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Henry S. Huntington Family Papers

Call Number: RG 109

Scope and Contents

Henry S. Huntington and his family corresponded frequently, wrote extensively, and saved material comprehensively. The extent and detail of the documentation available in this record group provide valuable insight into the life and times of a New England Congregational clergyman and his family from the 1870s through the early part of this century. This record group is complemented by the papers of Yale professor and geographer Ellsworth Huntington, son of Henry and Mary, which are held at Sterling Memorial Library.

Of particular interest in relation to other Divinity Library holdings is documentation pertaining to mission work in Turkey. Mary Lawrence (Herbert) Peabody, Mary Huntington's aunt, was a missionary to Turkey (Erzoom) in the mid-nineteenth century, serving under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Four of the six Huntington children spent significant periods of time in Turkey as missionaries or teachers. Theresa Huntington served as an American Board missionary to Harpoot from 1898 to 1906. George Huntington moved to Constantinople to teach at Robert College after his graduation from Williams College. He returned to the U.S. to obtain a B.D. in 1907 and then returned to Robert College. Cornelia Huntington seems to have traveled to Turkey to join her brother and live there. It is not clear if she did mission work or was a teacher, but she lived with George at Robert College for a number of years until she met journalist Theron J. Damon, whom she eventually married. The Damons made their home in Constantinople for a number of years, sharing a joint household with George and Elizabeth Huntington for a period before moving back to the U. S. around 1921. Ellsworth Huntington taught at Euphrates College in Harpoot, Turkey, for a few years beginning in 1898 and traveled in the area later in his career. Henry and Mary Huntington visited their children in Turkey and corresponded with various individuals involved in Turkish missions.

The Family Correspondence of Series I includes correspondence of four generations of the nuclear Huntington family, as well as letters to and from the extended Huntington clan. A listing of names and nicknames that will assist in deciphering family relationships is contained in the first folder of this series. Various events can be traced through the family correspondence. Letters from Mary to Henry in 1872, for example, give information about a major fire and its aftermath in Chicago, where Mary's parents were living. Detailed letters written from Turkey provide substantial information about the life and work of the Huntington children there.

The General Correspondence of Series II is arranged in two parts: letters to and from Henry S. Huntington and letters to and from Mary Lawrence (Herbert) Huntington. The few letters written by HSH and MLH tend to be rough drafts, kept as a record of communications sent. The vast majority of the correspondence is letters written to HSH and MLH by friends, church members, and other individuals. A small amount of general correspondence to and from the children and parents of HSH and MLH has been placed in Series I, as its interest lies primarily in its relation to family matters.

Of particular interest in the General Correspondence series are letters from J. R. Sculpham, a classmate of Mary's who served in the Civil War, and the correspondence of F. C. Jones to HSH. Jones and Huntington were classmates at Yale and kept in close contact throughout their adult lives. The two frequently exchanged sermon topics and reviewed books for each other. One letter of substantial content is Jones' June 22, 1907 letter to his Yale classmates for their 50th reunion in which he affectionately recalls his time at Yale. Also of note are the numerous missionary letters received and saved by the Huntingtons, including from missionaries J. Browne, C. Gates, George Knapp, Helen and Mary Barnum, Caroline Bush, Annie Gordon, Mary Kinney, and Anna Knapp in Turkey, Henry Bruce in India, S. F. Woodin in Fuzhou (Foochow), China. and Sila C. Winn in Yokohama, Japan.

The correspondence of Henry Huntington reveals his interest in a variety of topics. HSH apparently solicited accounts of various religious revivals in New England from area ministers in 1870. Descriptive accounts are contained in letters from Jacob Chapman of Deerfield NH, E. M. Kellogg [of Lynn, MA?], Silas Ketchum of Bristol NH, L. P. Leeds of Hanover, NH (Dartmouth College Church), and William S. Savage of Franklin, CT. HSH was concerned with the morality of "Moving Picture Shows." He offered a resolution at a Springfield conference in May 19, 1910 asking the Committee on Moral Issues to investigate the morality of the "amusements" and the "duty of the churches in reference to it" and to report back in 1911. There were also several clippings saved concerning the content of theater and cinema entertainment, which can be found in the collected material. See also a letter to HSH from George B. Ward, President of the Board of Commissioners, City of Birmingham, March 22, 1917.

