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Webster Family Papers


Identifier: 2017-11-0

Scope and Contents

The Webster family papers include Arethusa Farm records, ledgers, calendars, and postcards; documentation of a 1952 transcontinental trip to Alaska; and Litchfield photos and ephemera. Most of the family papers are from the 1870s through the 1920s.

In 1868, Charles Baldwin Webster (1822-1912) Charles purchased a farm in Litchfield, CT, that he and his wife Lucinda Baldwin (1830-1871) named Arethusa, which remained in the Webster family until it was sold in 1981.

The collection is arranged in three series. Series I, Arethusa Farm (1867-1981), primarily consists of records related to the operation of the farm, although family financial records are included. There is an extensive run of milk production records, in which the amount of milk and butter fat produced by each cow is recorded, and account books document farm and household expenses. Most of the farm records are from the 1870s through the 1920s, although two items document the farm in its last year of operation in 1981. The Websters produced a yearly farm calendar. This series includes calendars from about the 1930s through 1973. In some cases, only covers have been preserved; in others, the entire calendar is intact. Each calendar includes a cover photograph, and the subjects include farm activities, cows, and the Webster children.

Series II, American Agriculturist Alaska tour (1952-1953), includes materials related to the transcontinental tour arranged by the American Agriculturist to Alaska taken by Arthur Benjamin and Wilhelmina (Minnie) Karl Webster and others in August 1952. The itinerary included Chicago, Yellowstone National Park, Vancouver, Alaska, and Glacier National Park. At the conclusion of the tour, Minnie Webster wrote a diary documenting the trip. The papers include the diary; correspondence related to booking the tour and letters sent from Webster family members to Arthur and Minnie while they were traveling; and travel documents, souvenirs, brochures, and maps related to train and steamship travel and the places visited. In 1953, the Websters attended a reunion of tour participants in Cooperstown, NY.

Series III, Litchfield history and emphemera (1886-1998), consists of ephemera and photographs related to Litchfield collected by the Webster family. Among the papers are documentation related to Litchfield High School Class of 1938 reunions and Litchfield activities during United States bicentennial, and postcards and photographs.


  • Creation: 1867-1998


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Baldwin Webster (1822-1912) married first, Lucinda Baldwin (1830-1871), and second, Mary Jennings (1832-1897). In 1868, Charles purchased the farm in Litchfield, CT, he and Lucinda named Arethusa, remaining in the family until it was sold in 1981. In 1999, another dairy farm named Arethusa Farm was established that is not affiliated with the Webster family.

Charles and Lucinda had two children, Frederick Webster (1850-1927), who settled in Montana, and Wilbur Fisk Webster (1855-1930), who remained in Litchfield. Wilbur married Jennie Wooster (1859-1956). They had three children: Ernest Charles Webster (1883-1956), Arthur Benjamin Webster (1885-1986), and Charlotte Webster Shinn (1888-1952).

After Charles, Wilbur operated the farm, followed by Arthur, and finally, Arthur's son, Arthur Benjamin Webster. From 1925 to 1975, the Websters delivered dairy products to residents of Litchfield, Morris, Bantam, and Milton. They also operated a retail store in which customers made purchases on the honor system, leaving cash or a credit slip behind.

In August 1952, Arthur Benjamin Webster and his wife Wilhelmina (Minnie) Karl Webster particpated in a transcontinental tour to Alaska sponsored by the American Agriculturist.


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Language of Materials



The Webster family papers include Arethusa Farm records, ledgers, calendars, and postcards; documentation of a 1952 transcontinental trip to Alaska; and Litchfield photos and ephemera. Most of the family papers are from the 1870s through the 1920s.


The Webster family papers are arranged in three series:

Series I. Arethusa Farm, 1867-1981
Series II. American Agriculturist Alaska tour, 1952-1953
Series III. Litchfield history and ephemera, 1886-1998


Arethusa Farm postcard (2011-138-0), gift of Arthur Webster, added to this collection.

Related Materials

Related artifacts were donated at the same time and can be found in the museum collections.

Webster Family Papers
In Progress
Leith Johnson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Litchfield Historical Society Repository

7 South Street
P.O. Box 385
Litchfield CT 06759
860-567-3565 (Fax)