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Ethan Allen Andrews family papers

Call Number: MS 761

Scope and Contents

The Ethan Allen Andrews Family Papers consist of one manuscript box containing over two hundred letters, one bound volume, a register of births and deaths, and a printed leaflet.

All but two of the letters were addressed to Horace Andrews (1819-1901; Yale, 1841) by his father and mother, Ethan Allen Andrews and Lucy (Cowles) Andrews, with occasional postscripts by his brothers and sisters. They are arranged chronologically, extending from 1837, when Horace was planning to matriculate at Yale, to 1852, shortly after he had moved his legal practive from New Haven to New York, and many of the gaps correspond with his visits to the family. The majority of the letters were written from Walnut Grove, but some were sent from Boston during the terms of his father's teaching there. There is also a letter that Ethan Allen Andrews wrote to his father shortly after he began his studies at Yale. A register of family births and deaths can be found at the beginning of the first folder.

Most of the letters, but especially those of Lucy (Cowles) Andrews, deal with domestic matters - offering advice, expressing affection, reporting family and neighborhood news. The central theme between 1827 and 1841 was Horace's college career. His father was concerned that he maintain good habits in study, prayer, and exercise; his mother, that he be sure of her devotion and feel free to call on her and his sisters for anything he might require. His father paid for his education with some difficulty, and the entire family was deeply interested in his success.

A second major theme of Ethan Allen Andrews' letters is his scholarly activity. There are progress reports, comments on other works in the field, and accounts of negotiations with co-authors, publishers, and school superintendents. The record of his other activities is less detailed. A strong Union man, he preferred "whiggery in the large way, the whiggery of Clay and Crittenden and Webster" (1849 Mar 6); and his letters of the late 1840s and early 1850s comment occasionally on the condition of the party and of Union sentiment in Connecticut. In the same period he kept Horace informed about the progress of efforts to have the State Normal School built in New Britain and to secure rail connections with Hartford, New Haven, and Middletown, but he seldom specified his own contribution. Late in 1851 he travelled to Milledgeville, Georgia, to visit his daughter and son-in-law, Ann and William McKinley. His letters from their plantation, Beulah, describe the methods of agriculture, comment on the crudeness of the plantation house and grounds, and express surprise that his daughter could be content in such surroundings. While there he met a kinsman of his wife, a Mr. Williams of Farmington, Conn., who, he reported, (Dec 11), was travelling incognito because he was active in the Underground Railroad.

The remainder of the papers consist of three unrelated items. The text of the leaflet, "Report Respecting...Village Schools," was produced shortly after 1850 by the Committee of the First School District in New Britain; it recommends expansion and reorganization in the local system. The letter from the British classicist Sir William Smith is a polite justification of his criticisms of Ethan Allen Andrews' Latin-English Lexicon, probably made in the preface to his own Smaller Latin-English Dictionary (1855). Horace Andrews' "Life and Writings of Virgil," probably written in 1862, is a bound volume the first few pages of which conform to the title, but the bulk of the text is a set of annotations to the Aeneid.


  • 1835-1945


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

Accession 2013-M-067 and 2013-M-074 gift of Sandra B. Shirey, 2013


1.02 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Essentially a collection of over 200 letters written between 1837 and 1852 by Ethan Allen Andrews and his wife, Lucy Cowles Andrews, to their son, Horace. Ethan Allen Andrews (1787-1858) was an educatior who wrote a successful series of Latin textbooks, was active in Connecticut politics and public affairs, and also managed a farm in New Britain. The letters begin upon Horace's entrance to Yale College and in addition to parental advice contain progress reports from Ethan Allen Andrews on his scholarly activity and accounts of his publishing negotiations. Also in the papers are miscellaneous items relating to his interest in education and the classics, family photographs and a reminiscence by Ethan Allen Andrews II about and photographs of York Square, now the site of Payne Whitney Gymnasium.

Biographical / Historical

Ethan Allen Andrews was born in the parish of New Britain, Berlin, Connecticut, in 1787. A Yale graduate (1810), he read law and practiced briefly, but his career was in education. He taught in New Britain (1814-1822), Chapel Hill, N.C. (1822-1828), New Haven (1828-1833), Boston (1833-1839), and once again in New Haven (1840-1843). His later years were devoted to the preparation of a hightly successful series of Latin textbooks, the first of which appeared in 1836, and the management of Walnut Grove, his farm in New Britain. He married Lucy Cowles of Farmington in 1810. They had ten children, two of whom, Horace and Julia, assisted him in teaching and writing. He represented Berlin (1815-1817) and New Britain (1851) in the General Assembly, was twice elected Judge of Probate for the Belin District, and worked to improve the public schools and to secure rail connections for New Britain. He died there in 1858.

For further information, see: Franklin B. Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College (New Haven, 1912), VI, 293-298; David N. Camp, History of New Britain (New Britain, 1889), facing p. 234 (engraving), pp. 465-467; and Hubbard Winslow, Eulogy on the Death of the Late Professor E.A. Andrews, LL.D. (Boston, 1858).

Guide to the Ethan Allen Andrews Family Papers
Under Revision
by Susan Grigg
June 1976
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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