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Hartwell papers, 1847-1909 (Bulk: 1850-1871)
2 boxes (3 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 0761 (LD 7096.6 1848 Plimpton)

Abstract:
Hartwell, Hannah Louisa Plimpton Peet, 1823-1908; Teacher and missionary. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary graduate, 1848. Papers contain four volumes of journals and notebooks, correspondence, Plimpton family correspondence, biographical information, and a photograph.

Terms of Access and Use:

Unrestricted.

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Hannah Louisa Plimpton was born on June 30, 1823, in Sturbridge, Massachusetts to Ziba Plimpton and Hannah Marsh Plimpton. Her father was a farmer, miller, and teacher. She attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary and graduated in 1848. She became an Associate Principal of West Haven Ladies Seminary with Susan Arms Wright, x-Class of 1840, which then became the Oak Hill Seminary in West Haven, Connecticut from 1848-1856. Her younger sister, Sarah, also taught at the school. With another Mount Holyoke alumna, Eliza Paine, she opened the Duquoin Female Seminary in Duquoin, Illinois and taught there from 1852-1856. In 1857 she traveled east to raise money for the school and met the Reverend Lyman Peet. He was a missionary to Foochow, China whose wife, Rebecca Sherrill Peet, had recently died, leaving him with three young children: Jane, Frances, and Anna. Louisa Plimpton and Lyman Peet married on June 6, 1858. They sailed for China on October 5, 1858 aboard the "Empress" and arrived in Shanghai on March 1, 1859. They had four children: Ellen Louisa, Lyman Plimpton, Edward Wright, and Mary Susan. They served as missionaries in Foochow until Lyman Peet became ill and the family returned to Connecticut in 1871. He died on January 11, 1878 in West Haven, Connecticut at the age of sixty-eight. Louisa Plimpton Peet returned to Foochow in 1884 with her daughter and son-in-law and in 1885 married the Reverend Charles Hartwell, who had served as missionary in China since 1853. She became stepmother to his daughter, Emily S. Hartwell. She began a school for women at Ponasang, China in 1885 and also taught English at Foochow College. Charles Hartwell died in 1905 in Foochow. Hannah Louisa Plimpton Peet Hartwell died in Foochow on December 7, 1908 at the age of eighty-five. Many of her relatives attended Mount Holyoke, including: Catherine Plimpton, Ellen Louisa Peet, Emily S. Hartwell, Jane S. Peet, Frances R. Peet, Christine Hubbard, Christine Winifred Pickett, Patricia Louisa Pickett, and Barbara Elizabeth Pickett.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Hannah Louisa Plimpton Peet Hartwell Papers include four volumes of journals and notebooks, correspondence (191 letters), Plimpton family correspondence (72 letters) and biographical information, as well as one photograph. The collection documents Hartwell's years as a Mount Holyoke Female Seminary student, 1845-1848; her work as a teacher at the Oak Hill Seminary, West Haven, Connecticut, 1849-1852, and at Duquoin Female Seminary in Duquoin, Illinois, 1852-1856; and her life in China as a teacher, wife, and mother, 1857-1908. Two notebooks date from her years as a student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. One contains notes reflecting her study of Milton's "Paradise Lost" from 1847 and the other is a herbarium prepared for botany class in 1847 but also contains plant specimens from China collected in 1866 and 1868. The remaining material chiefly concerns her later activities as a teacher, missionary, and mother. There is correspondence to Louisa from Oak Hill Seminary teachers with news from vacation periods and stories about students, as well as the daily activities of the school from 1852-1856. There are also letters pertaining to her fundraising activities for the Duquoin Female Seminary and letters from Duquoin Female Seminary students with school news and from its director and personal friend, Eliza Paine Warner from 1852-1858. Other letters include those from her family relaying family and community news during her stay in all locales. The forty-three Plimpton-Peet letters chronicle the transition of a proposed marriage based on mutual convenience to one which "speaks right to my heart" over a five month period from 1858-1859. The collection also contains two other journals, one which chronicles her marriage in June, 1858, then her journey to China from October 5, 1858-February 28, 1859, and her daily life in Foochow from March, 1859-October, 1871. She makes note of shipboard illness, weather, and daily activities on the ship, the "Empress." After arriving in China, she comments on Chinese daily life, the people and the customs she encounters, as well as making notations about mission daily life, including the illness and death of neighbors. The second journal, kept by her first husband, Lyman Peet, lists the expenses incurred from 1842-1877 while in China, which includes household and grocery expenses, payments to missionaries, and other miscellaneous expenses in addition to expenses incurred from their return to the United States from 1871-1877. The Plimpton family letters contain letters of Sarah Plimpton Benham and her husband Lucius A. Benham, to other family members, as well as return correspondence from the Reverend Salem Plimpton, written from 1849-1871, which describe courtship, marriage, death, farm life and daily life in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, West Haven, Connecticut, and Wells River, Vermont and other information about family relations. Both correspondence series contain typed transcripts of many letters prepared by Winifred Pickett Corbett. The biographical information includes a copy of the Plimpton family genealogy, published in 1885, "Jubilee Notes," an anniversary publication celebrating Charles Hartwell's fifty years of service and Hannah Louisa Plimpton Peet Hartwell's eightieth birthday published in 1904, photocopies of sections from a book providing information about Foochow and the Foochow Mission and pages from the "Missionary Herald" (1859-1871) concerning Foochow Mission news, and a news article with Hannah Louisa Plimpton Peet Hartwell's obituary printed in 1909 in the "Foochow Messenger."