The Writings of Series III include sermon manuscripts and sermon notes of HSH, articles, notebooks, and journals. Notebooks kept by HSH contain lecture notes from Yale College and Andover Theological Seminary, notes from various meetings, especially Boston Ministers' Meetings, and other conferences or occasional lectures. HSH's early habit of writing detailed accounts of his days ceased as he got older. MLH used her notebooks for appointment and record keeping, or for notes at meetings.

HSH wrote an extensive manuscript on the life of Samuel Huntington, which he attempted to get published. Samuel Huntington was a legislator for the state of Connecticut shortly after the Revolutionary War; HSH's great-great-great-great-great grandfather was Samuel Huntington's great-great grandfather. While there is no evidence of actual publication of the manuscript, several drafts are in the collection, accompanied by a great deal of supporting material relating to his research, writing, and publishing efforts. HSH kept the notes he made on various books about New England and American history in labeled envelopes. The notes and the envelopes had deteriorated significantly, and the notes consisted primarily of page references, so a small sample was photocopied (especially the labels from the envelopes) and the remainder discarded. One packet was kept intact because it appeared to be a more complete synthesis of HSH's research on the Puritans and early New England. It may be that he was intending to write a second manuscript after his research on Samuel Huntington was complete.

The Huntington family of Norwich, CT was a vast web of individuals and families who traced their ancestry back to one Simon Huntington. The Huntington Family in America (Hartford: Huntington Family Association, 1915), which is available at Sterling Memorial Library, provides extensive genealogical information. The Huntingtons' interest in documenting family events and history is reflected in Series IV, Biographical Documentation. The series includes datebooks and journals, account/record books, financial records, printed material, and photographs.

The account books provide an interesting log of various financial matters, as well as other records. MLH frequently kept written records of how many letters she had written and to whom. Records were kept of cash on hand, Christmas gifts given and received, and purchases. One book of church records includes all the baptisms, marriages, funerals performed by HSH, and an alphabetical record of weekly church attendance from 1872-1876 in Galesburg, IL.

The collected material of Series V covers a wide range of types of material, the bulk of it revealing Victorian style. The Huntington were inveterate collectors and not all the material they collected has been retained. For example, the Huntingtons clipped hundreds of newspaper articles and saved them in bunches and bags. The clippings ranged from missionary accounts and war news from Turkey to the daily columns of particular journalists as well as diet tips and advice for how to raise children. All of the clippings relating to missionary work or other topics regarding Christianity and Congregationalism were saved. An attempt was made to divide the collected printed material topically. Samples of the more mundane clippings were also saved, to give an idea of the type of material they found interesting. Of particular cultural interest may be the advertisements and catalogues that the Huntingtons saved, which reveal the materialism of the day and major concerns for household living. But most of these clippings were from major Boston newspapers, such as the Boston Herald and the Tribune, and thus can be found at many other libraries. To save space, we discarded a large number of them.

The Huntingtons seemed to follow the work of an author named Mary C. Bartlett in particular, creating a scrapbook of articles/short stories by her. The articles mostly appeared in the Independant and the Christian Register from 1880-1915. The scrapbook had to be discarded due to mold and deterioration but a sample of the pages was kept.

The Huntingtons also saved a great number of programs from various musical and dramatic performances. Some of these programs include handwritten annotations of who actually attended each event. Many of the church programs may be from HSH's church. Some contain handwritten notes from HSH.

Several folders contain invitations and announcements of weddings, funerals, and births. The social custom of "calling cards" is well documented. Some of the cards are elaborately printed while others are handwritten. Some appear to have been used as place-cards at dinner tables. A number of greeting cards from various holidays and birthdays were also kept. Those sent to the Huntingtons were all saved -- though for their lack of content were not kept with the general correspondence. Still others were completely blank, as though being preserved for future use.

