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From The Archives: The Fulton/Howe Collection: Valentine’s Day

by Heidi Benedict, University Archivist

The tradition of sending Valentines is not a new one. Family members, friends, and sweethearts were exchanging notes and gifts as early as the nineteenth century. Among the correspondence to Edith Howe, we found several home-made Valentines from the turn of the century.



From The Archives: The Fulton/Howe Collection: November

By Heidi Benedict, University Archives


The Archives would like to share a newly discovered item from the Fulton/Howe Collection. We have found many unpublished writings, including diaries, school work, commonplace books and copy books written by several family members. Marshall N. Fulton’s father, William Jewett Fulton, Sr., wrote this piece on the history of political parties. Unfortunately, the remainder of the document has not yet been found, but we do have additional notes he prepared on the subject.


I’d also like to highlight some significant family events that happened in November:


  • Herbert Marshall Howe and Mary W. Fell were married on November 28, 1871. Howe established Ferrycliffe Farm in 1877.
  • Mary W. Fell’s father, Joseph Gillingham Fell, was born on November 14, 1816.
  • William Jewett Fulton Sr. died on November 14, 1919.
  • Mary Howe DeWolf Fulton died on November 27, 2006.


For more from this collection: click here

From The Archives: The Fulton/Howe Collection: Marshall Enters Brown University

By Heidi Benedict, University Archives


One hundred years ago, in September 1916, Marshall Fulton left his family home in Keokuk, Iowa and moved to Providence, Rhode Island to attend Brown University. There he spent a great deal of time with his Uncle Frank. In Marshall’s diary for 1916, he describes his experiences and emotions during his first year at Brown. Included here are three entries from his diary:  September 20, the day he left home; September 25, the day he registered for classes, and September 27, his first day of classes. Marshall gave the valedictory address at his graduation from Brown in 1920. The Archives holds his correspondence with his parents, diaries, and a scrapbook from his years at Brown.








For more from this collection: click here

From the Archives: The Fulton Dedication and Exhibition

By Heidi Benedict, University Archives
On Saturday, August 27, 2016, following Convocation Exercises, the University dedicated the RWU Bristol campus as the newly renamed Fulton Campus. In 1965, Dr. Marshall N. Fulton and his wife Mary Howe sold over 60 acres of Ferrycliffe Farm, founded by her grandfather, to Roger Williams College. To commemorate their gift, the University unveiled an historic marker and named the main road on campus to Fulton Way.

1900_fultonhowe_homestead 1900, Family “Homestead,” where the University Residence sits today


The current Fulton family members donated their family papers to the University five years ago. The collection documents the history of the Farm and of the family. With correspondence making up the bulk of the collection, it is particularly strong in representing the family members’ personal and professional activities and interests, and demonstrates their affection for learning, travel, and each other. The Library has prepared an exhibit featuring family photographs and selected letters from the collection. The Archives hopes to have the collection completely processed by July 2017, marking the 100th anniversary of Mary Howe Fulton’s birth.


June 1940, Marshall and Mary Howe

From the Archives: More from The Fulton/Howe Collection: Postcards

by Heidi Benedict, University Archivist


The Fulton/Howe Papers include thousands of letters and postcards, some written as far back as the 1880s. Work-study students, Julia Bradley and Victoria Ramos, are helping the University Archivist, Heidi Benedict, process the correspondence. At this point they’re about half way through the collection.

Some postcards show Bristol at the turn of the twentieth century, including one showing Mark Antony DeWolf’s Mudge House, built in 1840 by Russell Warren and destroyed by fire in 1919. Also included are a ca. 1904 postcard of the Herreshoff Boat Shops and later ones of Hope Street, the Mt. Hope Bridge, and Bristol Town Beach.


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For more from this collection view the article below:

From the Archives: The Fulton/Howe Collection: March 1916

From the Archives: The Fulton/Howe Collection: March 1916

by Heidi Benedict, University Archivist


Have you ever wondered about the two portraits on the first floor of the library?


They are Dr. Herbert Marshall Howe and his daughter Edith. So why are they in the library?


In 1875 Dr. Howe purchased the property upon which RWU now sits and established Ferrycliffe Farm. There he raised Jersey dairy cows. At the time, Ferrycliffe extended across Metacom Avenue to the west shore of Bristol Point.


After Dr. Howe’s death in 1916, the farm was taken over by his daughter Edith and her husband Dr. Halsey DeWolf. Dr. Howe’s granddaughter Mary Howe DeWolf Fulton and her husband Dr. Marshall Nairne Fulton, continued farming on a smaller scale into the 1950s.


In the mid-1960s the University, then Roger Williams Junior College, acquired over 60 acres of land from the Fultons. The Bristol campus opened in the fall of 1969. The remaining 50 acres of the farm were sold to the University in the early 1990s.


Nearly five years ago, Mary Howe and Marshall’s children, Harriet Fulton Dwyer and DeWolf Fulton, on behalf of all their siblings, donated a collection of family diaries, letters, and photographs to the University. Since then the Archives has been processing the collection. In doing so the University Archivist noted that 1916 was a significant year for the Howe and Fulton families. In celebration of these events she will be sharing specific items from the collection here in Connections throughout 2016. The Archives plans to open the collection to the public in the fall.


March 7, 1916:

Edith Howe and Halsey DeWolf were married in Philadelphia on March 7, 1916. The Archives holds a copy of their wedding invitation, and marriage service book, with a completed certificate, names of witnesses, and even a sprig of pressed flowers.






marshall and mary howe 1 wedding

Edith and Hal’s daughter, Mary Howe, married Marshall Fulton on June 22, 1940 in Bristol, RI.

Finding The Calm After The Perfect Storm

By Betsy Learned, Dean of University Libraries

Credit: Megan Lessard/University Library/Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI

Credit: Megan Lessard/University Library/Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI


Former Dean of Libraries, Peter Deekle, referred to the 2015-16 academic year, the year he turned over the leadership of the library to me, as a “perfect storm.”  At Peter’s retirement, the library was in the midst of the University’s 10-year NEASC accreditation; had just begun the first book deselection project; lost three member libraries in the HELIN Consortium, leaving the remaining HELIN members with a giant construction loan and almost one third less income; and the task of finding a new library system to reduce our costs.   The library staff came together to right the ship over the past year and deserve my utmost appreciation for their hard work and perseverance.

Achievements of this academic year include John Fobert’s application of his sabbatical research to identify a new library system, World Management Services (WMS) and his leadership on both the HELIN team that selected the system, and the library’s implementation team.  Christine Fagan has fearlessly led the deselection project with help from technical services staff Liz Hanes, Jackie Katz and Phil Williams (and other staff as needed) while at the same time bringing up the new acquisitions system as part of WMS.  The Web and Digital Services team—Barbara Kenney, Heidi Benedict, Chris Truszkowski, and Megan Lessard are nearing completion of the library’s first digital project, Ferrycliffe: From Farm to University, featuring archival materials from the Fulton/Howe collection about the land on which we work, formerly Ferrycliffe Farm.

All of our staff have contributed to these projects and have participated in countless meetings, demos, and difficult discussions, in an effort to provide the highest level of service to our university community.  They have bolstered me in my new position as Dean in more ways than I can describe.  Many thanks to Cindy Jones and Adam Braver for keeping me sane, and to all in the library for keeping us afloat, approaching ever calmer waters.

University Archives Annual Commencement Exhibit



The University Archives Annual Commencement Exhibit for 2016 celebrates the 60th anniversary of the founding of Roger Williams College. A visual timeline highlights events from 1956-2016, and includes facsimiles of founding documents and newspaper articles, as well as commencement photos from 1956, 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, and 2006. The exhibit will open Friday, May 13.



Roger Williams College awarded its first four-year degrees on June 4, 1970. Commencement exercises were held on the campus green in front of the library (now the Gabelli School of Business). James Payson Dixon, President of Antioch College, delivered the Commencement Address.



Marshall and Mary Howe Fulton received the Roger Williams College Award  in 1972 for their service to the College.  The award was first introduced in 1970.