Divinity Library

Adele Shepard Collection of Edwards and Dwight Family Papers

pages with handwriting

two photos in frames above an open book with handwriting

Yale's already excellent resources on Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), Timothy Dwight (1752-1817) and their families are now supplemented by a new collection at the Divinity Library, the Adele Shepard Collection of Edwards and Dwight Family Papers. This collection was inherited and compiled by Adele Shepard, a descendant of the families. The papers focus primarily on the individuals in Shepard's line of descent, including Jonathan Edwards, his grandson Timothy Dwight (President of Yale College from 1795 to 1817), great-grandson William T. Dwight (1795-1865) and others.

The collection includes original documents by Jonathan Edwards, including a manuscript notebook containing descriptions of the ecstatic religious experiences of his wife Sarah Pierpont Edwards (1710-1758). Versions of this narrative were published but they were altered so as to conceal Sarah's identity and the intensity of her experiences. Many of the most interesting documents in this collection are by or about women, including Jonathan Edwards' sister Mary Edwards' memorial of their sister Jerusha. The collection includes letters from prominent individuals such as John Adams (1735-1826), Lyman Beecher (1775-1863), John Trumbull (1756-1843), and George Washington, as well as many family letters.  Letters of Timothy Dwight (1752-1817) to his wife describe his experiences as a chaplain during the Revolutionary War.  Many documents in the collection are now available to researchers for the first time.

Complementing the textual resources of the collection are numerous photographs of family members that illustrate the evolution of photographic technique from daguerreotypes to ambrotypes, tintypes, carte-de-visite format, and prints.

Last modified: 
Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - 9:00am