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From The Archives

From The Archives: Dimensions of History

by Heidi Benedict, University Archivist

Students enrolled in History 203, Dimensions of History, with Dr. Carrington-Farmer have been working on two local history projects this semester. After learning about paleography, they had the opportunity to transcribe 19th century letters. Primarily written to John Brown Francis, the letters make up the bulk of the Francis/Herreshoff Collection which was donated to the University Archives by Henry Brown in June 2016. The Collection also includes several binders containing news clippings, promotional material, and other printed documents related to the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. You can view the letters and the students’ transcriptions at http://rwupresents.omeka.net/exhibits/show/francis-herreshoff-corresponde/project.


Students also spent time at the Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, helping to improve accessibility to its Collection of Ambrose E. Burnside material. All students worked together to create an index of Burnside related news items from the Bristol Phoenix, complete with article transcriptions. They also worked in small groups to inventory the Burnside-related artifacts held at the Historical Society, including his field desk and sword, and to research his family, military career, rifle factory, property in Bristol, and public memorials in Rhode Island. Students will present their findings on May 10, 2017 at 7 PM at the Bristol State House.


Women of Bristol Exhibition

by Heidi Benedict, University Archivist


Women of Bristol Exhibition
Rogers Free Library Entrance Gallery
April 1 through April 30, 2017

The Women of Bristol Exhibition is the first ever exhibit-oriented collaboration between nearly all of Bristol’s historic, arts, and cultural institutions. Contributors include Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum, The Bristol Historical & Preservation Society, Coggeshall Farm Museum, First Congregational Church, Herreshoff Marine Museum, Linden Place Mansion, Rogers Free Library and Roger Williams University Library.


The exhibition focuses on several important women from Bristol living between 1795 and 1995 — Maria Rogers, Theodora DeWolf Colt, Izannah Walker, Abby D. Munro, Alice Bell Morgan, Marjorie Randolph Van Wickle Lyon, Jane Nelle and Alice DeWolf Pardee. Although not from Bristol, Amelia Simmons, author of the first American cookbook, is also included in the exhibit. The exhibition brings together a unique collection of objects, including cooking and sailing implements, artwork, photographs, books and other written material.


The exhibit opens in the Rogers Free Library entrance gallery at 525 Hope Street on April 1 and will be available for viewing during library hours until April 30. It is free and open to the public.

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: 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.

From The Archives: A Brief History of Roger Williams University and its Student Newspaper

by Heidi Benedict, University Archivist


While Roger Williams University has been in Bristol for 45 years, the institution’s beginning dates back almost 100 years. In 1919 Northeastern opened its School of Commerce and Finance in the Providence YMCA, followed by an Evening Division Law School and the Providence Technical Institute. In 1940 the YMCA Board of Directors took over and established the Providence Institute of Engineering and Finance. The Institute closed during World War II and following the war re-opened as the YMCA Institute of Engineering and Finance.


In 1956 the school became a two-year degree granting institution, the state’s first, adopting the name Roger Williams Junior College. Its campus remained at the Providence YMCA.


Roger Williams College came in to being in 1967 and plans were made to build a campus in Bristol. The first classes on the new campus were held in the fall of 1969. The College grew rapidly over the years and the Board of Trustees voted to rename the school Roger Williams University, effective May 5, 1992.


The first reference to a student newspaper appeared in the 1947-1948 catalog for the YMCA Institute:


The Triangle is a monthly newspaper edited and published by the student body. The Triangle is a member of the Intercollegiate Publications’ Association of Rhode Island. Any student who so desires may volunteer his services for the newspaper staff.”


1948-1949 triangle staff

The University Archives currently has one issue of The Triangle. Please contact the University Archives if you have copies from other years.

Triangle, April 1947-1

Roger Williams Junior College first issued a monthly student newspaper in December, 1961. Since that time the school has continued to regularly publish a student newspaper, although under a variety of names. The Archives holds a near complete run of the student paper since 1961. You can also access the papers online from DOCS@RWU ( http://docs.rwu.edu/student_pubs/ ).