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Edward Comfort Starr papers

Call Number: MS 1166

Scope and Contents

Over four hundred letters and cards addressed to Edward Comfort Starr make up this collection. A few of the letters are from relatives, including one from his sister-in-law Lizzie DeForest written during a visit to China in 1907 and describing, among other things, victims of famine in Nanking; there are also several letters to members of the Lay family (the family of Starr's mother) who were involved with mission work. The majority of the letters, however, are from fellow ministers and missionaries of the Congregational Church, most of them in Connecticut, although there are also a few letters from missionaries in Asia. The letters deal with church business and other professional matters, such as the activities of various missionary societies, the setting up of Sunday schools and other aspects of religious education. The letters are arranged in alphabetical order.

The provenance of these letters is unknown.


  • 1854-1916
  • Majority of material found within 1868 - 1916


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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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


0.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence of family members and associates sent to Edward C. Starr from Connecticut and China, including items relating to the Congregational Church.

Biographical / Historical

Edward Comfort Starr, B.A. 1866.

Born January 12, 1844, in Guilford, Conn.

Died January 16, 1941, in Cornwall, Conn.

Father, John Shipman Starr, a farmer in Guilford; son of Comfort and Sally (Pratt) Starr of Guilford. Mother, Lydia Austin (Lay) Starr; daughter of Steuben and Martha (Wright) Lay of Westbrook, Conn. Yale relatives include: Thomas Ruggles (B.A. 1723) and Nathaniel Ruggles (B.A. 1732) (great-great-great-uncles); John W. Starr, '71 (brother); and John K. H. DeForest, '68 (brother-in-law).

Guilford Institute. First colloquy appointment Junior year; second dispute appointment Senior year; member Kappa Sigma Epsilon, Linonia, and Delta Kappa Epsilon.

Teacher at Royalton (Vt.) Academy 1866-67; attended Yale Divinity School 1867-68, 1869-70 (B.D. 1870), and Andover Theological Seminary 1868-69; home missionary in the West 1870-71; ordained in Congregational church, Waseca, Minn., March 20, 1871, and minister there 1871-75; minister Wethersfield Avenue Church, Hartford, Conn., 1876-80, Northfield, Conn., 1881-87, and First Congregational Church, Cornwall, 1888 until retirement 1915; superintendent of the Sunday School 1891-1904 and 1921-23; author: A Catechetical Introduction to the Pentateuch (1881), A General Introduction to the Holy Scriptures, An Introduction to the Sunday School Lessons (1886), and A History of Cornwall, Connecticut... (1926); editor: Parish Papers of the Northfield Congregational Church (1882-87); supplied notes for Diary of Ebenezer Dibble (1903); president Cornwall Water Company 1915-30 and Village Improvement Society; treasurer and member executive committee Cornwall Library 1888-1913; member Cornwall Library Association 1888-1935 (president 1913-35); trustee Housatonic Valley Institute 1907-30; chairman school board for many years; moderator of town meeting; president Cornwall University Club and Cornwall Law and Order League; vice-president Litchfield County University Club.

Married January 12, 1878, in Hartford, Emily Amelia, daughter of Charles Jackson and Martha Delia (Winship) Shew. Children: Charles Comfort, '00 S., Edward Burgis, '07, and Mabel Emily. Mrs. Starr died March 9, 1937.

Death due to old age. Buried in Cornwall Cemetery. Survived by children, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Mr. Starr was the last surviving member of his Class. Since February 8, 1940, he had enjoyed the distinction of being the oldest living graduate of Yale.

(Taken from Yale University Obituary Record, 1940-43, pp. 5-6).

Guide to the Edward C. Starr Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
August 1983
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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