Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Moody Kent Collection, 1771-1912

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, August 2012

Summary Information
Title: Moody Kent collection
Creator: Kent, Moody, 1779-1866
Inclusive dates: 1771-1912
Bulk dates: 1798-1860
Extent: 0.5 linear feet
This collection contains incoming letters, legal and financial documents, photographs, genealogical notes, writing fragments, and printed items related to Moody Kent, a lawyer who practiced in Deerfield and Concord, New Hampshire, in the early 19th century. Kent corresponded with his siblings, personal friends, and professional acquaintances about financial matters and with fellow Harvard graduates about their personal histories.
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:

1992, 2012. M-2802, M-4929.1.

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:

Moody Kent Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Documents
  • Series III: Photographs
  • Series IV: Poetry, Writings, and Fragments
  • Series V: Genealogy
  • Series VI: Printed Material

Each series is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Moody Kent was born at Kent's Island, Massachusetts, on April 22, 1779, the son of Joseph Kent and Jane Moody. He had multiple siblings, including Amos (1774-1824), Paul, Jane, and Sarah. After studying at the Dumner Academy in Newbury, Massachusetts, he attended Harvard University, graduating in 1801. Kent entered the legal profession, and he was admitted to the New Hampshire bar in 1804. He practiced law in Deerfield, New Hampshire (1804-1809) and Concord, New Hampshire (1809-1832) until his retirement in 1832. He then traveled around the northeast and settled in Pembroke, New Hampshire, where he resided and worked as a property manager from 1841-1865. A lifelong bachelor, Moody Kent died in Pittsfield, New Hampshire, on February 1, 1866.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 395 incoming letters, 39 legal and financial documents, 2 photographs, and 5 printed items related to Moody Kent, a lawyer who practiced in Deerfield and Concord, New Hampshire, in the early 19th century. Kent corresponded with his siblings, personal friends, and professional acquaintances about financial matters and with fellow Harvard graduates about their personal histories. Genealogical notes, poems, and writing fragments complete the collection.

The Correspondence series (395 items) is comprised primarily of incoming letters to Moody Kent from family, friends, and professional acquaintances, written between 1798 and 1860. Early items include letters that Kent received at Harvard from his father and siblings, who wrote about their lives in Newbury, Massachusetts. After his graduation in 1801, he often received letters from correspondents about their legal and financial matters; frequent writers included members of Kent's family and Ezekiel Webster, Daniel Webster's brother. After his retirement in 1832, Kent's correspondents wrote most often about personal matters. One person, A. A. Parker, commented about domestic political issues in the late 1850s. Some letters written during the 1860s directly concern the Civil War. Several of Kent's Harvard classmates shared information about their lives and family histories.

The Documents series (39 items) contains original and copied depositions, indentures, wills, and financial agreements, dated between 1771 and 1860. They primarily concern land ownership and inheritance issues. Few pertain directly to the affairs of Moody Kent, though many relate to his correspondents. Copies of the wills of Joseph Kent and Moody Kent are also included.

Two cabinet card Photographs depict an unidentified child and adult in and near a gazebo.

Poetry, Writings, and Fragments (5 items) include two patriotic poems by Hannah F. Lee (dated February 1862), 8 bars of manuscript sheet music, and other manuscript fragments and writings.

The Genealogy series (11 items) consists of genealogical notes related to various members of the Kent family.

The Printed Material series (5 items) is made up of an 1861 copy of New Hampshire legislative act regarding funding for New Hampshire soldiers' clothing and equipment; an advertisement for the Elmwood Literary Institute, Boscawen, New Hampshire; a circular advertisement for books on health sciences; an abbreviated version of Moody Kent's will; and a program for a 1912 Congregational church service.

Subject Terms

    • Finance, Personal.
    • Harvard University.
    • Lawyers--New Hampshire.
    • Newbury (Mass.)
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States--Politics and government--1849-1861.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Gazebos.
    • Atherton, Charles H. (Charles Humphrey), 1773-1853.
    • Kent, Amos.
    • Kent, Jane.
    • Kent, Joseph.
    • Kent, Paul.
    • Kent, Sarah.
    • Parker, A. A. (Amos Andrew), 1791-1893.
    • Webster, Ezekiel, 1780-1829.
    Genre Terms:
    • Advertisements.
    • Card photographs (photographs)
    • Circulars (fliers)
    • Indentures.
    • Legal documents.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Photographs.
    • Poems.
    • Songs (document genre)
    • Wills.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Correspondence [series]
    Box   1 Folders   1-25
     April 30, 1789-October 28, 1883, and  undated
    Documents [series]
    Folders   26-30  
     January [24], 1771-September 1, 1860, and  undated
    Photographs [series]
    Folder   31  
    Poetry, Writings, and Fragments [series]
    Folder   32  
     February 19, 1862, and  undated
    Genealogy [series]
    Folder   33  
    Printed Material [series]
    Folder   34  
     July 13, 1861-June 1912 and  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Burroughs, Charles. Memorial of Moody Kent, Esq. A Munificent Benefactor to the New Hampshire Asylum for the Insane. Concord, N.H.: Cogswell & Sturtevant, 1866.