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Sidney Brooks (AC 1841) Papers, 1834-1864
0.5 Linear feet: 1 archives box
Collection number: MA.00329

Abstract:
Sidney Brooks of Harwich attended Phillips Academy in Andover before attending Amherst College from 1837 to 1841. His papers include thirty-five letters, a ledger of his expenses, and writings from his school days.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the papers for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections

Biographical / Historical

Sidney Brooks was born in Harwich on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1813 to Obed Brooks and Sally Weekes. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover before attending Amherst College from 1837 to 1841. After graduating at the age of 28, Brooks taught at Chatham Academy for three years. He founded Pine Grove Seminary, a classical and nautical secondary school, in Harwich in 1844 and served as its principal for 20 years. In 1859, he married Susan S. Whittaker of Cornish, New Hampshire. During the Civil War, Brooks visited battlefields and military hospitals as a delegate of the United States Christian Commission, a group providing supplies and religious services to Union soldiers. From 1866 to 1872, he taught for the Massachusetts Nautical School, part of the State Reform School, aboard the ship George M Barnard. In 1869, the Pine Grove building was sold to the town of Harwich and later became Harwich High School. It is now the site of the Brooks Academy Museum and Harwich Historical Society. In 1872, Brooks became the US Deputy Shipping Commissioner in Boston, where he died in 1887.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains thirty-three letters and draft letters written by Sidney Brooks and two received by him, dated 1835 to 1864, nearly 100 prose drafts and essays, and a detailed ledger of expenses for his years at Amherst, 1837 to 1841. Correspondents include his father Obed Brooks, his brothers Henry Cobb Brooks and Obed Brooks, Jr., his sisters Sarah Godfrey Brooks, Harriett Newell, and Tamesin Brooks, and his wife Susan.

Correspondence with his family touches on several topics of interest in the early life of the College, including Fourth of July celebrations, cane traditions, and the aforementioned speaking exercises. Two later letters sent to Brooks by Amherst College students Samuel F. Miller (AC 1848) and J. M. Manning (AC 1851) in 1846 and 1848, respectively, suggest some ongoing involvement with the College after graduation. A series of letters written to his wife Susan and his sisters in 1864 chronicle Brooks' visit to a military hospital with the Christian Commission and his encounters with Abraham Lincoln.

The prose writing includes texts for orations and debates, and coursework from throughout Brooks' undergraduate years. The earliest pieces were written for a lecture to the Porter Rhetorical Society of the Theological Seminary at Andover, and are dated 1834 and 1835. Most pieces are drafts of speeches given at the weekly speaking exercises for students, which Brooks describes in his letter to his brother Obed of November 29, 1837. Essays may also have been composed for meetings of the Athenian Society; Brooks' essay recounting a meeting of that Society is light-hearted, and has the air of a short story.

Coursework subjects include astronomy, rhetoric, classics and theology. Many of the rhetoric pieces are based on Newman's A practical system of rhetoric, one of the sophomore textbooks. The coursework also includes two translations: from Hebrew, chapter 27 of Genesis, and from Greek, book 1, lines 180-200 of Homer's Odyssey.

Brooks' account ledger provides a detailed financial record of his expenses for tuition, room and board, books, social activities, and personal expenses during his four years at Amherst College. Items of interest include his membership in several student societies and their associated fees, as well as costs of necessities, like wood for heat, textbooks, and travel costs across Massachusetts.

The collection is arranged into three series:

  1. Correspondence (1835-1864)
  2. Writing (1834, 1837, undated)
  3. Finances (1837-1841)

Series 1 and 2 are further arranged by sub-series. Series 1 is split into Outgoing and Incoming Correspondence, and Series 2 is divided into Essays and Coursework.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the papers for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection: [Identification of item], in Sidney Brooks (AC 1841) Papers [Box #, Folder #], Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library.

History of the Collection

Gift of Robert Gorham Davis, 1978

Processing Information

Processed 2016 November by Leah Early; assessment and Series 2 rearrangement in 2017 August by Jennifer Bolmarcich. 2018 February: addition of material separated in error circa 1992, and copy-editing of the Scope and Content note.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000

Phone: (413) 542-2299
Fax: (413) 542-2692

Email Reference Form: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives/askus
URL: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives
Language
English
Related Materials At Amherst College

Amherst College Clubs and Societies Collection. 1. Sidney Brooks was secretary for the Anti-Slavery Society. See the 1837-1841 minute book (Box 1, Folder 20) in Series 1: Miscellaneous Organizations.

2. Sidney Brooks was a member of the Athenian Society. See Series 7: Athenian Society I for more about the activities and life of the organization.


Contents List
Brooks, Sidney, 1813-1887 (AC 1841), Series 1: Correspondence
1835-1864
11 folders

Arrangement:

This series of correspondence contains outgoing and incoming letters. The bulk consists of letters Brooks sent to his family, and has been arranged chronologically, with undated material at the end. A few letters of incoming correspondence follow, and the series closes with a set of transcriptions that were created by the accessioning archivist when Brooks' papers were donated in 1978.

