Guide to the Collection
Funded by the Sedgwick Family Charitable Trust.
|Creator:||Sedgwick, Charles, 1791-1856.
|Title:||Charles Sedgwick papers
document boxes and 5 vols. in cases.
|Call Number:||Ms. N-853
|Repository:||Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215
This collection consists of the personal
correspondence of the interrelated Sedgwick and Minot families, 1812-1908. It
includes business papers of Charles Sedgwick related to his career as a lawyer
and clerk of the courts in Berkshire County, but the bulk of the collection
consists of correspondence to and from Elizabeth B. D. Sedgwick, Katharine
Sedgwick Minot, William Minot II, Elizabeth D. S. Rackemann, Grace A. S.
Bristed and William D. Sedgwick.
Individuals most heavily represented in the collection:
Charles Sedgwick (1791-1856)
On the 15 December 1791, Charles Sedgwick was born in Stockbridge
Massachusetts, the youngest son and tenth child of Federalist Judge Theodore
Sedgwick (1746-1813) and Pamela Dwight (1753-1807). In 1820, he moved to Lenox
and educated himself for the bar, as had his three brothers. He eventually
attained the position of clerk of the courts in Berkshire County,
Massachusetts. On 30 September 1819 he married Elizabeth Buckminster Dwight, a
teacher, and over the next thirteen years had five children: Katharine Maria,
Charles, Elizabeth Dwight, William Dwight and Grace Ashburner. Ill health
eventually forced him to resign in 1856, the year in which he later died.
Elizabeth Buckminster Dwight Sedgwick (1801-1864)
Elizabeth Buckminster Dwight Sedgwick was born in 1801 to Josiah Dwight and
Rhoda Edwards. Rhoda was the granddaughter of Jonathan Edwards, the president
of Princeton College. Elizabeth married Charles Sedgwick in 1819 and had five
children as listed above. One of her closest friends was her husband's sister,
novelist Catharine Maria Sedgwick. For over thirty years Elizabeth was the
headmistress of a school for young ladies in Lenox, which was regarded as one
of the best schools in the country. She was also an author of several books
including Lessons Without Books and A Talk With My Pupils. In 1859 she closed
the doors to her school and died five years later in Lenox.
Katharine Sedgwick Minot (1820-1880)
Katharine Maria was the oldest child of Charles Sedgwick and Elizabeth
Buckminster Dwight Sedgwick. She was born in Lenox on 15 September 1820 and
named after her famous paternal aunt, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, with whom she
shared a close relationship. While in the Italian city of Rome, Katharine met
William Minot II of Boston and married him at Stockbridge on 28 November 1842.
They lived at William's father's house at 61 Beacon Street for a short period
of time. Following this, William, with his brother and father bought
Woodbourne, and together, they built a house in 1847. Woodbourne was land on
Bourne Street, Forest Hills that was named by Julia Minot. Their seven
children, Jane, Alice Woodbourne, William, Charles, Robert, Henry Davis and
Lawrence were all born at Woodbourne. Katharine died on 29 June 1880 in
William Minot II (1817-1894)
William was born on 7 April 1817, the second son of William Minot (son of
George Richards Minot) and Louisa Davis Minot (daughter of Solicitor Daniel
Davis). He graduated from Harvard (A.B. 1836; LL.B. 1840) and was admitted to
the bar in 1841. Following this, his health suffered and subsequently he
traveled to Europe. Eventually he returned to America and began working from an
office at 39 Court Street, the location where both his father and grandfather
had practiced. He later became connected with the management of trust estates
and soon had charge of over one fiftieth of all of the property in Boston. He
married Katharine Maria Sedgwick in Stockbridge on 28 November 1842 and had
seven children with her (see above). William enjoyed hunting and often went to
Nova Scotia and North Carolina for that reason. In 1883 he moved from
Woodbourne to 22 Marlborough Street, Boston and spent his summers in Bar
Harbor, Maine until his death in 1894.
Elizabeth Dwight Sedgwick Rackemann (1826-1891)
Elizabeth was born on 15 July 1826, the third child of Charles Sedgwick and
Elizabeth Buckminster Dwight, and younger sister to Katharine Maria. On 20 June
1855 she married Frederick William Rackemann, son of Daniel Rackemann and
Philippine Florentine (Marianne) Rackemann of Bremen, Germany. They had six
children between 1857 and 1868: Charles Sedgwick, Frederick William, Felix,
Elizabeth Sedgwick, Louise Sedgwick and Wilfred Rackemann. Frederick Rackemann
died 16 August 1884 and Elizabeth on 24 September 1891.
