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Rawson Smith family papers

Identifier: c-00072

Scope and Contents

The Smith family papers consist mostly of Alfred Smith's letters to his parents while he was in the Army, and correspondence exchanged by family members in Michigan and New York in the years following the war. The collection also includes various documents including insurance policies, deeds, mortgages, and a lottery advertisement (1868).

Subjects of particular interest from Alfred's correspondence include conditions in the Union hospital at Albany, New York (July 12, 1862); Smith's transfer from the Army of the Potomac in Virginia to the Army of the Cumberland in Tennessee (October 8, 1863); the Battle of Marietta, Georgia (July 13, 1864); and a scheme by "copperheads" to set up a Northwestern Confederacy (August 4, 1864). Alfred Smith also set forth his opinion on the necessity of abolishing slavery and disagreed with General McClellan's plan to allow the South back into the Union on the same footing as before the war (October 24, 1864). After the war, Alfred spent some time in Lansing, Michigan. His letters include a description of the new capitol building plans (March 10, 1872), and an account of his visit to the state legislature when Zachariah Chandler was elected to succeed U.S. Senator Isaac P. Christiancy (February 15, 1879).


  • Creation: 1850 - 1892


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Rawson Smith and his wife, Abigail, were residents of Monroe County, New York. Their papers include correspondence from various family members including their son, Alfred, who served in the 78th New York Infantry in the Civil War and spent much of his time in the Army hospitals for treatment of various ailments. After the war, Rawson and several of his sons, including Alfred, went to Michigan where other relatives had migrated. Rawson returned to New York, but his sons remained in Michigan, settling in Clinton and Muskegon Counties.


0.1 Cubic Feet (, 4 folders)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Mrs. A.C. Fast, 1960-07-08 . Transferred by Michigan State University Museum.

Legal Status

Copyright: Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to Michigan State University but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Copyright restrictions may apply.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Rawson Smith Family Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US