COLLECTION GUIDES

1858-1900

Guide to the Collection


Collection Summary

Abstract

This collection consists of Civil War letters from Calvin W. Smith of the 13th Illinois Infantry and his brother George of the 6th New Hampshire Infantry, to their mother from the field, as well as Calvin Smith's letters from Bombay and Calcutta, India where he worked for the Tudor Ice House, and letters to Smith's wife, Mary Clark Smith, regarding the woman's suffrage movement.

Biographical Sketch

Calvin W. Smith was born in 1843, believed to be the son of Arthur A Smith and Cornella S. Sawyer. He worked on a farm in Sterling, Illinois, during the summers he was in high school. At the beginning of the Civil War, Smith enlisted in the army and served in Company B, 13th Illinois Regiment of Infantry. On Jan. 15, 1864, he was injured and transferred to the Invalid Corps in St. Louis, Missouri.

Following the Civil War, he worked for the Tudor Ice Company, in Bombay, India. Frederic Tudor (1783-1864), a businessman, was better known as the "Ice King." He conceived the idea of shipping ice from Boston to tropical cities. With great ingenuity and ruthlessness, he developed his trade to worldwide proportions. Smith worked as Tudor Company's bookkeeper from 1864-1869. He also supervised the building of an ice house in Calcutta.

Smith's wife, Mary Clark Smith, was involved in the woman's suffrage movement in Massachusetts (1892-1900). She helped organize the Suffrage Referendum State Committee.

Collection Description

Civil War letters from Calvin W. Smith of the 13th Illinois Infantry and his brother George of the 6th New Hampshire Infantry, to their mother from the field. The letters describe daily military routine and battles witnessed, including the First Battle of Bull Run and Fredericksburg. Calvin Smith's letters from 1864-1870 are from Bombay and Calcutta, India where he worked as a bookkeeper for the Tudor Ice House and supervised the building of an ice house. The letters describe the ice trade and other goods traded with India. Also, letters to Smith's wife, Mary Clark Smith, regarding the woman's suffrage movement. Her correspondents include George F. Hoar, Julia Ward Howe, and Edward E. Hale.

Acquisition Information

Donor unknown.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Civil War letters, 1858-1864

The bulk of the correspondence are letters from Smith and his brother George, who served in Company K, 6th New Hampshire Regiment, to their mother during the Civil War. The letters are a record of the battles fought and how many soldiers were injured or killed. Some of the battles mentioned are the battle at Lane Prairie, Springfield, Bull Run (1861) and Fredricksburg. The correspondence also includes early farming letters from Smith and his brother prior to the Civil War (1858-1861) and letters from family and friends.

Box 1Folder 0-9

II. Tudor Ice House, 1864-1870

This series consists of letters from Bombay and Calcutta from Smith to his family, concerning the Tudor Company. He describes the voyage over, the structure of the ice house, the financial situation, and the arrival and departure of ships carrying ice. There are several letters to his uncle, John Sawyer, concerning the investment of his money and the selling of American goods (clock work fans and dolls) in India. The correspondence includes statements of daily sales.

Box 1Folder 10-15
1864-1865
Box 2Folder 1-10
1865-1870

III. Mary C. Smith, 1892-1900

This series consists of correspondence to Mary Smith concerning the referendum on woman's suffrage. The bulk of the letters are responses to Mrs. Smith's requests to influential people to make statements on the woman's suffrage question. Her recipients include Julia Ward Howe, Edward E. Hale, George Frisbie Hoar, and Grindall Reynolds.

Box 2Folder 11-12

Preferred Citation

Calvin W. Smith 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:

Hale, Edward Everett, 1822-1909.
Hoar, George Frisbie, 1826-1904.
Howe, Julia Ward, 1819-1910.
Smith, George.
Smith, Mary Clark.

Organizations:

United States. Army. Illinois Infantry Regiment, 13th (1861-1865)
United States. Army. New Hampshire Infantry Regiment, 6th (1861-1865).
Tudor Ice House (Bombay, India)

Subjects:

Bull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861.
Fredericksburg (Va.), Battle of, 1862.
Ice industry.
Icehouses.
India trade.
Women--Suffrage.
Bombay (India)--Commerce--Massachusetts--Boston.
Boston (Mass.)--Commerce--India--Bombay.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.