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Pierce family correspondence

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence

Other papers



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Pierce family correspondence, 1775-1825 | Litchfield Historical Society

By Anna Chen

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Collection Overview

Title: Pierce family correspondence, 1775-1825Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Predominant Dates:1776-1825

Primary Creator: Pierce, James (b. 1773)

Other Creators: Pierce, John (d. 1788)

Extent: 0.42 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 01/01/1978

Subjects: Bradley, Abraham, 1731-1824, Charleston (S.C.)--Description and travel, Epidemics--New York (State)--New York, Florida--Description and travel, Fort Ticonderoga (N.Y.)--Capture, 1777, Litchfield Female Academy (Conn.), Medicine--United States--History--18th century, Pierce, Sarah, 1767-1852, Pierce, Timothy, 1778-1801, Private schools - Connecticut - Litchfield - History, Schools, Slavery--United States, Southern States--History--1775-1865, Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896, Tisdale, Elkanah, 1768-1835, Trumbull, Jonathan, 1740-1809, United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783, United States--Politics and government--1775-1783., Washington (D.C.)--Description and travel, Washington, George, 1732-1799, Wolcott, Oliver, 1726-1797, Women - Education - Connecticut - Litchfield - History, Yellow fever--New York (State)--New York

Forms of Material: Correspondence, Receipts

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Pierce Family Correspondence consists primarily of letters to and from the children of John Pierce and his first wife, Mary (Paterson) Pierce, as well as of his second wife, Mary (Goodman) Pierce.  The collection documents events of national importance: John Pierce, a colonel and paymaster in the Continental Army, received letters from numerous correspondents concerning military, administrative, and political news of the American Revolution.  Moreover, the Pierce brothers traveled extensively along the East Coast as well as in the South, and their letters provide a record of the industrial and social development, natural resources, and scenery of the major cities of the early American republic as well as contemporary opinions on the condition of slavery in America. 

Since Timothy Pierce was a doctor, many of his letters illuminate medical practice during this time, including the difficulties of setting up a private practice and the realities of military medicine.  Meanwhile, the letters to Sarah Pierce make references to her role as founder and teacher of the Litchfield Female Academy, a nationally prominent girls' school.  The collection includes a letter to Pierce from Harriet Beecher Stowe praising her history textbook and requesting copies of it, correspondence about boarders for the school, and three silk diplomas.

Finally, the letters also shed light on social life in the early republic, as the Pierce brothers frequently attended parties, went on steamboat trips, advised their sisters on deportment, and discussed women's fashions with them.

Biographical Note

James Pierce was admitted by the County Court in 1799.

Subject/Index Terms

Bradley, Abraham, 1731-1824
Charleston (S.C.)--Description and travel
Epidemics--New York (State)--New York
Florida--Description and travel
Fort Ticonderoga (N.Y.)--Capture, 1777
Litchfield Female Academy (Conn.)
Medicine--United States--History--18th century
Pierce, Sarah, 1767-1852
Pierce, Timothy, 1778-1801
Private schools - Connecticut - Litchfield - History
Schools
Slavery--United States
Southern States--History--1775-1865
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896
Tisdale, Elkanah, 1768-1835
Trumbull, Jonathan, 1740-1809
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
United States--Politics and government--1775-1783.
Washington (D.C.)--Description and travel
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Wolcott, Oliver, 1726-1797
Women - Education - Connecticut - Litchfield - History
Yellow fever--New York (State)--New York

Administrative Information

Repository: Litchfield Historical Society

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Acquisition Source: Susan G. Loring

Original/Copies Note: Transcriptions are available for some documents.

Related Materials: Litchfield Female Academy Collection, Litchfield Historical Society.

Preferred Citation: Pierce family correspondence, 1978-39-8, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759.

Processing Information: The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent.  The remaining papers are arranged chronologically.

