[Posted by Jennifer Sharp M’11, a Project Archivist with the Watkinson Library]
One of the pieces in the Charles P. Wells collection that I enjoyed finding is a copybook, owned by Susanna Olmsted. The poem, written by Esther Lewis, seems to have been written out by Susanna’s friend, E.Benton, presumably prior to Susanna’s marriage.
The first page reads:
Advice to a Lady lately Married
Dear Peggy since the single State / You’ve left & chose yourself a Mate / Since metamorphos’d to a Wife / And Bliss or Woe’s insur’d for Life
A friendly Muse the way would show / To gain the Bliss & miss the Woe. / But first of all I must suppose / You,ve with mature reflection chose /
And this premis’d I think you may / Here find to married Bliss the way. / Small is the province of a Wife / And narrow is her Sphere in Life /
Within that Sphere to move aright / Should be her principal Delight. / To guide the House with prudent ease / And properly to spend & spare /
To make her Husband bless the Day / He gave his Liberty away.
The final page is where we find out the book was owned by Susanna. I spent several hours trying to connect Susanna Olmsted with the Wells family, but wasn’t able to do so. I may keep trying! There were few enough families in Hartford when this was written (1775), that I’m sure we have a connection in a ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ sort of way. This is my final post about the collection. I have arranged it all, and the finding aid is in progress. I hope you will visit the Watkinson and use the collection. Thank you for reading!