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Beecher, James Chaplin, 1828-1886. Papers of James Chaplin Beecher, 1850-1946: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: A-123
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: James Chaplin Beecher, 1828-1886
Title: Papers of James Chaplin Beecher, 1850-1946
Date(s): 1850-1946
Quantity: .63 linear feet (1+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, diaries, photographs of James C. Beecher, son of Lyman Beecher, and other family members.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 428, 446, 482
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred T. Abeles, Wilmette, Illinois. Received April, June, and October 1962.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Originals closed; use digital images.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. The papers created by James Chapin Beecher are in the public domain. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

James Chaplin Beecher Papers, 1850-1946; item description, dates. A-123, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Beecher-Stowe family papers, 1798-1956 (A-102) and (A-102.1). For photographs of James C. Beecher and family, see A-102, folder 435.


This is a collection of material pertaining to the family of James C. Beecher (1828-1886) and his wife Frances Johnson Beecher Perkins. He was the son of Lyman Beecher, a picture of whose portrait is included. The family letters reveal personalities, background and interests of those who lived in the Civil War period. James joined the United States Army becoming a Colonel of the First North Carolina Colored Volunteers which fought at Fort Sumpter and in Florida. He praised the courage and ability of his African American troops. His correspondence with his military commanders reveals his impatience and lack of confidence in the operation of the Freedmen's Bureau, the treatment of the Refugee Freedmen and the policy of distribution of land of abandoned plantations. Two letters to Charles Sumner review the problems of Reconstruction. [Written by Elizabeth Bancroft Schlesinger]


Correspondence, diaries, and photos comprise the collection. Included are James Beecher's correspondence about the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Freedmen's Bureau, and papers of his wife, Frances (Johnson) Beecher Perkins, their adopted twin daughters, Mary Frances (Beecher) Beecher and Margaret (Beecher) Ward, and other Beechers and Johnsons.


Container List

Additional Index Terms

African Americans--Civil rights--History--19th century
Family records
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives
World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.).
Beecher, Catharine Esther, 1800-1878
Beecher family
Beecher, Mary Frances, 1873-1954
Beecher, Thomas Kinnicut, 1824-1900
Dickinson, Anna E. (Anna Elizabeth), 1842-1932
Gillette, William, 1853-1937
Hooker, Isabella Beecher, 1822-1907
Johnson family
Marcy, Henry Orlando, 1837-1924
Mount Holyoke Female Seminary
Perkins, Frances Johnson Beecher, 1832-1903
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896
United States. Army--African American troops
United States. Army. First North Carolina Colored Volunteers
United States. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands
Ward, Margaret Beecher
Warner, Charles Dudley, 1829-1900