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Home » About » Blog » New Manuscripts Finding Aids: Fall 2021

The William L. Clements Library’s new batch of finding aids pertains to a variety of 19th century topics. The collections document variolation and childbirth, primary to higher education, Mississippi plantation life, teenage girls’ experiences, textile mill work, beekeeping, Civil War life on the home front, a surgeon’s experiences in the field, and more. We would like to express our special thanks to the late Paul Duane Haynes for donating letters of his father Irl Potter Haynes, which document his training and YMCA service with the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I. We would also like to thank Stephen Caird for the gift of letters by his father Donald R. Caird during his U.S. Army Air Forces training and work as a pilot trainer during World War II.

When collections arrive at the Clements Library, they undergo any of a variety of assessments, conservation, analyses, arrangement, research, description, standardization of data, conversion into XML-based finding aid encoding, and conversion into Machine-Readable Cataloging data structures. All of these tasks take time and very deliberate labor. We recognize that work and praise all of the volunteers and staff that dedicate their skills and talents to this processing workflow.


Charles Gordon Gray letters (1816-1817)
This collection is made up of four letters from sugar planter and cattle farmer Charles Gordon Gray of Fairfield, St. James, Jamaica, to his father Charles Gordon Gray, Sr., at Stratton House in Somersetshire. The Gray family had three plantations in St. James, Jamaica, including Virgin Valley, Prospect, and Fairfield. The younger Charles Gray provided his father with updates on the status of crops and rum production, shipments of sugar, financial and legal matters, enslaved laborers and a mention of the potential for revolt, and the handling of Prospect Pen land.

Job H. Terrill ledger (1827-1845)
Dr. Job H. Terrill of Chester, Pennsylvania, kept this ledger beginning in 1827. It contains an index followed by 136 pages of the names of patients, the dates he saw them, the services he provided, and the costs for service. The most frequent services provided by Dr. Terrill were obstetrics and vaccinations, though he also charged for lancing, bleeding, dressing wounds, providing dental procedures (i.e. extracting teeth), giving advice and medicines, staying the night, and other services. He listed his patients largely by patriarchs’ names (even in the cases of births). He attended to prisoners at the Delaware County jail, apprentices (in one case, he extirpated the tumor of a “bound girl”, April 26, 1834, page 29), in-laws (the Eyres), and three African American clients.

William H. Anderson family papers (1828-1887, bulk 1852-1875)
The William H. Anderson Family Papers are made up of 177 letters, one manuscript map, 28 printed items, two photographs, and other materials of this Londonderry, New Hampshire, and Lowell, Massachusetts family. William Anderson wrote around 150 letters to his family and friends while at primary school in Londonderry, New Hampshire; Pembroke Academy in Pembroke, New Hampshire; Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts; Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire; and Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut. Anderson’s correspondence includes 12 descriptive letters home from the Sligo cotton plantation near Natchez, Mississippi, where he worked as a teacher from 1859 to 1860, with content on plantation life, the enslaved workers, cotton processing, and educational matters. The remainder of the collection is William Anderson’s post-Civil War letters, written while a lawyer in Lowell, and letters of Anderson’s aunts Annis Nesmith Davidson and Anna B. Davidson Anderson Holmes from Londonderry and Wyoming County, New York.

Oliver-Bonnell family collection (1830-1891, bulk 1846-1891)
The Oliver-Bonnell collection is made up of 20 letters, documents, printed items, one notebook, and miscellany. They pertain to the family of Paul Ambrose Oliver (1796-1849), his son Paul Ambrose Oliver, Jr. (1830-1912), and Adelaide Bonnell, niece of Paul A. Oliver, Jr. Of particular note are six letters by Paul A. Oliver, Jr., Pennsylvania gunpowder manufacturer, during his education in Germany in 1846, while conducting business in New Orleans in 1852, and from Oliver’s Mills in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, between 1883 and 1891.

