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Dutton Family Papers

Call Number: RG 63
Scope and Contents

This collection is valuable for the documentation it provides concerning a New Haven area clergy family during the period 1800 to 1880. Daily events and family relationships are revealed in substantive family correspondence. Letters were most often exchanged when a family member had left the New Haven area to live in the Midwest. Mary Dutton, daughter of Aaron, for example, lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for a number of years. Letters exchanged with her parents reveal a conflict between her desire to continue her work there and her parents' desire to have their daughter living at home. Mary eventually returned to Connecticut and headed a girls' school in New Haven. The general correspondence in the collection is not extensive but includes letters from Charles Beecher, George Edward Day, and Increase Tarbox.

The notebooks and diaries of Series II highlight various facets of the lives of Mary and Samuel Dutton. Of particular interest are Samuel's notebooks from his student days at Yale. Notes on sermons preached in the Yale College Chapel are included, as well as class notes. Pocket diaries of Samuel Dutton for the years 1861 to 1864 are available. A series of account books of Mary Dutton with Austin and Gilbert, grocers, provide interesting detail on New Haven life during the period 1855 to 1865.

The bulk of the collection is comprised of manuscript sermons written by Aaron and Samuel Dutton during their pastorates in Guilford and New Haven. These sermons touch on topics such as slavery, the Civil War, "Millerism," temperance, and immigration. The sermons span the careers of both Duttons and thus provide an opportunity for tracing the development of their thought over a number of years.

The writings other than sermons in Series III are also of interest. Those of Aaron Dutton include college compositions and "disputes" from his Yale years, essays on theological subjects, and drafts of articles on subjects such as slavery, Congregationalism, and missionary work. The writings of Samuel Dutton include college compositions, speeches delivered before the Linonian Society, an address delivered at the Yale Commencement of 1833, reviews of works by Horace Bushnell, and others. Historical information regarding the North Church in New Haven is available in an 1860 statement of Dutton to its United Society.

The personal items and memorabilia of Series IV include a portrait of Aaron Dutton and the memorial sermon preached at the funeral of Samuel Dutton's wife.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

  1. I. Correspondence, 1825-1880
  2. II. Notebooks and Diaries, 1829-1868
  3. III. Writings, 1800-1866
  4. IV. Personal Items and Memorabilia, 1864, undated
9 Linear Feet (18 boxes)
Language of Materials