Grace Ashburner Sedgwick Bristed (1833-1897)
Grace was born on 5 March 1833 in Lenox. She was the fifth child of Charles
Sedgwick and Elizabeth Buckminster Dwight and became active in the United
States Hospital Service during the Civil War. In August 1857 she married
Charles Astor Bristed from New York, a graduate from Yale and Trinity College,
Cambridge, England. They had one son Charles Astor Bristed, Jr. who was born on
24 May 1868 in New York. Grace Ashburner Sedgwick Bristed died in St Cloud,
France on 8 February 1897.
William Dwight Sedgwick (1831-1862)
William was born in Lenox on 27 June 1831, the second son of Charles
Sedgwick and Elizabeth Buckminster Dwight. After leaving Harvard College in
1851, he spent one winter in a law office before studying abroad in Heidelberg,
Gottingen, and Breslau. After his return, he remained for a year at Cambridge
Law School and then established himself as a lawyer in St Louis, Missouri. In
1857 he married Louisa Frederica Tellkampf in Hanover, Germany, daughter of
Professor A. Tellkampf. Following the outbreak of the Civil War, William left
his profession and on 25 May 1861 was commissioned as first lieutenant in
Company D, the 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. He was subsequently
detailed as ordnance officer of Major-General Nathaniel D. Banks' Corps and was
then transferred to the staff of Major-General John Sedgwick with the rank of
major. Through his period of service he wrote constantly to his family and
particularly to his mother, Elizabeth B. D. Sedgwick. On 17 September 1862, he
suffered a mortal wound on the battlefield of Antietam. After eight hours he
was found by friends and spent his last days in a farmhouse attended by his
mother and sister. When he died on 29 September 1862, his wife Louisa was not
present because she did not learn of her husband's condition until her arrival
from Europe. He left behind three daughters: Grace, Amelia and Mary
Additional Correspondents (listed alphabetically):
Josiah was the father of Elizabeth Buckminster Dwight and grandfather of
Katharine Sedgwick Minot. He married Rhoda Edwards in 1798.
Rhoda Edwards Dwight
Rhoda Edwards, daughter of Timothy Edwards, married Josiah Dwight in 1798.
She was the grandmother of Katharine Sedgwick Minot and mother of Elizabeth
Buckminster Dwight Sedgwick.
Sarah was born on 20 January 1813 to Stephen Hathaway and Lydia Swain and
was the twin sister of Mary Watson. Prior to marrying John Murray Forbes, her
maiden name was Sarah Swain Hathaway.
Alice Woodbourne Minot (1847-1883)
Alice was born on 10 July 1847 to William Minot II and Katharine Sedgwick
Minot. She was their second child and never married. She died at the young age
of thirty-six on 15 December 1883.
Charles Sedgwick Minot (1852-1914)
Charles was born on 23 December 1852 to William Minot II and Katharine
Sedgwick Minot. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1872
and married Lucy Fosdick of Groton, on 1 June 1889. Charles became an
instructor in oral pathology and surgery 1880-1882, holding many eminent
positions over the course of his career until his death on 19 November 1914.
Charles and Lucy had no children.
Francis was born on 12 April 1821 to William Minot and Louisa Davis. He
graduated from Harvard University in 1841 and then went to Medical School on
Mason Street, Boston. In 1859 he was elected visiting physician to
Massachusetts General Hospital, and later became consulting physician. He
remained in this post until his death on 11 May 1899.
Henry Davis Minot (1859-1890)
The son of William Minot II and Katharine Sedgwick Minot was born on 18
August 1859.At seventeen he wrote a book called The Land and Game Birds of New
England and then began working at Jackson and Curtis as a stockbrokers.
Eventually he gained a position at Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway where
he became vice president. On 14 November 1890 he was killed in a railroad
accident at the age of 31. He never married.
Julia Minot (1823-1875)
Julia was born on 23 January 1823 to William Minot and Louisa Davis. For
many years she was an invalid and died on 22 March 1875 unmarried.
Louisa Davis Minot (1788-1858)
Louisa was born on 10 May 1788 to Daniel Davis and Lois Freeman. She married
William Minot in 1810 and became mother to William, Francis and Julia. When
William Minot II married she became Katharine Sedgwick Minot's mother-in-law.
She died on 21 January 1858.
