Hutchins Family Correspondence, 1897-1916

Collection number: MC 327
Size: (1 box) (0.33 cu.ft.)

About the Hutchins Family

The Hutchins Family Correspondence consists of letters between Joseph Herbert Hutchins (1852-1908) and his wife Mary Bell (Cate) Hutchins (1863-?) of Northwood Ridge, NH. Mary Bell was the daughter of Nathaniel Cate and Olive Adelaide Tuttle of Northwood Ridge. “Herbert” and Mary were married at Northwood 29th Aug. 1883. There are also letters from their son Roger D. Hutchins of Northwood (1897-?) who married Ruby E. (__?) Hutchins at Northwood in 1930.

Herbert’s parents were Joseph Crumbell Hutchins (1816-1885) and Clara Jane (Dow) Hutchins (1818-1904) of Dover N.H. His sister was named Josephine Hutchins (?-?); she spent some time living with Mary after Roger was born and while Herbert was away in Dover caring for his ailing mother and later while he worked in C.T.

Both Joseph and Herbert were teachers. Joseph is listed in the U.S. Census as a teacher at Wesley College in 1857. Herbert was an editor for the Dover NH newspaper the Morning Star from 1875-1887, the principal of Northwood Seminary 1877-1885, superintendent of schools in Glastonbury CT 1885-1898, and a Special Agent for Aetna Life Inc. from 1900 until his death in 1908. His frequent travels in this last job account for most of the letters in between him and his wife Mary in this collection.

About the Hutchins Family Correspondence (1897-1916)

This collection consists of 219 letters between the various members of the Hutchins family, but primarily from Mary Bell to her husband Herbert. Topics include family life and events, current events, finances, community life, travel, health, eldercare, elder abuse, and the exploits of Roger Hutchins (son of Mary and Herbert). Small mentions of misc. topics such as local African-American families and radium medicine are also included.

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

[Identification of item], [Folder Number], Box 1, Hutchins Family Correspondence, 1897-1916, MC 327, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Purchase from Carmin Valentino Rare Books, ca. 2017.

Several related collections and genealogies are available by searching

Separated Material

The collection as complete as acquired, but envelopes and some letters are obviously missing.

Collection Arrangement

This collection is organized by correspondent and then roughly by year within that. Original order was not discernable upon acquisition.

Collection Contents

Box 1
Box 1, Folder 1Mary Bell to Herbert Hutchins, 1897-1902

35 letters Mary Bell wrote to her “Dear Husband” from Deerfield. Herbert is in Dover caring for his ailing mother Clara, and Mary is back home in Deerfield with infant Roger and her sister-in-law Josie. Topics include Clara’s health, Roger’s budding exploits, summer trips to Dover and Portsmouth, trips to the Deerfield Fair, local politics, local African-American families, and the upkeep of the house – at one point the chimney was struck by lightning during a storm. Throughout it all Mary misses her husband and resents his being away in Dover, at one point writing, “Tell your mother I think I need you this year more than she does”.

Box 1, Folder 2Clara to Herbert Hutchins, 1893-1902

74 letters written from Clara Jane to Herbert and Mary Bell. The majority are dated 1903, although the handwriting is shaky and the dates are seemingly random. This, and the procession of caregivers Herbert hires to take care of his mother, suggests that she may have suffered from some form of Alzheimer’s Disease. The primary topic is Clara’s yearning for more visits from her son and his family. Another recurring theme is Clara’s treatment at the hands of her caregivers, Mrs. Richards, Mrs. Hayes, and Mrs. Johnson, of whom she writes of being physically and psychologically afraid. Other times, however, “Mrs. Johnson is kind to me.”

Box 1, Folder 3Clara to Herbert Hutchins, 1903-1905

The second part of the letters described in Folder 2.

Box 1, Folder 4Roger to Clara Hutchins, 1903

A childhood letter from a young Roger to his grandmother Clara in Dover, describing his new wagon and the feeding of a small white bunny.

Box 1, Folder 5Mary Bell to Herbert Hutchins, 1903-1905

70-80 letters from Mary to her husband in Glastonbury, C.T. Most are from the year 1905, and discuss topics such as their son Roger (several of Roger’s early artistic scribbles are included), finances, local events, weather, and family health. The year 1904 marked the passing of Herbert’s mother Clara.

Box 1, Folder 6Mary Bell to Herbert Hutchins, 1907-1908

27 letters from Mary to Herbert, who is presumably still living in Glastonbury. Roger is in school by this time and contributes multiplication tables and words to his parents’ correspondence. Mary Bell has a swollen and stiff hand, and when she visits a doctor he advises rubbing radium on the swelling (radium was viewed as the miracle cure-all at that point). Mary seeks advice from her husband and they make plans to visit, as well as a trip Mary and Roger take to visit her parents in Malden/Lynn Mass. Local weather, events, marriages, and the like are discussed.

Box 1, Folder 7To Mary Bell from Herbert and Others, 1908

3 letters. Condolences for “your double sorrow” from ‘(Mrs. E.E.) Bertha Reynolds Wiggin’ of E. Barrington, dated 26 March 1908 (Mary Bell’s father died that year). Also a letter from a friend in Gastonbury, and a single letter from Herbert to Mary discussing Roger’s schooling.

Box 1, Folder 8Letters Between Extended Family, 1901-1916

8 letters between various extended family members, mostly on Mary’s side, as well as some letters from Mary and Josie to Clara Hutchins. Mary’s mother died in 1916, and her health was a frequent topic of correspondence. Writers include C. L. Sudim, (cousin?), Mrs. C. T. Wallace (?), Cousin Groth, Howard and Bertha (Mary’s brother and sister-in-law?), and one letter to ‘Mama’ from ‘Annie’.



Letters & Postcards