1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Edwin Howland Family Papers

 Blacksmith, of Pawtucket R.I.

 Family papers, 1860-1944

 Size: 0.25 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 1076

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, July 2001

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Edwin Howland (1802-1875) was a blacksmith in Providence, and by 1870 was living in that section of North Providence which was later became Pawtucket , R.I. He married Susan C. Langley and they had children: Sarah E. Howland (1834-1836), Edwin Langley Howland (1836-1837),Edwin Lee Howland (1838-1876), Susan F. (Howland) Allen (1841-1914), Silena A. Howland (1844-1846), Harriet L. (Howland) Pierce (b.1847), and Leonora A. Howland (1849-1852).

            Edwin Lee Howland, known in the family as Ned, settled in Hartford and married Electa A. Baker (1831-1873).

            Susan F. Howland was known in her family as "Frank." She married John Edward Allen (1837-1907), generally known as "J. Edward" or "Ned." Allen was a stockbroker who was involved in a wide variety of business pursuits. Although it may not have been the most significant to his life, his office of most enduring interest was his place on the Board of Directors of the Providence Base Ball Association in 1884 and 1885. In that role, he played a very active role in the management of the Providence Grays team, which won the National League championship in 1884. He served as corresponding secretary through the 1884 season, then took over the club's presidency in August of 1885. In that office, he oversaw the team's dissolution in November of 1885. Ned and Susan Allen had at least four children: Jennie (1862-1933), John F. (1863-1931), Courtland Junius (1869-1929), and Chester P. (1873-1875).

            Jennie Allen, daughter of Ned and Susan Allen, married a Buffum and had Thomas Barker Buffum (1885-1964). Thomas had at least two children: Thomas B. Buffum Jr. (1921-1979) and Timothy N. Buffum.


Rhode Island Cemetery Database

1850 U.S. Census, Providence Ward 3, page 172

1860 U.S. Census, Providence Ward 3, page 299

1883 Providence Directory, listing officers of Providence Base Ball Association

Providence Evening Telegram, August 27 1884

Providence Journal, September 13, November 19, November 29, December 27 1885.

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Scope and content:

            This collection consists of a diary kept by Edwin Howland in 1870, and miscellaneous papers of his children, son-in-law, and great-grandson dating from 1860 to 1944.

            The collection includes four early personal letters. In 1860, Edwin Howland wrote to his newly wedded son Edwin with marital advice: "Cherish her, my dear son, as you would the apple of your eye, and permit no occasion to arise to cause bitterness or alienation of that mutual affection so indispensable to connubial happiness. I think, dear son... that she is one well worthy of your undivided love and whom I am well pleased to accept as a daughter. Leave her not in solitude any more than is absolutely necessary, but devote all your spare time and your energies in striving to render her situation pleasant and agreeable... Be not unmindful that she has forsaken all for you and in you has placed implicit confidence." He also discusses Universalist Church services.

            In another 1860 letter, Electa Howland writes from Hartford of her husband: "Ned succeeded after a couple of weeks of leisure in getting some drafting to do for a marble dealer where he is yet at work. Wages are low but he is glad to do anything while so many are out of work and their daily bread." She recounted attending a ball at Howard Hall in Providence in 1856: "It was such a brilliant affair - such beautiful women, splendid robes, and flashing jewelry intermingled with the gay uniforms of the gents. I was perfectly delighted and almost bewildered had it not been for the charming officer I found at my side!" She also discusses Hartford euchre parties, and drops a hint re her sister-in-law's beau: "Ned says he will write to Ned A----n pretty soon."

            Ned Allen wrote an 1874 letter to his young daughter Jennie while on a business trip in Switzerland: "I have been all over this beautiful place looking in the windows to see the nice goods displayed, and I wish so much that I had plenty of money to buy, and carry home with me lots of things for my children... I will try and find something nice for you and Johnny and Mama and something to please Junie, but you must not expect much for I did not take enough money with me to be very extravagant in my purchases." This is the most interesting of the eight documents relating to J. Edward Allen. Unfortunately, none of these documents have any direct relationship to Mr. Allen's brief but eventful career as a baseball executive.

            Also of potential interest are five "v-mail" letters written to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Buffum, mostly from their son Thomas Jr., during World War II. Thomas was apparently serving in the Navy, was hospitalized due to back problems and minor cuts (possibly combat-related, and was apparently discharged in July of 1944. The letters provide no details on combat or troop movements, but are interesting for their depiction of hospital life.

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            These documents were passed on by Susan (Howland) Allen to her daughter Jennie (Allen) Buffum (1862-1933), then to her son Thomas B. Buffum (1885-1964), and then to his sons Timothy N. and Thomas B. Buffum Jr. Timothy N. Buffum donated his portion of the papers to the R.I.H.S. in 2000, and his niece Christine Tananone donated her portion in 2001. A large collection of family photographs was donated along with the 2001 gift, and can be found in the Graphics Division.

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Processing note:

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Edwin Howland

Folder 1. Diary of Edwin Howland, 1870

Edwin L. Howland

Folder 2.

            Letter from Edwin Howland to son Edwin L. Howland, 5/27/1860.

            Deed from Charles F. Sampson, 1869


Susan F. (Howland) Allen

Folder 3.

            Letter from Electa (Baker) Howland to sister-in-law Susan F. Allen, 2/27/1860.

            Deed from Charles W. Atwood, 1867

            Deed from Nathan B. Fenner, 1869

            Letter to mother and children, re trip to Mount Washington, N.H., 7/18/1871

            Deed from Frederic P. Johnson, 1907

J. Edward Allen

Folder 4.

            Receipt from H.D. Newbury of Brooklyn for $100 loan, 1869

            Letter, "Papa Ned" Allen to young daughter Jennie, 8/18/1871

            Receipt from Eugenie Pariset of Paris for chapeau, 9/22/1874

            Humorous petition to Mr. and Mrs. Allen re son Courtland, 7/28/1886

            Invitation to wedding of Abby G. Aldrich to John D. Rockefeller, 10/9/1901

            Receipt for dolls purchased from Edward G. Billings, 1902

            Deed from Alice M. Johnson, 1904

            Property sale agreement with Michael W. Norton, 1907

Thomas Barker Buffum

Folder 5.

            V-mail letter from William McCaughey to Mr. and Mrs. Buffum, 7/8/1943

            Four V-mails from Thomas B. Buffum Jr. to parents, 1944

Family notes

Folder 6

            Nathaniel Langley family notes. Transcription of 1810 notes with later additions?

            Edwin Howland family notes. Memoranda of five deaths, 1836-1876.

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Allen, John Edward "Ned" (1837-1907)

Allen, Susan F. (Howland) (1841-1914)

Blacksmiths - Rhode Island - Pawtucket

Buffum, Thomas B. Jr. (1921-1979)

Diaries - 1870

Howland, Edwin L. (1831-1873)

Howland, Electa A. (Baker) (1831-1873)

Langley family

Pawtucket, R.I. - Social life and customs

Rockefeller, John D. (1874-1960)

Universalists - Rhode Island - Pawtucket

World War, 1939-1945

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