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COLLECTION Identifier: A-123

Papers of James Chaplin Beecher, 1850-1946


Correspondence, diaries, photographs of James C. Beecher, son of Lyman Beecher, and other family members.


  • 1850-1946

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Originals closed; use digital images.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. The papers created by James Chapin Beecher are in the public domain. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.63 linear feet ((1+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder)

Correspondence, diaries, and photos comprise the collection. Included are James Beecher's correspondence about the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Freedmen's Bureau, and papers of his wife, Frances (Johnson) Beecher Perkins, their adopted twin daughters, Mary Frances (Beecher) Beecher and Margaret (Beecher) Ward, and other Beechers and Johnsons.


This is a collection of material pertaining to the family of James C. Beecher (1828-1886) and his wife Frances Johnson Beecher Perkins. He was the son of Lyman Beecher, a picture of whose portrait is included. The family letters reveal personalities, background and interests of those who lived in the Civil War period. James joined the United States Army becoming a Colonel of the First North Carolina Colored Volunteers which fought at Fort Sumpter and in Florida. He praised the courage and ability of his African American troops. His correspondence with his military commanders reveals his impatience and lack of confidence in the operation of the Freedmen's Bureau, the treatment of the Refugee Freedmen and the policy of distribution of land of abandoned plantations. Two letters to Charles Sumner review the problems of Reconstruction. [Written by Elizabeth Bancroft Schlesinger]

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 428, 446, 482

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred T. Abeles, Wilmette, Illinois. Received April, June, and October 1962.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Beecher-Stowe family papers, 1798-1956 (A-102) and (A-102.1); Beecher family Additional papers, 1853-1896 (A/B414s2); Letters of Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1854-1890 (A/S892); Harriet Beecher Stowe and Hattie Stowe Letters, 1893 (A/S892a); and Letters of Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852-1860 (A/S892b). For photographs of James C. Beecher and family, see A-102, folder 435.


  1. Box 1: Folders 1-58
  2. Box 2: Folders 59-78
Beecher, James Chaplin, 1828-1886. Papers of James Chaplin Beecher, 1850-1946: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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