Porter Family Papers

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Collection Overview
Title: PORTER FAMILY PAPERS
Call Number: A.P84
Dates: Location: A.P84
Physical Description: 14 boxes
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation

Access
The PORTER FAMILY PAPERS is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduScope and Content
The Porter Family Papers is a collection of over two thousand letters and other papers spanning four generations--from the late 1700s to the early 1900s-of the Porter and related Farley and Peck Families of Connecticut, Maine, Philadelphia, and Rochester. Seventy-two of the letters in the collection have been indexed in the Department's index to letters. A list of these letter writers is found in this register.

The collection focuses on the third generation and Samuel Drummond Porter (1808-1881), a native of Bristol, Maine. He came to Rochester in 1827 to work as a clerk in the book and stationery shop of his uncle by marriage, Everard Peck, who was at the time the publisher of the Rochester Telegraph and a figure already prominent in Rochester affairs. In 1834, Porter married Susan Farley (1811-1880) of Waldoboro, Maine, and brought her to live in Rochester. Later his sister, Laura G. Porter, became the wife of his brother-in-law, Joseph Farley, and they too made their home in Rochester. Everard Peck's first wife, Chloe Porter, died in 1830 and in 1836 he married Martha Farley, sister of Mrs. Porter and Joseph Farley. These three families--Peck, Porter and Farley--so closely related by marriage, were from the start actively engaged in the various movements for the betterment of Rochester and this is revealed in the papers.

Samuel D. Porter and his wife, Susan F. Porter, were active in the anti-slavery movement. Under Porter's guidance, slaves escaping to Canada were concealed in the barn on the property of his sisters, his own property being under constant surveillance. Letters written by Frederick Douglass (there are seven in the collection) indicate a close friendship between the two men and show Porter's assistance in Douglass' work. There are also eleven letters in the collection by Gerrit Smith during the 1840s and 1850s relating to the anti-slavery movement.

Mrs. Porter was an active member of the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society from its beginning and assisted in gathering material for its two anthologies, both titled Autographs for Freedom, which were issued in 1853 and 1854. A letter from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and one from Harriet Beecher Stowe relating to these works are found in the collection.

The Porter's older son, Samuel (1843-1881) was eighteen years old at the outbreak of the Civil War. Leaving the University of Rochester, which he had entered in 1859, he joined the army on August 9, 1862 with the rank of Second Lieutenant of Company F, 108th Regiment of New York State Volunteers and emerged from the war with the rank of Brevet Major. He was wounded at the Battle of Antietam, at Gettysburg and at Bristoe Station, and a fourth time during the Battle of the Wilderness. The bulk of his letters to the various members of his immediate family have been kept as a unit in the collection and are of particular interest and value, giving an almost daily account of the movements of the Company with which Porter was associated, and the conditions under which his men lived and fought, and first-hand observations on the war. As such, they form a coherent and fairly complete story of one man's experiences in the Civil War.

The final part of the collection is from the 1870s to the 1910s and is correspondence to and from Martha T. (Porter) Hopkins (1851-1924) (Mattie), the daughter of Samuel D. and Susan F. Porter. She kept in close contact with her Porter and Farley relatives as well as numerous friends and often corresponded with and visited them in Connecticut, Maine, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York State. When away visiting, her family regularly wrote her relaying the news from Rochester.


Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Porter Family Papers were the gift of Samuel Porter (U of R, Class of 1908) on August 24, 1950, January 14, 1965, and May 14, 1968 and of Mrs. Craig P. Cochrane on August 1, 1961. The donors were grandchildren of Samuel D. and Susan F. Porter and first cousins of each other. Additional items related to Maria Porter were purchased in 2015. The Department is also pleased to be able to provide the text of a lecture given by Robert Marcotte entitled "The University of Rochester and the Civil War: Three Heroes at Gettysburg," presented on December 17, 2002, which discusses the Civil War letters found in the Porter Family Papers.Citation
[Item title, item date], PORTER FAMILY PAPERS, A.P84, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Administrative Information
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rare Books and Special Collections staff
Publisher: Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL: http://www.library.rochester.edu/rbscp


