William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Curtis Family Papers, 1850-1883
Rob S. Cox, July 1996
Curtis family papers
The Curtis family papers are comprised of 58 letters written between Maine ship's captain Joseph Russell Curtis and his wife, Louisa. The letters map out the confines of a close relationship, maintained despite the lengthy periods of great separation.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown.
Curtis Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
Between the 1850s and 1870s, Joseph Russell Curtis (d. 1873) of Yarmouth, Maine, was a ship's captain, enduring the long absences imposed by life on the deep seas. His wife, Louisa J. Curtis (b. August 17, 1821) and children Oceana H. (b. 1845) and William (b. December 16, 1856), remained at home in Yarmouth, providing Joseph with a vital, if sporadic link to news of home. During her husband's absences, Louisa busied herself in various ways, firstly, in taking care of her children, but also joining a sewing society and keeping tabs on local news occupied her time as well.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The Curtis family papers are comprised of 58 letters written between Maine ship's captain, Joseph Russell Curtis and his wife, Louisa. The letters map out the confines of a close relationship, maintained despite the lengthy periods of great separation. Though Louisa's writing is labored, her letters reveal the hardships she encountered through separation. Joseph's letters are more concerned with matters in Maine than they are with describing the many ports of call he visited. His polished, literary style stands in stark contrast with the phonetic spelling and poor grammar of his wife.
- Home economics.
- Husband and wife--Maine.
- Parent and child--Maine.
- Ship captains--Maine.
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Additional Descriptive Data
African Americans--AlabamaAlabama--Description and travelCatholic ChurchCholeraChristianityDeathDetroit (Vessel)DogsEducationEstates (Law)--MaineFamily--MaineFatherhoodFathers and daughtersFathers and sonsGuanoHome economicsHusband and wife--MaineIllegitimacyMaineMotherhoodParent and child--Maine
- 2, 10, 13, 17, 19, 20, 23, 29, 32, 39
PoetryPregnancyRace relations--AlabamaSeparation anxietyShip captains--MaineShipping--MaineShipwrecksStormsStovesTemperanceUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865VacationsWestminster AbbeyYarmouth (Maine)--Description and travelZebra (Vessel)
- See letters of Louisa Curtis