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Special Collections: Guide to the Chamberlain Family Papers

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves
August 2009

Collection title: Chamberlain Family Papers
Collection number: MS 93
Dates of collection: 1821-1958 (inclusive)
Size of collection: 1 box
Provenance: Purchased from and gift of Arthur F. Winslow, Windsor, Conn., in 1969
Restrictions on access and use: This collection is kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice is required for retrieval


Joshua Chamberlain, Jr., son of Joshua and Ann Gould Chamberlain, was born in Orrington, Maine, in 1800. He married Sarah Brastow of Holden in 1827, and they had five children: Joshua Lawrence, Horace B., Sarah B., John Calhoun, and Thomas Davee Chamberlain. A resident of Brewer, Maine, Chamberlain was a county commissioner and a lieutenant colonel in the militia as well as holding other offices. He died in 1880.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, born in 1828, graduated from Bowdoin College in 1852, studied at the Bangor Theological Seminary for three years, and then returned to Bowdoin as a professor. Chamberlain joined the 20th Maine Regiment in 1862, achieved fame at the Battle of Gettysburg, and was wounded at Petersburg. During his military career he served in 20 battles and many skirmishes. After returning from the war, he was elected governor of Maine, 1866-1869, and served as president of Bowdoin from 1871-1883. Chamberlain died in 1914.

Horace B. Chamberlain was born in 1834 and graduated from Bowdoin College in 1857. He practiced law in Bangor and died in 1861.

Sarah B. Chamberlain was born in 1836. In 1867 she married Charles O. Farrington, a merchant in Brewer.

John Calhoun Chamberlain was born in 1838, graduated from Bowdoin in 1859 and from the Bangor Theological Seminary in 1864. He saw service in the U.S. Christian Commission and was chaplain of the Eleventh Volunteers in the Civil War. He died in Castine in 1867.

Thomas Davee Chamberlain, born in 1841, was also a soldier in the Civil War. Enlisting as a private in the 20th Maine Volunteers he rose through the ranks to lieutenant colonel, serving at the front in 25 battles and skirmishes. He died in 1896.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains papers of various members of the Chamberlain family of Brewer, Maine. It also includes some papers of the Farrington family, also of Brewer. The papers are arranged in the following order: Papers of Joshua Chamberlain, Jr.; Papers of Sarah Brastow Chamberlain; Papers of Joshua L. Chamberlain; Papers of Horace B. Chamberlain; Papers of John Calhoun Chamberlain; Papers of Thomas Davee Chamberlain; Miscellaneous Chamberlain Family Papers; Farrington Family Papers; and Miscellaneous Material.

The papers of Joshua Chamberlain, Jr. include a memorandum book, 1821, of his notes on subjects such as geometry, surveying, etc.; incoming correspondence including a few letters from his son, Joshua L. Chamberlain; and legal documents and maps of Maine townships reflecting his land ownership and involvement in logging and selling logs.

Sarah Brastow Chamberlain's papers include a letter written by her in 1825, a valuation and tax statement, 1881; and a few letters, 1852, 1877, to her from her son Joshua.

The papers of Joshua L. Chamberlain contain his diplomas from Bowdoin College; six letters written by him between 1868 and 1914; and author's proofs of his book, The Passing of the Armies, as well as copies of some of his published works. The papers also include newspaper and magazine articles about Chamberlain and illustrations of him taken from various sources.

The papers of Horace B. Chamberlain and John Calhoun Chamberlain each contain a small amount of material reflecting their studies at Bowdoin and at the Bangor Theological Seminary as well as copies of John Chamberlain's essays, poems, etc.

Thomas Chamberlain's papers include materials on his enlistment and service in the 20th Maine Regiment Company G as well as a letter, 1863, written to one of his brothers, and his photograph and signature card.

The miscellaneous Chamberlain family papers contain genealogical information about the Chamberlain and Farrington families.

The Farrington family papers include letters to Sarah Chamberlain Farrington from Joshua L. Chamberlain, as well as various legal and business papers of the family, 1816-1955, and papers relating to Mill Dam School and School District No. 2 in Brewer, Maine.

The collection ends with a group of miscellaneous documents that cannot be attributed to any particular person represented in the collection.

