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Guide to the Papers of the Coles Family
  MS 128

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Gabrielle Sanchez

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on October 21, 2011
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

The Coles Family Papers consist of 126 letters exchanged by two generations of the Coles family. The letters commence with Hewlett Townsend Coles' letters to Catherine V. Suydam before their marriage, continue through the later 1820s, and extend after his death with letters exchanged by his widow and their three children, Hewlett Townsend Coles, Jr., Alexander Cornelius Townsend Coles, and Ida Ann Coles.

Both Hewlett and his son Alexander were sea captains, and the letters are written from such diverse locales as Sandy Hook, Alabama's Mobile Bay, Trinidad, Dublin, and Liverpool to members of the Coles Family in New York City and Long Island. The letters are highly affectionate and detailed, providing insight into the family members' devotion to each other, their childrearing and education practices, intra-familiar and neighborhood socializing, seasonal regional travels, domestic expenditures, and income sources. The letters, particularly Catherine's letters to her daughter Ida, also describe and provide instruction and advice on household matters, such as food preparation, cleaning arrangements, and treating illnesses.


The materials are arranged by recipient and chronologically.