Stinchfield family papers  1837-1999
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Stinchfield family papers consist of the correspondence, business records, financial and legal documents, photographs, and genealogical papers of Jacob W. Stinchfield, his wife Maria Hammond Stinchfield, and their descendants. The collection's correspondence and documents are organized by generation, reflecting their original order. The earliest items in the collection ( Generation I series ) include real estate transactions involving Jacob Stinchfield of Lincoln, Maine, dating from 1837. Beginning in the 1860s, after the family’s move to Michigan, the records include correspondence, accounts, and other financial records relating to the lumber business, begun by Jacob and continued by his son Charles Stinchfield. The materials provide information respecting the management of men in lumber camps, logging in winter weather conditions, methods of transportation, the challenges of rafting logs downriver, and other lumber business operations in volatile market conditions. Jacob and Charles Stinchfield’s partner, and frequent correspondent, was David Whitney, Jr., a wealthy Detroit businessman.

The Stinchfields expanded their company to include railroads (to facilitate their logging operations) and mineral mines. Many documents in the Generation II series , including manuscript and printed maps, concern land development in Michigan, where the family owned a farm in Bloomfield Hills, and in the West, especially Wyoming. The family traveled extensively and corresponded about their experiences in Europe, Asia, and the western United States. The Civil War is represented with small but significant holdings -- among them, a September 21, 1864, note written and signed by President Abraham Lincoln, requesting a fair hearing for a furlough (probably for George Stinchfield), and a February 14, 1863, letter from Vice President Hannibal Hamlin to Jacob W. Stinchfield, assuring him that George McClellan would not be ordered back to the command of the army.

The collection's twentieth-century materials ( Generation III and Generation IV series ) consist largely of the personal correspondence of Jacob Stinchfield’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The life of Charles Stinchfield, Jr., is well documented, from his schooling at St. John’s Military Institute in Manlius, N.Y., and a brief time at Cornell University, through his roles in the family business, his marriage, and the raising of his three children. Interactions between Charles Stinchfield, Jr., and his father, Charles Stinchfield, a demanding and energetic businessman, are also well represented in the collection. The materials reveal relationships between family members and their servants, and spiritualists' attempts to contact Charles Stinchfield III, who died of appendicitis in 1933 at the age of 15. Later papers provide descriptions of the social life of a wealthy family in the early and mid-20th century, at their residence in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and at their country home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

The Genealogy series , compiled largely by Diane Stinchfield Klingenstein, contains extensive background research on family members, copies of Ira and George Stinchfield’s Civil War records, transcriptions of letters written by Charles Stinchfield on a journey west in 1871 (not otherwise represented in the collection), and a typewritten draft of Diane Klingenstein’s family history, "One bough from a branch of the tree: a Stinchfield variation."

In addition to materials organized by generation, the collection includes photographs, scrapbooks, pastels, realia, and books. Many of the photographs are individual and group portraits (both studio and candid) from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The images include many exterior views of the land and buildings of the family’s country home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Stonycroft Farm, ca. 1910), and of the Stinchfield residence in Grosse Pointe, Michigan (ca. 1940s). Early 20th-century lumber camps and railroads in Oregon and mining camps in Nevada are represented in photographs and photograph albums. The collection contains photos from trips to Japan (ca. 1907), the American West, and Europe. The collection's scrapbooks include newspaper clippings, invitations, and photographs, mainly concerning the life of Diane Klingenstein in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, during the 1930s and 1940s.

The Stinchfield family papers contain three pastel portraits of unknown subjects. The Realia series includes a bone ring likely made by George Stinchfield when he was a prisoner on Belle Isle, Virginia; a ring bearing Ira Stinchfield's name and regiment, in case he died during the Civil War; hospital identification and five baby pins for Diane W. Stinchfield (1925); a variety of additional Stinchfield family jewelry; and several wooden, crotched rafting pins, apparently from Saginaw, Michigan.

The Books series includes a copy of The Pictorial Bible, given to Charles and Mary from Father Fish, June 12, 1879, and a selection of 9 additional publications, which are cataloged individually. A comprehensive list of these books may be found by searching the University's online catalog for "Klingenstein."

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