Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Buffum-Bartlett Papers, 1836-1853

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, December 2011

Summary Information
Title: Buffum-Bartlett papers
Creator: Buffum, David and Bartlett, Elisha, 1804-1855
Inclusive dates: 1836-1853
Extent: 0.5 linear feet
Abstract:
The Buffum-Bartlett papers contain correspondence addressed primarily to cousins David Buffum and Elisha Bartlett. Buffum's incoming letters frequently concern news of his brothers Horace, John, and James, who moved west during the mid-19th century, and Bartlett's incoming letters pertain to his career as a medical practitioner and lecturer.

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: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2001. M-4141.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

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:

Buffum-Bartlett papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically.


Biography

Elisha Bartlett, the son of Otis and Waite Buffum Bartlett, was born in Smithfield, Rhode Island, on October 6, 1804. He attended a Quaker school in New York, had several medical internships, received an M.D. from Brown University in 1826, and studied medicine in Paris from around 1826-1827. Upon his return, he moved to Lowell, Massachusetts, where he established a local practice and developed an interest in local politics. Bartlett became Lowell's first mayor in 1836 and served two terms in the Massachusetts state legislature in the 1840s. In addition to practicing medicine, he taught at the Berkshire Medical Institution, Transylvania University, Vermont Medical College, the University of Maryland, the University of Louisville, New York University, and Columbia College. He published extensively during his life. He and his wife, Elizabeth Slater, married in 1829 and had 2 children. Elisha Bartlett died on July 19, 1855.

Thomas Buffum, Waite Buffum Bartlett's brother and uncle of Elisha Bartlett, was born on June 2, 1776. He and his wife, Maria, lived in Smithfield, Rhode Island, and had five children: Horace, John, James, Thomas A., and David. Horace, John, and James all moved to Illinois around the 1830s, and to California by the late 1840s.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Buffum-Bartlett papers contain correspondence addressed primarily to cousins David Buffum and Elisha Bartlett. Buffum's incoming letters frequently concern news of his brothers Horace, John, and James, who moved west during the mid-19th century, and Bartlett's incoming letters pertain to his career as a medical practitioner and lecturer.

Several early items have political content; for example, in a letter to his father, Thomas, one of the Buffum brothers described a visit to Washington, D.C., that included a meeting with President Martin Van Buren in the White House and two trips to the United States Capitol, where he and his companions heard Daniel Webster, John Calhoun, and Franklin Pierce (September 11, 1837). Much of the Buffum correspondence consists of letters by Maria Buffum, who shared news of her sons' lives in Illinois and California. In one of her letters, to David and his wife Maria, she passed along a story that James had told her about a Virginia slave owner on the hunt for slaves who had stolen $1500 from him (November 28, 1839). During the late 1840s, Maria wrote to her husband David, who was working in New York, about acquaintances and family members, particularly their infant child.

Doctor Elisha Bartlett's incoming correspondence consists of both professional and personal letters, many of which pertain to his work as a medical educator throughout the 1840s. Items include several schools' recommendations and solicitations and letters about medical practices and family news. Many of the personal letters between the Buffums and Bartletts mention news of each family, suggesting that the families remained close.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Internal migrants--United States.
    • Medical education--United States--History--19th century.
    • Medicine--Practice--United States.
    • Smithfield (R.I. : Town)
    • United States--Politics and government--1815-1861.
    • Washington (D.C.)--Description and travel.
    Contributors:
    • Buffum, Maria.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    box   1  
    Correspondence [series]:
    Folders   1-16  
      January 29, 1836-January 4, 1853
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Bartlett, Elisha. A Brief Sketch of the Life, Character, and Writings of William Charles Wells, M.D., F.R.S.: an Address Delivered Before the Louisville Medical Society, December 7th, 1849. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1849.

    Bartlett, Elisha. A Vindication of the Character and Condition of the Females Employed in the Lowell Mills: Against the Charges Contained in the Boston Times, and the Boston Quarterly Review. Lowell: Leonard Huntress, printer, 1841.

    [Kenmure Collections; College Addresses ]. 1854.

    Bibliography

    Miller, Keith L. "Bartlett, Elisha." American National Biography Online . Oxford University Press, 2000.