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Pierce family correspondence


Identifier: 1978-39-8

Scope and Contents

The Pierce Family Correspondence consists primarily of letters to and from the children of John Pierce and his first wife, Mary (Paterson) Pierce, as well as of his second wife, Mary (Goodman) Pierce. The collection documents events of national importance: John Pierce, a colonel and paymaster in the Continental Army, received letters from numerous correspondents concerning military, administrative, and political news of the American Revolution. Moreover, the Pierce brothers traveled extensively along the East Coast as well as in the South, and their letters provide a record of the industrial and social development, natural resources, and scenery of the major cities of the early American republic as well as contemporary opinions on the condition of slavery in America.

Since Timothy Pierce was a doctor, many of his letters illuminate medical practice during this time, including the difficulties of setting up a private practice and the realities of military medicine. Meanwhile, the letters to Sarah Pierce make references to her role as founder and teacher of the Litchfield Female Academy, a nationally prominent girls' school. The collection includes a letter to Pierce from Harriet Beecher Stowe praising her history textbook and requesting copies of it, correspondence about boarders for the school, and three silk diplomas.

Finally, the letters also shed light on social life in the early republic, as the Pierce brothers frequently attended parties, went on steamboat trips, advised their sisters on deportment, and discussed women's fashions with them.


  • Created: 1775-1825
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1776-1825
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1978


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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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 of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.


0.42 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Susan G. Loring

Existence and Location of Originals

Transcriptions are available for some documents.

Related Materials

Litchfield Female Academy Collection, Litchfield Historical Society.

Other Descriptive Information

This collection was processed with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

Processing Information

The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. The remaining papers are arranged chronologically.

Pierce family correspondence
Anna Chen
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)