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Eli Hawley Canfield papers

Scope & content

The Canfield papers consist of an appreciable volume of both correspondence and sermons. There are approximately 300 letters within the collection, being primarily letters Rev. Canfield wrote to his son, James Hulme Canfield, one-time president of the University of Ohio, later the University Librarian at Columbia, and the father of Dorothy Canfield Fisher, the novelist. These letters, with only occasional references to politics, religious affairs, or other individuals, relate largely to normal, common family problems and hopes. The sermons and related materials, however, represent an uncommon and valuable collection of research material at the primary source level. The 500 sermons, lectures and essays, dating from 1840 to 1870, amply illustrate the social, political, and religious thought of this one individual. As would be expected, the sermons are essentially religious in nature, but although Canfield exhibited a stronger interest in the spiritual aspects of life than the political and moral, he does comment frequently upon life. His comments upon the Civil War, the administration of Andrew Johnson and his various Sermons to the children are of particular interest.