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New Digital Collection of Family Letters


Thanks to a generous gift from Frederika Northrop Sargent, a new collection of nineteenth-century family correspondence is available through the University of Vermont’s Center for Digital Initiatives.

The letters were collected by Vermonter Ruth Colton Fletcher (1810-1903) and are part of the Consuelo Northrop Bailey Papers. Many of the letters are from family members who moved west to New York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas and sent reports full of interesting details about the people, economy, institutions, and activities to family back home. The correspondents recount the hard work they faced as they created and managed farms in new states and territories and often share meticulous lists of the prices of land, grains, stock, and groceries. Writers document the burdens of sickness and death that their families endured and often provide accounts of their medical treatments. Enos Fletcher and Charles Hogan write about their military experience during the Civil War, and other correspondents refer to the war and its effects on their communities. In one letter, Ruth’s son Andrew describes the 1864 Confederate raid on the banks in the border town of St. Albans, where he was working.

The digital collection includes images of approximately 140 letters, encoded and searchable transcriptions of the letters, and a collection overview with a list of the correspondents and their relationships.


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One Response to “New Digital Collection of Family Letters”

  1. Travis Says:

    Not being one myself, I am not sure how the term “Vermonter” is defined. Ruth Allen Colton Fletcher lived most of her life in Vermont (Belvidere, Waterville, Johnson, Eden, et al.), but she was born in Grantham, NH. (Just in case a genealogist needs to know.)