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COLLECTION Identifier: HUM 105

Baldwin family papers

Overview

Colonel Loammi Baldwin (1740-1807) was a Revolutionary War soldier and civil engineer. His son Loammi (1780-1833; Harvard AB 1800) became a nationally-known civil engineer. Father and son Loammi Baldwin, Sr. and Jr. were active in the Harvard community in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This collection contains an assortment of student records, notes, and correspondence reflecting the involvement of Loammi Baldwin Sr. (1740-1807) as a Harvard parent, donor, and committee member, and the involvement of Loammi Baldwin Jr. (1780-1838), first as a member of the Harvard Class of 1800, and later as an active alumnus.

Dates

  • circa 1789-1836

Researcher Access

The Baldwin family papers are open for research.

Copying Restriction

Copying of fragile materials may be limited.

Extent

.22 cubic feet (1 half-legal document box)

Father and son Loammi Baldwin, Sr. and Jr. were active in the Harvard community in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This collection contains an assortment of student records, notes, and correspondence reflecting the involvement of Loammi Baldwin Sr. (1740-1807) as a Harvard parent, donor, and committee member, and the involvement of Loammi Baldwin Jr. (1780-1838), first as a member of the Class of 1800, and later as an active alumnus. The records are divided into three series: a note in Baldwin Sr.'s hand with calculations of the length of printed lines of all the volumes in the Harvard Library, correspondence between members of the Harvard community and the Baldwins, and student records that primarily record Baldwin Sr.'s payment for and authorization of his son's undergraduate education at the College. The correspondence is generally routine letters such as notifications of meetings at the College, and the collection does not contain information related to the Baldwins' involvement as civil engineers in Harvard's building projects. Of particular note, the student records--primarily quarter bills, receipts, and absence excuse notes--provide a window into the role of a parent in managing the financial and administrative aspects of a Harvard student's education in the late 18th century.

The abbreviations "Jr." and "Sr." have been added to the finding aid by the cataloger where necessary to distinguish between the two Loammi Baldwins, although the abbreviations do not appear in the records themselves.

Biographical Note of Loammi Baldwin (1740-1807)

Colonel Loammi Baldwin (1740-1807), a Revolutionary War soldier and civil engineer, was born on January 21, 1741 in Woburn, Mass. While Baldwin did not graduate from Harvard College, he did attend lectures given by Harvard's Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, John Winthrop. Baldwin served in the Continental army from 1775 until 1777, and rose to the rank of colonel. In 1780, Baldwin was appointed the High Sheriff of Middlesex County and represented Woburn in the Massachusetts General Court from 1778 until 1784. Baldwin worked as a civil engineer and oversaw the construction of the Middlesex Canal in the late 1790s. Baldwin died on October 20, 1807.

Baldwin and his first wife, Mary Fowle Baldwin had five children, and Baldwin had two children with his second wife Margaret Fowle Baldwin. Four of his sons, including Loammi Baldwin (1780-1838), became civil engineers.

Biographical Note of Loammi Baldwin (1780-1838)

Loammi Baldwin (1780-1838), a nationally-known civil engineer, was born on May 16, 1780 in Woburn, Mass. He received an AB from Harvard in 1800 and an AM in 1803. Baldwin was admitted to the Middlesex bar in 1803, and practiced law for a few years before becoming a civil engineer. Among Baldwin's many engineering accomplishments, he constructed Fort Strong in Boston Harbor, the naval dry docks in Charlestown, Mass. and Norfolk, Virginia, and led building projects for the Pennsylvania Union Canal and the Harrisburg Canal. He was involved in Harvard building projects including the construction of Holworthy and University Halls. Baldwin died on June 30, 1838.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Calculation of the length of printed lines of all the volumes in the Harvard Library, ca. 1789
  2. Correspondence, 1795-1836
  3. Student records, 1796-1800

Acquisition information

All of the documents except for the library calculation note (HUM 105 Box 1, Folder 1) were found in the HUG 300 file for Loammi Baldwin (Harvard Hon. 1785) in the Harvard University Archives. Within those documents, three letters were purchased by Harvard University on October 19, 1937 with Fine money, and others appear to have been transferred from the Baldwin Family Business Papers collection in the Harvard Business School Baker Library.

Related Materials

In the Harvard University Archives

In Houghton Library

In the Harvard Business School Baker Library

  1. Baldwin family. Business papers, 1724-1880 (inclusive), 1787-1865 (bulk). (Mss:7 1724-1880)

References

  • Vose, George L. A sketch of the life and works of Loammi Baldwin, civil engineer, read before the Boston Society of civil engineers, Sept. 16, 1885. Boston, Press of G. H. Ellis, 1885

General note

This document last updated 2018 November 27.

Processing Information

Almost all of the material was first included in the HUG 300 Harvard University Biographical files for Loammi Baldwin (Hon. 1785) and Loammi Baldwin (HU 1800). The material was re-processed in 2011 and collected into a single collection. Re-processing involved a collection survey, re-housing in appropriate archival folders and boxes, and the creation of this finding aid.

This finding aid was created by Diann Benti in August 2011.

Preservation and description of the Baldwin family papers was supported, in part, by the Arcadia-funded project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.

Title
Baldwin family. Baldwin family papers, circa 1789-1836: an inventory
Language of description
und
EAD ID
hua48011

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

Contact:
Pusey Library
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Cambridge MA 02138 USA
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