Collection contains approximately 175 handwritten letters, totaling about 960 pages, many with original used envelopes. The collection is in very good condition, clean, and mostly legible. About three-quarters of the letters were written by female friends and relatives living in various Connecticut towns, another quarter were written by male friends and female friends living in other states. The bulk of the archive dates from the late l870’s, 80’s and 90’s. There are a several letters from women who have taken teaching positions in both black and white schools and colleges of the time—many of these were, and are, church affiliated. Many of the letters relate every day activities and news of comings and goings, visits and health problems, births and deaths.
Ellen E. Stiles (Nellie) was born in l836, Alice M. Stiles was born in l846. They lived together, never having married, in the family home in Southbury, until their deaths in 1914 and 1920, respectively. Many of the letters detail farm activities, chickens and eggs, vegetable gardens and preserving of fruits and vegetables, numbers of cans prepared, and cows put out to grass.
Arranged by recipient in chronological order and organized into 10 series: 1. To Ellen Stiles & Alice Stiles from S.J. Whiting (Jennie). 2. To S.J. Whiting from Alice & Ellen Stiles. 3. To Alice Stiles from H.S. & 'Allie' Osborn. 4. To Alice Stiles from A.E. Stockwell (Annie). 5. To Alice Stiles from H.S. & J.D. Munson. 6. To Alice Stiles from Mary J. Robinson (Robbie). 7. To Alice Stiles from R.S. Bronson. 8. To Alice & Ellen Stiles from women teachers. 9. To Alice & Ellen Stiles from various senders. 10. To Alice, Ellen & unidentified from various senders, documents.