Subseries A: Outgoing Correspondence
1835-1864
10 folders

Sidney Brooks to his brother
1835 Sept 02

Box 1: folder 1
Sidney Brooks to Henry Cobb Brooks
1835 Oct 30

Box 1: folder 1
Sidney Brooks to his sister
1836 Jun

Box 1: folder 1
Sidney Brooks to Tamesin Brooks
1837 Oct 18

Box 1: folder 2
Sidney Brooks to Obed Brooks, Jr.
1837 Nov 29

Box 1: folder 2
Sidney Brooks to Obed Brooks, Jr.
1838 Feb 3

Box 1: folder 3
Sidney Brooks to Obed Brooks, Esq.
1838 Jun 28

Box 1: folder 3
Sidney Brooks to Obed Brooks, Jr.
1838 Jul 19

Box 1: folder 3
Sidney Brooks to Obed Brooks, Esq.
1838 Dec 20

Box 1: folder 3
Sidney Brooks to Obed Brooks, Jr.
1839 Apr 4

Box 1: folder 4
Sidney Brooks to Obed Brooks, Esq.
1839 Apr 23

Box 1: folder 4
Sidney Brooks to Obed Brooks, Jr.
1839 Jul 10

Box 1: folder 4
Sidney Brooks to Obed Brooks, Jr.
1839 Nov 18

Box 1: folder 4
Sidney Brooks to Obed Brooks, Esq.
1840 Mar 21

Box 1: folder 5
Sidney Brooks to Obed Brooks, Jr.
1840 Nov 7

Box 1: folder 5
Sidney Brooks to Obed Brooks, Jr.
1841 Jun 19

Box 1: folder 5
Sidney Brooks to Susan Brooks
1864 Jul 11

Box 1: folder 6
Sidney Brooks to Susan Brooks
1864 Jul 12

Box 1: folder 6
Sidney Brooks to Susan Brooks
1864 Jul 13

Box 1: folder 6
Sidney Brooks to Susan Brooks
1864 Jul 16

Box 1: folder 6
Sidney Brooks to Susan Brooks
1864 Jul 18

Box 1: folder 6
Sidney Brooks fragment of letter
1864 Jul 18

Box 1: folder 6
Sidney Brooks to Sarah Godfrey Brooks
1864 Jul 21

Box 1: folder 6
Sidney Brooks to Susan Brooks
1864 Jul 22

Box 1: folder 6
Sidney Brooks to Harriet Newell (Brooks)
1864 Jul 22

Box 1: folder 7
Sidney Brooks to Tamesin Brooks
1864 Jul 23

Box 1: folder 7
Sidney Brooks fragment of a letter
1864 Jul 25

Box 1: folder 7
Sidney Brooks to Susan Brooks
1864 Jul 28

Box 1: folder 7
Sidney Brooks to Susan Brooks
1864 Aug 8; 1864 Aug 10

Box 1: folder 7
Sidney Brooks to Susan Brooks
1864 Aug 12

Box 1: folder 7
Sidney Brooks to Susan Brooks
1864 Aug 26

Box 1: folder 7
Sidney Brooks fragment of a letter
undated

Box 1: folder 7
Sidney Brooks to his sister
undated

Box 1: folder 8
Sidney Brooks fragment of a letter
undated

Box 1: folder 32
Outgoing Correspondence - Transcribed
1978

Box 1: folder 9
Alternative formats available:

These transcriptions of Brooks' outgoing correspondence (originals in folders 1-8) were created by Amherst College archivist John Lancaster in 1978.

Subseries B: Incoming Correspondence
1846-1848
1 folder

Samuel F. Miller (AC 1848) to Sidney Brooks
1846 May 18

Box 1: folder 10
J. M. Manning (AC 1850) to Sidney Brooks
1848 Feb 28

Box 1: folder 10
Brooks, Sidney, 1813-1887 (AC 1841), Series 2: Writing
1834, 1837, undated
24 folders

Arrangement:

The series is arranged into folders by manuscript title and sorted alphabetically. Titles without quotations refer to the topic of the piece or pieces, and were created during processing. The division between the Essays and Coursework sub-series was imposed during processing; manuscripts considered coursework generally contain writing prompts or textbook references.

Search Terms
Education -- History

Phrenology

Sub-series A: Essays
1835-1841, undated
17 folders

The Athenian Society
1840-1841

Box 1: folder 33
"The Aurora Borealis"
undated

Box 1: folder 11
"Cape Cod"
undated

Box 1: folder 12
Drafts and Fragments
undated

Box 1: folder 34
"Independence of Mind"
undated

Box 1: folder 14
Man's Religious Nature
undated

Box 1: folder 35
"Meteors"
undated

Box 1: folder 15
"The object of life"
1837

Box 1: folder 16
"Our beloved country"
undated

Box 1: folder 17
"Philosophical speculations"
undated

Box 1: folder 18
"Phrenology"
1834, undated

Box 1: folder 19
"The proper study of mankind is man"
undated

Box 1: folder 20
"A Riddle"
undated

Box 1: folder 21
Sea captain narrative
undated

Box 1: folder 22
Superstition
undated

Box 1: folder 23
"Water spouts" [an open letter to Yarmouth Register?]
undated

Box 1: folder 24
"What is productive of the greatest evil to society, Love of novelty or veneration of antiquity?"
undated

Box 1: folder 25
Sub-series B: Coursework
undated
6 folders

Astronomy
undated

Box 1: folder 26
Bible/Religion
undated

Box 1: folder 27
Classics
undated

Box 1: folder 28
Intellectual and moral philosophy
undated

Box 1: folder 29
Rhetoric
1838-1839
2 folders
Box 1: folder 30, 36
Series 3: Finances
1837-1841
2 folders

Ledger
1837-1841

Box 1: folder 31
Seaman's Friend Society Subscription List
1840-1841
Box 1: folder 37

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Amherst College -- Students
  • Brooks, Harriet Newell, 1817-1876
  • Brooks, Henry Cobb, 1824-1886
  • Brooks, Obed, Esq., 1781-1856
  • Brooks, Obed, Jr., 1809-1882
  • Brooks, Sarah Godfrey, 1827-1902
  • Brooks, Susan, 1814-1886
  • Brooks, Tamesin, 1821-1891
  • College prose, American -- Massachusetts -- Amherst
  • College students -- Correspondence
  • College students -- United States -- Finance, Personal


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