Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Willett mss., 1863-1875, consist of letters and documents of the George Willett family of Quincy and Walpole, Massachusetts. Most of the letters were written by William H. H. Willett (b.1840), a soldier in Company B of the 60th Massachusetts regiment, to his father George Willett (b. 1816), during August through November 1864. The few earlier and later letters in the collection are from other family members and are also addressed to George. Both George and son William, when not serving in the Civil War, were boot makers.

William's letters begin with his stay in McKim's Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland while receiving treatment for dysentery. Further letters chronicle his journey to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he rejoined his regiment in late August 1864 after convalescence. His letters continue until November 5, 1864 and describe his experiences while serving as a Union prison guard at Camp Carrington through September, then at Camp Burnside where he remained until his discharge in November.

In addition to the letters, there is a promissory note and record of payments of George Willett to Polly Richards for the sum of $800, entered into February 1, 1844 and paid off April 26, 1865; a marriage certificate certifying the union of William H. H. Willett and Martha E. Morse by minister W. B. Smith, May 10, 1868; and two bills in 1875 to George Willett for labor on two lots in the Mount Wollaston Cemetery, Quincy, Massachusetts.

The collection is arranged in chronological order. A folder list is available.

Purchase. 2005

Collection size: 25 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.