Charles P. Leverich correspondence (1835-1849)
This collection includes 17 incoming letters to New York merchant and banker Charles P. Leverich, almost entirely from factors (including his brothers) in New Orleans between 1835 and 1849. They pertain to orders and accounts of pale sherry, cotton, sugar, rum, molasses, Goshen butter, Goshen cheese, tea, figs, Barstow’s oil, palm oil for making soap, beef, smoked and pickled tongues, coffee, and potash. The writers include cotton agents like J. B. Byrne & Co. and wholesale grocers like Peters & Millard. Additional content includes discussions of banking and insurance, cotton and sugar markets, weather, health (news of a leg amputation, March 16, 1843), news of the possibly fatal illness of William Leverich’s son, and increased fears of scarlet fever–more so than yellow fever (July 28, 1840).

Zachariah Taylor Cooper diary and Massachusetts account book (1836-1875)
This volume is a 14-page diary of Zachariah Taylor Cooper of East Montville, Maine, which he kept between May 1 and June 26 of 1875, documenting his work as a beekeeper. He bought and sold bees, built and painted beehives, discussed bees working and swarming, drove sheep, and engaged in other farm work. On June 3, he mentioned that a freeze killed most of the bees in the area. The remainder of the volume contains around 65 pages of farm accounts by an earlier owner in or around Bridgewater and Canton, Massachusetts, 1836-1874. Accounts include entries for shoes, oxen, hay, cattle, potatoes, wheat/grain, apples, sugar, molasses, butter, milk, and labor.

The Clements Library has been adding to and improving its holdings on agricultural and other laboring class workers. This modest diary of Zachariah Cooper documents his work as a beekeeper and farmer.

Joshua Gray family letters (1840-1841)
This collection includes one letter by sea captain Joshua Gray (1788-1841) respecting a ship of emigrants from Rotterdam to New York City on September 5, 1840; one letter by Joshua Gray’s son, captain Joshua A. Gray (1817-1853), on difficult sea conditions during a voyage from Cedar Keys, Florida, to New Orleans on December 26, 1841; and one letter by Joshua Gray’s brother, Adams Gray (1791-1865), on presidential and party politics in Baltimore in 1841.

Bradford K. Barber daybook and marriage record (1845-1885)
This 137-page volume consists of records and accounts of Baptist minister Bradford K. Barber of Galway and Charleston, New York, and various locations in central and western Wisconsin, between 1845 and 1885. The volume consists of three primary parts: a section dated between 1845 and 1849, containing accounts related to public school finances in Galway; a section documenting personal, ministerial, and civil activities and accounts, between the 1840s and 1868; and a section documenting marriages over which Barber presided between 1859 and 1885.

Anne Dickson Porritt family letters (1849-1859)
This collection is made up of eight incoming letters to Scotland-born Anne Dickson Porritt and her husband David Porritt in Bury, Lancashire, England, between 1849 and 1859. They received letters from siblings who emigrated from Scotland and England to Buffalo, New York, and Janesville, Wisconsin. Their correspondents shared their perspectives on immigration to the United States, cynical reactions to liberty and equality in a slave-owning and class-divided society, labor (farmers, joiners, carpenters, etc.), industry, wages, child rearing, hired servants, land speculation, and other subjects. Letter-writers include A. W. Dickson (1 item, Buffalo, New York, 1849), farmer Eliza Cross Dickson Bleasdale (2 items, Janesville, Wisconsin, 1855 and 1857), and John Dickson (5 items, Janesville, Wisconsin, and Leeds, England, 1857-1859).

Biddeford High School (Biddeford, Me.) student compositions (1850-1851, 1859)
This volume contains 21 compositions by 12 students (eight girls and four boys) of Biddeford High School, Maine, between 1850 and 1851 (approx. 90 pages). These “prize compositions” pertain to subjects such as nature, morality, happiness, music, comparisons between the country as it was versus how it is now, industry, and intemperance.

George T. and Harriet Stevens papers (1850-1920) This is a substantively revised finding aid to reflect an exciting and sizeable addition to the existing George T. Stevens Papers.
The collection consists of correspondence, primarily between George T. Stevens and Harriet W. Stevens of Essex County, New York , as well as documents, writings, a scrapbook, printed materials, and realia reflecting the Civil War service of surgeon George T. Stevens of the 77th Regiment N.Y. Volunteers, Harriet W. Stevens’ experiences on the home front, and George T. Stevens’ post-Civil War medical career in Albany and New York City, New York.