Content List
Box 1: Correspondence
Folder:
1. Indexed Letters, 1820 - 1845 (See list)
2. Indexed Letters, 1846 - 1848
3. Indexed Letters, 1849 - 1851
4. Indexed Letters, 1852
5. Indexed Letters, 1853 - 1862
6. Indexed Letters, 1863 - 1880
7. Civil War Letters, 1862
8. Civil War Letters, January- March 1863
9. Civil War Letters, April- June 1863
10. Civil War Letters, July- November 1863
11. Civil War Letters, January- May 1864
12. Civil War Letters, June- December 1864
13. Civil War Letters, 1865
14. Civil War Records, Diary Typescripts of Letters
Box 2: Correspondence
Folder:
1. 1785 - 1804
2. 1805-1806
3. 1807
4. 1808
5. 1809
6. 1810
7. 1811 - 1813
8. 1814
9. 1815
10. 1816
Box 3: Correspondence
Folder:
1. 1817 - 1819
2. 1820
3. 1821
4. 1822 - 1827
5. 1828 - 1829
6. 1830 - 1832
7. 1833 - 1837
8. 1838 - 1839
Box 4: Correspondence
Folder:
1. 1840
2. 1841 - 1842
3. 1843
4. Folder 4 1844
5. 1845 - 1846
6. 1847
7. 1848
8. 1849
9. 1850-1857
Box 5: Correspondence
Folder:
1. 1858 - 1859
2. 1860
3. 1861-1864
4. 1865
5. January - September 1866
6. October 1 - 12, 1866
7. October 13 - 20, 1866
8. October 2 1- 31, 1866
9. November 1 - 11, 1866
10. November 12 - 22, 1866
11. November 23 - 30, 1866
12. December 1 - 11, 1866
13. December 12 - 21, 1866
14. December 22 - 31, 1866
Box 6: Correspondence
Folder:
1. January 1 - 10, 1867
2. January 11 - 22, 1867
3. January 23 - 31, 1867
4. February 1 - 13, 1867
5. February 14 - 28, 1867
6. March 1 - 10, 1867
7. March 11 - 20, 1867
8. March 21 - 31, 1867
9. April 1 - 10, 1867
10. April 11 - 30, 1867
11. May 1 - 10, 1867
12. May 11 - 17, 1867
13. May 18 - 22, 1867
14. May 23 - 31, 1867
15. June 1 - 7, 1867
16. June 8 - 19, 1867
17. June 20 - 30, 1867
Box 7: Correspondence
Folder:
1. July 1 - 8, 1867
2. July 9 - 31, 1867
3. August - October 7, 1867
4. October 8 - 15, 1867
5. October 16 - 24, 1867
6. October 25 - 31, 1867
7. November 1 - 11, 1867
8. November 12 - 19, 1867
9. November 20 - December, 1867
Box 8: Correspondence
Folder:
1. January 1 - 14, 1868
2. Folder 2 January 15 - 22, 1868
3. January 23 - 31, 1868
4. February 1- 10, 1868
5. February 11 - 20, 1868
6. February 21 - 29, 1868
7. March 1 - 11, 1868
8. March 12 - 20, 1868
9. March 21 - 31, 1868
10. April 1 - 23, 1868
11. April 24 - 30, 1868
Box 9: Correspondence
Folder:
1. May 1 - 10, 1868
2. May 11 - 21, 1868
3. May 22 - 30, 1868
4. June 1 - 12, 1868
5. June 13 - 22, 1868
6. June 23 - 30, 1868
7. July 1 - 12 1868
8. July 13 - November, 1868
9. December 1 - 22, 1868
10. December 23 - 31, 1868
Box 10: Correspondence
Folder:
1. 1869
2. January - May 20, 1870
3. May 21 - 31, 1870
4. June 1 - 16, 1870
5. June 17- 30, 1870
6. July, 1870
7. August,-,October 23, 1870
8. October 24 - 31, 1870
9. November - December, 1870
Box 11: Correspondence
Folder:
1. 1871
2. January - June 19, 1872
3. June 20 - July 12 ,1872
4. July 13 - 31, 1872
5. August 1 - 22, 1872
6. August 23 - 31, 1872
7. September 1 - 12, 1872
8. September 13 - 22, 1872
9. September 23 - 22, 1872
10. October 1 - 17, 1872
11. October 18 - 31, 1872
12. November - December 1872
Box 12: Correspondence
Folder:
1. 1873 - 1874
2. January - June 5 1875
3. June 6 - 22, 1875
4. June 23 - December, 1875
5. January - June, 1876
6. July - December, 1879
7. 1878 - July 1879
8. August - December 1879
9. January - April 15 1880
10. April 16 - 30, 1880
11. May - September 24, 1880
12. September 25 - 30, 1880
13. October 1 - 7, 1880
14. October 8 - 31, 1880
15. November - December, 1880
Box 13: Correspondence
Folder:
1. January - March 7, 1881
2. March 8 - 23, 1881
3. March 24, 1881 - 1886
4. January - July 13, 1887
5. July 14 - 23, 1887
6. July 24, 1887 - 1888
7. 1889 - 1912
8. undated letters
9. undated letters
10. undated letters
Box 14:
Folder:
1. Invitations, 1873 - 1876; undated
2. Incomplete Letters and Autographs
3. Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society, Constitution
4. Address, re: Chattel Slavery and the Scriptures
5. Miscellaneous
6. Memorabilia
7. Will of Noah Griswold, March 26, 1787
8. Land Surveys, 1824; undated
9. Poems of Isabella J. Porter
10. Business Papers of Joseph Farley Jr., 1884 -1895
11. Business Papers of Porter Farley, 1870 - 1889
12. Financial Papers, 1777 - 1854
13. Receipts, 1843 - 1880
14. Legal Documents, 1776 - 1799
15. Legal Documents, 1800 - 1841
16. Wills of Samuel Porter II, and related papers, 1810 - 1840
17. Cabinet card portrait of Maria Porter, ca. 1880s


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