Bodman family papers
Scope and Contents
The earliest material (1680s-1830s) documents rural New England life primarily through financial records and legal instruments. Beginning in the 1830s such material is augmented by family and business correspondence documenting daily life and business ventures in New England and the Midwest.
By the 1880s, with few Bodmans remaining in New England, the geographical center of the papers shifts to New York and the Midwest. For the period 1880-1920, family correspondence makes up a significant portion of the material, while business and financial records appear in much greater bulk than in the preceding generations, particularly in the papers of Edward Cushman Bodman (generation VI). These materials are supplemented with diaries, memorabilia, photographs, writings, and papers relating to the service during World War I of Herbert Luther, Sr., and Theodora (Dunham) Bodman (generation VII).
The largest portion of the material from the period 1920 to 1980 is genealogy and family correspondence. In addition, there are a number of line-a-day and travel diaries, photographs, scrapbooks and other memorabilia, plus personal financial records.
Family history has long been of interest to the Bodmans. Genealogical research material and notes can be found in the papers of Clara Philena Bodman (generation VI), Ida (Berdan) Bodman (generation VI), George Milmine Bodman (generation VII), Henry Edward Bodman (generation VII), Henry Taylor Bodman (generation VIII), and Herbert Luther, Jr. and Ellen-Fairbanks (Diggs) Bodman (generation VIII).
- 1687-1980 [ongoing]
- Majority of material found within 1840-1920
- Bodman family (Family)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
Joseph Bodman was raised in Boston. He first saw the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts in 1675 as a soldier in King Philip's War. He returned to the area to homestead in the early 1680s, eventually settling in Hatfield, where the family was to remain for almost 100 years. In the early 1770s, three of Joseph's great-grandsons left Hatfield for the new township of Williamsburg. Seventeenth and eighteenth century Bodmans supported themselves by combining artisanry with subsistence farming. In the nineteenth century the scarcity of good land and the uncertainties of farming in New England led some Bodmans to join the westward migration settling in New York, Ohio, and Illinois. Those that remained in the East tried new enterprises such as factory production at a sawmill and tannery in Williamsburg, shop keeping in Charlemont, and banking in Conway and Northampton.
Beginning in the 1850s, investments in Illinois land led to family involvement in banking and grain merchandising that was to last well into the twentieth century. The firm of Milmine, Bodman and Co., founded in 1861 by Edward Cushman Bodman, grew from small-town bank (in Bement, Illinois) to international grain brokerage by the early 1890s.
In the mid-1970s, four Bodman cousins took an interest in their family's history and researched and wrote A Bodman Chronicle (1980). This book provides much biographical detail on Bodmans through the nineteenth century, plus genealogical charts and records for all known descendants of John and Sarah Bodman and should be consulted as a supplement to this description.
42 boxes (24 linear feet)
Photographs and negatives are filed in separate sequences following the papers. Images of or by Bodmans are arranged alphabetically. Other images are arranged by subject.
Oversize items are stored separately. Removal sheets are filed throughout the papers and a listing of the contents of the oversize boxes is available as part of the folder-title list following.
Other Finding Aids
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Additions to the Collection
- Bodman family
- Bodman, Clara Philena
- Bodman, Ellen Fairbanks
- Bodman, Frances
- Bodman, Herbert
- Bodman, Robert E.
- Bodman, Violet
- Business records
- Courtship -- United States
- Family -- United States
- Middle West
- New England
- Travelers' writings
- United States -- Social life and customs
- Upper class families -- United States
- Vandenbergh, Lydia Bodman
- World War, 1914-1918 -- France -- Personal narratives, American
- account books
- financial records
- legal documents
- Bodman family papers
- Finding Aid
- Maida Goodwin
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2005-09-23: mnsss4 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
- 2017-07-26T17:48:18-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063