Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Amelia Lippincott and Esek Hartshorne Williams Letters, 1833-1848

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, April 2012

Summary Information
Title: Amelia Lippincott and Esek Hartshorne Williams letters
Creator: Williams, Amelia Lippincott, b. 1814 and Williams, E. H. (Esek Hartshorne), 1807-1887
Inclusive dates: 1833-1848
Bulk dates: 1838-1841
Extent: 23 items
This collection is made up of the incoming and outgoing correspondence of Amelia Lippincott Williams of New York City and her husband, Esek Hartshorne Williams of Red Bank, New Jersey. The bulk of the collection is comprised of 15 letters that Esek wrote to Amelia during their courtship and while traveling for business reasons during the first few years of their marriage. Amelia and Esek received the remaining 7 letters from friends and family members in New York and New Jersey.
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:

2000, 2003. M-4102.1, M-4102.7, M-4320.1.

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:

Amelia Lippincott and Esek Hartshorne Williams Letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Amelia L. Lippincott was born in New York City on September 19, 1814, the daughter of William and Hannah Lippincott. She had 8 siblings: Benjamin, Clemence, William, Shepherd, John, Charles, Rachel, and Harriet. She attended the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1825. Her father owned land in Shrewsbury Township, New Jersey, and she occasionally vacationed at Red Bank, New Jersey, where she met Esek Hartshorne Williams, her future husband. They married in 1834 and lived in New York City and New Jersey, where Esek worked as a merchant. They had 7 children: William, George, Anna, Edwin, Bessie, Esek, and Benjamin.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of the incoming and outgoing letters of Amelia Lippincott Williams and her husband, Esek Hartshorne Williams. Esek wrote 16 love letters to Amelia during their courtship and early married life. Amelia also received 2 letters from friends and 1 from a niece named Mary. Esek received 1 letter from Amelia, 2 from his brother George, and 1 from a friend.

Amelia Lippincott was living in New York City when she received 7 letters from Esek H. Williams of Red Bank, New Jersey, between April 22, 1833, and November 10, 1834 (including 1 undated). His letters are affectionate and flirtatious, and often refer indirectly to the couple's romantic relationship. Esek Williams shared news from Red Bank, occasionally mentioned his work in a local store, and, on November 4, 1834, joked about Amelia's political awareness and her support of the Whigs.

After their marriage, Esek wrote 9 letters to his wife while he traveled west for business reasons; he sent 6 of these letters from Michigan in the winter of 1840-1841. He described his experiences near Fredonia, New York (December 13, 1840); Cleveland, Ohio (December 19, 1840); and Kankakee, Illinois (February 14, 1841). He mentioned his lodgings and modes of travel, and often remarked about his love for his wife and children, who remained in New York City. He spent much of his journey in southeast Michigan, where he had financial interests, and provided Amelia with news of his arrival and activities in Detroit (January 1, 1841, and January 10, 1841) and Ann Arbor (March 7, 1841). He discussed financial matters, including his difficulties with state-issued currency, "Michigan money," which he referred to as the only currency in regular circulation in Ann Arbor (March 7, 1841). On a later trip to Michigan, he noted the economic conditions in Detroit (January 1, 1843). On July 2, 1848, he composed his final letter, written from Marshall, Michigan; he expressed his intent to sell his farm in Ann Arbor. Two of his letters have pencil sketches of horses.

Amelia Lippincott Williams received dated personal letters from R. Montgomery, who shared her thoughts on fashionable hats (May 26, 1835), and a woman named Catherine Lent, who hoped Amelia could soon visit (October 1, 1835). Undated letters include 3 from friends and acquaintances, including one in which Amelia's niece Mary mentioned an outbreak of measles and a large social gathering in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. Esek H. Williams received two brief personal letters from his brother George.

Subject Terms

    • Ann Arbor (Mich.)
    • Courtship--United States.
    • Detroit (Mich.)
    • Hats.
    • Illinois--Description and travel.
    • Love-letters.
    • Michigan--Description and travel.
    • New York (State)--Description and travel.
    • Ohio--Description and travel.
    • Paper money--Michigan--History--19th century.
    • Real property--Michigan.
    • Red Bank (N.J.)--Social life and customs.
    • Shrewsbury (N.J.)
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Horses.
    • Lent, Catharine.
    • Williams, George.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   50, Small Collections  
    Amelia Lippincott and Esek Hartshorne Williams letters [series]
    Folders   32-35  
     April 22, 1833-July 2, 1848, and  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Reichel, William Cornelius and William Howard Bigler. A History of the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies, at Bethlehem, Pa., with a Catalogue of Its Pupils, 1785-1870. Bethlehem, Pa.: Pub. for the Seminary, 1901.