From 1799 to 1826, a time of great change in the newly formed United States of America, Lydia Richards from Plainfield, Massachusetts conducted a thirty year correspondence with her friend, Charity Bryant from the Middlebury, Vermont area. While it was not unusual for folks from rural New England  to exchange letters over the course of a lifetime, it is unusual to have such a complete archive of letters. Currently the Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury, Vermont houses a collection of over 400 of Charity Bryant’s letters, with 180 being sent from Lydia Richards. Listed below are some of the letters written by Lydia to Charity, giving us a sketch of the life and times of rural life at the turn of the 19th century – the religious, political, moral, and domestic day to day life of two women living on the edge of the frontier.

Included is a 1977 paper by historian William Hosley’s research on these letters entitled: The Richards – Bryant Correspondence 1798 – 1851

August 19 & 21, 1799September 28, 1799

October 18, 1799

October 26, 1799

November 4, 1799

November 23, 1799

January 3, 1800

January 21, 1800

August 6, 1800October 9, 1800

November 1, 1800

January 6, 1801

February 21, 1801

May 21, 1801

September 10, 1801

 

 

 

February 21, 1802October 9, 1802

September 17, 1803

May 24, 1805

January 26, 1806

July 5, 1806

August 12, 1806

September 17, 1806

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 25, 1806.docx January 25, 1806.docx
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January 21, 1800,.docx January 21, 1800,.docx
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July 5, 1806.docx July 5, 1806.docx
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May 21, 1801.docx May 21, 1801.docx
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May 24, 1805.docx May 24, 1805.docx
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November 1,1800.docx November 1,1800.docx
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November 4, 1799.docx November 4, 1799.docx
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November 23, 1799.docx November 23, 1799.docx
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Oct. 17, 1806.docx Oct. 17, 1806.docx
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Oct. 18, 1799.docx Oct. 18, 1799.docx
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Oct. 27 & Oct. 30, 1806.docx Oct. 27 & Oct. 30, 1806.docx
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October 21, 1804.docx October 21, 1804.docx
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October 26, 1799.docx October 26, 1799.docx
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October  9, 1800.docx October 9, 1800.docx
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