Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
William W. Winters Biography, [1853?]

Finding aid created by
Cari Griffin, February 2019

Summary Information
Title: William W. Winters biography
Creator: Anonymous
Inclusive dates: [1853?]
Extent: 1 volume
Abstract:
This manuscript is a 141-page biography of William W. Winters (1826-1895), a one-time medical student from Ohio, cabinetmaker, daguerreotypist, and Methodist Minister, among other professions. The biography and subsequent pasted-in documents draw heavily from Winters's own diary entries and trace the events of his life from 1826 to 1853, including his divorce from his wife, who he accused of adultery.
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:

2019. M-7103.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Preferred Citation:

William W. Winters Biography, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is a single bound volume.


Biography

William Wilshire Winters was born July 18, 1822 in Loudonville, Ohio, to William Abner Winters and Christina Winters, née Tingley. Winters attended Oberlin College in 1841, intending to study medicine, and later attended Norwalk Seminary. By 1842, he became active in the ministry, receiving an appointment as a church deacon with the Methodist Church in 1844, and then as a church elder in 1846. Winters married twice. First, to Philenda Howard in 1847. During their marriage, he worked as a daguerreotypist in Springfield, Ohio. The couple divorced in 1853. He married Louise Laura Evaline Clark on May 3, 1860. Together, they had three children. Winters died on November 28, 1895, in Delaware, Ohio.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This manuscript is a 141-page biography of William W. Winters (1826-1895), a one-time medical student from Ohio, cabinetmaker, daguerreotypist, and Methodist Minister, among other professions. The biography and subsequent pasted-in documents draw heavily from Winters's own diary entries and trace the events of his life from 1826 to 1853.

Written largely from a third-person perspective, Winters's biography stylistically embodies nineteenth-century artistic and literary Romanticism. Here, a younger Winters is characterized as "schivalrous and full of gallant deeds in matters of Cupid, came off first best." Likewise, Winters is cast as "our hero" within the narrative. A later portion of the volume continues Winters's history, but from a first-person perspective, using "extracts [taken from] his journal in his own language."

Winters's employment experiences include tanning, cabinetmaking, operating a drug store, taking daguerreotypes, and serving in appointments as a deacon and then a reverend in the Methodist church. Descriptions of these occupations are conveyed with varying detail. Also noted are his experiences as a student, first at Oberlin College and, later, at Norwalk Seminary. Winters's courtship and marriage to Philenda Howard, as well as his divorce from her in 1853 on grounds of adultery, is richly detailed.

Laid into the front of the volume is a "Methodist Episcopal Church Quarterly Ticket" and the end of the journal is pasted in a fragment of Winters's 1844 wax-sealed appointment as a church deacon, and 12 fragments of a manuscript, four of which are photocopies.

Among many notable topics of interest are:

  • Mormonism (pp. 12-13)
  • Body snatching (pp. 66-67)
  • Work as a daguerreotypist—Springfield, Ohio (p. 123)
  • Divorce—Springfield, Ohio (pp. 131-32)
  • Ordination as a Methodist deacon (pp. 88-91)
Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Adultery--Ohio.
    • Body snatching.
    • Cabinetmakers--Ohio--Biography.
    • Clergy--Ohio--Biography.
    • Daguerreotypists--Ohio--Biography.
    • Divorce--Ohio.
    • Methodist Church--Ohio--Clergy--Biography.
    • Norwalk Seminary (Norwalk, Ohio)
    • Oberlin College.
    • Photographers--Ohio--Biography.
    Contributors:
    • Winters, William Wilshire, 1826-1895.
    Genre Terms:
    • Biographies (literary works)
    • Diaries.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    William W. Winters Biography,  [1853?] [series]