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Lydia Howard Sigourney Papers

Identifier: Lydia Howard Sigourney Papers

Scope and Contents

Collection contains correspondence, engravings, and publications such as poems in the Daily Counselor (1859) and posthumous publications, such as the Camel's Nose (2014). Collection also includes several daguerrotypes of Lydia Howard Sigourney from the mid-19th century. Paper engravings span 1825 to 1872, and depict Sigourney. Correspondence span 1814-1865. Sigourney corresponds with notable, Connecticut figures from approximately 1814-1818 such as Colonel Daniel Putnam, and Faith Trumbull Wadsworth, recalling holiday celebrations, poems, and health of family and acquiantances. Later correspondence from approximately 1840-1865, with Thomas Carlyle, Rev. Sprague, and Henry Barnard show her efforts at reform and literacy, and to make her poetry widely available. Sigourney also wrote a number of letters to Abigail Williams spanning 1824-1843. Also included in the collection are a number of miscellaneous manuscripts including "the History of Marcus Aurelius ()" and "The Butterfly," dated 1842.


  • Creation: 1814 - 1865


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws when using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with the duplication policy of the Watkinson Library.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information (e.g. social security numbers) in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Biographical / Historical

Lydia Howard Sigourney (1791- 1865); a well-known 19th century poet, essayist, travel writer, and education reformer, began working in Norwich, Connecticut as a schoolteacher. Sigourney went on to found her own school in 1814, with the help of Daniel Wadsworth, despite her common origins as the daughter of a gardener, Ezekiel Huntley, and his wife, Sophia Huntley. Sigourney also became known as the "Sweet Singer of Hartford" for her style of poem recitation. Themes in her writing frequently covered fair treatment of Native Americans and African Americans, and education reform. One of her most prominent texts, titled Traits of the Aborigines, dealt with some of these themes. Charles Sigourney, her husband, supplied the literary notes to the poem.

Lydia Howard Sigourney was affiliated with numerous figures prominent in education reform such as Henry Barnard, Emma Hart Willard, Catherine Beecher, and the social activist Elihu Burritt. Sigourney died in Hartford, in 1865.


.50 Cubic Feet (2 flat boxes)

Language of Materials



Materials grouped by material type, and arranged into three series: Series I: Correspondence and Manuscripts, and Series II: Photographs and Prints.

Guide to the Lydia Howard Sigourney Papers
In Progress
Michelle C. Sigiel
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Watkinson Library - Archival Collections Repository

Trinity College Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford Connecticut 06106