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Pierce family correspondence


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

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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
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],

Series 2: Other papers, 1775-1784Add to your cart.
This series is arranged chronologically, and consists of miscellaneous documents, including poetry, school notes, a bill, and blank Litchfield Female Academy diplomas.
Folder 1: Poem by John Pierce, 1775Add to your cart.
Draft, with numerous corrections, of a patriotic poem by Col. John Pierce.  Accompanied by a transcription in a 19th-century hand.
Folder 2: Bill to John Pierce, 1780Add to your cart.
Bill, with receipt, of charges for board, foodstuffs, and other items to John Pierce by Robert Morris.
Folder 3: Typescript of letter, 1784Add to your cart.
Typescript of excerpt of letter from James Pierce to Mary Pierce, advising her to attend dancing school, study fashion, and not read so much.
Folder 4: Poetry and notes by James Pierce, n. d.Add to your cart.
Five items.  Contains an essay on religion and the affections; a poem on rats and another on Otsego Lake; notes on love and women; notes on the resources of North America; and notes on the Hudson Highlands.
Folder 5: Diplomas of Litchfield Female Academy, n. d.Add to your cart.
Three blank diplomas printed on silk.

Browse by Series:

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

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