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Peck family papers

Call Number: MS 1031

Scope and Contents

The papers of the Ambrose Peck family of Franklin, Yantic, Norwich, and New Britain, Conn., consist mainly of correspondence, diaries, legal and financial papers, photographs, and memorabilia of four individuals: Ambrose Peck; his son, John Hazen Peck; his son's wife, Abby Ann (Hyde) Peck; and their son, John Hyde Peck. The correspondence is mainly within the family, including Hazen and Hyde relations. One unidentified letter describes the battle of Bunker Hill, and Ambrose Peck's letters to his wife report on the military situation in New London and Groton during the War of 1812. The diaries are those of Abby Ann (Hyde) Peck (from her school days, 1824-1832, and her old age, 1874-1883) and John Hyde Peck (intermittently as student, teacher, and principal, 1853-1883). The photographs show scenes of Nantucket, some with people in the middle ground, from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.

The papers of the Ambrose Peck family were given to Yale University Library by William H. Peck, Jr., in 1962. Blank picture postcards were transferred to the Historical Postcard Collection. Published photographs of Yale and the Brooklyn Bridge were transferred to the Historical Picture Collection.

The letters were given to Yale University Library by Edward Ingram in January 1948. The law notebooks were given by Irving J. Wasley in February 1948.


The papers of Henry S. and Eliza G. (Fairchild) Peck of Brookfield Center, Conn., were donated by M. Earle in 1944. The letter of Eliza J. Peck (?) was given by Edward Ingram in 1948. The pass to the U.S. Senate chambers was given by Whitman Bailey in 1945. The remaining items—all or most of which relate to the Peck family of Bristol, Conn., and their relations—were the gift of Ellen Peck in 1948. Tracy Peck and Epaphroditus Peck were also members of this family.


  • 1691-1911


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is 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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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

Gift of William H. Peck, Jr., 1962.


Arranged in four series: I. Ambrose Peck Family. II. Tracy Peck. III. Epaphroditus Peck. IV. Other Pecks.


3.5 Linear Feet (10 boxes, 1 folio)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Papers of several branches of the Peck family in Connecticut. Half of the collection is made up of the papers of the Ambrose Peck family (1691-1911) including correspondence, diaries, account books, legal papers, photographs, and memorabilia. Noteworthy are letters on the Battle of Bunker Hill and the War of 1812, as well as diaries by Abby Ann Hyde Peck from her school days, 1824-1832, and her old age, 1874-1883. Another member of the family represented is Tracy Peck (1785-1862) an important public figure in Bristol, Connecticut, and active in the Congregational Church. The papers of Epaphroditus Peck contain lecture notes taken while he was attending Yale Law School (1903-1908) and family correspondence. Miscellaneous papers (1812-1907) of other members of the family make up the remainder of the collection.

Biographical / Historical

AMBROSE PECK, son of Phineas, was born July 10, 1782, married Sept. 9, 1810, Eunice, daughter of Jacob Hazen. He lived in various places, Feeding Hills, Mass., Stafford Springs, Amenia, and Northeast in New York, finally returned to Franklin where his wife died in 1843, after which he lived with his son in Yantic, and there died in 1855.

From "Ancestors of John Hyde Peck," Box 4 Folder 76

* * * * *

JOHN HAZEN PECK, son of Ambrose, was born July 10, 1811, married Jan. 29, 1834, Abby Ann, daughter of Amasa Hyde. He learned the tailor's trade in Amenia, N.Y., carried it on for a year or two in Northeast, N.Y., then removed to Yantic, Conn. Giving up his trade on account of his health, he became manager of the Yantic Company's Store in 1844, resigned in 1874 and retired from business. He was made deacon of the First Church, Norwich, in 1875. Died universally loved and respected Sept. 22, 1885.

From "Ancestors of John Hyde Peck," Box 4 Folder 76

* * * * *

JOHN HYDE PECK, son of John Hazen, was born Sept. 7, 1838. He gathered and wrote this book of genealogical information.

From "Ancestors of John Hyde Peck," Box 4 Folder 76

* * * * *


Eldest son of John Hazen and Abby Ann (Hyde) Peck, was born at Norwich, Conn., September 7, 1838.

When sixteen years of age he began his career as a teacher at Franklin, Conn., the following year entered the State Normal School, from which he graduated in 1856, taught two years in Portland, Conn., and then prepared for college at Wilbraham (Mass.) Academy.

While at the Normal School and Academy he was the leader of the music, and early in his Freshman year in college he was a member of the quartet which formed the nucleus of the Glee Club of 1863. This club was the first to make a concert tour, their trip through New England arousing great interest. At the beginning of Junior year he was appointed by the faculty the leader of the college choir.

After graduation he was principal of the High School in Milford, Conn., two years, and then for thirty-one years principal of the High School in New Britain, Conn. He was president at various times of the Hartford County and State Teachers' Associations, and the Connecticut Council of Education. For a year he was Senior alderman of the city but declined a renomination.

