Bacon family papers  1805-1888
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Bacon family papers contain correspondence, financial documents, and other material related to Delia Bacon and to other members of her family. The Correspondence series , which comprises the bulk of the collection, contains several distinct groups of items; the first of these is a series of letters to Catharine Terry of Hartford, Connecticut, from her husband Nathaniel, composed between 1805 and 1818. A member of the United States House of Representatives, Nathaniel frequently wrote to her about his life in Washington, D. C., and though he occasionally discussed political affairs, the majority of his correspondence concentrated on news of his life and of his business affairs. The second group of letters consists of Delia Bacon's correspondence (1841-1853), much of which relates directly to the quarrel between Delia, her brother Leonard, and Alexander MacWhorter. During this period, Catharine Beecher composed 26 letters, most of which were letters of support to Delia, as the very public scandal took a toll on the latter's reputation. Many of the other correspondents offered similar sentiments, including Elizabeth P. Peabody, who wrote 10 letters. Among the undated Delia Bacon material is a letter in which she wrote a detailed self-defense. The third group of letters (1870-1888) relates primarily to Leonard's daughter Katharine, including a significant amount of material written just prior to her February 1872 wedding. Later items addressed to Katharine pertain to family news and updates from friends, and the collection also includes several letters from Katharine to her children, written in the 1880s. In addition to these three main groups of letters, the series also holds correspondence related to other members of the extended Bacon family.

The Bills and receipts series is comprised primarily of material directly related to Delia Bacon; among these are several receipts for printing circulars and for purchasing advertising in different publications. The collection's Miscellaneous material belonged to Delia Bacon, and includes several advertisements related to Bacon's historical lectures, manuscript essay drafts and notes about the MacWhorter scandal and her later interest in Shakespeare, poetry, a program from Vassar College's 1882 Class Day, and a notebook regarding her lectures.

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