Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Sarah Woolsey Lloyd Collection, 1741-1770

Finding aid created by
Mary Parsons, May 2008; Philip Heslip, November 2010

Summary Information
Title: Sarah Woolsey Lloyd collection
Creator: Lloyd, Sarah Woolsey, 1719-1760
Inclusive dates: 1741-1770
Extent: 7 items
The Sarah Lloyd collection contains 244 journal entries kept by Sarah Lloyd between 1741 and 1760, and a draft of a religious essay, likely written by John Lloyd, Sarah's husband. Sarah frequently discussed her thoughts on religion and mentioned pregnancies and childbirth, sickness and death of family members and neighbors, and the progress of the French and Indian War.
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:

2005. M-4447.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

Sarah Woolsey Lloyd Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is organized chronologically.


Sarah Woolsey Lloyd was born in Glen Cove, Long Island, on April 17, 1719, to the Reverend Benjamin Woolsey (1687-1756), who graduated from Yale in 1709, and Abigail Taylor (1695-1771). On December 24, 1741, Sarah Woolsey married John Lloyd (1710-1795), the son of Henry Lloyd and Rebecca Nelson, from nearby Lloyd's Neck, Long Island. Shortly after their marriage, Sarah and John moved across Long Island Sound to Stamford, Connecticut, where their eight children were born. Sarah became pregnant ten times in the eighteen years of her marriage; her last four pregnancies were particularly difficult. She became very ill in May 1755, after the birth of a son who died the day he was born. In December 1756 her child was born prematurely and lived only three months, and in September 1757 she survived a miscarriage. She was pregnant again in July 1760, when the last entry in her journal was written. The last sentence in her journal is a prayer, "Grant me the blessings of the womb and of the Breast." She died five weeks later on September 3, 1760, likely because of complications from childbirth. She was 41 years old. The ages of her five surviving children were Henry, age 16; John, Jr., age 15; Rebecca, age 13; Abigail, age 9; and Sarah, age 7.

(For more information on the Lloyd family consult the Manuscripts Division.)

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Sarah Lloyd collection (7 items) contains six journals and journal fragments kept by Sarah Lloyd between 1741 and 1760, and a draft of a religious essay, likely written by John Lloyd, Sarah's husband. The journals contain 244 entries, the majority of which reveal her religious views. Sarah also discussed her pregnancies and childbirth, sickness and death in her community, and the progress of the French and Indian War.

The earliest entries are two essays from 1741, one a "Covenant" with God and the other a "Self-examination." Sarah's semi-weekly entries begin on July 22, 1744, the day she was " propounded " and joined the church. Her journals are largely spiritual in nature, but incorporated into her introspective religious entries are references to the physical world around her. She mentioned pregnancies and childbirth, childrearing, drought and thunderstorms, cases of smallpox and measles, deaths of family members and neighbors, and the progress of the French and Indian War. During the war, Sarah and her husband quartered British troops for the winters of 1758 and 1759. In her early April journal entries for both years, she expressed relief that, after four months of sharing their home with troops, the house was theirs again. She prayed about military victories and defeats in an attempt to accept both as God's will. Also well documented are her pregnancies. Often several months before a birth she started praying for a safe delivery and the ability to breast-feed her child. Of note is a mention of an African American child born to a servant in their household on March 8, 1753.

The religious essay is a 16-page manuscript, dated April 1752 at Stamford, Connecticut, with the dates April 6, 1762, and April 18, 1770, added in the margin of the first page. The item contains biblical passages and essays or sermons.

Subject Terms

    • Childbirth.
    • Connecticut--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763.
    • Measles--Complications.
    • New England--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763.
    • Pregnancy--Complications.
    • Smallpox.
    • Stamford (Conn.)
    • United States--History--French and Indian War, 1755-1763.
    • Lloyd, John, 1710-1795.
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   33, Small Collections  
    Sarah Woolsey Lloyd collection [series]
    Folder   1  
    Journal,  [January 1, 1741-January 1, 1745] (24 pages)
    Folder   2  
    Journal,  [January 5, 1745-July 17, 1745] (8 pages)
    Folder   3  
    Journal,  [August 21, 1748-October 30, 1748] (1 page)
    Folder   4  
    Journal,  [June 19, 1749-April 6, 1750] (8 pages)
    Folder   5  
    Journal,  [July 22, 1750-November 6, 1750] (1 page)
    Folder   6  
    Journal,  [January 1751-July 27, 1760] (34 pages)
    Folder   7  
    "General Draft" of a religious paper,  April 1752,  April 6, 1763, and  April 18, 1770 (16 pages)
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The New York Historical Society has a Lloyd family papers collection.


    Barck, Dorothy C, and Henry Lloyd. Papers of the Lloyd Family of the Manor of Queens Village, Lloyd's Neck, Long Island, New York, 1654-1826. New York: New York Historical Society, 1927.