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Collection Summary
Administrative Information
Access:
Publication Rights:
Biography
Scope and Content
Container List
Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers
Business Records
Letter Books
Diaries
Newspaper Clippings
Legal Papers
Printed Miscellany
Oversize Volumes

Roswell Farnham Papers

Collection Summary

Repository
University of Vermont Libraries Special Collections Burlington, Vermont 05405-3596
Creator
Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903
Title
Roswell Farnham Papers
Dates [inclusive]
1827-1903
Quantity
24 cartons, 1box, 4 oversize volumes
Shelf location
Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library.
Language
English
Abstract
The collection constitutes a remarkably complete record of Farnham's life and several careers, from his days as a UVM undergraduate, to his service in the Civil War, to his legal and administrative work for the VCC and New England Company, to his term as governor and position as one of Vermont's most prominent Republican politicians.

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item] Roswell Farnham Papers, Special Collections, University of Vermont Library.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections © 1998 

Access:

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights:

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

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Biography

Roswell Farnham was born in Boston, Massachusetts on July 23, 1827, the son of Roswell and Nancy Bixby Farnham. Farnham's family moved to Bradford, Vermont in 1840, and he received his education at Bradford Academy and the University of Vermont, from which he graduated in 1849. Married to Mary Elizabeth Johnson on December 25, 1849, Farnham taught school in Dunham, Quebec, Franklin, Vermont and at the Bradford Academy before gaining admittance to the Orange County bar in 1857. When the Civil War broke out, he entered the First Vermont Regiment with the Bradford Guards militia as a Second Lieutenant. Farnham served with distinction in both the First Vermont and the Twelfth Vermont, and left the Army in July of 1863 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Following the war, Farnham became general counsel for the Vermont Copper Company and continued to work as both lawyer and administrator of the VCC for the rest of his life. In addition, he held a number of local and state political offices -- member of the Republican State Committee (1865-68), State Senator elector the same year -- culminating in his defeat of Democrat Edward J. Phelps for the governorship of Vermont in 1880.

After completing a single popular term as governor, Farnham returned to his law practice, concentrating largely on the affairs of the financially ailing VCC. In 1889 he also became president of the newly-formed New England Company, a group of Northern investors interested in developing the coal and iron deposits of northwestern Georgia. The New England Company was never a success, and Farnham spent much of the last decade of the nineteenth century trying to save it and the VCC from bankruptcy. Badly injured in a fall in November 1898, Farnham recovered sufficiently to resume some of his work but never really regained full health. Roswell Farnham died at his home in Bradford on January 5, 1903, at the age of seventy-five.

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Scope and Content

The Roswell Farnham Papers consist of twenty-four cartons, one box and four oversize volumes of family, financial, legal and military manuscripts. The collection constitutes a remarkably complete record of Farnham's life and several careers, from his days as a UVM undergraduate, to his service in the Civil War, to his legal and administrative work for the VCC and New England Company, to his term as governor and position as one of Vermont's most prominent Republican politicians.

The majority of the Farnham collection consists of correspondence and miscellaneous papers, covering every aspect of Farnham's life and ranging chronologically from 1821 to 1916. The Papers also contain some sixty-four bound manuscript volumes, including a near-complete run of Farnham's personal diary from 1862 to 1903, his personal and business letter-books for the last two decades of his life, a thick volume of Civil War letters, some personal expense ledgers and several account books of the Vermont Copper Company. In addition, there are extensive sections of newspaper clippings, court documents for cases in which Farnham acted as attorney and one box of printed material (duplicated in the Wilbur Collection) of the VCC and the New England Company. The basic arrangement within each of these five categories -- correspondence and miscellaneous papers, bound volumes, newspaper clippings, legal papers, and printed miscellaneous -- is chronological. The first folder in the Papers contains several biographical sketches of Roswell Farnham. For other material by or about him, check the card catalogue of the Wilbur Collection.

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