Contents of Box

Box 1


Papers of Joshua Chamberlain, Jr. (1800-1880)

1 Joshua Chamberlain's book, 1821 (notes on geometry, surveying, etc.)

2 Letters, incoming, 1831, 1850-1879, undated

3 Letters from Joshua L. Chamberlain, 1872, undated

4 Legal documents, 1829-1882

4a Maps of Maine townships, undated

5 Photocopies of papers of Joshua Chamberlain

Papers of Sarah Brastow Chamberlain

6 Letter, Sept. 12, 1825, from Sarah Chamberlain; valuation and tax statement, 1881

7 Letters from Joshua L. Chamberlain, 1852, 1877

Papers of Joshua L. Chamberlain

8 Diplomas from Bowdoin College, 1852, 1855

9 Letters written by Chamberlain, 1868-1914 (6 letters)

10 Letter, Nov. 1, 1909, to Chamberlain from Henry S. Burrage

11 Miscellaneous documents, 1868-1922

12 Author's proofs: “My story of Fredericksburg,” Cosmopolitan magazine, 1912

13-15 Proofs of The passing of the armies

16 Abraham Lincoln seen from the field in the war for the union: a paper read before the Commandery of the State of Pennsylvania … Feb. 12, 1909 by Joshua L. Chamberlain

17 Address of Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain at the dedication of the Maine monuments on the battlefield of Gettysburg, October 3, 1893. Augusta: Maine Farmers' Almanac Press, 1895 (2 copies)

18 Five Forks: a paper read before the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, Commandery of Maine, May 2, 1901, by Joshua L. Chamberlain. Portland, Maine: Lefavor-Tower Co., 1902

19 Military operations on the White Oak Road, Virginia, March 31, 1865 by Joshua L. Chamberlain, Portland, Maine: Thurston Print, 1897

20 Ruling powers in history: address by Joshua L. Chamberlain at Thomaston, Maine, on the three hundredth anniversary of the visit of George Waymouth to the St. Georges River, July 6, 1905

21 Bowdoin College documents: Order of commencement exercises, 1852; gift acknowledgement, 1872

22 To his excellency Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain (poem from Gorham Seminary, March 7, 1871

23 Newspaper and magazine articles re Chamberlain

24 Illustrations, signatures of Chamberlain

25 In memoriam: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Commandery of Maine, 1914

26 Letter, Mar. 28, 1958, to Mary Haskell, Brewer Public Library, from Willard M. Wallace, Wesleyan University, re Chamberlain

Papers of Horace B. Chamberlain

27 Bowdoin College documents, 1855, 1857; letters, deeds, etc.

28 Letter from Joshua L. Chamberlain, April 30, 1858

Papers of John Calhoun Chamberlain

29 Memorandum book of poems and quotations: Bowdoin College, 1858; Bangor Theo. Sem., March 1860; Lowell, Oct. 1860

30 Essays, poems, etc., 1850s, 1860s (some photocopies)

Papers of Thomas Davee Chamberlain

31 Letter, 1863; papers on enlistment and promotions, 1862-1865; photograph, signature

Miscellaneous Chamberlain family papers

32 Galleys of entry on Chamberlain family in Genealogical and family history of the state of Maine, 1909 (vol. 1, pp. 132-140)

33 Notes on Chamberlain and Farrington families, 1973

Farrington family papers

34 Patent, 1859, of Charles O. Farrington

35 Letters to Sarah Chamberlain Farrington from Joshua L. Chamberlain, 1882, 1891, 1908, 1910, undated

36 Letter to John Farrington, 1812; pension statement, 1843

37 Miscellaneous Farrington family papers, 1816-1955

38 Papers relating to Mill Dam School and School District no. 2, Brewer, 1839-1859

Miscellaneous material

39 Letters of J.H. Everett, 1863 (photocopies)

40 Queen Mary's escape (musical score): Madge Abbott; transposed by Lizzie, Christmas Eve, 1853

41 Sermons, essays, 1853-1864, by unknown authors

42 Poems, essays, unknown authors, undated

43 Miscellaneous legal documents, bills, etc.

Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/17/2015
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