This 1864 equestrian portrait shows Civil War surgeon Geroge T. Stevens in uniform and astride his horse, and standing beside him is Austin, his groom, standing with his mule.

Civil War surgeon George T. Stevens wrote this letter while serving in the winter of 1862-1863. He included a magnificent illustration showing a February 24, 1863, snowball fight, labeled “Ye Jersey Boys enjoy ye snow.”

Robert E. and Louenza Clark Young commonplace book and teaching records (1852-1877)
This volume includes sections contributed by Louenza (or, Loenza) Clark Young and her husband Robert E. Young of Washington County, New York, between 1852 and 1877. Its primary components are Robert Young’s journal from March to June 1852; selections from the “Washington Year Book” for 1853, including summary data from the 1850 census; lists of names of Washington County town officers; returns from the U.S. Presidential elections of 1844, 1848, and 1852, and gubernatorial elections of 1850 and 1852; and Louenza Young’s teaching records. Louenza taught in district schools in Salem, East Salem, Cambridge, Jackson, Battenville, Shushan, and Hebron (Washington County, New York). Her records (107 pages) include student names and tallies related to spelling classes, “whispering rolls,” and “All Right Registers,” 1867-1877.

Jonathan B. Condit, “Memorial of the life and death of George Sydenham Mighels” manuscript transcription (1853)
Jonathan Bailey Condit, pastor of the Second Congregational Church at Portland, Maine, wrote and delivered a lengthy memorial at the time of 11-year old George Sydenham Mighels’ death in 1839. George’s father Jesse Wedgwood Mighels transcribed the “Memorial of the life and death of George Sydenham Mighels” into a bound volume with the cover title “Memorial of George” in 1853, as a gift to his other son Henry Rust Mighels. An ornate manuscript title page by Prof. Thompson of Cincinnati and introductory text by Jesse W. Mighels precede the 247-page memorial.

Jesse W. Mighels created this ornate and lengthy volume in memory of his deceased son George , as a memorial gift to his other son Henry Mighels. It contains a complete transcription of Congregationalist Jonathan Condit’s descriptive sermon on the life of 11-year old George Mighels.

Cynthia M. Buss diary (1858)
Cynthia M. Buss of Oneida, Ohio, kept this pre-printed “The Union” daily diary from January 1 to December 31, 1858. Between the ages of 15 and 16, she kept brief notes on the weather, visits, dancing, games, picnics, sleigh rides, time spent with friends, school and singing school, studying, church and Sunday school, evening lyceum events, visiting lecturers, camp meetings, birthdays, cleaning, and ironing. She also wrote letters and compositions, and remarked on her siblings’ activities.

Solomon M. Jennings letters (1858-1877)
This collection is made up of six letters by Solomon M. Jennings and one letter by William H. Mitchell to [Joab?] Stafford of Essex, New York, between 1858 and 1877. Jennings wrote, with phonetic spelling, four letters from Iowa, where he worked as a farmer, 1858-1860; one letter from Denver City, Colorado, where he worked as a blacksmith, 1862; and a letter from Deer Lodge, Montana Territory, where he successfully invested in a quartz mining endeavor, 1877. He discussed prices of agricultural goods and livestock, property, his personal debate over whether or not to move to California, travels and costs of traveling, financial struggles (loans and debts) and successes (investment), and the weather. Mitchell wrote to Stafford from Kansas City, Missouri, about local matters including the need for blacksmiths, in 1865. Both writers tried to convince Stafford to move west.

John W. Goodridge collection (1862-1865)
This collection is comprised of two letters and two documents pertinent to the shipping activities of the Brig Morning Light, Captain John W. Goodridge, around Luanda, Angola, Africa, 1862-1864. They include instructions to Capt. Goodridge in 1862 with a ship manifest, a descriptive condolence letter to Abigail Goodridge regarding her husband John Goodridge’s death from smallpox while on a voyage from Angola to the St. Helena Colony in 1864, and the accounts of the Morning Light from its purchase in 1862 to its sale in 1864.

