Graham family papers  1731-1849
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Graham Family Papers contain 96 letters, 12 diaries and journals, 11 documents, 3 printed items, 59 miscellaneous writings, 7 genealogical items, and 8 newspaper clippings, relating to John Graham, Sr., John Graham, Jr., and Sylvester Graham.

Items concerning John Graham, Sr., are a religious copybook, begun c. 1724; three printed items (A Platform of Church Discipline [1731], A Few Remarks on the Remarker [1760], and the Sermon at the Ordination of Mr. Bradner [1761]); two manuscript biographies; and 12 letters between his son, John, Jr., and him, written during the French and Indian War.

John Graham, Jr.'s life is well represented through letters, journals, and documents. The Correspondence series holds 32 letters written by and 2 received by Graham. The earliest items are materials from the time of his installment and ministry in West Suffield (8 letters and 5 other items, plus a manuscript record book of baptisms, marriages, deaths, and meetings at the 2nd Church of Christ) and his service in the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. Particularly interesting are the 12 letters (incoming from his father and outgoing to his wife) written while he was at Camp Half Moon and Fort Edwards; they provide details on one engagement with Indians, information on troop movements, camp life, and his duties as chaplain. The 4 letters and 50-page diary kept by Graham while he accompanied the 1st Regiment during the Siege of Havana in 1762 provide useful information of the military operations there. The Revolutionary War materials consist of 10 letters between 1767 and 1779, including 3 written to his son Narcissus, and 7 from his half-brother, Chauncey Graham, from Fishkill. Chauncey also contributed 10 letters dated before the Revolution. He mentioned “Brother Robert," who was a member of the General Assembly meeting in Poughkeepsie (March 11, 1778), and seeing General Washington pass before establishing new headquarters (September 22, 1777). On February 15, 1779, he wrote that he was confident that the time of subjugation by Great Britain is near an end.

The collection holds 8 diary and journal items relating to John Graham, Jr. One item is a small bound volume of manuscripts, sermons, and copied letters, 1756-1780, that were collected and annotated in 1877. The [1739] and 1776-1785 journal contains a 21-page, four-chapter essay "Upon the Image of God and Man " that analyses original sin and "The Impossibility of Man's Recovery. " The bulk of the book consists of brief entries, often only one sentence, some of which describe soldiers' general movements. The entry from October 30, 1781, records that intelligence reports have confirmed the surrender of Cornwallis to Washington at Yorktown. The item entitled "Chronology of John Graham" duplicates some of the content of the previous journal, including notes on family and local events and holidays (1777-1785), but contains additional dates and synopses of his grandfather's letters (1746-1782). Also included in this series are John Graham's diary and religious notes (1749-1792), and a published book of extracts from his 1762 journal, published in 1896.

The Sylvester Graham material is very heterogeneous, with much relating to his lectures on health and the Bible. Of particular interest are the Sylvester Graham letters, which include: an 8-page letter to John Marshall on philosophy and politics (January 9, 1830), a 10-page letter to Henry Clay (1847) on politics and the presidential elections, a letter to the Citizens of Northampton (1850) outlining his personal history and reasons for leaving the city, and two letters relating to Graham's work with the American Sunday School Union. Among other items are letters from T. D. Weld, and Francis Condie, and 12 letters from attendees at Graham's lectures (1831-1844 and 1 undated).

The Writings Series holds 59 items from Sylvester including chapters from his book on Biblical Chronology, essays on American History, tea, coffee, opium, wines, experimental diets, the history of medicine, fruits and flowers, and a Fourth of July address, probably delivered by Graham.

The Documents Series (9 items) contains Reverend John Graham’s commissions as chaplain in the Connecticut State Militia, dated April 5, 1756, March 15, 1762, and October 14, 1777; John Graham, Sr.'s power of attorney (1756); Sylvester Graham's declaration of membership into the Vegetarian Society; and the marriage certificate for Sylvester Graham and Sarah M. Earl.

The Genealogy series (7 items) contains a 47-page biography of John Graham, Jr., written by Sylvester Graham, along with miscellaneous genealogy notes covering all three generations of Grahams.

Newspaper Clippings and Miscellaneous series (8 items) contains 3 newspaper clippings, a small metal button, an empty envelope, 2 auction descriptions of part of the collection, and a 9-page booklet entitled "The Direful Epidemick: A Loose Pindaric By Reubin Kitzinwinger Esqr."

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