Table of Contents
A Guide to the collection at the Connecticut Historical Society
The portion of the Brainard family represented in this collection spans more than four generations. The progenitor of this line of the Brainard family in present-day Higganum, Connecticut, was Cornelius Brainard (ca. 1760- 1838). He married Jerusha Brooks on April 18, 1805 and the couple had three sons: William (1806-1900), Cornelius (1811-1884) and Abraham (1815-1884). The young men most likely carried on an edged tool manufacturing company begun by their father called Brainard, Woodruff & Company. Of the brothers that had children, Cornelius' daughters Celestia Jerome (Lettie) Brainard (b. 1854) and Kate Amelia (b. 1856) have correspondence in the collection. Although the genealogical connection has not been traced, later influential generations appear in the collection. The affluent brothers, Morgan Bulkeley Brainard (President of Aetna Insurance Company) (1879-1957) and Newton Case Brainard (Mayor of Hartford) (1880-1964) were born to the entrepreneur and progressive Hartford city office holder Leverett Brainard (1828-1902). The collection houses a few manuscripts from each brother
The collection contains thirteen folders, each with letters written to or received by: Jerusha (Brooks) Brainard (ca. 1781-1852), Messrs. Brainard, Woodruff & Company (ca. 1833-1834), Cornelius Brainard business correspondence, Cornelius Brainard personal correspondence, an expenditures book owned by Cornelius Brainard, William Brainard correspondence, Abraham Brainard correspondence, letters belonging to other area manufacturers and persons (the carriage-makers Barnes and Darrow Co. of Bristol, Messrs. Brewster and Ingraham of Bristol and a personal letter from a Brainard L. Peck to Mr. Austin Case of Hamburg, South Carolina), Celestia Jerome (Lettie) Brainard correspondence, Kate Amelia Brainard correspondence, Morgan Bulkeley Brainard correspondence, Newton Case Brainard correspondence, Florence Maynard correspondence and fragmentary letters or letters with unknown authors.
Much of the earlier part of the collection (pre- 1850) has copious correspondence to and from Brainard, Woodruff & Co. as well as the personal and business correspondence of Cornelius Brainard the son. Of interest are letters to and from Cornelius Brainard regarding his work as an Internal Revenue collector and duties as co-operator of the family's edged weapon company. Abraham Brainard's civil service career and political life are both highlighted by letters showing his support for the Whig Party and notices of his selection as a member of the Committee of Organization and Vigilance in School District ____", as well as a letter notifying Abraham of his appointment to the rank of Postmaster.
The later collection contains personal correspondence to Lettie Brainard and her sister Kate as well as the scattered correspondence of Morgan Bulkeley Brainard and Newton Case Brainard over a wide date range. Interestingly, there is little mention of the honorable careers each man held in their adult lives. The remainder of the collection contains correspondence to an unknown acquaintance named Florence Maynard of Waban, Massachusetts. Of interest to historians and researchers interested in early furniture, the Maynard folder contains letters regarding the possible donation of a Hadley chest (possibly produced by John Allis) which was owned by the Maynard family at the time. In a possibly Brainard connection, Mrs. Maynard is interested in donating the piece to the Morgan Memorial and her query is passed to Morgan Bulkeley Brainard due to his possible interest.
The collection ends with a folder of fragmentary letters and letters with unknown authors or remitters.
The Brainard family collection is housed in one box containing thirteen folders. With letters organized chronologically with one person or entity per folder, the folders are then organized chronologically by the birth date of the author and/or recipient of the letters inside. Furthermore, each folder contains the respective incoming and outgoing letters to the person or business it represents.
While every attempt has been made to separate personal and business correspondence, some of the material related to Brainard, Woodruff & Company and Cornelius Brainard may be intermingled. The distinctions between the elder Cornelius and his son of the same name are not always clear in their papers, so these may also be intermingled.
There are no restrictions on access to the collection.
Use of the material requires compliance with the Connecticut Historical Society's Research Center regulations.
Brainard, Abraham, 1815-1884
Brainard, Celestia Jerome, b. 1854
Brainard, Cornelius, 1811-1884
Brainard, Homer Worthington, 1864-1947
Brainard, Jerusha, 1781-1852
Brainard, Kate Amelia, b. 1856
Brainard, Morgan Bulkeley, 1879-1957
Brainard, Newton Case, 1880-1964.
Brainard, William, 1806-1839.
Bulkeley, Eliphalet Adams, 1803-1872.
Bulkeley, Lydia Smith Morgan, 1806-1895
Field, David D. (David Dudley), 1781-1867
Genealogy -- Correspondence.
Item, Collection Title, Collection number (Box #, Folder #). Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, Connecticut.
Collection was processed by Zac Mirecki in 2009.
EAD Finding Aid created Jennifer Sharp, July 2012.