Robert Sedgwick Minot (1856-1910)
The son of William Minot II and Katharine Sedgwick Minot was born on 10th
August 1856. He married Abby Howe, daughter of William Wayland Manning of
Michigan in January 1883 and had four children. He died on 15 May 1910 in
William Minot III (1849-1900)
William, the third son of William Minot II and Katharine Sedgwick Minot, was
born on 7 May 1849. In 1868 he graduated from Harvard Law School. He married
Elizabeth Vredenburgh Van Pelt on 4 June 1882 and they had four children. On 30
November 1900, he died in Boston.
Catharine Maria Sedgwick (1789-1867)
Catharine Maria was born on 28 December 1789 to Theodore Sedgwick and Pamela
Dwight, in Stockbridge. She shared a close relationship with her brothers
Theodore II, Henry Dwight, Robert and Charles. She eventually became one of
America's most popular authors producing novels such as Redwood (1824) and Hope
Leslie (1827). She remained unmarried until her death on 31 July 1867, which
occurred while living with her nephew, William Minot II.
Elizabeth Ellery Sedgwick (1824-1898)
Elizabeth was born on 27 January 1824 to Robert Sedgwick and Elizabeth Dana
Ellery. She was the cousin of Katharine Sedgwick Minot (their fathers were
brothers). Elizabeth married Francis James Child in 1860 and had four children.
She died in Cambridge in 1898.
Jane Sedgwick (1821-1889)
Jane was born on 20 February 1821 to Henry Dwight Sedgwick and Jane Minot.
She was the cousin of Katharine Sedgwick Minot and died unmarried on 12
February 1889 in Washington D.C.
Louisa Tellkampf Sedgwick
Louisa was the wife of William Dwight Sedgwick and sister-in-law to
Katharine Sedgwick Minot. She married William in 1857 in her hometown of
Hanover, Germany and they had three daughters. Following her husband death
during the Civil War, she looked after her daughters until her own death in
Maria Banyer Sedgwick
Maria was born on 8 December 1813 to Theodore Sedgwick II and Susan Anne
Livingston Ridley. She was the cousin of Katharine Sedgwick Minot and died on
5th September 1883.
Robert Sedgwick (1787-1841)
The son of Judge Theodore Sedgwick and Pamela Dwight was born on 6th June
1787. He was the older brother of Katharine's Sedgwick Minot's father, Charles
Sedgwick. Robert graduated from Williams College in 1804 and became a
well-known lawyer in New York City. On 21 August 1822 he married Elizabeth Dana
Ellery of Newport, Rhode Island and they had eight children. He died of
apoplexy at Sachems Head, Connecticut on 2 September 1841.
Susan Anne Livingston Ridley (1788-1867)
Susan was born on 24 May 1788 to Matthew Ridley and Catherine Livingston.
She married Theodore Sedgwick II, the uncle of Katharine Maria Sedgwick on 28
November 1808. Susan died at Stockbridge on 20 January 1867.
The daughter of Ebenezer Watson and Frances Sedgwick was born on 21
September 1811. Frances and Katharine Sedgwick Minot were cousins (Katharine's
father and Frances' mother were siblings).
Mary Watson (1813-1890)
Mary was born on 20 January 1813 to Stephen Hathaway and Lydia Swain. She
was married on 1 July 1833 to Robert Sedgwick Watson, the son of Ebenezer
Watson and Frances Sedgwick. Her maiden name was Mary Taber Hathaway and she
had a twin, Sarah Swain Hathaway who was married to John Murray Forbes. She
died in Milton on 20 December 1890.
Foster, Edward Halsey, Catharine Maria
Sedgwick, Twayne Publishers, Inc., New York, 1974
Menand, Catharine, Research Guide to
Massachusetts Courts and Records, 1987
Minot, James Jackson, Ancestors and Descendants
of George Richards Minot 1758-1802, 1936
The Minot Family: Record of Births, Marriages
and Deaths 1754-1934, Copied from Family Bibles, 1934
Welch, Richard E. Theodore Sedgwick, Federalist:
A Political Portrait, 1965
Massachusetts Historical Society
Proceedings, Vol. 75, 1963
Massachusetts Historical Society
Proceedings, Vol. 70, 1950-53
The Sedgwick Family Website: http://www.sedgwick.org
Harvard Memorial Biographies: William Dwight Sedgwick:
The Charles Sedgwick papers document the relationships among the
interrelated Sedgwick and Minot families and their friends from 1813 to 1908.
The collection consists of twenty boxes of papers, two large manuscript
folders, and five bound volumes.
Apart from the business papers of Charles Sedgwick (1791-1856), the bulk of
the collection consists of correspondence to and from Elizabeth B. D. Sedgwick
(1801-1864), Katharine Sedgwick Minot (1820-1880), William Minot II
(1817-1894), Elizabeth D. S. Rackemann (1826-1891), Grace A. S. Bristed
(1833-1897), and William D. Sedgwick (1831-1862). The collection also contains
bound volumes, including diaries and travel journals kept from 1828 to 1879,
most written by Katharine Sedgwick Minot, as well as general
Charles Sedgwick's business papers document his professional life as a
lawyer who dealt with litigation and property deals. Many of the male members
of the Sedgwick family were trained in the legal profession and their
correspondence throughout the collection reflects this as well.
The family correspondence encompasses a broad range of topics, including
politics, family deaths and religion. The women in the Sedgwick family are
heavily represented in the collection, in particular their involvement in
education, both as pupils and teachers, travel in the United States and abroad,
and the Civil War on the home front. A large section of the correspondence is
to or from Katharine Sedgwick Minot, the niece of author Catharine Maria
Sedgwick. Catherine Maria played an influential role in both Katharine and her
daughter Alice's lives. Catharine Maria Sedgwick introduced the family to
Charles Dickens when he toured America in 1842, and family correspondence
documents the reaction and excitement prompted by the event.
William D. Sedgwick's wrote extensively to his mother Elizabeth B. D.
Sedgwick during the Civil War, while serving in Company D, the 2nd
Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. In his letters he articulates many aspects of
the war, including battles, military strategy, daily life as a soldier, and his
support of a draft, until his death on the battlefield of Antietam, in
The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) holds numerous collections of
Sedgwick family papers, including several of Catharine Maria Sedgwick. See the
collection descriptions in
the finding aids to individual collections for more information.
The Massachusetts Historical Society also holds the following photograph
related to the Charles Sedgwick papers: Carte de visite of Louisa Sedgwick
Playfair, 1890. Photo. 9.18.
The correspondence to and from Elizabeth B. D. Sedgwick (1801-1864),
Katharine Sedgwick Minot (1820-1880), William Minot II (1817-1894), Elizabeth
D. S. Rackemann (1826-1891), Grace A. S. Bristed (1833-1897), and William D.
Sedgwick (1831-1862) is arranged chronologically under these five individuals
and their correspondents. To avoid overlap, correspondence between Katharine
Sedgwick Minot and one of the other main individuals is always placed with the
Katharine Sedgwick Minot correspondence. Likewise, apart from letters with
Katharine Sedgwick Minot, correspondence with these individuals and William
Minot II is always organized with his papers. Remaining correspondence not
related to these individuals is filed in General correspondence.
Each series of correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent's
Katharine Minot Channing (Mrs. Henry Morse Channing) of Sherburn,
Massachusetts deposited the Charles Sedgwick papers in May 1952. The papers
were removed from a larger collection of Minot family papers that included
letters by Daniel Davis, Elizabeth Dwight, Catharine Maria Sedgwick and
Theodore Sedgwick, as well as correspondence and diaries of William Minot. The
collection was made a gift to the Massachusetts Historical Society in May
The collection is organized into the following series:
|I. Charles Sedgwick business and personal papers, 1813-1858
|II. Elizabeth B. D. Sedgwick correspondence, 1822-1860
|III. Correspondence with Katharine Sedgwick Minot, 1826-1880
|IV. Correspondence with William Minot II, 1842-1892
|V. Correspondence with Elizabeth D. S. Rackemann, 1839- 1890
|VI. Correspondence with Grace A. S. Bristed, 1848-1890
|VII. Correspondence with William D. Sedgwick and papers regarding his
|VIII. General correspondence, 1828-1908
|IX. Bound volumes, diaries and travel journals, 1828-1879
|I. Charles Sedgwick business and personal papers,
|A. Charles Sedgwick business papers,
These business papers reflect the duties Charles performed during his long
career as clerk of the courts, in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Most male
members of the Sedgwick family, such as his brother Theodore and brother-in-law
Ebenezer Watson, shared a background in law. His business papers consist
primarily of legal documents, specifically promissory notes, deeds, indentures,
trial lists, divorce petitions, writs, insurance policies and depositions
authorizing Charles Sedgwick to act on a client's behalf. In addition, there
are general accounts and receipts for purchases.
|Box 3||Folder 1-4||Mar 1854-April 1858
|Box 3||Folder 5-23||B. Charles Sedgwick personal papers,
Charles' personal papers consist of letters between him and his family
(including his wife Elizabeth, sister Jane and brother Theodore) and friends
(notably, Mr. and Mrs. John Forbes). Charles' correspondence with his friend,
Henry Dwight, from 1814-15 documents his ideas about politics, Europe, freedom,
power and religion.
|Box 3||Folder 24-39||C. Correspondence between Charles Sedgwick and William Minot II,
The correspondence between Charles Sedgwick and William Minot II contain
many more letters from William Minot II to his father-in-law, Charles Sedgwick,
than vice versa. William and Charles developed a close, personal relationship.
By the end of their exchange, William began by addressing Charles as 'father'
rather than as 'Mr. Sedgwick'. The majority of the correspondence explains the
events occupying William's family and his relationship with various family
members. Among the topics discussed are William's concerns over the banking
system in Massachusetts in 1838 and his fears over the public money that should
be circulating among traders and businessmen being squandered by politicians. A
decade later in 1848, and again in 1855, he debates the fate of Europe and in
particularly Ireland, with respect to the Potato Famine.
A highlight of the correspondence is his referral to the visit of Charles
Dickens to the United States in 1842. His writings capture the excitement of
the event as he offers a ticket for the "Dickens Dinner" to Charles, a function
that he later attends with his wife, Katharine Sedgwick Minot.
|Box 3||Folder 40-52||II. Elizabeth B. D. Sedgwick correspondence,
This correspondence is between Elizabeth and her family and friends,
including her mother Rhoda Dwight. The majority of the letters were written by
Elizabeth to her friend Sarah Forbes.
|III. Correspondence with Katharine Sedgwick Minot,
Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and thirty-six friends and
family members encompasses the largest part of the Charles Sedgwick papers.
Katharine's correspondents include daughter Alice W. Minot; aunt Catharine M.
Sedgwick; son Charles Minot; father Charles Sedgwick; mother Elizabeth B. D.
Sedgwick; cousin Elizabeth Ellery Sedgwick; aunt Frances Watson; brother-in-law
Francis Minot; George Hillard; sister Grace A. S. Ashburner; son Henry Davis
Minot; cousin Jane Sedgwick; grandfather Josiah Dwight; friend Julia Hamner;
sister-in-law Julia Minot; sister-in-law Louisa Tellkampf Sedgwick; friend Lucy
B. Channing; cousin Maria Banyer Sedgwick; cousin Mary Watson; grandmother
Rhoda Edwards; son Robert S. Minot; her uncle Robert Sedgwick; friend Sarah
Forbes; aunt Susan A. L. Ridley; cousin Theodore Sedgwick III; son William
Minot III; husband William Minot II, and brother William D. Sedgwick.
The majority of correspondence is between Katharine and her immediate family
members. Correspondence with her daughter, Alice Woodbourne Minot, spans from
Alice's childhood (age 7) to adulthood (age 32). Letters written during the
Civil War document reaction on the home front from the perspective of a
fourteen year old girl. In 1861, she expresses her shock at hearing that
Southerners were tying the wounded to trees and noted that her uncle, William
D. Sedgwick, had left to fight. In 1862, she refers to a paper signed by the
ladies in her town, who have husbands, sons, and brothers at war, to compel the
president to remove all incompetent and drunken officers.
Katharine's correspondence with her father, Charles Sedgwick, primarily
concerns family events and local news and shows her close relationship with him
until his death at age thirty-six. They often wrote to each other when
Katharine traveled with her Aunt Kitty (Catharine Maria Sedgwick), Charles'
sister, a practice that is later repeated by her own daughter, Alice.
In her correspondence with her mother, Elizabeth B. D. Sedgwick, Katharine
confided regularly as she experienced new places, people, marriage and
motherhood. In 1842, she describes how, along with her aunt Catharine Maria,
she met Charles Dickens at a dinner during his visit to the United States.
(This dinner is also documented in correspondence between Charles Sedgwick and
William Minot II (see above)).
Letters between Katharine and her mother concerning William D. Sedgwick's
letters home illustrate reactions to the Civil War on the home front and how
letters from soldiers impacted women back home. Katharine hints about her
mother's response to hearing that William has been badly wounded in September
Most revealing are the letters between Katharine and her husband William
Minot II that provide a wealth of information regarding the events related to
the Sedgwick and Minot families over several generations. The writings span a
forty-year period, from before their marriage in 1842, through Katharine's
death in 1880. The letters are often very personal in nature because both
travel frequently leaving this as the only means of communication.
