The collection contains correspondence and documents relating to the Hamilin family of Waterford, Maine. Spanning a period of over one hundred yers, the correspondence provides insight into the daily life of a middle-class, nineteenth-century family.
Much of the correspondence focuses on the professional and personal relationships of the children of Hannibal and Susan Hamilin: Susan, Cyrus, Hannibal and Rebecca. In addition to local and national politics, other topics of the times referenced in the correspondence include Western fever; Illinois frontier life; news of events culminating in the Civil War, including "Bloody Kansas" and the caning of Senator Charles Sumner; the temperance movement; and religious experiences including spiritualism and magnetism.
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The families referenced in the collection are the descendants of Hannibal Hamlin (d.1811) and Susan Faulkner Hamlin (d.1840), who settled on the Maine frontier at the turn of the eighteenth century. Of French Huguenot and English heritage, they were a family who could place their descendants among the earliest settlers of New England. Acquiring land on which to operate a farm, the Hamily family prospered despite the harsh conditions of the Maine landscape. The family's future would be thrown into great uncertainty, however, after the death of Hannibal Hamlin in 1811, leaving his wife a widow with four young children and two farms to manage. Relying on the support of friends and neighbors, Susan Hamilin was able to hold on to the land. She resided in Waterford with two of her children and their families until her death.
Susan and Hannibal Hamlin had four children: Susan, Cyrus, Hannibal, and Rebecca. Cyrus became a noted Congregationalist minister who traveled with his family to Constantinople, Turkey, to work as a missionary for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. He became known for his work with dislocated Armenians persecuted for their Protestant beliefs, and later for his founding of Robert College in 1867. Cyrus remained with the college as its president until his resignation in 1872, when he returned to Maine. In 1877, he was appointed chair of dogmatic theology at Bangor Seminary and in 1880 he was named president of Middlebury College. He died in Portland, Maine, in 1900 at the age of 89. Although there are only a few personal notes written by Cyrus, there is reference to his work in the correspondence of his siblings. Several of the male Hamlin descendants played active roles in Maine state politics. Also, Susan Hamlin Stone, was a vocal advocate of the temperance movement. Members of the Hamlin family were also first cousins of Hannibal Hamlin (1809-1891), Abraham Lincoln's first vice president. Hannibal Hamlin (1809-1862) of Waterford, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts, received an appointment to the National Freedman's Relief Association through his cousin's patronage.
1.3 Linear Feet (3 Hollinger Document Cases)
Purchased from Michael Brown, October 1997.
Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository