J. S. Holliday research collection on the William Swain family
Scope and Contents
Series I, Swain Family Papers , 1862-1980, boxes 1-3, is organized into five subseries: Correspondence, Writings, Documents and Financial Papers, Other Papers, and Photographs. The correspondence includes 27 letters to forty-niner William Swain from his wife Sabrina and brother George, dated April 15, 1849 to September 8, 1850. Also included are "A Forty Niner," William's dictated recollections, and his will, made out before leaving for California. Other family papers include William's father Isaac's account books, letters of family members and neighbors, including a draft of a letter to William's half-sister Rebecca Swain Williams in 1839 announcing the death of Isaac and the family's reaction to Rebecca's conversion to Mormonism, and a daguerreotype and cased albumen prints, presumably of family members.
Series II, J. S. Holliday Research Files , 1862-1980, boxes 4-8, is organized into four subseries: Correspondence, Writings, Printed Material, and Other Papers. The files include approximately 150 letters from Sara Swain to Holliday and another 70 to her Mormon cousin Nancy Williams, with much information on the history of the Swain family and Niagara County, New York. These are accompanied by Holliday's notes, transcripts of the Swain letters, photocopies of materials related to the Wolverine Rangers, Sara Swain's notes on family and local history, and After 100 Years, Nancy Williams' biography of Rebecca and Frederick Granger Williams.
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
3.77 Linear Feet ((9 boxes) + 1 broadside folder)
Language of Materials
J. S. HOLLIDAY AND THE WILLIAM SWAIN FAMILY
J. S. Holliday was introduced to the William Swain journals and letters by Edward Eberstadt, the New York rare book and manuscript dealer who had acquired them from William Swain's daughter Sara Sabrina Swain. Eberstadt had intended to publish the journal and diary but had been unable to do so due to the press of business and ill health, and asked Holliday, a recent Yale graduate, to take over the project. Holliday did so, and met Sara Swain in 1948. Born in 1860, Sara was a school teacher and amateur historian of Niagara County, New York. Holliday discovered that she still held letters that her mother Sabrina and uncle George had sent to her father during the gold rush. Sara gave Holliday the letters, which form part of the present collection, in 1951. She died in 1953.
The Swain collection includes documents concerning William Swain's father, Isaac, who had first been married to Elizabeth Hall. Their daughter, Rebecca, married Frederick Granger Williams, who was a counselor to Joseph Smith. The Williams family followed Joseph Smith to Illinois and Missouri and made the overland journey to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Her grandson, Frederick Granger Williams, married Nancy Clement, who later corresponded with Sara Sabrina Swain.
- Account books
- California -- Gold discoveries
- California -- History -- 1846-1850
- Daguerreotypes (photographs)
- Eberstadt, Edward, 1883-1958
- Holliday, J. S.
- Mormons -- United States
- Niagara County (N.Y.)
- Overland journeys to the Pacific
- Overland journeys to the Pacific -- 1849
- Photographic prints
- Pioneers -- California -- Biography
- Swain family -- Archives
- Swain, George, 1819-1892
- Swain, Isaac
- Swain, Sara Sabrina
- Swain, William, 1821-1904
- Thermoplastic cases
- Williams, Nancy Clement
- Wolverine Rangers (Firm)
- Youngstown (N.Y.)
- Guide to the J.S. Holliday Research Collection on the William Swain Family
- Under Revision
- by Diana Smith
- July 2001
- Description rules
- Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
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