Scope and arrangement
The Theodore Winthrop Papers (1844-1860) consist of family correspondence, primarily letters to his mother in New Haven, CT. Other persons he wrote to were his sister Laura, her husband Templeton, and his other sister Sarah. This correspondence describes his adventures as he traveled through Europe, Panama, California, Oregon, and British Columbia. The collection also includes his academic papers while he was a student at Yale (1844-1849), his college thesis, and two lectures. Winthrop's diaries, 1848-1856, are primarily concerned with his travels. The last half of one diary, Mar. 1850-Sep. 1850, is filled with original poetry dated 1856. Eight holograph manuscripts of his published and unpublished works, including a fragment of another work, are included. Transcripts of most of the correspondence, school papers, and diaries were made by Willard E. Martin, Jr. and augment the collection, as does a bound collection of photostats of Winthrop's obituaries and other miscellany.
The Theodore Winthrop papers are arranged in five series:
Correspondence is family related, arranged chronologically. This series contains letters from Winthrop mainly to his mother Elizabeth Woolsey Winthrop in New Haven, CT, as well as some correspondence with his two sisters Laura and Sarah, and his brother-in-law Templeton. Letters, 1847-1848, concern family and his life in Oswego, NY on a farm with his Uncle Charles. Letters dated after 1848 focus on Winthrop's travels and adventures. His European travels are documented in letters from 1849 through 1850. Due to ink bleeding, these particular letters are difficult to read. Letters dated from March to August 1853 concern his travels in California and northwestern United States. From December 1853 through January 1854, Winthrop describes the Darien Expedition, an excursion to survey a canal site in Panama. Some of the letters dated 1855 concern the failed Darien Expedition and problems that ensued when Winthrop's party separated from Lieutenant Strain. The last year of correspondence, 1857, shows Winthrop working in St. Louis as a lawyer.
Five diaries make up the series. The first (1848-1853) begins in New Haven and ends in Oregon. This diary Winthrop lost for a year (1850-1851). The second diary appears to be the one Winthrop used while his original diary was lost. It covers the period from March 1850 in Malta to Paris, September 1850. The back half of the notebook contains original poems by Winthrop. The third diary begins in Victoria B. C. in 1853. It consists of short daily accounts. Two pocket notepads end the series: one beginning in Panama Dec. 5, 1852 (?), the other is primarily financial jottings.
This series consists of eight holograph manuscripts in nine volumes. They are the published and unpublished literary works of Theodore Winthrop.
Typewritten transcripts of Winthrop's correspondence and diaries prepared by Willard E. Martin, Jr.
This series is comprised of typewritten transcripts of most of Winthrop's correspondence and diaries, prepared by Willard E. Martin, Jr. A bound book of photostats contains obituaries of Winthrop and miscellany. Three biographies of Winthrop follow: A holograph manuscript of the biographical sketch of Theodore Winthrop by G. W. Curtis that was published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1861, and was also included as a preface in Winthrop's novel Cecil Dreeme (1861); a biography contained in Yale Alumni Week (1920) written by Elbridge Colby; and Theodore Winthrop by Ellsworth Eliot, Jr. (1938), printed.