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Catlin family collection


Identifier: 2016-57-0

Content Description

The Catlin family papers (2016-57-0, 0.209 linear feet) are comprised of approximately 190 letters to Abijah Catlin (1805-1891), an attorney in Harwinton, Connecticut, and approximately 23 letters to David W. Catlin (1807-1864) and Abijah Catlin (1779-1836), who were partners in a dry goods firm in Harwinton, and brother and father, respectively, of Abijah Catlin (1805-1891). Letters to Abijah Catlin (1805-1891) span from 1838-1857 and are primarily related to his legal practice, and cover issues including cases, billing, and political matters. Letters to David W. Catlin (1807-1864) and Abijah Catlin (1779-1836) span from 1806-1844 and are related to their mercantile business.

Series 1 contains correspondence to Abijah Catlin (1805-1891) and includes letters from former Litchfield Law School students Seth P. Beers, Daniel B Brinsmade, and George C. Woodruff; a letter from Roger Averill, Lieutenant governor of Connecticut from 1862-66; and fifteen letters spanning 1862-75, from James T. Pratt, a U.S. representative from Connecticut. Five miscellaneous letters not addressed to Catlin are included in his papers. One letter, dated October 4th, 1840, is from Truman Smith, a former Litchfiled Law School student and future U.S. Senator. He mentions Abijah's brother, David W. Catlin.
Series 2 contains correspondence to Abijah Catlin (1779-1836) and his son, David W. Catlin (1807-1864). Included is a letter to Abijah Catlin from Phineas Miner, former Litchfield Law School Student.


  • Creation: 1806 - 1875


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the 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

Abijah Catlin (1779-1836) married Orinda Williams in 1799 and had eight children: Harriet, Adeline, Abijah, David, Orinda, Julia, Caroline, and Huldah. He was a farmer, merchant, and manufacturer of hats who, along with his son David W[ebb]. Catlin (1807-1864), ran a dry goods store in Harwinton, Connecticut. Caroline Catlin (1815-?), David's sister, married Anson Hungerford, from Monticello, Georgia, which lead to a partnership that extended David W. Catlin's chain of stores to the South. Abijah Catlin (1805-1891), was the son of Abijah Catlin (1779-1836) and brother of David W. Catlin. He graduated attended Yale Law School and was admitted to the New Haven County Bar in 1827. After practiving law in Georgia for several years, he moved back to Harwinton in 1831, where he established his law practice. He was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1837-39, a member of the Connecticut State Senate in 1844, the Connecticut State Comptroller from 1847-50, and served as judge of probate for several terms between 1838 and 1875, and as judge of the County Court from 1844-45.


0.209 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Catlin family collection is arranged in 2 series, all arranged alphabetically by last name of the author of the letter. Series 1 contains legal correspondence to Abijah Catlin (1805-1891). Series 2 contains correspondence relating to the dry goods business of Abijah Catlin (1779-1836) and David W. Catlin (1807-1864), and is divided into 3 sub-series.

Series 1. Catlin, Abijah (1805-1891) Incoming correspondence, 1838-1875 (37 folders)
Series 2. Catlin family Business papers, 1806-1844 (6 folders)
Sub-series 1. Catlin, Abijah (1779-1836) Business papers (2 folders)
Sub-series 2. Catlin, David W. (1807-1864) Business papers (3 folders)
Sub-series 3. Catlin family Business papers, Miscellaneous (1 folder)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from The Lawbook Exchange

Catlin family collection
In Progress
Camille Roccanova
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)