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Woodruff family collection

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

George C. Woodruff correspondence

Other correspondence

Legal papers

Business papers

Financial papers

Family papers

Newspaper clippings

Miscellany



Contact us about this collection

Woodruff family collection, 1779-1966 | Litchfield Historical Society

By Anna Chen

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Collection Overview

Title: Woodruff family collection, 1779-1966Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Predominant Dates:1815-1919

Primary Creator: Woodruff, George C. (George Catlin) (1805-1885)

Other Creators: Seymour, Lucy Morris (Woodruff) (1807-1894), Woodruff, George M. (George Morris) (1836-1930), Woodruff, Henrietta Sophronia (Seymour) (1806-1892), Woodruff, James Parsons (1868-1931), Woodruff, Lewis B. (Lewis Bartholomew) (1809-1875), Woodruff, Morris (1777-1840), Woodruff, Reuben M. (Reuben Morris) (1811-1849)

Extent: 21.5 Boxes

Arrangement:

The collection is arranged in 8 series:

I. George C. Woodruff correspondence

II. Other correspondence

III. Legal papers

IV. Business papers

V. Financial papers

VI. Family papers

VII. Newspaper clippings

VIII. Miscellany

Date Acquired: 03/23/1953. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Collecting of accounts--United States, Connecticut--Politics and government, Epidemics--New York (State)--New York, Genealogy--Connecticut, Land titles--Connecticut, Law--Connecticut, Law--United States--Study and teaching, Lawyers--Correspondence, Litchfield (Conn.) - History, Litchfield Law School, Medicine--United States--History--18th century, Postmasters, Real property, Reeve, Tapping, 1744-1823, Southern States--History--1775-1865, Speculation--United States, United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783, United States--Politics and government--1775-1783., United States--Politics and government--1783-1865, United States--Politics and government--1865-1933, United States--Social life and customs--1783-1865

Forms of Material: Account books, Autograph albums, Correspondence, Diaries, Drawings, Greeting cards, Notebooks, Receipts

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Woodruff Collection primarily documents the personal life and professional career of George Catlin Woodruff, who not only practiced law for several decades in Litchfield but also served as Litchfield's postmaster and held elected positions both locally and in the United States Congress.  

His law career is extensively represented in his business correspondence with clients concerning suits in progress and with other law professionals; his law school notebooks; and his own notes on pending lawsuits.  These papers document the education and routine work of a lawyer in this period, as well as the networks among lawyers in New England and their relationships with judges, courts, and other members of the judicial system. 

The collection also illuminates the central position of the postal service in the early republic through letters sent to Woodruff in his capacity as postmaster of Litchfield.  These include not only correspondence with other postmasters concerning mail schedules and misdirected letters, but also correspondence from individuals from other towns seeking information about Litchfield inhabitants, reporting suspicious activities, and asking for assistance in publicizing their own careers.

Additionally, Woodruff's extensive personal correspondence with his family sheds light on his personal life, especially in letters to and from his brothers Lewis B. Woodruff, a lawyer in New York, and Reuben M. Woodruff, a physician.  These letters record their efforts to establish and develop their careers, their travels along the east coast and the southern United States, and family and social news.  Moreover, the collection includes Woodruff's personal papers, which trace his interest in genealogical research, the history of Litchfield, and his autobiographical efforts.

The collection follows Woodruff's political career through newspaper clippings and his own handwritten records of local and national election results, as well as documents his other business ventures, including investments in railroads, canals, and banks, and his involvement in the Litchfield Mutual Fire Insurance Company.  By extension, these papers reveal political processes and economic developments during this time period.

Also present in this collection are the papers of numerous Woodruff relatives, as well as those of other prominent and lesser-known Litchfield families.  For example, the collection documents the extensive land transactions executed by Woodruff's father, Morris Woodruff, especially in partnership with Simeon Harrison; the law career of his son George M. Woodruff; and his grandson James P. Woodruff's law and political careers.    The collection also includes many personal and business papers from members of the Seymour and Wolcott families, as well as from the family of Henry E. Gates, who served as a physician during the Civil War, and from Grant Wickwire, a prosperous Litchfield farmer.

