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Elsie DeWitt family papers

Identifier: MS056

About the collection

This collection contains family papers donated by Elsie Dewitt. In the 1860s, a Connectictut Congregationalist minister named Robert Coit Learned began collecting materials to write a history of his family, particularly the Coit branch who were among the most important families in southeastern Connecticut. His granddaughter Elsie DeWitt, donated some of these papers along with ephemera and realia from her own childhood and from her father's family.

The largest portion of the collection consists of manuscripts of Amasa Learned, DeWitt’s great great grandfather. The collection includes fifty-two sermons or sermon fragments, written in the same hand at different times by Learned. The collection also contains collected sermons by Payson Williston, grandfather of Robert C. Learned's first wife Sarah B. Whitney. The eleven Williston sermons include the date and location of each sermon, although, most sermons were delivered on more than one date. Other items in the collection include Robert Learned's account book, travel journals kept by Grace Hallam Learned, DeWitt's mother, and ephemera of Dewitt including pins, spoons, ribbons, and other realia.


  • 1789 - 1955


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Biographical History

Grace Hallam Learned Dewit (1854-1935) was the daughter of Robert Coit Learned. She married Abraham Van Dyck DeWitt. She is the mother of Elise Dewitt.

Amasa Learned was a Congregationalist minister who entered Connecticut politics in 1779, serving until 1791 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He served two terms before returning to Connecticut. He was a delegate to the convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution and the convention that drafted the Connecticut Constitution

Robert Coit Learned (1817-1867), was a Connectictut Congregationalist minister. He married Sarah Birdseye Whitney (1824-1864) and had five children: Edward, Grace Hallam, Edward, Margaret, Anna, and Sarah. Amasa Learned was his uncle.

Payson Williston, grandfather of Robert C. Learned's first wife Sarah B. Whitney. Williston was the first Congregationalist minister of Easthampton, Massachusetts.


.83 Linear Feet (This collection includes 2.5 document boxes.)


The collection consists of manuscripts, realia, and ephemera from the family of Elsie DeWitt.


This collection is organized into three series. Series I. Sermons, circa 1789 - 1831 with Subseries A. Amasa Learned, undated and Subseries B: Payson Williston,1789 - 1831. Series II.Journals and account books, 1840-1883, and Series III.Photograph, Ephemera, and Realia, 1873-1955.
Guide to the Elsie DeWitt family papers
Finding aid author unknown. Finding aid migrated by Rose Oliveira, Lear Staff, and Jay Astacio, student worker,
Finding aid created circa 2009. Finding aid migrated in March 2020.
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives Repository

Conecticut College
270 Mohegan Ave
New London CT 06320 United States