Guide to the Beecher and Newell Brotherhood Contract, 1830-1832

Collection number: MS 289
Size: (1 item) (0.01 cu.ft.)

About Henry C. Beecher and C. F. Newell

Henry C. Beecher and C. F. Newell, potentially of northern New Hampshire, were at the least close friends and possibly lovers during the 1830s. Nothing more is known about either of them as they do not seem to appear in records of their time. Such contracts were used to indicate close platonic friendship as well as romantic relationships; it is unclear from the document which was the case.

About the "Brotherhood Contract"

A 3 page handwritten "Brotherhood Contract" lays out five articles by which both men agree to abide:

  • I. To make each other happy as if brothers
  • II. To write at least once every two months, or if either is out of the country, once every four months
  • III. For each to defend the other's reputation against attack
  • IV. To forgive each other's mistakes
  • V. To communicate all their troubles and "be one in our joys and sorrows".

It is signed "Mt. Pleasant", which may refer to somewhere in northern New Hampshire. This is an assumption given that the document was retained with a collection of land deeds from a Coos County family. It would not have been the famous Mt. Pleasant House near Bretton Woods, which wasn't built until 1875. It may have referred to the Mt. Pleasant which later was renamed Mt. Eisenhower in 1969.

The original document was written between the 21st October and 2nd November 1830, and the handwritten copy in the archive's pocession is dated April 28 1832, "just before I left Mt. Pleasant". The original may have worn out and the copy is also in tatters from folding and unfolding.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

Beecher and Newell Brotherhood Contract, 1830-1832, MS 289, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Gift of Linda Bornstein, 2017

Separated Material

This contract was separated from MS 238 Coos and Oxford County Land Deeds (Milne Special Collections and Archives)

Collection Arrangement

Document is in original order, though very fragile.