Biographical Note

George Catlin Woodruff (1805-1885) was born in Litchfield, CT in 1805.  He graduated from Yale College in 1825, after which he studied law with James Gould at the Litchfield Law SChool.  In 1827 he was admitted to the bar and began practice in Litchfield.  He also served as postmaster of Litchfield from 1832 to 1846.  Afterwards, he became involved in local and national politics, becoming a member of the State House of Representatives in 1851, 1866, and 1874, and elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-seventh Congress (1861-1863). 

In 1829, he married Henrietta Sophronia (Seymour) Woodruff, the sister of Origen S. Seymour, who married Woodruff's sister Lucy.  They had two children: George and Henrietta.  George C. Woodruff died in Litchfield, CT in 1885.

Subject/Index Terms

Collecting of accounts--United States
Connecticut--Politics and government
Epidemics--New York (State)--New York
Genealogy--Connecticut
Land titles--Connecticut
Law--Connecticut
Law--United States--Study and teaching
Lawyers--Correspondence
Litchfield (Conn.) - History
Litchfield Law School
Medicine--United States--History--18th century
Postmasters
Real property
Reeve, Tapping, 1744-1823
Southern States--History--1775-1865
Speculation--United States
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
United States--Politics and government--1775-1783.
United States--Politics and government--1783-1865
United States--Politics and government--1865-1933
United States--Social life and customs--1783-1865

Administrative Information

Repository: Litchfield Historical Society

Accruals: Additions include gifts from George M. Woodruff (1922); Mrs. James P. Woodruff (1952, 1953, and 1956); Mrs. John M. Ellis and Miss Isabell Woodruff (1957);  Lillian (Woodruff) Ellis (1978); Julie Hallaway (1984); estate of Agatha Ryan (1986);  Malcolm and Carol Bramley (2005); and Yale University Sterling Library (2010).

Acquisition Source: Mrs. James P. Woodruff

Acquisition Method: Donated

Separated Materials: Library books (2010-366-0): REFERENCE F104.L7W58 - Alain C. White History of the town of Litchfield 1720-1920 [2 copies]; REFERENCE F104.L7W6 - George C. Woodruff, Genealogical register of the inhabitants of the town of Litchfield, Conn.; RARE  F104.L7W7 - George C. Woodruff, History of the town of Litchfield, Conn., 1845.

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

Related Materials:

Seymour family papers, 1777-1923, Litchfield Historical Society

Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn, NY

Rutherford B. Hayes Library, Fremont, OH

Preferred Citation: Woodruff family collection, 1953-02-2-8, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759.

Other Note:

Material objects at the Litchfield Historical Society relating to the Woodruff Family Collection include:

-portrait miniature of Morris Woodruff (1978-02-1)

-portrait of Lucy Morris (Woodruff) Seymour (1918-06-3)

-portrait of Origen S. Seymour (1918-06-1)

-portrait of Candace (Catlin) Woodruff (1981-08-0)

-sign belonging to George M. Woodruff (1978-02-6)

-portrait of George C. Woodruff (2004-26-1)

-portrait of Henrietta Sophornia Seymour Woodruff (2004-26-2)

-portrait of George M. Woodruff (2004-26-3)

-portrait of James P. Woodruff (1978-02-91)

-desk, made in Litchfield, belonging to Morris Woodruff (1929-02-11)

-desk used by George C. Woodruff, George M. Woodruff, and James Woodruff (1924-04-0)

-wallet used by Origen S. Seymour (1949-03-4)

-portrait of Seth Preston Beers (1907-16-1)

-portrait of Lewis B. Woodruff (1917-03-2)

-document box belonging to Lewis B. Woodruff (1995-10-1)

-fire bucket belonging to Morris Woodruff (1971-08-10)

Contact museum curator for further information at curator@litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org

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


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: George C. Woodruff correspondence, 1821-1884],
[Series 2: Other correspondence, 1775-1932],
[Series 3: Legal papers, 1762-1911],
[Series 4: Business papers, 1829-1925],
[Series 5: Financial papers, 1737-1931],
[Series 6: Family papers, 1777-1973],
[Series 7: Newspaper clippings, 1800-1931],
[Series 8: Miscellany, 1765-1932],
[All]

