Skip to main content

Rufus and S. Willard Saxton papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 431

Scope and Contents

The Rufus and S. Willard Saxton Papers consist of correspondence, journals, memorabilia, and photographs that document the life of Samuel Willard Saxton and the career of his brother General Rufus Saxton during the Civil War. The largest portion of the papers is composed of S. Willard Saxton's multi-volumed journal, which he began in 1847 while at Brook Farm and continued until the 1920s. The journals chronicle S. Willard Saxton's career as a printer, aide-de-camp, and civil servant; his travels; family; and his interests in the cultural life of Boston and Washington, D.C. They also highlight his ardent abolitionist and reformist interests, his work on behalf of freedmen's education, and his strong Republican loyalties. Rufus Saxton's duties as military governor of the Department of the South are reflected, primarily, in contemporary letterbooks kept by his aides-de-camp.

Dates

  • 1834-1934

Creator

Language

English

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

A portion of the papers was given by Paul S. Seward in 1965. Additional papers were given by Paul S. and W. Saxton Seward in 1972-1973 and 1980 and by Mrs. Mary S. Williams in 2012.

Arrangement

Arranged in three series: I. Letterbooks and Scrapbook, 1834-1926. II. Journals, 1847-1927. III. Personal Papers, 1849-1934, and one addition.

Extent

10.5 Linear Feet (25 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.0431

Overview

The papers include correspondence, journals, memorabilia, and photographs that document the life of Samuel Willard Saxton and the career of his brother General Rufus Saxton during the Civil War. The largest portion of the papers is composed of S. Willard Saxton's multi-volumed journal, which he began in 1847 while at Brook Farm and continued until the 1920s. The journal chronicles his career as a printer, aide-de-camp, and civil servant; his travels; family; his interests in the cultural life of Boston and Washington, D.C.; and his summers spent in Guilford, Connecticut. His journal highlights Saxton's ardent abolitionist and reformist interests, his work on behalf of freedmen's education, and his strong Republican loyalties. The letterbooks reflect Saxton's position as an aide-de-camp for his brother and Rufus Saxton's administration of the Department of the South and the former slaves under his jurisdiction.

Biographical / Historical

Rufus Saxton, 1824-1908

Rufus Saxton was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts in 1824 and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1849. During the Civil War he participated in the Port Royal Expedition and in May 1862, Saxton was appointed the military governor of the Department of the South. From his headquarters in Beaufort, South Carolina, he organized the first black regiment in the United States Army. In 1865 Saxton became commissioner for the Freedmen's Bureau and a year later returned to the Quartermasters Corps. He retired in 1888 and died in 1908.

Samuel Willard Saxton, 1829-1933

Samuel Willard Saxton was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts, in 1829. As an adolescent Saxton was apprenticed to a printer, and from 1845 to 1847 he lived at George Ripley's Brook Farm, where he worked on The Harbinger. When Brook Farm was dissolved he went to work in Boston, where he lived off and on for the next fifteen years.

In 1862 Saxton joined his brother General Rufus Saxton in South Carolina. During the remainder of the Civil War Saxton served as his brother's aide-de-camp. He was brevetted major in 1865. Saxton remained in South Carolina on the staff of General Robert K. Howard until 1866 when he became a civilian employee of the Freedmen's Bureau. In 1869 Saxton was appointed to a position in the office of the First Comptroller of the Treasury and eventually rose to be chief of his division. Saxton retired from the government in 1921.

In 1861 Saxton married Mary Grant. They had seven children: Edward, Fanny (d. 1869), Minnie, Mattie, Louise, Katharine, and Beth. Saxton died in 1933 at the age of 103.
Title
Guide to the Rufus and S. Willard Saxton Papers
Author
compiled by Diane E. Kaplan and William E. Brown, Jr. and staff of Manuscripts and Archives
Date
August 1986
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • November 2012: finding aid revisiion description not supplied

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)