Digitizing Atwater: Nutrition, Agriculture, and Home Economics in the Long 19th Century

Material Description

“Digitizing Atwater” will bring together electronically four interrelated collections comprised of correspondence, documents, photographs, postcards, letterbooks, diaries, ephemeral publications, and calling cards. Readily available published bound books that form a part of the collections will be excluded from digitization. Focused on agriculture, health, nutrition, and home economics, these collections also provide insight into the domestic life of a prominent family in the 18th-20th centuries. Atwater’s children, Charles W. and Helen, were important scientists in their own right, making significant contributions to the fields of zoology and home economics, respectively. Family correspondence includes discussion of science and religion, reactions to the Civil War and two World Wars, temperance, a family member’s struggles with schizophrenia, and many other issues. Correspondents outside of the family include such notable figures as Booker T. Washington, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Orange Judd. Wesleyan owns the Wilbur Olin Atwater Papers except for a portion of the collection that was de-accessioned and gifted to the University of Connecticut (UConn) in 1966. Those records formed the basis of the SAES Records collection. Catherine Galbraith gave the Atwater Family Papers, 1843-1943, to Wesleyan in 1966. Alan Galbraith gave the Atwater Family Papers, 1788-2003, to Wesleyan in December 2008 and January 2009. All of these collections contain correspondence to and from Wilbur Olin Atwater.

Year Added:



Wesleyan University


Ms. Francesca Livermore
Wesleyan University

Mr. Leith
University Archivist

Mr. Ms. Betsy
University Archivist

Collaborating Institution(s)

University of Connecticut

Date Range

1788 - 2003

Geographic Scope

Wilbur Olin Atwater travelled widely for his scientific work, and he wrote extensively about those travels. These collections include significant coverage of Connecticut, Alabama, Maine, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington DC, Cuba, Germany, France, Russia, and India.


  • 32 letterbooks, research notes, scrapbooks
  • 52.1 Mixed Archival Collections
  • 1250 postcards