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Elihu Dwight papers

Identifier: MS 0831

Scope and Contents

The Elihu Dwight Papers consist of small pox inoculation records, account books, bills, correspondence, various receipts, indenture forms, land agreements and deeds, and shipping statements. Dwight was one of the first physicians to settle in South Hadley, Massachusetts, and materials related to his medical practice include smallpox inoculations receipts for himself and two of his children. This collection primarily concerns his investments and business activities, including the purchase of land, his interest in a blacksmith shop in South Hadley, and his involvement with a lead mine in Hatfield, Massachusetts. The primary focus of the land agreements and deeds document his frequent property investments in South Hadley, Massachusetts as well as several purchases in Maine, New York, and Virginia. The majority of the financial records reflect his business activities in the early nineteenth century, particularly regarding the purchase and sale of goods for his apothecary shop. Shipping correspondence provides information related to the prices and quantities of goods and statements provide an inventory of goods as well as the names of the captains, the sailing vessels, and the ports. This collection also includes recipes for whiskey and dying wool, as well notes from an algebra class, possibly from his time at Dartmouth or perhaps from one of his children.


  • 1770-1850 (bulk 1790-1825)

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical Note

Elihu Dwight was born on October 22, 1763 in Belchertown, Massachusetts to Justus Dwight and Sarah Lamb Dwight. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1790, he studied medicine with Dr. Ebenezer Hunt in Northampton, Massachusetts. Dwight became one of the first physicians to establish a medical practice in South Hadley, Massachusetts. On October 7, 1801, he married Lydia White of Springfield, Massachusetts. They had four daughters and four sons together. He became a successful businessperson and acquired a good deal of property in the local area. He also made a substantial donation towards the establishment of the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. At ninety, he died in his South Hadley home on June 1, 1854.


1.88 Linear Feet (4 full Hollinger and 1 half Hollinger boxes)

Language of Materials



Dwight, Elihu, 1763-1854. Dwight, a physician and entrepreneur, practiced in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Papers contain small pox information; land records; financial records; mining records, blacksmith shop records; notebooks; recipes; and algebra class notes. Records primarily document his business activities, including land investments and trading.

Elihu Dwight Papers, 1770-1850 (bulk 1790-1825)
Edited Full Draft
Finding aid prepared by Heather Wilkinson.
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Repository Details

Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository

50 College Street
8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA