Manuscripts and Archives

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The papers consist of miscellaneous personal papers of Edward Parmelee Smith including letters to his future wife (1851-1854) and letters to his daughter (1872-1873) with an account of a sea voyage to California and his impressions once there. His years at Yale College are documented by an autograph album with messages from his teachers and classmates (1849-1855). Among the four photographs in the papers is one showing Smith with six students when he was president of Howard University, Washington, D.C. (1875). Clippings and correspondence describe his work as Commissioner of Indian Affairs (1873) and his death in Africa in 1876 while an envoy of the American Missionary Association.

The papers consist of correspondence and business papers relating to Eli Whitney’s interests in developing the cotton gin and the manufacture of firearms employing a system of interchangeable parts. The cotton gin, created in 1793, revolutionized southern argiculture and was a major factor in the spread of plantation slavery during the nineteenth century.

Manuscripts and typewritten copies of newspaper articles, ships’ logs and letterbooks in the Library of Congress relating to the slave trade after 1806, especially during the years 1810-1811, 1816-1821 and 1860-1863. These were collected but not used in connection with herDocuments Illustrative of the Slave Trade, published 1930-1934.

The papers consist of correspondence and official government and military directives to and from Holwell Walshe, which document his career in the 1st and 2nd West India Regiments, particularly his years as commander of Sherbro Island, Sierra Leone. Walshe took possession of Sherbro in September 1862 and successfully defended the island and revitalized its economy. He remained as Civil Commandant until 1871, when he was transferred to Singapore as a police magistrate.

Correspondence, diaries, writings and other papers of John Pitkin Norton, professor of agricultural chemistry at Yale from 1846-1852. Norton’s diaries contain observations on slavery and abolition, the Amistad case, the Liberty Party, religion, and temperance, among other topics. Professor Norton was also closely associated with the early days of the Sheffield Scientific School and was a pioneer in the application of scientific principles and methods to agriculture.

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