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Goodwin family papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Goodwin

Scope and Content of the Collection

Correspondence and some professional and financial records of the Goodwin family, 1802-1913.

Includes Solomon Goodwin's letters to his wife, Hannah, when he was traveling with the railroad company (1831-1833); letters to his son, Edward, who was studying at Amherst College (1851-1858); and records of some business transactions. Also includes some militia records (1828) and a few writings that may have been journal entries.

The papers also include letters of Edward Payson Goodwin to his father, Solomon (1851-1858); his wife Ellen, his young children (1869-1870), and his son Paul at Princeton (1899-1901). Among Edward Goodwin's letters are lengthy accounts of his travels during 1869-1870, including his trip to the Middle East. Of particular note is his description of Cairo. The collection also contains a valentine to Ellen (1854), and wedding cards from Edward and Ellen's wedding (1860). Also included is some of Edward Goodwin's professional writing (1883-1900), including a statement on the Spanish American War; genealogical inquiries (1891-1893); and letters from colleagues in the church, and the fifth president of Amherst College, Julius H. Seelye (1883-1889). There is also correspondence from friends and church colleagues of Ellen Goodwin, including letters from Mrs. Mary Bartlett.


  • Creation: 1802-1913



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Goodwin family papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Goodwin family papers 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.

Biography of the Goodwin Family

Originating in Rome, N.Y., members of this branch of the Goodwin family relocated to Chicago in the 1860s.

Solomon Goodwin lived in Rome, N.Y., during the first half of the nineteenth century. He married Hannah (Noble) Goodwin and was a Verona County militia captain. He was a deeply religious man. Among his other work, Goodwin worked as a contractor and builder for the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad, which was chartered in 1826 and opened for service on August 9, 1831.

Solomon and Hannah Goodwin's son, Edward Payson Goodwin, was born on July 31, 1832. Graduating in 1856 from Amherst College, he entered the ministry and married Ellen (often called Nellie) Maria Chamberlin in 1860. Three of their children survived into adulthood: Albert Payson Goodwin, Margaret Goodwin, and Paul Goodwin. Edward Payson Goodwin served as the Minister of First Congregational Church in Chicago, 1868-1900, and traveled frequently. In 1870 he journeyed to London, Marseilles, and the Middle East. Goodwin died in February, 1901, and was survived by his wife, who died in 1905.

Like his father, Albert Payson Goodwin attended Amherst College, but it does not appear that he successfully completed his education. Margaret Goodwin became a teacher and Paul Goodwin attended Princeton University, at least until his father's death.


0.4 Linear Feet (1 box)


Correspondence of the Goodwin family from New York and Chicago. Includes some business correspondence, business records, and military records. Primarily correspondence from Solomon Goodwin of New York, a builder for the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad, and his son, Edward P. Goodwin, student at Amherst College, Mass., minister of First Congregational Church in Chicago, and Middle East traveler (1870).


Arranged chronologically, followed by a few miscellaneous items and undated correspondence.

Collection Stack Location

1 20 5


Gift of the Chicago Historical Society, 1964.

Related Materials

See also VAULT Case MS E5 .G634 for a 22-page manuscript entitled, "Some account of the ancestors, connections, and decendants of Solomon Goodwin" regarding Solomon Goodman (1755-1835).

Processed by

Liora Cobin, 2003.

Inventory of the Goodwin family papers, 1802-1913
Liora Cobin
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

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

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States