Resigning at New Britain in 1896, he took a year of rest, and was then principal of the High School in West Hartford for nine years. After his retirement from teaching in 1906 he made his home in Hartford, devoting his time to historical study and genealogical research.

While living in New Britain he was for several years a deacon of the South Congregational Church and superintendent of its Sunday school, and in 1902 was chosen a deacon of the First Congregational Church in West Hartford.

Mr. Peck died at his home in Hartford, May 10, 1911, after a fortnight's illness from blood poisoning. He was 72 years of age.

He married in New Haven, September 1, 1863, Harriet Briscoe, daughter of Horace B. and Harriet (Briscoe) Dibble. She died in 1871 and her three sons in infancy. In 1874 he married Mrs. Sarah Frances (Marshall) Waterman, daughter of Dr. Obed and Frances Adelia (Whitney) Marshall, of Charleston, Mass., and widow of Nehemiah Waterman, of Toledo, O. By his second marriage he had two sons (B.A. Yale 1898 and Ph.B. Yale 1897, respectively), who with Mrs. Peck survive him.

From Yale College Obituary Record, 1910-1915. pp. 47-48.

* * * * *


Father, Josiah Tracy Peck, deputy collector of internal revenue in Bristol; son of Judge Tracy Peck and Sally (Adams) Peck of Bristol, Conn. Mother, Ellen Lewis (Barnard) Peck; daughter of Theodore and Amy (Lewis) Barnard. Yale relatives include: Edson M. Peck, ex-'84 S., (brother); Tracy Peck, '61 (uncle); Tracy Peck, Jr., '95 (cousin); Josiah H. Peck,'95, and Howard S. Peck, '96 (nephews); and Seymour R. Peck, '23 (grandnephew).

Hartford Public High School; attended Yale School of Law 1880-1881 (LL.B. 1881; valedictorian; Jewell Prize; member Chi Tau Kappa); admitted to Connecticut bar 1881; engaged in practice of law in Plainville, Conn., 1881-1882 and in Bristol since 1882; general counsel Bristol Trust Company 1907-1932; prosecuting attorney, Bristol, 1895-1905, associate judge court of Common Pleas, Hartford County, 1897-1912; represented Bristol in Connecticut General Assembly 1925-1935; instructor in court procedure Yale School of Law 1903-1904, civil procedure and domestic relations 1904-1906, evidence, practice, procedure, and domestic relations 1906-1912, and procedure 1912-1913; member committee to revise the general statutes of Connecticut 1927-1930; an incorporator Bristol Hospital, Inc., 1922 (secretary and a director 1922-1938); secretary Bristol Public Library 1892-1930 and chairman board of trustees since 1931; secretary Root Company and American Piano Supply Company 1922-1927; director Bristol Savings Bank; private Bristol Company, First Regiment, Connecticut Home Guard; chairman Four-Minute Speakers and Liberty Loan Speakers' Committee 1917-1918; chief clerk Bristol Exemption Board; represented Yale Club of Bristol on Council of Associated New England Yale Clubs 1920 and chairman of club's committee for Yale War Memorial Campaign; author: The Property Rights of Husband and Wife Under the Law of Connecticut (1904); The Law of Persons (1913; second edition 1920; third edition 1930); A History of Bristol, Connecticut (1932); The Loyalists of Connecticut (1934); co-author, with Ernest L. Wismer, '08, Digest of a Social and Religious Survey of Bristol (1912); contributed to many periodicals and to second edition of English and American Encyclopedia of Law; a number of his addresses on historical subjects published in pamphlet form; member Founders of Hartford, Bristol Bar Association, Hartford County Bar Association (member grievance committee 1932-1937), Connecticut State Bar Association, American Bar Association, Connecticut Historical Society, Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, and American Academy of Political and Social Science; had acted as Congregational delegate to many national councils, as moderator state Congregational conference, and as vice-president corporation of the National Council of Congregational Churches of the United States; member First Congregational Church, Bristol (clerk and treasurer 1887-1890, Sunday School superintendent 1890-1893, and deacon 1903-1920 and 1930-1935).

Married August 21, 1886, in Hartford, Conn., Grace, daughter of Franklin Clinton and Mary Ballantine (Mather) Brownell. Children: Margaret Winthrop (B.A. Bryn Mawr 1912), the wife of Thomas Spring MacEwan (Cornell ex-'12); Grace Brownell (died May 16, 1896); Dorothy Adams (died August 26, 1899); Mildred Atherton (Connecticut College for Women ex-'21); and Eleanor Lewis (died May 2, 1907). Mrs. Peck died January 16, 1931.

Death due to pulmonary embolism. Buried in West Cemetery, Bristol. Survived by two daughters; four grandchildren; two sisters, the Misses Ellen Amy and Eliza Jane Peck; and a brother, Miles Lewis Peck; all of Bristol.

From Yale College Obituary Record, 1937-1940. pp. 277-278.

Guide to the Peck Family Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Susan Grigg
January 1980
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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