About the Project

While none of the family members are household names today the value of this collection lies in the representativeness of these families who were united by marriage. Their letters describe the daily details of emigrating westward, raising children, and working as teachers, farmers, miners, or cooks. These articulate and well-educated New Englanders were remarkable observers of nineteenth-century America, and their letters discuss major themes, including female seminaries, missionary activity, the California Gold Rush, and the Civil War.

American Antiquarian Society (AAS) member Dr. Daniel Tear gave this collection of nineteenth-century papers of his ancestors, the Grant-Burr family, to the Society in 2004. He generously provided additional funding to transcribe the letters.

The Marcus A. McCorison Librarian and Curator of Manuscripts, Thomas Knoles, supervised the project. Transcriptions were completed by AAS staff members John Keenum, Tom Knoles, Philip Lampi, Dennis Laurie, Jackie Penny, and Elizabeth Pope. Elizabeth Pope edited the transcribed letters. Jackie Penny designed and created the website. Lucia Knoles, Caroline Stoffel and John Stoffel provided assistance and advice for the site's design. And, of course, Dan Tear's continual support, research, patience, and positive feedback was invaluable.