For additional correspondence with Katharine Sedgwick Minot see Series VIII
General Correspondence. See also Katharine Sedgwick Minot's journals in series
IX Bound volumes, diaries and travel journals.
|Box 4||Folder 1-19||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Alice W. Minot,
|Box 4||Folder 20||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Catharine M.
|Box 4||Folder 21||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Charles Minot,
|Box 4||Folder 22-44||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Charles
|Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Elizabeth B. D.
|Box 5||1832- June 1850
|Box 6||July 1850- 1864
|Box 7||Folder 1||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Elizabeth D. E.
|Box 7||Folder 2-33||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Elizabeth D. S.
|Box 8||Folder 1-18||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Elizabeth D. S.
|Box 8||Folder 19||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Elizabeth Ellery
|Box 9||Folder 1||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Frances Watson,
|Box 9||Folder 2||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Francis Minot,
|Box 9||Folder 3-4||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and George Hillard,
|Box 9||Folder 5-15||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Grace A. S.
|Box 9||Folder 16-17||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Henry Davis
|Box 9||Folder 18||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Jane Sedgwick,
|Box 9||Folder 19-22||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Josiah Dwight,
|Box 9||Folder 23-25||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Julia Hamner,
|Box 10||Folder 1-13||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Julia Minot,
|Box 11||Folder 1||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Louisa Davis
|Box 11||Folder 2-5||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Louisa Tellkampf
|Box 11||Folder 6-7||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Lucy B.
|Box 11||Folder 8||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Maria Banyer
|Box 11||Folder 9-12||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Mary Watson,
|Box 11||Folder 13-14||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Rhoda Edwards
|Box 11||Folder 15||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Robert S. Minot,
|Box 11||Folder 16||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Robert Sedgwick,
|Box 11||Folder 17-19||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Sarah Forbes,
|Box 11||Folder 20||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Susan A. L.
|Box 11||Folder 21||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and Theodore
|Box 11||Folder 22||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and William Minot,
|Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and William Minot
|Box 12||1840-Feb 1843
|Box 13||July 1843-1865
|Box 14||Folder 1-13||1866-1879
|Box 14||Folder 14-15||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and William Minot
|Box 14||Folder 16||Correspondence between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and William D.
|IV. Correspondence with William Minot II,
(For correspondence between William and Katharine Sedgwick Minot, see Series
III, Katharine Sedgwick Minot correspondence, 1826-1880)
William Minot II shared many of the same correspondents as his wife
Katharine Sedgwick Minot, and his correspondence includes many of the same
topics and themes as hers. William was an integral part of the Sedgwick family
and a father figure to his nieces and nephews, particularly after Kate's death
in 1880 as he opened his home to her sister's children, Charles and Elizabeth.
William and other members of the family traveled quite extensively,
particularly within Europe, and frequently described their impressions.
The correspondence between William Minot II and his brother-in-law William
D. Sedgwick provides personal insight into the Civil War. His letters discuss
the war strategy of the time, the number of men involved, and his attempt to
gain support for the draft. In a letter to William Minot dated 24 July 1862,
William Sedgwick stated his concern about the conflict including the lack of
numbers of soldiers fighting the war. " Eventually we must either draft, or get
whipped - the sooner we do it, the better, the wiser, the safer." William
Sedgwick was fatally wounded on the battlefield less than two months after this
letter was written.
|Box 15||Folder 1||Correspondence between William Minot II and Alice W. Minot,
|Box 15||Folder 2-3||Correspondence between William Minot II and Charles S. Rackemann,
|Box 15||Folder 4-5||Correspondence between William Minot II and Elizabeth B. D.
|Box 15||Folder 6-25||Correspondence between William Minot II and Elizabeth D. S.
|Box 15||Folder 26||Correspondence between William Minot II and Elizabeth S. Child,
|Box 15||Folder 27||Correspondence between William Minot II and Elizabeth S. Rackemann,
|Box 15||Folder 28||Correspondence between William Minot II and Grace A. S. Bristed,
|Box 15||Folder 29||Correspondence between William Minot II and Henry D. Sedgwick,
|Box 15||Folder 30||Correspondence between William Minot II and Julia Hamner,
|Box 16||Folder 1||Correspondence between William Minot II and Julia Minot,
|Box 16||Folder 2||Correspondence between William Minot II and Louisa Davis Minot,
|Box 16||Folder 3-7||Correspondence between William Minot II and Louisa Tellkampf
|Box 16||Folder 8||Correspondence between William Minot II and William D. Sedgwick,
|Box 16||Folder 9-10||Correspondence between William Minot II and William Minot,
|Box 16||Folder 11||Correspondence between William Minot II and William Minot III,
|V. Correspondence with Elizabeth D. S. Rackemann,
(For Elizabeth D. S. Rackemann's correspondence with Katharine Sedgwick
Minot and William Minot II, see Series III and Series IV)
Elizabeth's correspondence with her niece, Alice, and her nephews, Henry and
William, to whom she was known to as Aunt Bessie, consists of general
conversation about family events, visiting, and how ladies of such a privileged
background occupied their time. The close relationship she shared with her
nephew Henry D. Minot is reflected in the number of letters written between
|Box 17||Folder 1-2||Correspondence between Elizabeth D. S. Rackemann and Alice W. Minot,
|Box 17||Folder 3||Correspondence between Elizabeth D. S. Rackemann and Elizabeth B. D.
