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MC 385

Sewall family. Papers of the Sewall family, 1837-1904: 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

Call No.: MC 385
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Sewall family
Title: Papers of the Sewall family, 1837-1904
Date(s): 1837-1904
Quantity: .42 linear feet (1 file box)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence of the Sewall family of Chesterville, Maine.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 87-M209
The Sewall family papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by Edmund W.E. (Leigh) Stein in December 1987. The donor had recently bought them at auction in Boston, Massachusetts.

Processing Information:

Processed: March 1988
By: Bert Hartry

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. The papers of the Sewall family 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:

Sewall family Papers, dates; item description, dates. MC 385, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


The collection consists mainly of the correspondence of Abby (Morgridge) Sewall of Chesterville, Maine, her husband Otis C. Sewall, and their daughter, Augusta. Little is known about the Sewall family. It is clear from these letters that Otis C. Sewall was appointed postmaster of Chesterville in 1845, that he acted as business agent for people away from the town, and that he had brothers who went west. Abby (Morgridge) Sewall came from a large family in nearby Litchfield; she and some of her sisters had been schoolteachers. The Morgridge family was also scattered. A sister, Serena M. Brown, lived in New Harmony, Indiana.
The Sewall children (Augusta, Eugene, and Howard) were educated locally and at nearby Kents Hill School. Augusta became a teacher and taught in Maine, New Jersey, and New York. She married Stephen Hawes in about 1866; they lived in Chelsea, Mass.; Indianapolis, Ind.; and Brooklyn, N.Y. Eugene, a carpenter and lumberman, worked in several New England towns. He married Augusta Hutchins in 1857; they lived near his parents and, in about 1866, had a son, Willis. According to a descendant, Eugene had another son, Eugene (ca.1890-1984).
According to the same descendant, Howard (born 1835) was in the lumber and real estate business and a builder, and was married twice. His second wife was Carrie (Weston), a Vassar graduate; they had a son, Dr. Weston Fullerton Sewall (1904-1986).


The collection consists mainly of correspondence, with a few insurance receipts. Most letters are originals. Original letters and envelopes represented here by photocopies are in the possession of the donor. The largest groups of letters are those from Abby (Morgridge) Sewall to her sister Serena Brown, and those from Augusta Sewall to her mother. The early letters to Serena are signed "Otis C. Sewall" but were obviously written by Abby (Morgridge) Sewall; in 1852 she began to sign her own name. Family and business letters to Otis C. Sewall are included, and letters from friends and family to Abby (Morgridge) Sewall and Augusta.
The Sewalls were apparently a close-knit family and these letters provide information about them and their daily lives, education, and interests. Subjects addressed include spiritualism, religion and preachers, teaching and teachers, death, loneliness, the Civil War, clothes, business, travel, dancing school, widows, and health.
The correspondence is arranged in four groups: letters to Otis C. Sewall, correspondence of Abby (Morgridge) Sewall, correspondence of Augusta S., and letters from others to others. Within each group the arrangement is chronological.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Clothing and dress
Commercial agents
Country life
Dance--Social aspects
Death--Psychological aspects
Health--History--19th century
Maine--Social life and customs
Mental health
Mothers and daughters
Mothers and sons
Religion--History--19th century
Rural women
Single women
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Women--Health and hygiene
Women teachers
Hawes, Augusta Sewall
Sewall, Abby Morgridge