As the year ended we continued cataloging materials for our NHPRC project. Here are some of the treasures we were able to add to our online catalog last month:
The Greene & Park minute book is a small booklet recording an 1806 “cheese” voyage by the Sloop Lady Washington for the firm Greene & Park of Norwich, Connecticut (yum!). The voyage, to Baltimore, Maryland, was captained by Roswell Roath. The minute book, as they called it, includes entries for repairing the vessel, loading the cheese, ship’s stores, nails, and other expenses. The bulk of the small pamphlet is a record of the expenses incurred on a trip to Baltimore and back, probably taken by Ebenezer Greene of Preston, whose name is written on the back cover. (Account Books/2009.367)
Abner Gilbert of Ridgefield and Danbury, Connecticut, kept a journal while purchasing items in London. Gilbert’s purchases included tobacco, canary, and several other types of wine. The last page contains a drawing of a tavern sign. CHS maintains the largest collections of tavern signs in New England, so this is quite interesting to us. (Account Books/Ms 59198)
Newgate Prison, in East Granby, Connecticut, began as a copper mine in the early 18th century. In 1773 it was first used to house criminals. Of the three account books in our collection, the earliest volume (1796-1801, unbound) is a record of materials received and sold. Many loads of wood and coal were delivered, and the prison was selling nails. The second volume is a daybook from 1824. Entries are for shoe making, blacksmithing, and carpentry work. The entries in the latest volume (1826-1828), an account book, are similar to those in the daybook. Shoes were being made for both people and horses, and tools were being mended. Bills received were for iron, steel, and timber. The first few pages of the latest volume have been covered with newspaper clippings. Newgate received nail stock from Forbes and Adam, an iron manufacturing firm in East Canaan, Connecticut, and is listed as one of Forbes and Adam’s customers in the the account books of Dr. William Adam (Ms 100044). Today Old Newgate Prison is operated as a historic site by the State of Connecticut. (Account Books/Ms 60236)
For the Civil War buffs out there, an online record has been added for the Michael Kelly Civil War diary. In addition to the diary, the collection includes Private Kelly’s military papers, a transcription of the diary, and an index. Kelly was from Sharon, Connecticut, and served with the 25th Connecticut Infantry Regiment. (Ms 62097)
One of the goals of our project is to match manuscript materials with objects in our museum collections. A great example this month is courtesy of Ebenezer Mix. An account book was kept by Ebenezer H. Mix aboard the Schooner Ann. One portion of this volume, contains personal accounts. Mix sold a variety of clothing items aboard ship. He also recorded Richard Salter’s method of lunar observations and determining distance. The other portion of the volume contains a journal from aboard ship. Most of the entries date between 1817 and 1820. Later, in 1837, Dr. Theodore H. Wadsworth recorded items he presented to his aunt, Ebenezer Mix’s wife, Sally Mix. Additionally, Wadsworth recorded an inventory of articles which belonged to Martha H. Mix of Farmington, Connecticut. The items were being sent to Ohio. In our museum collections we have platters, a soup tureen, a bowl, dinner plates, soup plates, and a tray originally owned by Mix and his family. These items originated in the Jiangxi Province of China, and could have been acquired by Mix during one of his voyages. (Ms 64109 and 1956.3.11-.27)
All of these materials are available for research. Come visit!