The papers of Giles Waldo and Mary E. Burton Shurtleff consist, in large part, of their correpondence, 1862-1887. This is by far the richest series in the collection. Two-hundred twenty-one of the letters were written by Giles between 1861-65 while he was on active service. they detail the longing of the soldier for his girl (wife), military routine interspersed by the violence of his wartime world, and family matters. One letter was smuggled out of prison in a button in 1862. In some he commented about other officers, his feelings towards his men, military strategy, and the action in which he participated. Mary's letters tell of the life of the woman who waits at home. Their post-war correspondence generally was written during trips taken by Giles,often while he was in the service of the College, and sometimes they tell of his problems raising funds and of Mary's reportage of events in the home, at the College and in the Oberlin community. Some of the major correspondents are: Theodore Burton, Melvil Dewey, John M. Ellis, James Henry Fairchild and Lucien Warner.
Shurtleff's Civil War service is documented in series 4. Included are commissions, discharge papers, muster rolls, etc., covering the period of 1861-1865. There is not much about his black soldier unit here. Under series 7, Writings, one will find information relating to this unit.
An account book, spanning 1915 to 1924, details Mrs. Shurtleff's expenditures during that period. A few letters of credit belonging to Mr. Shurtleff are also present in the collection. That is the only record of any business practices in the collection, though G. W. Shurtleff was quite active in the Oberlin business community after the war.
Family history documents such as newspaper clippings and book excerpts, are found in the collection as well. The family histories of Mr. Shurtleff and Mary Burton's family are found in the form of newspaper clippings and book excerpts. Unfortunately, the documents are rather incomplete. Obituaries of Mr. and Mrs. Shurtleff are here as well.
The papers also include a number of Giles' writings (MSS) and a few by Mary, who was active in temperance work, the Women's Board of Missions of the Interior, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Incomplete writings (fragmentary) are also part of this group. The Civil War writings describe his experiences and reminiscences of military service. Mary Shurtleff's writings, though sparse, are also of research value. She wrote on such varied topics as "The Ladies Society of the 2nd Church," and "The Early Teachers at Lake Erie Seminary."
The last two series are Photographs (Series 8) and Printed Materials (Series 9). There are 11 black and white photographs of various Shurtleff family members. A photograph of the statue of Shurtleff on South Professor Street exists depicting Giles W. Shurtleff during the Civil War. One photograph is believed to be the Shurtleff home, although that has not been documented. Most of the pictures are well labeled. The printed materials are books, pamphlets and calling cards that belonged to the Shurtleffs.
SERIES DESCRIPTIONS Series 1. Correspondence of Giles Waldo Shurtleff, 1854-1887, (1.7 lin. ft.) Contains the correspondence of Giles W. Shurtleff and is divided into five subseries: 1. Letters Sent, 2. Postcards Sent, 3. Letters Received, 4. Letters of Other Correspondents, and 5. Memoranda. Series 2. Correspondence of Mary E. Burton Shurtleff, 1865, 1882-1887, (0.2. lin. ft.) This series consists of Mary Shurtleff's letters and is divided into two subseries: 1. Letters Sent and 2. Letters Received. Series 3. Correspondence (Rec'd and Sent) of Mr. and Mrs. Giles W. Shurtleff, 1865-1866, 1870-1902, (0.2 lin. ft.) Included in this series are letters addressed to both Shurtleffs. The letters start in 1865 and continue through the seventies and eighties. The last correspondence is 1902. Series 4. Civil War Service Records of Giles Waldo Shurtleff, 1861-1865, (0.05 lin ft.) This series contains documentation of giles Shurtleff's commissions, discharges and promotions. Series 5. Financial Files of Mr. and Mrs. Giles W. Shurtleff, 1886, 1915-1924, (0.1 lin. ft.) Contains files dealing with finances in two subgroups: 1. G.W. Shurtleff and 2. Mary Shurtleff. Series 6. Genealogical Files, 1898-1930. n.d., (0.05 lin. ft.) Included in this series are the family history materials of the Burton and Giles Shurtleff families. Examples of this are newspaper clippings, a will and book excerpts. Series 7. Writings of Mr. and Mrs. Giles W. Shurtleff, 1881, 1895, n.d., (0.4 lin ft.) This series compiles the writings of the Shurtleffs' writings which are divided into two subseries: 1. Giles Waldo Shurtleff and 2. Mary Shurtleff. Series 8. Photographs of Mr. and Mrs. Giles Shurtleff, n.d., (.05 lin ft.) There are twelve photographs of various members of the Shurtleff family. There is also a photo of their residence. Series 9. Printed Materials of Mr. and Mrs. Giles W. Shurtleff, n.d., (0.05 lin. ft.) Printed materials such as books, calling cards and pamphlets are in this series. RELATED MATERIALS For related information the researcher is encouraged to consult papers pertaining to accountability for military stores in 1865 in the records of the Office of the Secretary (7/1/4, Box 3); Oberlin Temperance Alliance (31/3), and the Non-Partisan Woman's Christian Temperence Union (31/6/10). Similar records are available in the Elliot F. Grabill Collection (30/43). PROVENANCE The papers of Giles and Mary Shurtleff were received by Oberlin College Archives from Oberlin College Library on April 17, 1969. They had been given to the Library prior to 1961 by Professor and Mrs. George Jones, relatives of Mary Burton Shurtleff. The account book was received in 1987 from George Jones.
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