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.21 linear feet (1/2 file box)
Family correspondence (#6-13), the second section, is arranged chronologically. It includes letters to and from Chapin, her parents, siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews, et al. It provides information about the Chapin family farm, health, and finances; the jobs, lives and deaths of Chapin's siblings and other relatives; the education of nieces and nephews; friends and neighbors. Of particular interest are a brother's 1894 letters from California (#8) about unrest due to unemployment. Chapin's letters help document her movements, some of her activities, her travels abroad, and her relations with nieces and nephews. There is nothing about her childhood, and very little about her education, teaching, churches, or congregations.
Chapin did not earn an undergraduate degree. She taught school in Lansing and Lyons, Michigan, and took courses in languages, mathematics, and art. In May 1859 she preached her first sermon in Portland, Michigan, and became an itinerant preacher. She was ordained December 3, 1863. Her first settled pastorate was in Portland (1864-1867), and her last in Mt. Vernon, New York (1897-1901). She also served as a minister at Unity Church in Oak Park, Illinois.
Chapin was a charter member of Sorosis, a New York women's club, and the Association for the Advancement of Women: she read a paper at its first meeting in 1873. She attended suffrage conventions, lectured on various subjects, and played an instrumental role in organizing the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions held at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Teaching also continued to occupy her time. She lectured on literature and art at Lombard University (Galesburg, Illinois), and the University of Chicago. In 1868 Lombard awarded Chapin an honorary M.A. and in 1893 an honorary Doctor of Divinity.
In her later years she lived in New York City, traveled independently, and led group tours abroad. She was planning to guide another tour when she became ill with pneumonia. She died on June 30, 1905.
For more biographical information, see Notable American Women (Cambridge, Mass., 1971), which includes a list of additional sources. Other Chapin papers are also listed in Women's History Sources (1979).
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These papers of Augusta Jane Chapin were given to the Schlesinger Library in June 1996 and March 1997 by Glory Southwind.
By: Bert Hartry
- Chapin, Augusta Jane, 1836-1905. Papers of Augusta Jane Chapin, 1856-1914: A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- EAD ID
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