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Welcome home, Willie!

October 29, 2009 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

Cpl. William L. Norton, Company B, 10th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry missed his sweetheart.


January 22, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

Two letters were brought to our attention yesterday by our volunteer, Raquel, who is processing the Rowland Family letters, 1764-1860 (Ms 66917). The collection measures 1.5 linear feet (3 boxes) and contains correspondence to and from several members of the family. In November 1827, Mary Elizabeth Rowland (1805-1845), living in Exeter, New Hampshire, wrote a…
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More to the story

August 5, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

We have a very extensive and well known collection of Civil War-related diaries and correspondence, so we made the decision last year to collect selectively in this area. So, why did we recently add to the collection the correspondence of Joseph H. Cummings of Waterbury, Connecticut? What makes this particular set of letters exciting and…
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October in the Archives

November 3, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

The Connecticut Historical Society’s website is Please visit to learn more about us! (Due to circumstances beyond our control the site is not currently listed on Google) And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging… The temperatures are dropping, which means it’s a great time to warm up in the Research Center with some…
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March in the Archives: Civil War collections

It has been a while since I wrote a [Month] in the Archives post, but with the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and the number of related collections we cataloged in March, it seems like a good time to return to the series. Scholars of the Civil War may already know of these collections; most…
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March in the Archives: Part II

When I reviewed the catalog records from March, there were just too many worthy of being mentioned. This is a great problem to have! I therefore decided to split my report in two. If you missed the first part, about Civil War documents, you may read it here. Catalog entries for these, and many more…
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A letter from Lewis

October 4, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

With much of the U.S.  focused on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, it seems letters and diaries from soldiers are being discovered in attics on an almost daily basis. Obviously, however, not all letters are alike. That is why we were particularly excited when we learned that a letter written by a soldier…
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A letter from William Gillette

October 27, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

William Gillette was a native of Hartford, Connecticut, growing up in the Nook Farm neighborhood. An actor, playwright, and stage manager, Gillette is best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. By the 1930s, when this letter was written, he had retired to a home in Hadlyme, Connecticut. Today his house is known as Gillette’s…
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Making Connections: Ann Frances (Darling) Ibbotson

January 24, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

Though I have not specifically mentioned our NHPRC funded project lately, it certainly continues. Yesterday we completed our 2400th record. That leaves us with 600 to complete in the next seven months, definitely an achievable goal. Since we began this project in September 2008, over 5400 collections have been cataloged (3000 during the first two-year…
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Dear Sir

Between 1865 and 1868, naturalist John Burroughs maintained correspondence with S.W. Adam of Canaan, Connecticut. The collection, now among our manuscripts (Ms 78678), is primarily letters from Burroughs to Adam, with a few written by Adam. While the bulk of their conversation pertains to birds, Burroughs managed to unwittingly stumble into a side conversation. As…
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Auction Angst

March 21, 2013 · Collections ·

The auction house said they would call before 11:00 am. It was 11:01 and I was in a panic, only to have the call come in at 11:02. We were bidding on an amazing collection of letters written by a young woman, Charlotte Cowles, of Farmington, Connecticut. We have plenty of other collections of letters,…
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Charlotte Cowles Letters, an introduction

June 19, 2013 · Collections ·

At last, I can write about my favorite young woman of the 19th century! Her name was Charlotte Cowles, and we recently acquired a number of letters she wrote between the ages of 13 and 21 while living in Farmington, Connecticut. I don’t know if she meant to be humorous, (it may be my modern…
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Fearless Charlotte Cowles

June 26, 2013 · Collections ·

Charlotte was only thirteen when Caleb Wright gave a demonstration of his electrical machine in Farmington on September 9, 1832, an event probably held at Union Hall in Farmington Academy. She was fascinated by the technology, and like many young people, thought she was invincible. Her reaction reminds me of a cat that does something…
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Anti-slavery meetings in Farmington

July 10, 2013 · Collections ·

On July 21, 1834, Charlotte Cowles wrote to her brother Samuel what she called a “very mean letter.” Evidently it was not as well composed as she would have liked. What I find fascinating is that at the age of 14, Charlotte was already attending anti-slavery meetings. And first, I will give you an account…
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Who is Alvin?

January 15, 2014 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

One of the things I really like about working with manuscripts is trying to identify the people mentioned in a document. For example, we recently received a letter that was written June 12, 1864 from Willimantic, written by D.F. Johnson to his mother and referring to “our Alvin that was reported wounded”. Okay, it is…
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John Trumbull, artist

July 9, 2014 · Collections ·

John Trumbull (1756-1843) was the son of Connecticut governor Jonathan Trumbull and first cousin of M’Fingall poet John Trumbull. John the artist graduated from Harvard in 1773 and served as an aide to General Washington during the Revolution. In 1784 he went to London to study with the painter Benjamin West.

Fitz Hollister’s Observations on Virginia

November 26, 2014 · Collections ·

Fitz Green Hollister was a young farmer from Washington, Connecticut, when he joined the 18th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers, in 1861. His letters home and his dairies evidence a keen intellect and an eye for detail.

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