Material from this collection is available in an online digital format.


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

Unrestricted.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

The Hannah Louisa Plimpton Peet Hartwell Papers, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA.

History of the Collection


Additional Information
Contact Information
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
8 Dwight Hall
50 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone: (413) 538-2013
Fax: (413) 538-2370

Email Reference Form: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/forms/areq.htm
URL: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
1842-1877
4 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The notebooks and journals consist of four volumes. Two notebooks date from Hartwell's years as a student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, 1845-1848. One of the seminary notebooks contain notes reflecting her study of Milton's "Paradise Lost" from 1847, while the other is a herbarium, containing pressed plant specimens, including specimens added while she was in China. The third journal chronicles her journey to China from October 5, 1858-February 28, 1859 and her daily life in Foochow from March, 1859-October, 1871. She keeps track of the journey by noting the longitude and latitude each day, shipboard illness, weather, and daily activities on the ship, the "Empress." After arriving in China, she comments on Chinese daily life, the people and the customs she encounters, as well as making notations about mission daily life, including the illness and death of neighbors. She also notes the amount of letters she received and sent to relatives and friends from 1859 until her departure from Foochow in 1871. An account book listing the expenses of Lyman Peet begins in June, 1842 and ends in September, 1877 and lists all living expenses while in China as well as expenses incurred while living in West Haven, Connecticut from 1871-1877 including household expenses, groceries, books, wet nurse payments, furniture, and payments to missionaries.

[1850-1870]-1904
18 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The correspondence consists of both manuscript letters and typed transcripts of correspondence to Hartwell written between 1848-1885. These one-hundred-thirty-six letters deal with family news, community news and births and deaths while she was at Oak Hill Seminary, Duquoin Female Seminary, and Foochow, China and also the period of time following her return to the United States in 1871. Correspondents include her sister, Sarah Plimpton Benham, her brother-in-law, Lucius Benham, her brother, the Reverend Salem Plimpton, and friends like Eliza Paine Warner, as well as students from Duquoin Female Seminary. Topics include the death of her sister, Cate, and several others from typhoid fever, the Duquoin Female Seminary controversy due to principal Eliza Paine's marriage without asking permission from the Board of Trustees, and family and daily news from Massachusetts and Vermont. The forty-three-letter Plimpton-Peet correspondence chronicles the transition of a proposed marriage based on mutual convenience to one which "speaks right to my heart" over a five month period from 1858-1859. There are fifteen letters written by Hartwell between 1850-1904 which include ones written during her teaching at Oak Hill Seminary, some written in tandem with her sister, Sarah. The Lyman Peet correspondence consists of two letters written by O. Cowles, who introduced Peet to Plimpton in 1857. All transcriptions of letters were completed by Hartwell's great-granddaughter, Winifred Pickett Corbett.

1849-1871
4 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The Plimpton family correspondence consists chiefly of forty-four letters written by Sarah Plimpton Benham and twenty-five letters by her husband Lucius Benham, in West Haven, Connecticut to the Reverend Salem and Beulah Plimpton in Wells River, Vermont with some return correspondence primarily from 1850-1871. There are other letters present from brother Vernon in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, mother Hannah Plimpton, and one letter from sister Cate, who died of typhoid fever, and one from brother Samuel who wrote from New Orleans, en route to the 1849 California Gold Rush. He later died from consumption during his Civil War service. Topics discussed are farm life, hiring of hands, death of community members as well as the death of their sister, Cate, of Sarah's daughter, and of Hartwell's daughter. Children, the weather, and daily life in Massachusetts and Vermont are also discussed. Some Civil War news is mentioned as well. The transcribed letters include two copies of letters which reside in Old Sturbridge Village from Sarah Plimpton. One letter is to "H. Louisa" dated February 7, 1848, the other is written to "my dear sisters at Holyoke Sem. in Room 22" dated February 22, 1848. All transcriptions of letters were completed by Hartwell's great-granddaughter, Winifred Pickett Corbett.

