This series contains six subseries: Generation 1, Generation 2, Generation 3, Generation 4, Generation 5, and Generation 6. The series begins with the memoir of Constant Southworth, continues with the eldest members of the Southworth line represented in this collection, Dr. Abiah Southworth, and continues into the 21st century. Generation 2 and 3 include members of the related Shepard, Boltwood, Thurston, and Terry families.
Among those represented in Generation 3 is Rev. George Champlin Shepard, who, in a letter of January 1833, discusses the anti-slavery movement. Among the papers of Anne E. Shepard, Edward Southworth's first wife, is a letter of 18 [?] January 1837 from her cousin Hannah, discussing the Grimke sisters and abolition.
Much of Edward Southworth's correspondence concerns personal financial matters as well as operations at the company. Of interest is a letter of 27 December 1844 to Edward (addressed as "My Kind Master") from a woman named Fanny, apparently an African American cook, who worked for a family in Charleston, S.C. In the letter, Fanny discusses her son's bad behavior and her religious beliefs. Other correspondence of interest includes a letter of 8 August 1861, from the offices of A.S. Barnes & Burr, mentioning Edward Southworth's optimism concerning the northern war effort despite the recent Union defeat at the battle of Bull Run. C. W. Chester discusses a husband's abusive, homicidal behavior, 11 May 1860. A letter of 5 May 1865 from Martha Southworth Curtis concerns the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. A letter of 26 February 1866, also from Curtis, mentions an African American woman learning to read and write. A letter of 26 October 1864 from J. M. Geery, writes of the "aid of indigent students" at Amherst College. And a letter from E. Hitchcock, 22 February 1866, concerns his desire to buy artifacts that once belonged to Connecticut Valley Native Americans.
Also included in Edward's correspondence are letters from B. A. Perry, concerning the Port Hudson and Charleston campaigns of 1863, the poor conditions for Union soldiers on the boat ride north, and the hiring of a substitute for his son; letter of 4 June 1864 from Henry A. Phelan discussing the death of Ensign Charles Ringot in a naval engagement in Virginia; letter from Edward Southworth to son George, then at Phillips Academy, concerning his trip out west and mining; letter of 21 October 1858 discussing life at Phillips Academy; letter of 14 July 1864 from George concerning Edward's warning that George not attend horse races in Worcester, Mass; letters from Edward's son Mase, 1868-69, discussing his studies in Gottingen, Germany, a possible war between Germany and France, Blue Laws in the United States, the election of Ulysses S. Grant, and the differences between education in America and Germany.
Generation 3 also contains the correspondence of Harriet Anne Thurston Deane, Edward's second wife. Letters of interest include those from Elisabeth Shepard Southworth Harrison concerning her trip to Italy in 1905; a letter [1861?] from Elizabeth Philbrook, discussing women and teaching; and letters from daughter Alice Southworth concerning her visit to Germany.
Correspondence between Harriet and her stepson George includes discussion of George's trips to Germany in 1869 and 1901, Harriet's journey to Italy in 1874, life in Salem, Ohio (7 February 1895), and the New York subway system and political unrest in Ireland, 1903. Letters from stepsons Mase and Tom concern Mase's studies in Germany, 1868, and Tom's schooling at Phillips Academy and in Gottingen, Germany.
Also included among Harriet's correspondence are hundreds of letters between her and her stepson Dr. Thomas Southworth concerning his work in various hospitals in New York City and elsewhere. A letter of 16 February 1891 from Harriet to Tom discusses Native American rights. A letter of 30 June 1901 from Harriet describes her camping experience at Robe's Mountain, Kentucky. Letters from niece Mary Southworth Williams include items written while she was a Smith College student in the 1890s and later a teacher at Kenyon College in Ohio.
Harriet's correspondence also includes many letters from the Thurston family. A letter from father Rev. David Thurston to Harriet, 19 March 1863, discusses the Emancipation Proclamation and northern "wickedness." Letters from brother Samuel describe his experiences serving in a Maine artillery unit during the Civil War, including discussion of command changes in the Army of the Potomac, the destruction of the Virginia countryside during campaigning, the enlistment of Virginia Unionists into the northern army, and the profanity and "wickedness" in the ranks.
Generation 4 chiefly consists of the letters of Edward Southworth's children: George, Thomas, and Alice. Among George's correspondence are letters from Rev. Henry Blodget, 1 November 1871, discussing missionary work in China; letters from Thomas K. Boltwood concerning George's election to the Massachusetts legislature; letter of 14 July 1870 from brother Mase mentioning George's engagement to Ada; letter of 6 May 1871 from Mase concerning the popularity of baseball in Germany; letter of 8 November 1898 from Tom discussing the Spanish-American War; and letter of 3 February 1873 from William Taylor mentioning the extremely cold weather in western Massachusetts.
Among the papers of Ada Deane Southworth are letters from Anna Jenks, discussing Anna's trip to England, 1928, and a letter from son Melvin written from a tuberculosis sanitarium, 1918.
Included in the papers of Dr. Thomas Southworth are frequent letters between him and his stepsister Alice as well as letters from Tom's son, Hamilton, discussing life at Groton School in Groton, Mass.
The papers of Alice Southworth contain letters between her and her life partner, Anna Jenks, mostly discussing family news. After Anna's death in the 1940s, Alice lived with niece Ruth Doris Swett. Alice's correspondence includes a letter of 14 January 1957 from Betsy Corning, a student at Smith College; a letter of 23 January 1945 from Thurston Harrison discussing his landing with American troops in the Philippines and his impressions of Filipinos; a letter to Hattie Peabody, 23 February 1903, describing Alice's trip to Bermuda with Anna Jenks; a letter of November 1918 from Harriet Philbrook discussing World War I and the flu pandemic; a letter from Alice F. Southworth, October 1917, discussing her husband Rufus' enlistment in the army; a letter of 23 February 1910 from nephew and attorney Constant Southworth concerning heirs to Edward Southworth's estate and family claims to property in Duluth, Minn.; and a letter of February 1931 from Edward Southworth (b. 1907), describing Detroit, Mich. Letters from George Shepard Southworth include items written while he was a student at Kenyon College.
Also included are letters from nephew Hamilton Southworth concerning his trip to Austria, his boat ride back to the U.S. in 1932, and the death of his father, Thomas; letters from John D. Southworth discussing his service with the American expeditionary forces during World War I; letters from Mayotta Dickinson Southworth concerning the death of Constant Southworth in 1927 and Mayotta's trip to Venezuela; letters from Rufus Southworth written while he was a medical officer during World War I; a letter from Clara Thurston, 1 March 1884, discussing life in Charleston, S.C.; letters from Mary Southworth Williams including items written from Smith College, Southern Pines, N.C., and after a trip to Richmond, Va.
The papers of Anna Jenks contain items discussing her trip to Europe in 1899 and the Middle-East, including visits to Cairo, Jerusalem, and Syria in 1900; her visit to Hawaii in 1922; her trip to Algiers in 1924; and her impression of Arabs.
Generation 5 chiefly consists of the papers of George C. S. Southworth's children. Three of his sons served in the military during World War I. This series, especially the papers of Constant Southworth, contains numerous, letters, diary entries, and writings concerning American involvement in the war in Europe, including the campaigns in Italy and Montenegro. Generation 6 contains correspondence and other items concerning Southworth Family history and genealogy collected by Mayotta Southworth Kendrick.