Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Herbert Babcock Letters, 1863-1867

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, November 2011

Summary Information
Title: Herbert Babcock letters
Creator: Babcock, Prudence
Inclusive dates: 1863-1867
Bulk dates: 1866-1867
Extent: 14 items
This collection consists primarily of letters written by Herbert Babcock to his stepmother Prudence, when he was a student at a secondary school in Adams, New York.
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:

1999. M-4031.3.

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:

Herbert Babcock Letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically.


Herbert Albert Babcock was born in Westerly, Rhode Island, on July 5, 1848, and attended school in Adams, New York, while living with his uncle, James M. Cleveland. After receiving an education, he returned to Westerly, where he worked as a printer. He married Fanny E. Watrous (1854-1924) of Stonington, Connecticut, on September 14, 1875, and they had one daughter, Mary Esther (b. 1880).

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection consists primarily of letters written by Herbert Babcock to his stepmother Prudence, when he was a student at a secondary school in Adams, New York. In his 10 letters, which cover the winter term from 1866-1867, he discussed his health, lessons, leisure activities, and reactions to family news from home; he often admitted to suffering from homesickness, though he enjoyed living with his aunt and uncle on their farm. Herbert gave details of his lessons, including the subjects of his written compositions and the structures of different classes. He also noted the strictness of his teachers and mentioned a rule against "wink[ing] to a girl in the classes" (December 22, 1866). Despite his ongoing difficulties with mathematics, Herbert generally enjoyed his studies and, after realizing the current term was likely to be his last, vowed to get the most out of his education. Herbert wrote about his life in northern New York, the school's military drill exercises, a baseball club formed by several students, and his attendance at a local party. The collection also includes a letter from his Aunt Lovina to her sister, in which she discussed her recent poor health and the effects of the draft (July 26, 1863), and pieces of embroidered ribbon.

Subject Terms

    • Adams (N.Y.)
    • Education--United States--History--19th century.
    • Babcock, Herbert Albert, b. 1848.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   8, Small Collections Folders   14-15
    Herbert Babcock letters,  1863-1867, bulk  (bulk 1866-1867) [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Babcock, Stephen. Babcock Genealogy. New York: Eaton & Mains, 1903.