Contents and Arrangement

Family Photographs, circa 1870-1890

1 folder

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists primarily of incoming correspondence to Robert H. Barton (1811-1898) of Providence, Rhode Island, from his family that begins in the winter of 1849 when Barton left his wife and children to head to the California gold fields. The 70 plus letters, which continue into the early 1870s, are from various family members, in particular Barton's sister Emeline Barton Coit, as well as from friends and members of Barton's Baptist congregation all with the common theme of "come home."

In a letter to her father, Harriet W. Barton writes, "my dear father all that would make us happy on this earth is yourself, and oh, that you would come home for you have given California a fair trial and for what? Gold, which will neither compensate for the toil, trouble, anxiety and sickness you have undergone since you have been there with no wife, nor children near you to watch and take care of you...(July 2, 1865?)"

The letters largely provide information about the Barton family, friends, and local events.

Though Barton seems to have corresponded very little with his family once settling in Nevada City--a letter from his father-in-law notes that he had not written in 4 years-- the collection does include a few letters from him that offer insight into his intentions and efforts to find gold. While at sea en route to California, Barton writes to his wife Julia, "to me the separation from you and my dear children would be insupportable(?) were not my spirits cheered by hopes and anticipations of obtaining in California enough of this world's gear to procure us in our old age a home and a trifle for our declining years...(March 30, 1849)"

Also included in the collection are a few family photographs as well as Barton's account statement from Gregory & Waite Groceries & Provisions, Nevada City, CA.

Collection History

Archival Appraisal Information:

No material was separated during 2015 processing.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Family Photographs; Robert H. Barton Family Correspondence, C1498, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 1

Find More

Barton family