Skip to main content

Curtis family papers

Call Number: MS 864

Scope and Contents

The Curtis family papers are contained in two boxes (18 folders) and span the dates 1695-1912. The largest amount of material concerns the Curtis and allied families of Adams, Hallam, Poole, and Pygan. Additional material of an autograph nature was collected by George H. Curtis (1857-) and the collection also includes several letters to George M. Curtis in 1905-1906, most concerning the hundredth anniversary of the incorporation of Meriden. The Curtis family papers weredonatedto Yale University in 1948 by Mrs. William B. Church, formerly Agnes M. Curtis, the daughter of George M. Curtis.

Correspondence and other papers, arranged chronologically, folders 1-4, contain items of autograph and historical value. The collection includes, for example, two documents signed by Andrew Belcher (1648-1717) and two by his son Jonathan Belcher (1681-1757), governor of Massachusetts. It also contains the August 1700 will of Alexander Pygan of New London, the inventory and distribution of the estate of Benjamin Curtis (1703-1754), of Wallingford, a 1759 list of Wallingford men who received arms from James Wadsworth (1730-1817), a 1768 Benedict Arnold letter, and six letters, five of them drafts, of Governor Jonathan Trumbull (1710-1785). The five Trumbull drafts, all dated December 1774, discuss his financial problems, western lands, Samuel Peters, and family matters. Among the other important items are a February 1776 letter from Thomas Seymour (1735-1829) and others to General Charles Lee concerning activities of a group of some twenty volunteers and a November 1776 letter from Dr. Phillip Turner asking for the discharge of seventy-five named invalids from the American army.

Perhaps the most interesting items relate to the Reverend Benjamin Trumbull (1735-1820). The Curtis family papers include a 1790 letter to Samuel Peters concerning Episcopal ordination, an 1806 letter from William Winthrop discussing Trumbull's history of Connecticut, and Trumbull's notes on Connecticut history and copies of letters on Anglicanism, undoubtedly intended for his history of Connecticut. Among the other items of interest are an 1819 commission signed by Governor Oliver Wolcott (1760-1833), an 1862 letter from Robert A. Hallam concerning Episcopal history, genealogical notes on the Adams and Christopher families of New London, and a variety of autograph items. The collection has autograph letters and documents signed by Lyman Abbott, Charles W. Fairbanks, Edward A. Freeman, Ebenezer Huntington, Samuel Farmar Jarvis, William Travers Jerome, William Ledyard, Thomas R. Lounsbury, Edward Bulwer Lytton (1803-1873), General George G. Meade, Orville H. Platt, Christopher R. P. Rodgers, and Daniel Webster.

The collection also includes two diaries written by Elizabeth Adams Poole (1752-1845), one from 1782 concerning an exchange of prisoners; a series of Curtis family Wallingford-Meriden deeds, of at least two Benjamin Curtises, Elisha Curtis, Amasa Curtis, and Asahel Curtis (1786-); diaries of William Adams (1650-1685) of Dedham, Massachusetts and Eliphelet Adams (1677-1753) of New London; and account books of Joseph Allen, Thomas Berry (1670-1728), Thomas Berry (1734-1812), Thomas Hubbard (1788-1871), and Asahel Curtis.


  • 1695-1912


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

Gift of Mrs. William B. Church, 1948 and separated from the Lewis Perry Curtis Papers, 1982.


0.75 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, deeds, account books, diaries and miscellaneous papers of the Curtis family of Connecticut and allied families Adams, Hallam, Poole and Pygan. In the correspondence is a Benedict Arnold letter (1768), drafts of letters by Jonathan Trumbull (1774), and a number of letters relating to military activities during the American Revolution. The papers of Benjamin Trumbull included here contain letters from Samuel A. Peters and William Winthrop, as well as notes probably collected for his history of Connecticut. Also an account by Elizabeth Adams Poole of her visit in 1782 to her husband in New York who was being held prisoner by the British. The deeds (1743-1837) chiefly record land transfers in New Haven County, Connecticut. Included also is the will of Alexander Pygan (1700), the inventory of the estate of Benjamin Curtis, and autographs collected by George M. Curtis.

Guide to the Curtis Family Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Bruce P. Stark
November 1982
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

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


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours