the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal (1828). James Hunter Ewing composed 3 journals during the Civil War era.

Legal and financial documents comprise the bulk of the collection, with much of the material relating to the financial, legal, and real estate affairs of Maskell Ewing, with some items concerning Maskell Cochran Ewing's military career. Maskell Cochran Ewing kept a series of account books in 1859, intended for student use. Also of note is a set of United States debt certificates for goods seized for use by the Continental Army between 1780 and 1783. Bonds, receipts, financial records, and legal documents related to specific disputes also appear in the collection.

The Ewing family papers also include essays on many different topics, a manuscript map of West Point, and ephemera postcards, photographs, printed materials, and calling cards.


Gallwitz collection, 1805-[1864]

12 items

This collection contains documents, correspondence, and a journal related to German immigrant Carl Gallwitz and to the Mathes family, Alsatian immigrants who were later related to the Gallwitz family by marriage. Included are German-language documents from the early 19th century as well as a journal that Carl Gallwitz kept while traveling to and around the United States in the 1820s.

This collection contains 9 documents, 2 letters, and a journal related to German immigrant Carl Christ Wilhelm Gallwitz and to the Mathes family, Alsatian immigrants who were later related to the Gallwitz family by marriage.

The first 5 items, all in German, are 3 baptism certificates, a printed poem about baptism, and a document. The poem is surrounded by a colored printed floral border, and the document is written on a sheet with a colored illustration of two birds in a floral setting. Other documents are a naturalization certificate for Martin Mathers [sic], issued in Wooster, Ohio (April 2, 1855), and a German and French document from the 1860s certifying the 1833 birth of George Mathes to Martin Mathes and Marguerite Rott of the Alsatian town of Wissembourg.

Correspondence includes a German letter from Martin Mathes, Jr., to his father (July 19, 1850) and a letter signed by several men in Coloma, California, about the death of Martin Mathes, Jr., and funeral costs (December 8, 1850). A manuscript poem in German and an illustration of the Sun are undated.

Carl Christ Wilhelm Gallwitz kept a journal (459 pages) between March 22, 1820, and January 1832. He documented his travels in Europe and in the United States, as well as his life in Ohio. Gallwitz wrote brief entries almost daily between 1820 and 1822, and less frequently through January 1832. Gallwitz occasionally drew illustrations, including a kite's stringing system (July 1, 1820, p. 68), various types of fish (July 4, 1820, pp. 71-73), a "May apple" plant (August 6, 1820, p. 94), and an unidentified mammal (19 August, 1820, p. 99). The journal includes a list of cities that Gallwitz visited while traveling between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and New Orleans, Louisiana (pp. 270-271), as well as several pages of watercolor and ink manuscript maps of his traveling route, usually made on riverboats (pp. 273-299). A translated copy of the journal and Gallwitz's itinerary are housed with the collection.

The journal also includes a colorful illustration of a man painting the portrait of a woman in an interior setting, featuring details such as a patterned rug, a side table with teacups, and paintings hung on the wall (p. 486). Two additional illustrations depict store signs for "L. Weeman & Comp. Store" and "1823. L. Ewing's Office" (p. 491). The inside of the back cover bears a pencil sketch of three figures at the base of a bluff.