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Caleb Thomas Curtis Letters

Identifier: Midwest-MS-199

Scope and Content of the Collection

Letters from Caleb Thomas Curtis to his brother in-law Joseph [last name also Curtis], his sister Susan, and his sister Maria, written from Louisville, KY, Illinois, St. Louis, Paducah, KY, and New Orleans during his travels by steamboat between the years 1836 and 1838. In the letters, Curtis details his travels along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, commenting on the differences between Boston and the “Western Country,” the people he meets along the way, and the bustling nature of Louisville and New Orleans. In one letter addressed to his sister Susan, Curtis describes a January 8th celebration in New Orleans commemorating the War of 1812’s Battle of New Orleans. He briefly alludes to his business ventures as well, mentioning in the same letter that he has opened a shop in St. Louis. Curtis also writes in reference to news from New England and the North East, commenting on Boston’s weather and the Whig victory in New York.


  • Creation: 1836-1838



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Caleb Thomas Curtis Letters are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Caleb Thomas 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.

Biography of Caleb Thomas Curtis

The eighth of nine children, Caleb Thomas Curtis was born around 1815 in Massachusetts to Charles and Anna Curtis. After his travels by steamboat, Curtis married Rachel M. Stoddard in 1852. The couple settled in Boston, where Curtis worked as an office clerk. He died in 1878.


0.1 Linear Feet (9 folders)


Nine letters written by Caleb Thomas Curtis of Boston, Massachusetts during his travels by steamboat on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.


Materials arranged chronologically.

Collection Stack Location

1 1 2


Purchase, Michael Brown Rare Books, 2013

Processed by

Elizabeth McKinley, 2013.

Inventory of the Caleb Thomas Curtis Letters, 1836-1838
Elizabeth McKinley
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