Series 4: Business papers, 1829-1925Add to your cart.
This series primarily reflects the business activities of George C. Woodruff, though the final subseries includes business papers from Woodruff family members and others.  The contents of the first subseries reveal much about Woodruff's law studies and practice, including his law school notebooks and his notes on actual lawsuits.  The second subseries concerns Woodruff's investments, primarily in banks and railroads, and includes newspaper clippings and printed circulars which reveal the growth and as well as instability of these companies: a circular from the Kansas Pacific Railway Company, for example, mentions the financial difficulties of the organization and the consequential restructuring of interest payments.  The third subseries consists primarily of election party tickets and records of election returns, many with his own name as a candidate.  The fourth and fifth series contain miscellaneous business notes by Woodruff and others, and include papers relating to Woodruff's involvement in the Litchfield Mutual Fire Insurance Company; his notarial records; and his son George M. Woodruff's law school notebooks.
Sub-Series 1: George. C. Woodruff law papersAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Writs, 1829Add to your cart.
Writs summoning defendants to court to settle debts, with Woodruff's acknowledgment of the receipt of money to prosecute.
Folder 2: Writs, 1830-1831Add to your cart.
Writs summoning defendants to court to settle debts, with Woodruff's acknowledgment of the receipt of money to prosecute.
Folder 3: Lawsuit notes, 1828Add to your cart.
Notes concerning the lawsuit of Cowles & S. Woodward vs. Joseph Pruden.
Folder 4: Lawsuit notes, 1828-1829Add to your cart.
Notes concerning the lawsuit of Samuel Waugh, Hiram J. Hand, and Nancy Gunn concerning the estate of Green Farm.
Folder 5: Lawsuit notes, 1852Add to your cart.
Notes concerning the lawsuit of David Reynolds vs. Orange Wheaton.
Folder 6: Lawsuit notes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Notes concerning a lawsuit against the estate of the Norton family.
Folder 7: Lawsuit notes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Notes concerning a lawsuit against the estate of the Norton family.
Folder 8: Lawsuit notes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Notes concerning a lawsuit against the estate of the Norton family.
Folder 9: Lawsuit notes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Scraps of paper concerning unidentified lawsuits.
Folder 10: General law notes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Notes taken on hypothetical law cases.
Folder 11: General law notes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Notes taken on hypothetical law cases.
Folder 12: General law notes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Notes taken on hypothetical law cases.
Folder 13: Draft of contract, 1865Add to your cart.
Draft of contract between Lyman Coe and the Phoenix Bank.
Item 1: Law school notebooks, undatedAdd to your cart.
Five notebooks, labeled "Gould's Lectures" on spine, consisting of George C. Woodruff's notes taken during law school lectures.  Currently housed in aisle 11B.
Sub-Series 2: George C. Woodruff investment papersAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Connecticut state bonds, 1865, 1871Add to your cart.
Notes concerning state bonds.
Folder 2: Notes on cotton, undatedAdd to your cart.
Includes newspaper clippings on the price of cotton, as well as notes on import and export values; its scientific qualities; and its world production and manufacture.
Folder 3: Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, 1873 Feb 20Add to your cart.
Printed letter concerning the purchase of stocks in the company.
Folder 4: Erie Railway Company, 1861-1880Add to your cart.
Printed notices and handwritten notes concerning the purchase of stocks and bonds.
Folder 5: Farmers and Mechanics Bank, 1857, undatedAdd to your cart.
Printed and handwritten notices and letters concerning purchase of stock in the company.
Folder 6: Hartford and New Haven Railroad Company, 1864-1874Add to your cart.
Printed notices and handwritten notes concerning purchase of stock in the company.
Folder 7: Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad Company, 1859Add to your cart.
Copy of letter from Woodruff to concerning his stocks in the company, accompanied by a newspaper clipping announcing the company's emergence from debt.
Folder 8: Kansas Pacific Railway, 1874-1877Add to your cart.
Printed notices and handwritten notes concerning the purchase of stock in the company.  Accompanied by newspaper clippings addressing foreclosure suits against the company.
