MHS News

Recent MHS Acquisitions Span One Century and Three Wars

John Thomas DiaryThe MHS continues to acquire a steady stream of fascinating smaller collections covering a wide range of topics, and the last few months have been no exception. Among our recent acquisitions are four documents related to Indian affairs and the work of Indian agents in the colonies during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, 1754-1780. Included is a letter from Gen. Thomas Gage that refers to the “Happy While United” Indian peace medal, an item held by the MHS. These four documents were donated by John W. Adams in honor of MHS Curator of Art Anne E. Bentley.

Other recent acquisitions include a 1750 diary of Marshfield, Massachusetts, doctor John Thomas who would later serve with distinction in the Revolutionary War and rise to the rank of major general. This diary fills a gap in the collection of John Thomas papers, held by the MHS for over 100 years. Included are entries related to an enslaved girl named Philis and the building of a church loft for black congregants.

The papers of Union soldier Frederic Augustus James, given to the MHS in September 2011 by Gail Abbott, consist primarily of letters from James to his wife and young daughters from 1862 to 1864. James served on the U.S.S. Housatonic until captured by Confederate soldiers in 1863. He was subsequently held in several Southern cities, including the notorious prison in Andersonville, Georgia, where he died. This collection, which also contains a short diary, provides a fascinating account of life as a prisoner of war.

All of these items and collections are available in the Society's online catalog ABIGAIL.

Image: John Thomas diary, page 1, 1750


Published: Tuesday, 10 January, 2012, 8:22 AM