Letters to Lemuel Shaw
- Harvard College (1780- ). Class of 1800 (Organization)
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Extent.25 cubic feet ( (1 document box))
Harvard classes began compiling class books in about 1800. They were typically written by an elected class secretary and were often maintained for many years following commencement. Each class book is titled according to a specific class's graduating year, but it really includes information about the entire college experience, starting from freshman year to senior year, and often even documenting class reunions, significant events in each alumni's life, and finally obituary notices. Harvard discontinued the practice around 1900.
Topics of the letters to Shaw from his classmates include their educational experience at Harvard, commencement and activities of Phi Beta Kappa, their respective career paths, day to day life, politics, and travel, as well as frequent mention of gaps in correspondence, which were often misattributed to Shaw’s indifference at continuing the communication; the usual reason was postal service delays. The bulk of the correspondence is from Boutelle, who was a teacher in Leicester, Massachusetts, after graduation, and later a lawyer, regarding his students at Leicester Academy, his decision not to study law in Boston, books and legal treatises, and other personal and professional matters. Holbrook’s letters begin after he moved from Boston to Haywood, Virginia, and comment on the politics and culture of the south, plantations and slavery, his romantic pursuits, and the presidential election of 1800. Letters from Flint relate to immediate post-college life, and later correspondence from Sawyer and Kimball, dated 1844-1857, regard fellow alumni and updates on their own lives.
Historical note on the Class of 1800
Shaw married Elizabeth Knapp in 1818; she died in 1822. They had two children, John Oakes Shaw and Elizabeth Shaw, who later married Herman Melville. He remarried in 1827 to Hope Savage, and they had two sons, Lemuel Shaw, Jr., and Samuel Savage Shaw. Shaw died on March 30, 1861.
Titles were assigned by the archivist.
Preservation and description of the Letters to Lemuel Shaw were supported by the Colonial North America at Harvard Library Project.
- Leicester Academy -- History -- 19th century
- Boutelle, Timothy, 1777-1855
- Coeducation -- Massachusetts -- 19th century
- Courtship--History--19th century
- Flint, Timothy, 1780-1840
- Harvard University -- Alumni and alumnae -- Correspondence
- Harvard students' letters
- Holbrook, Abiel, 1775-1838
- Kimball, Daniel, 1778-1862
- Law -- Study and teaching -- Massachusetts.
- Male friendship -- United States -- 19th century
- Massachusetts--Social life and customs--19th century
- Plantations -- Virginia -- 19th century
- Practice of law --Massachusetts.
- Sawyer, William, 1774-1860
- Slavery -- Virginia -- 19th century
- Virginia--Social life and customs--19th century
- Women – Education – 19th century
- Harvard College (1780- ). Class of 1800. Letters to Lemuel Shaw, 1798-1857: an inventory
- Brooke McManus
- Description rules
- EAD ID
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.
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