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Stevens Family correspondence

Identifier: C-60
This collection of family letters documents a fairly typical family of antebellum New England. Edward Stevens was a first generation American in his family and maintains contact with his parents in England. He was a merchant sailor who spent a great deal of time away from his family as he carried cargo all over the world to ports as diverse as Stowmarket, England and Cardenas, Cuba. Throughout his extensive travels he wrote religiously to his wife, Elizabeth, concerning matters on board the various ships of which he was a crewmember. Though Edward was in various ports during the height of the Civil War, not once does he mention or allude to the war or conscription. Many family members took time to write to Elizabeth since she spent a great deal of time at home without Edward and often felt isolated and lonely, which is reflected in the letters. The collection reveals a tight-nit lower middle class family attempting to carve out their niche in the land of opportunity during the antebellum period.


  • 1851 - 1895
  • Majority of material found within 1851 - 1866
  • Majority of material found within 1881 - 1895


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish materials, contact: Special Collections & Archives Middlebury College Phone: (802) 443-2387 Email:


1 Box (11 folders)


A collection of letters and other memorabilia from an antebellum family. Edward Stevens, a merchant sailor, wrote many letters home to his wife and children. Often love letters or news of life aboard ship and at various ports throughout the world. Also included are letters from other relatives relating family news and loving support to Edward's wife during her time at home. The letters detail a loving family doing their best to stay in touch in a time of limited communication. Though during the period of the Civil War, there is scant mention of anything related to the war.


This collection is divided into four series. Series I. Letters from Edward Stevens to Elizabeth Stevens, series II. Family correspondence, series III. Miscellaneous letters, and series IV. Miscellaneous materials.


Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States