William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Albin Kendall Putnam Papers,1821-1850
Rob S. Cox, August 1997
Albin Kendall Putnam papers
Putnam, Dorothy Abbott
The Albin K. Putnam papers contain the scattered correspondence of an Episcopal priest and his family in New England.
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.
No copyright restrictions.
The central figure in assembling this collection is Dorothy Abbott Putnam, recipient of most of the letters and therefore the original collector. It is unclear how she managed to retrieve her own letters to William Spaulding, but it is possible that they were returned to her following his death. The papers passed to her daughter, Rucina P. Adams, and eventually to the latter's grandson, Albin C. DeMary, who in 1943 was living in Idaho. From here they seem to have passed out of the family. They were acquired by the Clements Library in 1984.
Albin Kendall Putnam Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan.
On October 1, 1815, Albin Kendall Putnam was born in Cavendish, Vt., the eldest child of Silas and Dorothy (Abbott) Putnam. He was enrolled at Dartmouth College for about one year, beginning in the fall, 1834, during which time he was baptized an Episcopalian and felt called to the priesthood. Leaving Dartmouth for lack of funds, he taught school for several months before entering the University of Vermont, apparently with the assistance of John Henry Hopkins (1792-1868), Episcopal Bishop of Vermont. Putnam lived in the Hopkins home in Burlington, at least temporarily.
Ordained a deacon by Bishop Hopkins in October, 1838, Putnam held the pastorate at Vergennes, Vt., through the end of that year. From 1839 to 1844 he preached at Potsdam, N.Y., where he met and married his wife, Fanny. The couple had three children: Mary (b. 1841), Edith (1843-1848), and Charles (b. ca.1845). In 1842, Putnam earned a master's degree from Hobart College, whose president Benjamin Hale (1797-1863) had been one of Putnam's professors at Dartmouth.
In 1844, Albin Putnam returned to Vermont to accept the pastorate of Emmanuel Church in Bellows Falls, and soon developed a serious illness. As a result, he was forced into early retirement during the summer of 1847, and undertook a trip to New York City to consult physicians. Upon receiving the bad news that he had contracted tuberculosis, Putnam sent his wife and children to live with his parents' in Cavendish. He died in Bellows Falls, November 6, 1847, at the age of thirty-two and was buried in the Emmanuel churchyard.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The Albin K. Putnam papers contain the scattered correspondence of an Episcopal priest, documenting a life from its early setbacks in obtaining an education to its early termination in a lingering death. The collection is composed of three main sections. First are letters written by friends and relatives of Dorothy Abbott Putnam, 1821-1830 (29 August 1821-30 March 1830; 10 October [n.d.]), principally on religious topics. Second are letters by Albin K. Putnam from the time of his entry into Dartmouth College in 1834 to his death in 1847 (27 September 1834-3 January 1849). These detail Putnam's years as a student and priest, his illness and death, and his wife's difficult adjustment to widowhood. Interspersed are a few other letters not specifically relating to Albin and Fanny but which provide a more rounded picture of the Putnam family as a whole.
The third series of letters (6 August 1849-5 June 1850) document an intriguing chronicle of an old-age romance, in which William Spaulding, Dorothy Putnam's newly widowed brother-in-law, recalls how forty years earlier, he had wooed Dorothy before marrying her sister. This culminates in a second proposal of marriage, and a second refusal.
- Episcopal Church--Clergy.
- Hopkins, John Henry, 1792-1868.
Additional Descriptive Data
African-Americans--New Hampshire Baptist ChurchCatholic ChurchChildbirth
- 23 January 1841; 9 August 1841; 2 April 1843; 23 May 1843
Clothing and dressCorporal punishmentCourtship--Vermont
- 25 December 1846; 28 December 1847
- 6 August 1849; 9 November 1849; 11 November 1849; 23 December 1849; 2 January 1850; 5 February 1850; 5 June 1850
- 27 September 1834; 10 November 1834; 21 March 1835; 10 September 1835; 24 September 1835; 10 October 1835; 31 October 1835
New York (State)--Economic conditions
- 29 August 1821; 12 April 1822; 26 April 1822; 4 September 1822; 16 February 1843; 6 November 1848; 6 August 1849; 9 November 1849; 11 November 1849
Vermont--Economic conditionsEmotionsEpidemics--New York (State)Episcopal Church--Clergy
- 2 April 1843; 23 May 1843
Fires--New York (State)--PotsdamFires--Vermont--Bellows FallsGraham, Sylvester, 1794-1851
- 10 November 1834; 10 September 1835; 1 December 1836; 30 January 1838; 10 April 1838; 14 April 1838; 25 July 1838; 22 October 1838; 26 November 1838; 9 September 1840; 19 February 1844
Hale, Benjamin, 1797-1851
- 21 March 1835; 1 December 1836
Health resorts--New York (State)Hopkins, John Henry, 1792-1868
- 21 March 1835; 1 December 1836
Methodist ChurchMormonsPresidents--United States--Election, 1840Sunday-schoolsTeachers--New York (State)Tuberculosis
- 10 November 1834; 10 September 1835; 1 December 1836; 23 May 1843
Ward, Marilla, d. 1843--Death
- 22 September 1846; 31 [January] 1847; 2 October 1847; 21 October 1847
- 16 February 1843; 10 June 1843
- 5 December 1847; 28 December 1847; 6 August 1848; 6 Novebmer 1848; 3 January 1849