Folder 9: Lehigh and Wilkes-Barre Coal Company, 1878 Sep 16Add to your cart.
Printed notice concerning income bonds.
Folder 10: Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad Company, 1858-1861Add to your cart.
Newspaper clippings and printed notice concerning the current financial state of the company.
Folder 11: Norwich and Worcester Railroad Company, 1856-1858Add to your cart.
Printed notices reporting on the finances of the company.
Folder 12: Ohio Land Company, 1834Add to your cart.
Handwritten note concerning obtaining dividends, and a newspaper clipping concerning "the Late Ohio Company" by Benjamin Tallmadge.
Folder 13: Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company, 1848, 1856Add to your cart.
Printed notice reporting on financial losses for the company, and asking stockholders not to sell their shares.  Accompanied by handwritten page of accounts.
Folder 14: St. Nicholas Bank, 1865-1879Add to your cart.
Printed notices concerning shares in the company, including a forced sale.
Folder 15: Shepaug Valley Railroad, 1875 Jan 25Add to your cart.
Printed notice concerning stocks of the company.
Folder 16: State Bank, 1865 Jun 8Add to your cart.
Printed notice requesting a stockholders' meeting.  The document is annotated by Woodruff.
Folder 17: United States Treasury bonds, 1862-1879, undatedAdd to your cart.
Notes, accounts, and correspondence concerning the value of treasury bonds.  Also includes several items concerning George M. Woodruff's investments in the United States Treasury.
Folder 18: Webster, Anne E., 1873-1874Add to your cart.
Notes concerning her investments in the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company.
Folder 19: Miscellaneous notes, 1841-1864, undatedAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 3: George C. Woodruff politics papersAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Official election documents, 1853-1861Add to your cart.
Contains official letters acknowledging Woodruff Judge Probate of Litchfield and Representative to the United States Congress.  Accompanied by an official certificate acknowledging his election as U. S. Representative.
Folder 2: Party tickets, 1840-1849Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Party tickets, 1850-1859Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Party tickets, 1860-1869Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Party tickets, 1870-1879Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Party tickets, 1880-1889Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Party tickets, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Election flyer, 1832 NovAdd to your cart.
Printed flyer urging citizens to vote.
Folder 9: Election returns, 1830-1839Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Election returns, 1840-1845Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Election returns, 1846-1849Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Election returns, 1850-1859Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Election returns, 1860-1869Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Election returns, 1870-1875Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Election returns, 1876-1879Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Election returns, 1880-1889Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Election returns, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 18: Election returns, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 19: Certifications of electors, 1845, 1866Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Reports on Sioux and Dakota scrips, 1857-1861, undatedAdd to your cart.
Includes a printed circular and drafts of reports on the relocation of the "half-breed Dacotah or Sioux" through scrip, or land grants.
Folder 21: Voting record, 1862Add to your cart.
Summary of Woodruff's voting record from 1861 to 8162.
Folder 22: Resolutions passed by Congress, 1832 Feb 20Add to your cart.
Printed notice of resolutions passed by the House of Representatives to gather information about manufactures in the United States.
Folder 23: Drafts of letters, 1842-1848, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 24: Miscellaneous, undatedAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 4: George C. Woodruff other papersAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Litchfield Mutual Fire Insurance Co. policies, 1830-1839Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Litchfield Mutual Fire Insurance Co. policies, 1840-1849Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Litchfield Mutual Fire Insurance Co. policies, 1850-1859Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Draft of letter from Litchfield Mutual Fire Insurance Co., 1859 Oct 17Add to your cart.
