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Collection Scope and Content Notes


This collection consists of six letterpress books containing the personal and business correspondence of Branton H. Henderson. There are also letters written by Elisabeth Henderson and Matthias H. Henderson, though to a much lesser extent. Many of the letters are addressed to one another, revealing a close-knit family that regularly kept in touch over periods of separation. There are a number of letters from other companies in the area, as well as George S. Whitney, who seemed to have been the Branton's stock broker. Also included within the collection are business records such as bills and bank statements, as well as several poems, copies of sermons, and cooking recipes likely written by Elizabeth. The line between family and business was often blurred for the family, as Branton and Matthias were business partners who also had financial interactions with several relatives.

Many of the letters contain routine information such as business arrangements, travel plans, family updates, and descriptions of the weather. A sizeable portion of the correspondence consists of letters from Branton to Matthias. Branton often sent his nephew instructions concerning the day-to-day operation of their store, as well as advice about what kind of clothing to buy. Branton also seemed particularly worried about counterfeit money being used at the store, and passed along numerous warnings to his nephew on this topic. A bulk of the material dates from the 1850s through the 1880s, though there are few references to notable events of the time.


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