We just acquired a particularly rich family collection that we hope researchers will use a lot. It consists of correspondence among members of the Terry and Bacon families of Hartford and New Haven, respectively. Nathaniel Terry, the progenitor of the family, married Catherine Wadsworth. Nathaniel was mayor of Hartford and a Congressman. His sons were also quite distinguished and most of them attended and graduated from Yale.
One son, Adrian Russell Terry, was a physician, and his most fascinating letters are those written while he was in Ecuador trying to establish a medical practice there. Great observations of the local land and citizens, plus a huge list of medical supplies he purchased in New York City are two of the highlights among his papers.
Charles A. Terry, another of Nathaniel’s sons, was also a physician and when he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, he sent back vivid descriptions of that city. His brother, Alfred Terry, was the most avid letter writer in the family. His letters are mostly from his student days at Yale and later at Litchfield, Connecticut, where he studied law under James Gould.
Daughter Catherine Terry married noted minister, theologian and author Leonard Bacon. All of their children (and there were plenty) wrote to mother about their activities, the development of their children, their relationships with other family members, etc. Leonard Bacon and his son Leonard W. traveled to Europe and the Middle East from 1850-1851 and they wrote long, detailed letters of their impressions of the familiar and unfamiliar.
Catherine and Leonard’s son, Francis Bacon, a physician, wrote from Galveston, Texas where he tried (unsuccessfully) to get established in a practice. His letters are filled with disparaging remarks about the lack of culture among the population there. He also could not stand the weather.
George Bacon, another son, wrote several letters in the 1850s while he was on board the U.S.S. Portsmouth when it sailed to Shanghai and Hong Kong. Daughters Rebecca T. Bacon and Alice Mabel Bacon also made names for themselves, the first as an educator, the second as a teacher in Japan and as the founder of a nurses training school for African-American women in Hampton, Virginia. And I could go on, as does the collection.
As I mentioned at the outset, this promises to be an extremely important research collection. I cannot wait to learn what other gems exist in addition to the letters from Rutherford B. Hayes, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Lydia Sigourney and Alexis de Toqueville.