Draft of letter from George C. Woodruff, treasurer of the Litchfield Mutual Fire Insurance Company, to the comptroller of public accounts.
Folder 5: Post office contracts, 1842-1846Add to your cart.
Contains George C. Woodruff's appointment as Postmaster; an official notice from the Assistant Postmaster General to an unnamed recipient informing him that his oath of office has been received; and a collection of Post Office contracts with mail carriers, along with their schedules.
Folder 6: Drafts of letters from Litchfield Post Office, 1842-1843Add to your cart.
Drafts of letters by George C. Woodruff, in his capacity as Postmaster of Litchfield, to other post office officials.
Folder 7: Notes concerning financial transaction with Robert Wright, 1851-1856, undatedAdd to your cart.
Contains accounts, notes, letters, and a deed, relating to a financial and land transaction between George C. Woodruff and Robert Wright.
Folder 8: Bank safe combination, undatedAdd to your cart.
Contains directions to lock and unlock a safe.
Folder 9: Notes concerning Phoenix Bank, 1865Add to your cart.
List of directors and other officials of the Phoenix Bank, along with the lengths of their terms.
Folder 10: Notes and memoranda concerning property, 1830-1861Add to your cart.
Includes diagrams of land plots; accounts; and notes concerning land transactions.
Folder 11: Drafts of miscellaneous business letters, 1843-1876, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Miscellaneous business papers, 1846-1878, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Notarial records, 1834-1843Add to your cart.
Volume, bound in marbled paper, of protests against drawers and endorsers of notes the Phoenix Bank has been unable to fulfill.  Each protest is notarized by George C. Woodruff.  Currently housed in oversize box 3B Box 105.
Item 2: Notarial records, 1846-1851Add to your cart.
Volume, bound in marbled paper, of protests against drawers and endorsers of notes the Phoenix Bank has been unable to fulfill.  Each protest is notarized by George C. Woodruff.  Currently housed in oversize box 3B Box 105.
Item 3: Notarial records, 1851-1854Add to your cart.
Volume, bound in half brown morocco over red marbled boards, of protests against drawers and endorsers of notes the Phoenix Bank has been unable to fulfill. Each protest is notarized by George C. Woodruff. Currently housed in oversize box 3B Box 105.
Item 4: Notarial records, 1857-1858Add to your cart.
Volume, bound in half blue morocco over marbled boards, of protests against drawers and endorsers of notes the Phoenix Bank has been unable to fulfill. Each protest is notarized by George C. Woodruff. Currently housed in oversize box 3B Box 105.
Sub-Series 5: Other business papersAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: George M. Woodruff law notebook, 1858-1859Add to your cart.
Notebook containing George M. Woodruff's law notes on insurance, based on lectures given by Theophilus Parsons at Harvard Law School.
Folder 2: George M. Woodruff law notebook, 1858-1859Add to your cart.
Notebook containing George M. Woodruff's law notes on agency, based on lectures given by Joel Parker at Harvard Law School.
Folder 3: Moses Seymour military accounts, 1776, 1777Add to your cart.
Captain Moses Seymour's accounts of sundries paid for shoeing the horses in his company, as well as the prices of the horses themselves.
Folder 4: Lewis B. Woodruff certification of stock, 1850 Jan 2Add to your cart.
Document certifying Lewis B. Woodruff as owner of one share of stock in the New York Law Institute.
Folder 5: Lewis B. Woodruff election papers, 1849, 1855Add to your cart.
Two printed certifications of the results of elections in New York.  One names Woodruff as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and the other names him as Justice of the Superior Court.
Folder 6: Morris Woodruff lawsuit notes, undatedAdd to your cart.
Notes concerning a lawsuit between Gibbs and Martin, with records of testimonies by the defendants.
Folder 7: Writs, 1829-1840Add to your cart.
Writs summoning defendants to court to settle debts, with various lawyers' acknowledgments of the receipt of money to prosecute.
Folder 8: First National Corporation, 1925 Jan 14Add to your cart.
Notice concerning stock in the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Boston.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: George C. Woodruff correspondence, 1821-1884],
[Series 2: Other correspondence, 1775-1932],
[Series 3: Legal papers, 1762-1911],
[Series 4: Business papers, 1829-1925],
[Series 5: Financial papers, 1737-1931],
[Series 6: Family papers, 1777-1973],
[Series 7: Newspaper clippings, 1800-1931],
[Series 8: Miscellany, 1765-1932],
[All]


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