There was no turkey coma in the CHS manuscript department this year. We have prepared another 145 records for the online catalog! All of these collections are open for research, so please stop by. While you are here, <shameless plug> do some of your holiday shopping! We have several books for sale in our store (more choices in person than online), written by staff members, about Connecticut and our collections. This month we are offering special deals on books when you buy a membership. “Give the gift of history.” </shameless plug>
And now, the highlights:
Account Books – One of my favorite discoveries this month is the Retreat for the Insane account book. Opened in 1824, the Retreat is now Hartford Hospital’s Institute for Living. The account book lists patients from 1824 to 1853. Each patient’s entry contains their name, date of admission, date of discharge, residence, principal on bond, surety on bond, weekly rate for board and medical attendance and by whom payable (bondsman, state, or town), total board, total of other expenses, number of weeks and days spent at the Retreat, and remarks. Remarks included “discharged recovered”, “restored”, “much improved”, and “no improvement”. Additionally, some patients died while still admitted (Account Books/Ms 56441). Another interesting account book is that of Cooke & Hale. Unlike a typical account book, this one chronicles Oliver Cooke and Horatio Hale’s partnership from its beginning to its dissolution. The volume begins with the Agreement and Articles of Partnership signed and witnessed on March 9, 1816. It continues to list all of the property brought into the partnership by Oliver Cooke per the partnership agreement. There is also a section of balances due to and owed by the Cooke & Hale ledger, and notes due to and against Cooke & Hale. The volume ends with a final inventory and the disolution of the partnership.
Diaries – Rebecca Noyes kept diaries of everyday life. A single woman, Noyes lived with her brother and his family in Stonington, Connecticut. She wrote between 1801 and 1831 (Ms 49498). Albert Hills began writing his diaries at age 14. He writes of sleighing on Main Street, skating on the Little River at Trumbull Street, the election of Governor Buckingham, attending school and church, and activities such as playing ball and billiards. Most of the daily entries mention the weather (Ms 52506).
Maps – With help from Ann, one of our fabulous volunteers, Barbara made great progress cataloging manuscript maps. The highlights from these maps include a topographical Map of West Hartford. Drawn in 1916, this map shows roads, bridges and buildings in that portion of West Hartford bordered by Mountain Road on the west, Park Street on the south, Albany Avenue on the north and Steele on the east. It was created under the direction of Captain J.H.K. Davis. Soldiers’ Field was part of Hartford, now Riverside Park. The land was allotted to 29 soldiers of the Pequot War, 1637, and the lots are laid out on the map with the soldier’s name and amount of acreage. The Connecticut River and Little River are outlined in blue, and swamp land is indicated by green. The map was drawn in 1887. An 1806 map displays the portions of Hartford and East Hartford adjacent to the Connecticut River. An interesting feature on the Hartford side is the footprint of the State House. Additionally, it shows the Mill River, Pantry’s Pond, Ferry Street and a wharf (all three are Ms Maps Large)
Town Papers and Records – CHS maintains a number of town paper and record collections created by past staff members. This month the records for Canterbury, Franklin, Hebron, New Hartford, Stonington , and Winsted were created. Each collection generally contains material from several accessions, and items without accession information are often added. Many times the papers were sorted into categories such as Court Papers and Deeds. Perhaps the best word to describe these is, eclectic.
Mystery of the Month – Is anyone familiar with the shipping firm of Page and Banett? It is quite possible the second name is actually Barett, Barnett, or similar. The opening pages of their account book (Account Books/Ms 53887) list their location as Hebron. While there is a Hebron, Connecticut, it is landlocked and not a very plausible location for a shipping company. Additionally, census data have not helped us place Ebenezer Page and Horatio Banett. Several of the other locations in the account book are in South Carolina and Georgia. Any thoughts? Let us know!