1885-1909
4 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The biographical information consists of background information including a Plimpton family genealogy, a "Jubilee Notes" celebration book, copies of articles from "The Missionary Herald" and from a book entitled "The Social Life of the Chinese," as well as an obituary for Hartwell. The copy of the genealogy includes historical notices about the Plimpton or Plymptons in America and the Plumpton family in England by Levi Chase and published by the Plimpton Mfg. Co. of Hartford, Connecticut, 1884. The Jubilee Notes, 1904, was produced by the Foochow College Press, A.B.C.F.M., in honor of Hartwell's eightieth birthday and in celebration of Charles Hartwell's fifty years in China. Entries include reminiscences from friends and family, press notices, and the program for the day of celebration. The first biographical folder contains handwritten notes about Hartwell and the Plimpton family, and an article regarding Charles Hartwell, an Amherst College graduate, Class of 1849. The second folder of background material was compiled by Hartwell's great-granddaughter, Winifred Pickett Corbett, and consists of photocopied pages of "The Missionary Herald" from 1859-1871 relating to the Foochow Mission and photocopied pages from The Social Life of the Chinese by Rev. Justis Doolittle, 1865, relating to the physical setup of Foochow City and the mission in addition to an obituary from the Foochow Messenger dated 1909.

circa 1903
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

The photograph, a portrait of the Hartwells (Louisa and Charles) circa 1903, is 2.5 by 3 inches, with an inscription on the back.

Contents List
Journals and Notebooks,
1842-1877
4 folders

Notebook on Milton's "Paradise Lost,"
October 20-November 27, 1847

Box 1: folder 1
Herbarium,
1866, 1868

Folio
Folio2Herbarium, 1866, 1868
Journal,
1858-1871

Folio
Account book,
1842-1877

Folio
Correspondence,
[1850-1870]-1904
18 folders

Letters by,
1850-1857

Box 1: folder 5
Plimpton-Peet Correspondence, Letters by,
1857-1858

Box 1: folder 6
Plimpton-Peet Correspondence, Letters to,
1857-1858

Box 1: folder 7
Letters by,
1860-1904, dated Jan. 28, 1860, June 28, 1886, Jan., 1898, April, 1904

Box 1: folder 8
Letters to,
1848-1850

Box 1: folder 9
Letters to,
1851-1854

Box 1: folder 10
Letters to,
1855-1856

Box 1: folder 11
Letters to,
1857-1858

Box 1: folder 12
Letters to,
1858-1867

Box 1: folder 13
Letters to,
1870-1878

Box 1: folder 14
Letters to,
1879-1885

Box 1: folder 15
Letters to Lyman Peet, excluding HLPPH letters,
1857

Box 1: folder 16
Transcribed copies of letters by,
1849-1860

Box 1: folder 17
Transcribed copies of Plimpton-Peet correspondence,
1857-1858

Box 1: folder 18
Transcribed copies of letters to,
1849-1854

Box 1: folder 19
Transcribed copies of letters to,
1855-1857

Box 2: folder 1
Transcribed copies of letters to,
1858-1908

Box 2: folder 2
Transcribed copies of letters to Lyman Peet,
1857

Box 2: folder 3
Plimpton Family Correspondence,
1849-1871
4 folders

1849-1854


Box 2: folder 4
1855-1858


Box 2: folder 5
1859-1871


Box 2: folder 6
Transcribed copies of Plimpton Family letters,
1848-1858

Box 2: folder 7
Biographical Information,
1885-1909
4 folders

Genealogy of Plimpton Family,
1885

Box 2: folder 8
"Jubilee Notes,"
1904

Box 2: folder 9
General Information, handwritten notes


Box 2: folder 10
General Information, photocopied pages


Box 2: folder 11
Photograph,
circa 1903
1 folder

Photograph


Box 2: folder 1

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
  • Hartwell, Hannah Louisa Plimpton Peet, 1823-1908.
  • Botany - Study and teaching (Higher) - Massachusetts.
  • China - Description and travel.
  • China - Social life and customs.
  • Courtship - United States - History - 19th century - Sources.
  • Death.
  • Du Quoin Female Seminary.
  • Family - United States - History - 19th century - Sources.
  • Fuzhou (Fujian Sheng, China).
  • Marriage - United States - History - 19th century - Sources.
  • Missionaries - China.
  • Missions - China.
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary - Students.
  • Oak Hill Seminary.
  • Sturbridge (Mass.) - Social life and customs.
  • Travelers.
  • Voyages and travels.
  • Wells River (Vt.) - Social life and customs.
  • Women missionaries - China.
  • Women teachers - United States - History - Sources.
  • Women travelers.

Contributors
  • Benham, Lucius A. 1824-1891.
  • Benham, Sarah Plimpton 1825-1898.
  • Chase, Levi B. Genealogy and historical notes of the Plimpton or Plympton family in America and Plumpton family in England.
  • Corbett, Winifred Pickett 1922-.
  • Hartwell, Charles 1825-1905.
  • Peet, Lyman B.(Lyman Burt) 1809-1878.
  • Plimpton, Salem Marsh 1827-1866.
  • Warner, Eliza Paine 1825-1889.

Genre terms
  • Account books
  • Herbaria
  • Journals
  • Letters


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