Maria J. Gibbs Barnard diaries and Adams family collection (1865-1932)
This collection contains 20 pre-printed daily diaries by Maria Jennings Barnard née Gibbs of East Wareham and Onset, Massachusetts, for the years 1865, 1866, 1867, 1869, 1872, 1873, 1876, 1880, 1881, 1914, and 1924-1932. Maria J. Gibbs’ diaries pertain to home life (especially cooking, cleaning, sewing, and other housework). In the 1860s and 1870s, while in her 20s, she remarked on her work at cotton mills and sewing establishments in Plymouth and Middlesex Counties as well as her experiences living at various boarding houses. At the end of 1876, she married Nantucket sailor Benjamin A. Barnard and the diaries of 1880 and 1881 include content on household labor, child rearing, visits to other areas in the state, and loneliness from her husband’s absences. Barnard wrote her later diaries, 1914 and 1924-1932, following the death of her husband in 1895, from Onset, Massachusetts, where she wrote about time with her daughter Nellie Barnard Robbins and grandson Lloyd Robbins, trips around Eastern Massachusetts, annual trips to Florida for the winter, cooking, cleaning, and visiting friends. The remainder of the collection is comprised of eight diaries, account books, address books, memoranda books, and wallets pertaining to the family of Maria Barnard’s granddaughter Mildred Grace Robbins née Adams of Attleboro, Massachusetts, between 1913 and the 1950s.

William Quitman Wilkins diary (1869)
William Quitman Wilkins kept this daily diary from January 1, 1869, through April 27, 1869, largely while attending medical school at the University of Louisiana and receiving clinical training at the Charity Hospital of New Orleans. He reported on case studies, operations, recommended treatments, pharmaceuticals, post mortem examinations, tests, and other aspects of his education. Wilkins also reported on his evening and weekend social activities, including attendance at concerts, operas, “varieties,” Mardi Gras, and other events.

Duncan and Hugh MacKenzie collection (1872-1919, bulk 1889, 1917-1919)
This collection is made up of one letterbook containing 41 retained draft letters by Scottish immigrant Duncan MacKenzie in New York City between May and August 1886, and eight letters by Duncan’s son Hugh MacKenzie while he served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during World War I. Duncan MacKenzie was a manager of the Argyle sugar plantation on St. Vincent for 19 years before the plantation sold and he was forced to seek work in New York in the spring and summer of 1886. While there, he wrote letters to siblings, cousins, business contacts, and his wife Amy MacKenzie, who remained on St. Vincent with their children. These letters inform recipients of his efforts to find work, requests for financial assistance, and frustrations at being middle aged and unable to provide for his family. He could not find work and ultimately moved to St. Croix, where he worked as an overseer on the La Grande Princesse sugar plantation. Hugh K. MacKenzie wrote eight letters to his brother Colin F. MacKenzie while testing and training for the CEF Engineers, Signal Division at Toronto and Ottawa in 1917, from England and France in the fall of 1918, and from Germany and Belgium, December 1918-January 1919.

Kansas Insane Asylum (Osawatomie, Kan.) correspondence (1873-1876)
This collection contains 29 incoming letters, written on postal cards, to the superintendent of the Kansas Insane Asylum at Osawatomie, Kansas, between 1873 and 1876. Sixteen of these cards pertain to general administration of the asylum, employment matters, personal subjects, and other topics, while 13 cards regard patients. The correspondence respecting patients are requests for health and update information about relatives and friends; two are requests for the admission of patients.

Charles A. S. Robbins diaries (1886-1888)
Future grocer and amateur botanist Charles A. S. Robbins kept these two pre-printed daily diaries at the ages of 13 through 15, while living in Stoughton, Massachusetts, 1887-1888. Robbins attended school and frequently found himself in trouble for conversing, whispering, laughing, playing with matches, drumming on his desk, and otherwise disrupting class. He regularly checked books out of the local library and wrote about books and reading. He enjoyed time with his male and female friends, sleighing, sledding (“coasting” on town streets), and skating. Sometimes he fought with or threw stones at other boys. He played marbles, baseball, football, and hockey (played with a “polo stick”). Robbins also roamed about, watched local ball games, visited the beach, and went sailing and kite flying. He worked on local farms, picking cherries and grapes, and chopped wood. At home, his family played checkers and young “Gertie” got into mischief.

