John Atkinson papers  1742-1876 (bulk 1812-1840)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Wood family papers (4 linear feet) contain correspondence and other items related to the family of James A. Wood of Lebanon, Connecticut, and his descendants from the mid-19th to the early 20th century.

The Correspondence series comprises almost all of the collection. Early items are incoming letters to James A. Wood, Rebecca D. Pillsbury (later Wood), and their daughter, Helen Elizabeth Wood, from family members and acquaintances. James A. Wood's siblings wrote with updates on their lives, such as Caroline E. Wood's teaching career in numerous towns throughout New York. Rebecca D. Pillsbury also received letters from her brothers and sisters, and both Wood's and Pillsbury's correspondents discussed family matters, religion, and local news. Margaret Ann's letter of December 3, 1860, concerns her affection for a deceased baby sister, and an unidentified author's letter of September 4, 1861, describes the recent death of a grandmother. James A. Wood received an increasing amount of business-related correspondence, including letters from Charles W. Pierce, in the 1870s.

After the 1870s, most letters are addressed to Rebecca D. Wood and her daughter, Helen Elizabeth Wood. Rebecca's children often wrote letters to their mother, and Helen received letters from cousins and friends from around the East Coast. George P. Wood, Helen's brother, often shared stories of his young son James and of his life in Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, D. C.; and Peekskill, New York. In one letter, George included a map showing the location of his home in Washington, D. C. (November 13, 1899).

In addition to family and social news, letters occasionally referred to current events. "Dana," one of Helen E. Wood's cousins, wrote from his United States Army post during World War I (December 28, 1917), and other friends discussed the impact of the war. Among Helen's correspondents were Ida McCollister of New Hampshire and Harry Sawyer, an old friend who shared news of his life in Kearney, Nebraska. In one later letter, George P. Wood expressed some of his political views about the 1924 presidential election (October 27, 1924). Correspondence was less frequent after Helen E. Wood's death in 1933, with most incoming letters addressed to Winchester R. Wood of Lynn, Massachusetts, a member of the family's Connecticut branch. Undated items include similar family correspondence, as well as one letter written on a printed program for the Public Meeting of the Philadelphian Society at Kimball Union Academy at Meridian, New Hampshire, on June 12, 1878.

The Essays series includes an "Autobiography of a Sofa," written by R[ebecca] D. Pillsbury, as well as a manuscript draft of the "Common School Repository...Published semi-monthly by L. J. Boynton & R[ebecca] D. Pillsbury," containing 8 pages of short pieces attributed, often only by first name, to various contributors.

Among the six Receipts , addressed to A. Wood (1 item) and Helen E. Wood (5 items) are two receipts for Helen E. Wood's educational expenses and two slips crediting her account at Citizens National Bank, Boston.

Maps and Blueprints comprise 7 items. These are several drawings of house layouts, one map showing the locations of two buildings, and two blueprints.

The Newspaper Clippings series has 6 items, one of which is an article entitled "What They Say: How Girls of Various Cities Behave When They are Kissed."

The Ephemera series contains 52 Christmas cards, greeting cards, postcards, calling cards, programs, and other printed items. Specific items include 2 Red Cross membership cards, a pamphlet advertising The Art of Living Long by Louis Cornaro, and a blank order sheet for Sears, Roebuck and Co. from the 1920s.

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