|Box 17||Folder 4-11||Correspondence between Elizabeth D. S. Rackemann and Henry D. Minot,
|Box 17||Folder 12||Correspondence between Elizabeth D. S. Rackemann and Sarah Forbes,
|Box 17||Folder 13-14||Correspondence between Elizabeth D. S. Rackemann and William Minot
|VI. Correspondence with Grace A. S. Bristed,
(For Grace A. S. Bristed's correspondence with Katharine Sedgwick Minot and
William Minot II, see Series III and Series IV)
This small series documents the lifestyle of a young, American woman
associated with a wealthy social class. At fifteen years of age, Grace attended
a school in New York and recalled to her mother that her lessons include
French, Italian and the piano.
Grace's letters illustrate debates in the social circles of the local women
as the Civil War approached. Grace recalled an incident to her niece, Alice,
where her friends and neighbors were unimpressed by the comments of a Southern
lady. She quotes the lady's remarks, "Well we have been oppressed long enough
by the North and we won't stand for it any longer!"
|Box 17||Folder 15||Correspondence between Grace A. S. Bristed and Alice W. Minot,
|Box 17||Folder 16||Correspondence between Grace A. S. Bristed and Elizabeth D. S.
|Box 17||Folder 17-19||Correspondence between Grace A. S. Bristed and Henry Davis Minot,
|VII. Correspondence with William D. Sedgwick and papers regarding
The majority of William D. Sedgwick's correspondence is to his mother,
Elizabeth B. D. Sedgwick, during 1861-1862, when he was fighting in the Civil
War. In 1861 he was commissioned as first lieutenant in Company D, the 2nd
Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. He was subsequently detailed as ordnance
officer of Major-General Nathaniel D. Banks' Corps and was then transferred to
the staff of Major-General John Sedgwick with the rank of Major.
William is highly articulate and sets the scene of the Civil War with a high
level of detail. He recounts events on the battlefield, military strategy, and
the light, weather and ground conditions, as well as what he can smell and
hear. He writes, "Dixie, Yankee Doodle and Star Spangled banner have resounded
in all directions." On 2 September 1862 he explains that it is his second night
without sleep and, "had dismounted for fear of falling out of the saddle and
was leaning my head in the horses neck with my arm thrown over him and had just
got for a moment fairly asleep, suddenly an explosion occurred."
His letters also reflect the concerns of family at home. In July 1861 he
describes his wife Louisa, "having perils and anxieties" and "distressing
visions and dreams." He also reveals his father in law's (referred to as the
Professor) displeasure at William for fighting. William says that Professor
Tellkampf appeals to him to stop and expresses, "the hopelessness of the effort
to maintain the union and his consequent disapproval of my continuing in the
army." The letters also chart his progression in the army and his aspirations
to be part of his cousin John Sedgwick's contingent. This series also contains
a certificate of his promotion to assistant adjutant general with the rank of
major, signed by Abraham Lincoln in August 1862.
In September 1862, he sent a letter to his mother opening with the words, "I
was wounded yesterday." Although he tries to reassure his family that he is
fine he later wrote, "my recovery tho' probable is not certain." His mother and
sister were with him when he died but his wife did not arrive in time. He died
in a farmhouse near the battlefield of Antietam, Maryland, where he had been
This series also contains condolence letters and other papers related to
|Correspondence with William D. Sedgwick,
|Box 17||Folder 20-30||Correspondence between William D. Sedgwick and Elizabeth B. D.
|Box 17||Folder 31||Correspondence between William D Sedgwick and Louisa Tellkampf
|Box 17||Folder 32||Papers related to William D. Sedgwick's death,
|VIII. General correspondence,
These papers consist of correspondence that cannot be incorporated into the
main series of the collection. A considerable part of the papers are letters
between Katharine Sedgwick Minot and her friends and family, including letters
written by Katharine as a young woman in the 1830s with many pen pals from
other countries. When the writer of the letter is unidentified or the letter is
incomplete, it is held in this part of the collection.
