Newell Family Papers, 1817-1925.
Robert Ralsten Newell (1843 – 1883) left Harvard College in 1863 to join the Union Army as second lieutenant for the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first northern regiment of African American soldiers. He was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant, then captain. He was discharged in 1865, returned to Harvard to complete his law degree, and practiced law in Boston. Robert’s sister Jane Hancox Newell (1857-1930) attended Radcliffe College and published a two-volume text book, as well as a volume of poetry. This collection of family papers primarily includes letters written to and by the two siblings, but also features correspondence among other family members as well, including other siblings, parents, and children. The letters exchanged among multiple generations of family members discuss the war, family matters, education, missionary work, and travels to Asia.