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About this collection

The Chapin Letters Collection consists of 336 pieces of correspondence primarily written to and from Lucius Philander Chapin, Jonathan Edward Chapin, and Alice Ruby Chapin. The majority of these letters were written during the Civil War while Lucius Chapin and his brother Elisha served in the Indiana 4th Cavalry. Lucius and Jonathan and two other brothers attended Wabash College, and a number of letters provide glimpses of college life in the 1850s.

Lucius Chapin spent several months in a hospital in Nashville, was actively involved in battles at Dandridge and Fair Garden, Tennessee in 1864 and served in Georgia and Alabama until the end of the war. Alice's letters contain vivid accounts of life on the home front in Indiana. Jonathan Chapin attended Lane Seminary and worked as a Presbyterian minister in Plymouth, Indiana and for over thirty years in Neenah, Wisconsin.

The letters in this collection represent only half of the Civil War correspondence of Lucius and Alice Chapin. The other letters are in the collections of the Indiana Historical Society. The DePauw University Archives also has a collection of Chapin family material, primarily correspondence of Alice Chapin with various family members in the early 1900s.

Photograph of Lucius and Alice Chapin with family and boarders in Greencastle in 1897 courtesy of DePauw University Archives.

 
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