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Books, Manuscripts and Archival Documents

The Memorial Libraries  are home to several thousand volumes of rare books, manuscripts, and archival documents.


Epaphras Hoyt (1765-1850)
Deerfield, Massachusetts, 1820-1849
Wove paper, ink
Partial funding provided by Margaret E.C. Howland, Ann Lord, and Deborah Dearborn.

The acquisition of a group of notebooks and journals kept by Epaphras Hoyt (1765-1850) during the period 1820-1849, has greatly expanded our knowledge of his many activities. Born in the Old Indian House, he became a leader in town and county affairs. Beyond holding numerous offices such as Postmaster, Justice of the Peace, and Sheriff of Franklin County, he represented Deerfield in the Massachusetts Assembly, taught at Deerfield Academy, worked as a surveyor, served as a general in the Massachusetts militia, and published on military theory and New England history. Hoyt was an avid reader and commented on a remarkable range of mathematical, scientific, and historical matters. A keen observer of regional and national events, he held strong political views and frequently wrote at length on the important issues of the day, including the Mexican War, education, Freemasonry, and the antislavery movement. His writings display an impressive vocabulary and vigorous intellect that set him apart from many of his peers and made him, in the words of Deerfield’s town historian George Sheldon, “a man of affairs.”


Made for Anthony Van Doorn (1792-1871)
Brattleboro, Vermont, 1846
Inscribed “This may certify that ASA FIELD, has worked for the subscriber some time past, as an apprentice at the CABINET BUSINESS, and has acquitted himself as a faithful, trusty, upright and honest person. He is thought to be worthy of patronage and confidence, and is hereby recommended to the public as such. Wishing for success to all Mechanical operators, and especially to this useful Craft. ANTHONY VANDOORN. Brattleboro, Vt. 1846.”

White plain weave silk, black ink
Hall and Kate Peterson Fund for Paintings, Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, 2016.21

Cabinetmaker Anthony Van Doorn moved to Brattleboro from Rhode Island in 1815 where he established a shop west of town.  In 1830, he opened a larger shop on Whetstone Brook where it crosses Brattleboro’s Main Street near the town’s commercial center.  There he incorporated steam and water power in his workshop, and operated the largest furniture making establishment in Vermont until 1851. Known examples of his furniture embody the late Federal and Empire styles, fashionable in the central Connecticut River Valley in the first half of the 19th century. This rare broadside, printed on silk, serves as a testimonial to his apprentice, Asa Field, who may have been striking out on his own, while providing the only known printed image of his factory, and examples of Van Doorn’s products.