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Corkins Family Manuscripts

Identifier: MSN/EA 8013

Scope and Contents

The most notable item in the collection is a personal journal kept by Sarah Corkins Towslee from 1844 to around 1860. There is also a commonplace book of Sarah's (ca. 1852-1856), and a copy- and commonplace book used by her mother, Melitta Morley Corkins, and her older sister Mary.


  • Creation: 1824-1886


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

The chief creator of this small group of albums and journals was Sarah Corkins Towslee (1833-1898), the second child of Joseph Corkins and Melitta Morley Corkins of Whitingham, Windham County, Vermont. With the death of Joseph Corkins in April 1843 the family household appears to have dissolved; Sarah spent her early adolescence under the care of the proprietors of a local tavern, performing domestic chores while attending school in the winter. In 1848, at the age of fifteen, Sarah left Vermont for the textile mills of Colrain, Franklin County, Massachusetts, where her older sister Mary (b. 1829) was already working. By mid-century the manufacture of cotton textiles was an important feature of the local economy, with mill settlements at Griswoldville and Shattuckville in Colrain's North River valley. Corkins worked in the Colrain mills, and subsequently at Samuel Williston's factories in Easthampton (down the Connecticut River, in Hampshire County) on and off for more than four years, earning money for room and board and for her continued schooling. By 1851 she had begun to fulfill her ambition of teaching school, though factory work continued. In February 1853, at the age of 20, Corkins married Frank C. Towslee (1831-1884), and left New England for her husband's farm in Chenango County, New York. A daughter, Ida, was born ca. 1856. Sarah Towslee died in 1898.


.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Three manuscript journals and albums kept by female members of the Corkins family of Vermont and Massachusetts. Included is a personal journal of Sarah Corkins Towslee (1833-1898), describing her years as an operative in the mills of the Connecticut River Valley.


Volumes are arranged chronologically, in folders, with insertions in a folder following each volume.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Corkins manuscripts were acquired by the Hesburgh Libraries in 2013, from Michael Brown Rare Books of Philadelphia (List 119, Item 15).

Corkins Family Manuscripts
George Rugg
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556