Elsie DeWitt Family Collection

In the 1860s, a Connectictut Congregationalist minister named Robert Coit Learned began collecting materials to write a history of his family, particularly the illustrious Coit branch who were among the most important families in southeastern Connecticut. Years later some of these papers were donated to Connecticut College by his granddaughter Elsie DeWitt, together with ephemera and realia from her own childhood and from her father's family.

The largest portion of the collection consists of manuscripts of Amasa Learned, Elsie's great great grandfather. Learned was a Congregationalist minister who entered Connecticut politics in 1779, serving until 1791 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He served two terms before returning to Connecticut. He was a delegate to the convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution and the convention that drafted the Connecticut Constitution. The collection includes fifty-two sermons or sermon fragments, written in the same hand at different times.

The collection also contains collected sermons by Payson Williston, grandfather of Robert C. Learned's first wife Sarah B. Whitney. Williston was the first Congregationalist minister of Easthampton, Massachusetts. The 11 sermons in the collection are neatly organized. The date and location of each sermons is also provided (most sermons were delivered on more than one date).

Other items in the collection include Robert Learned's account book, travel journals kept by his daughter Grace Hallam, and pins, spoons, ribbons, and other realia.