In addition, this part of the collection contains poems, letter wrappers,
sermons, a Valentine's Greeting to Katharine Sedgwick Minot from 1838, and a
list of persons present at Jane Sedgwick's Christening in 1844. The latter
portion of the correspondence centers on the children of William D. Sedgwick,
Katharine Sedgwick Minot, and Elizabeth D. S. Rackemann.
|Box 20||Folder 1-8||1883-1908
|IX. Bound volumes, diaries and travel journals,
|A. Bound volumes
Katharine Sedgwick Minot's album of 1828 contains of poems and drawings. A
commonplace book compiled by Katharine ca.1834-1841 contains foreign language
exercises and a copy of a letter written by Katharine's father, Charles
Sedgwick where he explains why his daughter is not suitable for marriage. At
the back of the book are lists of music purchased and how much they cost. A
notebook by Katharine Sedgwick Minot contains mostly undated notes on Dante and
copies of songs. In addition, at the back of the notebook are duplicates of
letters written in Italian from Giovanni Albinola in 1836. Account books kept
by Katharine Sedgwick Minot from 1840 to 1848 and 1854 to 1857 provide an
insight into Katharine's spending habits and how much items cost in the 1840s
|Vol. I||Katharine Sedgwick Minot's album,
|Vol. II||Katharine Sedgwick Minot's commonplace book,
|Vol. III||Katharine Sedgwick Minot's notebook, n.d., with letters from
|Vol. IV||Katharine Sedgwick Minot's account book,
|Vol. V||Katharine Sedgwick Minot's household account book,
Katherine Sedgwick writes as a teenager from 1834 to1836 about her daily
life in Lenox, Mass. and travels in New England. She writes about a trip to
Niagara Falls with her parents in July 1834, a trip to visit friends outside
Philadelphia with her aunt Catherine Maria Sedgwick in spring of 1835, and time
spent in New York City in the fall of that year.
Katherine also kept a series of four diaries from 1839 to 1840 while
accompanying her aunt Catharine Maria Sedgwick, her uncle Robert Sedgwick, and
his family on a tour around Europe. She writes in detail about the museums, art
galleries, and historic sites they visited in England, Germany, France, and
Italy, among other countries. She also writes about the people they meet during
their travels, including her first encounter with her future husband William
Minot in Rome, Italy.
In 1841, Katharine Sedgwick Minot writes about her concerns regarding her
brother Charles' depression and subsequent death. She talks in great detail
about how her parents became aware of his death and how various family members
react to such news.
In addition, there is a journal from 1842 in which Elizabeth B. D. Sedgwick
writes of her excitement that a 'Dr. Channing' is visiting her school and how
inspirational he is to her as a teacher. For the visit the girls at her school
put on a performance of a play written by her aunt, author Catharine Maria
Sedgwick, Elizabeth's sister-in-law.
Between April and October 1868, Katharine Sedgwick Minot wrote a journal of
her travels around Europe. She visits France, Italy, Germany and England,
accompanied in part by her husband William, daughter Alice, Julia Minot and
Julia Hamner. There is also a notebook describing a tour of England, written by
Miss Sim in 1879 for Elizabeth B. D. Sedgwick
|Box 20||Folder 13||Katherine Sedgwick's diary,
|Vol. VI||Katherine Sedgwick's diary,
|Vol. VII||Katherine Sedgwick's travel diary,
|Vol. VIII||Katherine Sedgwick's travel diary,
|Vol. IX||Katherine Sedgwick's travel diary,
November 1839-June 1840
|Vol. X||Katherine Sedgwick's travel diary,
|Box 20||Folder 9||Katharine Sedgwick Minot's diary,
|Box 20||Folder 10||Elizabeth B. D. Sedgwick's diary extract,
|Box 20||Folder 11||Katharine Sedgwick Minot's travel journal of Europe,
|Box 20||Folder 12||Notebook describing tour of England by Miss Sims,
Charles Sedgwick papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in
the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers
desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should
search the catalog using these headings.
|Bristed, Grace Ashburner
|Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870.
|Minot, Alice Woodbourne,
|Minot, Katharine Sedgwick,
|Minot, William, 1817-1894.
|Rackemann, Elizabeth Dwight
|Sedgwick, Catharine Maria,
|Sedgwick, Elizabeth Buckminster
|Sedgwick, William Dwight,
|United States. Army.
Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 2nd (1861-1864).
(Mass.)--Officials and employees.
|New England--Description and
War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories--Massachusetts Artillery (Heavy), 2nd
|Voyages and travels--Diaries.