Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Buttolph Family Collection, 1872-1924

Finding aid created by
Clements Staff, September 2006, and Meg Hixon, December 2011

Summary Information
Title: Buttolph family collection
Creator: Buttolph, Larnard Dean, 1852-1934 and Buttolph, Florence W.
Inclusive dates: 1872-1924
Bulk dates: 1872-1890
Extent: 3 volumes
The Buttolph family collection contains two diaries and an account book chronicling the experiences and expenses of Larnard D. and Florence W. Buttolph of Corfu, New York, in the late 1800s. Florence W. Buttolph's 1872 diary concerns her social life in rural New York, Larnard D. Buttolph's 1873 diary covers his experiences working in California, and an account book reflects Larnard's farm expenses between 1882 and 1890.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1995. M-3126.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Buttolph Family Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The three manuscript volumes are arranged chronologically, and the visual material is housed in the Graphics Division.


Larnard Dean (1852-1934) and Florence W. (ca. 1856-1889) Buttolph were the two children of Hiram and Lorette Buttolph of Corfu, New York. Larnard worked on the family farm with his father for most of his life, and spent much of 1873 in California seeking steady employment; he returned to live with his parents in January 1874 and eventually inherited the farm. He and his wife, Julia Sutherland, were married around 1889, and had one daughter, Florence, born around 1901.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Buttolph family collection contains two diaries and an account book chronicling the experiences and expenses of Larnard D. and Florence W. Buttolph of Corfu, New York, in the late 19th century. Florence's diary (80 pages), kept between March 10, 1872, and September 28, 1872, relates her social life and daily experiences, including visits to neighbors and attendance at school; she frequently helped her mother around the house, and knitted in her spare time.

The first 40 pages of Larnard’s diary contain addresses and a correspondence record, and the remainder of the volume is a daily diary kept between April 8, 1873, and January 15, 1874, reflecting his experiences traveling by train to California and working at a mill in the northern part of the state. The first few entries, dated in April, cover his transcontinental railroad trip, during which he wrote about his impressions of Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming. He reached California by the end of that month, and spent the remainder of the year working various jobs near Sacramento, including mill work and ranching. Though he made some money and was able to travel to San Francisco in December, he decided to return to New York in mid-January 1874.

The final item is Larnard's account book, covering farm expenses between 1882 and 1889, with a few 20th-century items laid in. The first few pages reflect the general state of his finances in 1882 and 1883, and more specific later accounts cover his transactions with local butchers, shearers, and laborers; some record purchases and others sales. Among the items laid in is a printed document for stockholders, entitled "The Pennsylvania Railroad System in 1923" (May 15, 1924).

Visual material includes an ink drawing of a bird and butterfly, as well as tintypes and other photographs of Buttolph family members and anonymous individuals.

Subject Terms

    • Agriculture--New York (State)--History--19th century.
    • California--History--19th century.
    • Corfu (N.Y.)--Social life and customs.
    • Family farms--New York (State)
    • Farm management.
    • Farming.
    • Genesee County (N.Y)--History--19th century.
    • Migrant labor--California.
    • Railroad travel--United States.
    • Sacramento (Calif.)
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Buttolph family.
    • Buttolph, Florence W.
    • Buttolph, Larnard Dean, 1852-1934.
    Genre Terms:
    • Account books.
    • Cartes-de-visite.
    • Diaries.
    • Photographs.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Buttolph family collection [series]    [Note: Visual items are housed in the Graphics Division]
    Volume   1  
    Florence W. Buttolph diary,  1872
    Volume   2  
    Larnard D. Buttolph diary,  1873-1874
    Volume   3  
    Larnard D. Buttolph farm account book,  1882-1889
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Alternate Locations

    The drawing, carte-de-visite album, and photographs are housed in the Graphics Division.