The Addendum of 2021, Series VI, contains material primarily related to Cornelia and her husband Theron J. Damon. More than 50 handwritten letters provide insight into their life in Turkey as do datebooks, notes, photographs. Collected material includes maps, travel guides to Europe and newspaper clippings.


  • 1805-1949


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Anna H. Deming. Addendum purchased in 2021.


  1. I. Family Correspondence, 1850-1947, n.d.
  2. II. General Correspondence, 1857-1924, n.d.
  3. III. Writings, 1851-1931, n.d.
  4. IV. Biographical Documentation, 1849-1949, n.d.
  5. V. Collected Material, 1827-1926, n.d.
  6. VI. Addendum-2021


30 Linear Feet (64 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, writings, and collected material in the Henry S. Huntington Family Papers provide documentaton of an educated clergy family's life in New England, particularly during the Victorian era. Henry Strong Huntington (1836-1920) was a Congregational minister in New Hampshire, Illinois, Maine, and Massachusetts. Three of his children were involved with mission work in Turkey. Cornelia Huntington Damon and her husband Theron Damon made their home in Constantinople, sharing a joint household with George and Elizabeth Huntington for a period before moving back to the U.S. around 1921.

Biographical / Historical

Henry Strong Huntington born in New York, NY son of Oliver Ellsworth Huntington and Mary Ann Strong
1840 Nov
Mary Ann Strong Huntington (HSH's mother) died.
Mary Lawrence Herbert born in Ellsworth, ME, daughter of George and Theresa Arms
1854 Apr
Oliver Ellsworth Huntington married Eunice Kimberly Hitchcock (b. 1825 Aug 19)
HSH graduated from Yale College
HSH graduated from Andover Theological Seminary
HSH was minister at the Congregational Church in Warner, NH
1870 Dec
HSH and MLH married
HSH was minister at the First Church of Galesburg, IL
Cornelia Strong Huntington born. Graduated from Wellesley College, 189[6?]. Married Theron J. Damon on July 20, 1911.
Theresa Lyman Huntington born. Married Charles Lincoln Zeigler on Oct 18, 1906.
1876 Sep
Ellsworth Huntington born. Graduated from Beloit College, 1897. Teacher at Euphrates College in Harpoot, Turkey, 1898-1902[?]. MA, Harvard University, 1902. Ph.D., Yale University, 1909. He married Rachel Slocum Brewer on Dec 22, 1917. For a detailed account of his early career, see his entry in the Huntington Family Genealogy (Box 49, Folder 605) See also his papers at Sterling Memorial Library Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University.
HSH was minister at the Congregational Church in Gorham, ME
1877 Jul
Oliver Ellsworth Huntington (HSH's father) died.
1878 Apr
George Herbert Huntington born. Graduated from Williams College, 1900. Teacher at Robert College, Constantinople, until 1904. B.D., Hartford Theological Seminary, 1907. Ordained a Congregational minister in Milton, MA in 1907. He then returned to Robert College as Principal. Married Elizabeth W. Dodge in 191[6?].
1881 Feb
Henry Strong Huntington, Jr. born. Graduated from Yale College, 1904. B.D. Auburn Theological Seminary, 1911. Ordained in Milton, MA, 1911. Married Edith Marguerita Foster on Dec 26, 1912.
1882 Oct
George Herbert (MLH's father) died.
1882 Nov
Ruth Lawrence Huntington born. Graduated from Wellesley College . Married Samuel Adams Fletcher on Jun 5, 1906.
HSH was minister at the Congregational Church in Milton, MA. Thereafter, he was pastor emeritus of the Milton church.
Theresa (Arms) Herbert (MLH's mother) died.
1910 Mar
Eunice (Hitchcock) Huntington (HSH's step-mother) died.
HSH died.
MLH died.

Processing Information

Place names were modernized in the description, with the name originally used in the collection material or in an older version of the finding aid in parenthesis: e.g. “Beijing (Peking)” or “Benin (Dahomey)”.

Guide to the Henry S. Huntington Family Papers
Compiled by Divinity Library staff
1997, 2021
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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