Other Note: This collection was processed with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1776-1825],
[Series 2: Other papers, 1775-1784],
[All]

Series 1: Correspondence, 1776-1825Add to your cart.
This series, arranged alphabetically by correspondent, consists of letters to and from members of the Pierce family.  The letters document events during the American Revolution as well as the industrial and social development of major American cities during the early republic.
Folder 1: Burrall, J., 1777-1779Add to your cart.
Four letters to Col. John Pierce.  The letters discuss movements of the British and Continental armies; the evacuation of Fort Ticonderoga; and a riot by the "lower class" due to the high prices of goods and the scarcity of bread.
Folder 2: Hodgdon, Samuel, 1777, 1778Add to your cart.
Two letters to Col. John Pierce.  The letters discuss the movements of General John Burgoyne and the British army.
Folder 3: Pierce, James, 1800Add to your cart.
Three letters to Mary Pierce.  Discusses social and family news; requests a newspaper be sent to him; reports on deaths in New York due to yellow fever and the consequent removal of the Merchants Bank.
Folder 4: Pierce, James, 1801-1803Add to your cart.
Four letters to Mary Pierce. Reports on Timothy Pierce's death; the ailing health of their mother; and deaths from yellow fever in New York. He also discusses women's fashion and tea sets from Liverpool, China, and India.
Folder 5: Pierce, James, 1804-1805Add to your cart.
Two letters to Sarah Pierce.  Reports death of Alexander Hamilton and discusses New York politics and social news.
Folder 6: Pierce, James, 1806-1807Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Three letters to Mary Pierce. Discusses social news; an order of women's shoes, gingham, and music; a potential boarder, Miss Wallace, for the Litchfield Female Academy; and a visit to Washington, D.C. In one letter, he urges her to burn the letter in case it is contaminated with yellow fever.
Folder 7: Pierce, James, 1808Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Letter to Mary Pierce. Describes a steamboat trip to the Catskills as well as social news.
Folder 8: Pierce, James, 1808Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Six page letter to Sally Pierce dated 1808 Mar 30 describing travels in Virginia; second letter includes pages numbered 4-10, may be a continuation or later addition to the first letter or some sort of journal. Contains description of travels in Virginia.
Folder 9: Pierce, James, 1811-1813Add to your cart.
Four letters to Mary Pierce. Discusses financial matters, including problems with the bank, a relevant bill in Congress, and his new employment with Bank of America; a cruise on a privateering ship; and a declaration of war between England and France. In another letter, he copies extracts from his journal, with a reference to the activity of diary-keeping by schoolgirls at the Litchfield Female Academy, and mentions the scarcity of coffee due to a blockade.
Folder 10: Pierce, James, 1814Add to your cart.
Three letters to Mary Pierce. Reports social news and travels to Philadelphia and Baltimore; and discusses politics and poetry.
Folder 11: Pierce, James, 1815-1823Add to your cart.
Three letters to Mary Pierce. Discusses the Treaty of Ghent and its effect on the economy.
Folder 12: Pierce, James, 1824Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Three letters to Mary Pierce and one to Sarah Pierce. Discusses an ocean voyage to Charleston and provides his impressions of the town, including his experience at a slave auction and extensive observations of the lives of slaves on plantations, as well as his opinions about planters and planter life.

He also describes his visit to Florida and his impressions of that state.

Folder 13: Pierce, James, 1825Add to your cart.
Two letters: one to Mary Pierce and the other to Sarah Pierce.  Discusses his trips to Ohio and Pennsylvania, including the impending visit by Marie-Joseph, Marquis de Lafayette and a description of the coal mining industry in Pennsylvania.
Folder 14: Pierce, James, n. d.Add to your cart.
Five letters to Mary Pierce.  Describes a visit to Washington, D. C., including his observations of slaves he sees during the journey; the death of an acquaintance during a duel; and social news.
Folder 15: Pierce, James, n. d.Add to your cart.
Letter to Sarah Pierce.  Describes a visit to Washington, D.C., including his visit to the mapmaker Abraham Bradley and his observations of the President who is present at the horse races he attends.
Folder 16: Pierce, James, n. d.Add to your cart.
Three letters to unnamed correspondents.  Describes his travels to the South, including parties in Virginia; and a trip to Washington, D. C., including descriptions of the city, its buildings, President Thomas Jefferson, Congress, and the White House.
Folder 17: Pierce, Timothy, 1798Add to your cart.
Two letters to James Pierce.  Describes his social activities in New York, including his impressions of a performance of Shakespeare's Othello; and a list of medical books he has recently purchased, along with their prices.
Folder 18: Pierce, Timothy, 1799Add to your cart.
Four letters to James Pierce.  Sends his siblings a copy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Emile; requests "pictures" from the engraver Elkanah Tisdale; and describes, at length, his experience as a surgeon in Union Camp, an army camp in New Jersey.
Folder 19: Pierce, Timothy, 1800Add to your cart.
Three letters to James Pierce.  He congratulates James on his graduation from law school and asks about the romantic attachments of his siblings.  He also comments on the small class size of the Reeve School, and names several Litchfield Female Academy students as possible romantic attachments for the law students at the Reeve School.
Folder 20: Pierce, Timothy, 1800Add to your cart.
Letter to Polly and James Pierce.  Expresses his annoyance with Congress's attempt to disband the Connecticut Regiment of the Continental Army.
Folder 21: Pierce, Timothy, 1800-1801Add to your cart.
Four letters to Dr. Thomas Croswell.  Describes local politics in South Carolina and his prospects for beginning a medical practice there; the difficulty of beginning a law practice in the South; and social news.
Folder 22: Pierce, Timothy, n. d.Add to your cart.
Three letters to Mary Pierce.  Advises her to keep a diary; discusses their mother's illness; and mentions social and family news.  Also describes his and his acquaintances' attempts to view a comet through "one of the best telescopes in America."
Folder 23: Reed, Horace, 1801Add to your cart.
Letter to Mary (Goodman) Pierce.  Describes the death of her son, Timothy Pierce, from a "billious fever," and his interment.
Folder 24: Rees, William, 1801Add to your cart.
Letter  of condolence to Sarah Pierce, describing  the death and funeral of her brother Timothy Pierce.  Also mentions he is one of the executors of Timothy's will.
Folder 25: Sheldon, Frederick, 1811Add to your cart.
Letter to James Pierce.  Discusses financial affairs and the appointment of a British minister to travel to the United States.
Folder 26: Stowe, Harriet (Beecher), undatedAdd to your cart.View associated digital content.
Letter to Sarah Pierce.  Praises her "History" as an excellent textbook for children and requests copies of it to use to teach her own children.
Folder 27: Strong, Jedediah, 1776-1777Add to your cart.
Three letters to Col. John Pierce.  Discusses the loss of his sight and health; asks Pierce's help in settling his commissary account; expresses condolences for the death of Pierce's brother; and reports on movements of the Continental army.
Folder 28: Trumbull, Jonathan, 1776-1777Add to your cart.
Three letters to Col. John Pierce.  Discusses commissary accounts; movements of British and American troops, especially the evacuation of Fort Ticonderoga.
Folder 29: Trumbull, Jonathan, 1777-1778Add to your cart.
Five letters to Col. John Pierce.  Discusses the arrival of Pierce's military chest; movements of British and American troops; the evacuation of Fort Ticonderoga; and desertions of soldiers.
Folder 30: Wetmore, Jabez, 1779Add to your cart.
Letter to Col. John Pierce.  Thanks him for his friendship and advice concerning his appointment to West Point.
Folder 31: Witherspoon, David, 1779-1780Add to your cart.
Three letters to Col. John Pierce.  Criticizes Thomas Paine's Common Sense; reports on movements of the Continental navy and sea battles; and asks for news of the American troops.
Folder 32: Wolcott, Oliver, 1776-1777Add to your cart.
Three letters to Col. John Paine.  Discusses movements of British and American troops; army salaries; and provisions.  One letter discusses at length the treaty between the United States and France and speculates about Great Britain's response.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1776-1825],
[Series 2: Other papers, 1775-1784],
[All]


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