COLLECTION GUIDES

1708-1921

Guide to the Collection


Collection Summary

Abstract

This collection consists of the personal papers and correspondence of members of the Emerson and allied families over several generations, but primarily 1860-1921. There are also miscellaneous Emerson, Kendall, Hopkins, Allen and Sewall family letters and genealogical information, in particular on the Sewall family. The bulk of the collection consists of letters exchanged between Mary A. H. Emerson, (1848-97), and her mother, Charlotte F. A. Hopkins, between 1860-95. There are also documents relating to the American Red Cross and World War I, including letters to his wife concerning the service of Dr. (Benjamin) Kendall Emerson (1875-1962), a major in the Royal Army Medical Corps Harvard Medical Unit of the British Army in France, 1916-17; Emerson's typewritten log (26 Feb.-16 Apr. 1919) of a journey by train across Siberia and Manchuria while working for the American Red Cross; and Emerson's letters to his wife from Paris where he was director of the American Hospital and medical director of the American Red Cross in Europe.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Benjamin K. Emerson (1843-1932), Amherst (1865), Gottingen (Ph.D. 1869), Professor of Geology and Zoology at Amherst and Smith Colleges, Assistant Geologist on the United States Geological Survey, Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vice-President (1896) of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.

(Mary) Annette (Hopkins) Emerson (1848-1889), wife of Dr. Benjamin K. Emerson.

Dr. (Benjamin) Kendall Emerson (1875-1962), son of Dr. Benjamin K. and (Mary) Annette (Hopkins) Emerson, Amherst (1897), Harvard Medical School (1901), Major in the British Army Royal Army Medical Corps. (Harvard unit) serving in France and Belgium (1916-18), Major, U.S. Medical Corps on duty in U.S. Surgeon General office detailed to the American Red Cross with split duty in Siberia (1918-19); Deputy commander and Medical Director, American Red Cross in Europe (1920-22); Director, American Hospital in Paris (1920), Chief of Surgical Staff, Memorial Hospital, Worcester, Massachusetts {1903-1916; 1922-1928), Managing Director, National Tuberculosis Association (1928-1947).

Collection Description

The Benjamin K. Emerson Family Papers consist of the personal papers and correspondence of members of the Emerson and allied families over an extended period of several generations, but primarily between 1860 and 1921. There are some manuscript letters and printed items from earlier and later periods.

The collection contains an autograph receipt (1708) of Samuel Sewall (1652-1730), the merchant and colonial magistrate. There are also 29 letters from Edmund Quincy Sewall, while on a trip to Europe between 1844 and 1846, to his father, Henry Devereux Sewall.

The collection includes several hundred personal letters from and to Dr. Benjamin K. Emerson (1843-1932), while he was Professor of Geological Survey. This is, for the most part, family and personal correspondence for the period 1870-1890.

The collection contains several hundred miscellaneous Emerson, Kendall, Hopkins, Allen and Sewall family letters for the period 1860-1890. These letters include several from and about the Edward Dickinson family of Amherst, Massachusetts --the family of Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).

The bulk of the collection consists of personal letters exchanged by Mrs. Benjamin K. Emerson (Mary Annette Hopkins Emerson, 1848-1897), and her mother, Charlotte Frelinghuysen (Allen) Hopkins, between 1860 and 1895. Both mother and daughter lived in the Connecticut Valley of western Massachusetts, but traveled extensively, including journeys outside the United States, during this period.

There are typed letters, typescript copies of letters and newspaper clippings from the Worcester Telegram concerning the service of Dr. (Benjamin) Kendall Emerson (1875-1962), with the Harvard Medical Unit of the British Army in France during 1916-1917, along with a substantial amount of letters written to his wife while on active duty with the unit.

Also included is Emerson's typewritten log (26 Feb. - 16 April 1919) of a journey by train across Siberia and Manchuria while working for the American Red Cross, his passport, and letters written home (1920-1921) from Paris as Deputy Commander and Medical Director of the American Red Cross in Europe.

The collection also contains a commonplace book of undetermined origin, written during the 1870's. Printed items include single issues and clippings from early 19th-century and Civil War-era newspapers, memorial and genealogical pamphlets, missionary and Bible tracts, educational and medical circulars, and broadside descriptions of college class exercises.

Acquisition Information

The Benjamin Kendall Emerson family papers were a gift of the Reverend Sewall Emerson, November 1979. Additions to the collection were the gift of Dr. Kendall Emerson Jr., May 1991.

Summary Description of the Collection

Box 1
Genealogical information
Box 2
Undated (alphabetical by author)
Box 3
Miscellaneous undated
Box 4
1708-1862
Box 5
1863-1865
Box 6
1866-1870
Box 7
1871-1873
Box 8
June 1873 - July 1875
Box 9
August 1875 - 1876
Box 10
1877 - 1879
Box 11
1879 - 1880
Box 12
1881 - 1883
Box 13
1884 - 1885
Box 14
1886 - 1887
Box 15
1888 - 1889
Box 16
1890 - 1891
Box 17
1892 - July 1893
Box 18
August - September 1893
Box 19
October 1893 - 1894
Box 20
1895 - 1899
Box 21
1900 - 1917
Box 22
1919 - 1921
Box 23
Printed material & newspaper clippings

Preferred Citation

Benjamin Kendall Emerson family papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.

Persons:

Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886.
Emerson, Mary Annette Hopkins, 1848-1897.
Emerson, Benjamin Kendall, 1875-1962.
Sewall, Henry D. (Henry Devereux), 1786-1845.
Sewall, Edmund Q. (Edmund Quincy), 1796-1866.
Hopkins, Charlotte Frelinghuysen Allen.
Sewall, Samuel, 1652-1730.
Allen family.
Emerson family.
Hopkins family.
Kendall family.
Sewall family.
Dickinson family.

Organizations:

Great Britain. Army. Royal Army Medical Corps.
Amherst College.
Geological Survey (U.S.)
American Red Cross.

Subjects:

Communism -- Siberia (Russia).
Geologists.
Medicine, Military.
Physicians -- Diaries.
Voyages and travels -- Diaries.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Civilian relief.
World War, 1914-1918 -- France.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Medical care.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Personal narratives.
World War, 1914-1918 -- War work.
France -- Description and travel.
France -- Description and travel.
Manchuria (China) -- Description and travel.
Siberia (Russia) -- Description and travel.
Diaries, 1919.