Gladys Galvin school notebook (1888)
Gladys Galvin kept this school notebook between winter and summer terms of 1888. She filled 107 pages with vocabulary lists (pages 1-46), copies of poetry (pages 47-48, 62-66), and arithmetic and algebra (pages 49-61, 67-107). She apparently copied the mathematical exercises from a textbook; the poetry is by John G. Whittier and Charles Kingsley. The volume has printed two-color (blue and red plus black and white) covers depicting “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” show, with one vignette of the show and portraits of a buffalo, Chief Good Face, William F. Cody, and Chief Red Shirt. The back cover bears a history of Buffalo Bill and the Wild West Show.

Merchants Exchange Hotel (Portland, Me.) register (1891-1892)
The register of the Merchants Exchange Hotel of Portland, Maine, contains daily entries from fall 1891 through winter 1892, documenting the names of each visitor to the hotel, their city of origin, and room number. The register is a partially printed volume, created by Maynard, Gough & Co. of Worcester, Massachusetts, manufacturers of “Advertising Hotel Registers” and suppliers of other hotel printing. One significant aspect of the register is the regular influx of actors, minstrel groups, comedians, variety show persons, burlesque performers, theater production casts, and other artists. Perhaps with a mind to free advertising, these artists tended to identify their company, management, production, or show dates alongside their names.

George Darling correspondence (1891-1906)
This collection is made up of 25 incoming letters, one incoming telegram, and two notices to lumber foreman George Darling of Trufant, Michigan. He worked for the Metropolitan Lumber Company in Atkinson, Michigan, in the 1890s and 1900s. During that time, he received communications offering him foreman positions, attesting to his skill as a supervisor, recommending and following up on his 1898 stint at Usal Creek, California, informing him about labor issues, and updating him on the progress of lumber camps in Iron County, Michigan.

Irl Potter Haynes correspondence (1918-1919)
The Irl Potter Haynes correspondence is made up of over 100 typewritten letters from Irl Haynes to his wife Josephine Haynes while serving in the YMCA as part of the American Expeditionary Forces in the United States and France during and after World War I. Haynes received transportation training in the summer and fall of 1918 at “College Camp”, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; New York City; and Hoboken, New Jersey. He worked for the YMCA as a cashier/financial manager at the Hotel Pavillon in Paris from November or December 1918 to June 1919, and at the “Garden” soda fountain from June to at least December 1919.

Edmund Lester Pearson collection (1925-1929)
Following the publication of Edmund Lester Pearson’s Studies in Murder (1924), he briefly corresponded with James Walsh Lewis, who had been convicted of the 1894 ax murder of Byron G. Coburn in Gorham, Maine. The case was appealed and Lewis gained his freedom in 1895; the chief witness during the trial was later convicted for a 1901 murder, also in Gorham. Lewis wrote two letters to Pearson in 1925, from Bolivia, attempting to convince the author to take on the Coburn murder case as the subject of his next book. Pearson responded with a letter seeking more information about the trial. The final two items in the collection are 1929 letters from W. R. Rynn, a prisoner at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, requesting a complimentary copy of Studies in Murder and thanking Pearson after he received the book.

Donald R. Caird correspondence (1943-1985, bulk 1943-1945)
This collection is comprised largely of the World War II letters of United States Army Air Forces Lieutenant Donald R. Caird (of Southeast Michigan) to Margaret I. MacDonell (of Phoenix, Arizona). Lieut. Caird’s correspondence spans his Army Air Forces flight and instrument training at bases in Texas, Arizona, and California, 1943-1944; and his services as a pilot instructor at Merced, California, and Lincoln, Nebraska, from 1944 to 1945. His letters include information about work and everyday life on base, but primarily focus on his courtship with Margaret MacDonell, their marriage on December 7, 1943, the birth of their first son, and other aspects of their relationship, household, and newly forming family.


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