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Terry family papers

Call Number: MS 482

Scope and Contents

The Terry Family Papers are organized in six series, with letters placed under the name of the recipient: I. Alfred Howe Terry; II. Adrian Terry; III. Isadore Wright Terry; IV. Harriet Wadsworth Terry. V. Eliza H. Terry; and VI.Other Family Members.

Series I, ALFRED HOWE TERRY, contains papers of the Civil War general. Correspondence consists of letters received and a small amount of outgoing correspondence, including one letter copy book (1885-1887). Prominent topics in the correspondence are Terry's efforts to secure promotion to major general (1880s), the Fitz-John Porter case (1870s), the Indian campaigns (1870s) and reminiscences of military service and the Civil War. Among the important correspondents, there are particularly significant letters from Civil War generals William Tecumseh Sherman, Philip H. Sheridan, Ulysses S. Grant, and Fitz-John Porter. Military Papers includes copies of Terry's military orders and appointments, resolutions of commendation, orders for the court martial of General George A. Custer (1867-1868), and military reports. Personal Papers contains biographical notes, obituaries, photographs, newspapers, and other personal papers.

Series II, ADRIAN TERRY, contains papers relating to the Civil War and other subjects. Correspondence consists primarily of letters from family members and letters from Civil War veterans (1896-1897) responding to his requests for information about the capture of Fort Fisher, N. C. in January, 1865. Civil War Papers includes Adrian Terry's military papers, reports and maps of battles, veterans' association papers, and newspapers. Fort Fisher consists of Terry's reminiscences and historical accounts of the battle, articles by others, copies of military reports, maps, notes, and newspaper articles. Personal Papers contains biographical notes, Yale College materials, a copy of memorial resolutions on Adrian Terry's death, and miscellaneous papers of biographical interest.

Series III, ISADORE (WRIGHT) TERRY, consists of papers of Adrian Terry's wife. Correspondence contains letters from several relatives and friends, including her grandmother, Frances (Smith) Cowles, and her sister, Frances Wright. Adrian Terry's letters to his wife during the Civil War provide a valuable personal perspective on the war. Personal Papers consists of invitations, calling cards, children's hair, and photographs.

Series IV, HARRIET W. TERRY, contains letters received by Harriet Wadsworth Terry (1830-1908) and a small amount of personal papers. Most of the Correspondence is from family members and relatives, including Robert P. Hughes, Alfred Howe Terry, and Adrian Terry. Other correspondents include friends of Alfred Howe Terry - such as Joseph R. Hawley; George Grant MacCurdy, William Tecumseh Sherman, and W. W. Witherspoon - many of whom sent condolences after Terry's death in 1890. Personal Papers contains resolutions on her resignation from Vassar College and miscellaneous manuscripts.

Series V, ELIZA H. TERRY, contains letters received and a diary by Eliza Howe Terry. Correspondence consists entirely of letters from her brothers and sisters, particularly Alfred Howe Terry. The Diary (1875 Jul) describes her ocean voyage to Europe.

Series VI, OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS, consists of papers of other members of the Terry family. These include relatives in the Brinley, Cates, Cowles, Howe, Hughes, Terry, Wadsworth, Whittlesey, and Wright families. In addition to genealogical material, there are papers of many individual family members, including Alfred Terry, Clarissa (Howe) Terry, and their children, Clara H. (Terry) Hughes, Frances Terry, Jeremiah Wadsworth Terry, and Robert Goldsborough Terry. There are also papers of Clarissa (Howe) Terry's father, Hezekiah Howe; Clara H. (Terry) Hughes's husband, Robert Patterson Hughes; Isadore (Wright) Terry's father, Albert A. Wright, and her sister, Sarah Wright. The children of Adrian and Isadore (Wright) Terry are also represented: Clarissa Howe (Terry) Cates, Alfred Howe Terry (1875-1965), and Harriet W. Terry. The papers of James Terry (1823-1870) consist of correspondence from 1855 to 1869. The most extensive group of materials in this series is the diaries, 1875-1912, and other papers of James Terry (1844-1919).


  • 1795-1939


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown, though much of the material in this collection is likely in the public domain. 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 Harriet W. Terry, 1936-1939; diaries of James Terry given by Mrs. C. Sanford Bull, 1956.


Arranged in six series: I. Alfred Howe Terry. II. Adrian Terry. III. Isadore Wright Terry. IV. Harriet Wadsworth Terry. V. Eliza H. Terry. VI.Other Family Members.


5 Linear Feet (13 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Papers of five family members, the children and daughter-in-law of Alfred and Clarissa Terry, make up the major part of the collection. The most prominent figure is Alfred Howe Terry, a Civil War general in the Union army, whose correspondence and military papers relate to the Fitz-John Porter case, the Indian campaigns (1870s) and reminiscences of military service and the Civil War. Included are orders for the court martial of General Custer and drawings supposedly given to Terry by Sitting Bull. Other family members include his brother, Adrian, who also served in the Civil War, and Adrian's wife, Isadore Wright Terry, whose correspondence includes letters from her husband during the war describing his experiences.

Biographical / Historical

Adrian Terry (1831-1906): businessman; officer in the Union Army, 1861-1864; chief engineer, Knoxville and Kentucky Railroad, 1866-1869.

Custodial History

The Terry Family Papers were given to Yale University Library in 1936-1939 by Miss Harriet W. Terry, daughter of Adrian and Isadore (Wright) Terry. The diaries of James Terry (1844-1919) were given by Mrs. C. Sanford Bull. When the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library was built, part of the Terry papers were transferred there and another part remained in Manuscripts and Archives. These two groups of papers were combined in 1978, when processing of the collection began.

Guide to the Terry Family Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Randall C. Jimerson
July 1979
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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