This collection contains 62 letters, 41 documents and financial records, 27 photographs, 26 genealogical manuscripts, 5 pieces of ephemera, and 6 newspaper clippings related to Chapin and Mary Dean Howard of Meriden, Connecticut, and Grafton, Vermont. Mary Howard's incoming correspondence includes letters from her two sisters and her brother-in-law, who lived Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in the late 19th century. Other material concerns various Howard family members' financial affairs, estate administration, and family genealogy.
The Correspondence series (62 items) primarily consists of incoming letters addressed to Mary Dean Howard. She received 11 letters from her mother, Angeline Cobb Dean, about life in Chester and Grafton, Vermont, between 1865 and 1873; around 40 letters from her sisters and brother-in-law, who lived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and others from female friends. Lucy Dean Woodworth, Harriet Dean Tufts, and Arthur H. Tufts all commented on their social lives, family health, and other aspects of their lives in South Dakota Mary received 2 letters about a friend's experiences as a schoolteacher in Sand Beach, Michigan (October 14, 1883, and February 27, 1884), and a letter from Lewis B. Hibbard about the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana, which he composed on the exposition's illustrated stationery (January 8, 1885). The remaining letters include business letters addressed to Chapin Howard (3 items), additional family correspondence, and a letter that William Battison wrote to the Grafton postmaster about the history of the wool industry in Grafton, Vermont (July 7, 1904).
The collection's Documents and financial records (41 items) primarily concern the fiscal affairs of Ormando S. Howard, Chapin Howard, and the estate of Aurelius C. Howard. They include inventories, land documents, accounts, account books, and receipts. A series of oversize ledgers documents Ormado S. Howard's involvement in settling Aurelius C. Howard's estate. Chapin Howard kept records of his transactions with W. H. Wellard, most of which involved the lumber trade. Two account books document C. Howard's accounts with C. O. Howard (3 pages, 1887) and Gladwin Howard's accounts with S. J. Hall for foodstuffs and other goods (17 pages, 1890). Two later documents relate to claims against the estates of Chapin and Mary Dean Howard. Also included is a manuscript report of a committee that visited several schools in 1878.
The Photographs series (27 items) is made up of 16 cartes-de-visite portraits; 7 cabinet card photographs including images of a young Chapin Howard at Saxtons River, Vermont; 1 tintype of 2 young men; 2 paper prints of an unidentified family; and a picture of a house in Meriden, Connecticut.
The Genealogical papers series (26 items) is comprised of notes, family trees, lists, and other material pertaining to the ancestors of Mary Dean and Chapin Howard and to the history of Grafton, Connecticut.
The collection's Ephemera series (5 items) contains advertising and business cards, a program for an event at the Winthrop Hotel (November 27, 1883), an invitation to members of the Montowese Tribe no. 6 (to Chapin Howard, 1887), and a patented envelope for "mailing photographs, fancy cards, etc."
The Newspaper clippings (6 unique items) include 21 copies of Mary Dean Howard's obituary, an article about the history of the Grafton Library, an article respecting several Vermont ministers, a list of Republican voters in Grafton, and obituaries for Peter W. Dean and Chapin Howard.