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Edward W. Curtis letters

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Curtis

Scope and Content of the Collection

Edward W. Curtis' pre-war and Civil War correspondence, 1855-1865, with enclosed newspaper clippings.

Pre-war letters from Curtis to his aunt (Rachel W. Kingsley) and his father (name unknown) discuss his religious sentiments, farm and business conditions, and other family matters. They are written from Northampton and Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. Curtis' letters to his cousin, Seth, and aunt, Rachel Kingsley, while serving with the 88th Illinois Infantry in Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Salem in Tennessee, and Bridgeport in Alabama discuss the Battle of Murfreesboro and describe a plantation, life as a soldier and camp conditions, and the occupied South. There is also one letter to Edward W. Curtis from his friend, E. M. Dunham, and there are a few newspaper clippings discussing the battles near Nashville, hospitals in the area, and the meaning of letters to soldiers.


  • Creation: 1855-1865
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1863



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Edward W. Curtis letters are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum, and items in each folder will be counted before and after delivery to the patron (Priority I).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Edward W. Curtis letters are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of Edward W. Curtis

Civil War soldier in the 88th Illinois Infantry.

Hatfield, Massachusetts native Edward W. Curtis enlisted as a private in the 88th Infantry Illinois Volunteers (also known as the Second Board of Trade Regiment) on August 15, 1862. Though Curtis was never injured, long marches left him weak, with the result that he was often transferred to a convalescent camp and left to catch up with his company later. He was mustered in August 27, 1862 and spent most of his time with his company (Company I) in Tennessee around Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Salem; and in Alabama at Bridgeport. Curtis was mustered out on June 16, 1865.


0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)


Correspondence of Edward W. Curtis of Massachusetts, a private in the 88th Illinois Infantry during the Civil War. Also includes clippings relating to battles, the life of Federal soldiers, and hospital listings near Nashville, Tennessee.


The letters are arranged chronologically.

Collection Stack Location

1 13 1


Purchases from Charles Apfelbaum Rare Manuscripts and Archives, 2002 and Walkabout Books, 2022.

Processed by

Kelly Laas, 2002.

Inventory of the Edward W. Curtis letters, 1855-1865, bulk 1863
Kelly Laas
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2022-11-12: Three additional letters added to the collection [Mar. 25, 1864; Apr. 27, 1864; and Apr. 9, 1865]

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States