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Gillett Family Papers

Identifier: MA.00143

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of a scrapbook composed of chronologically jumbled newspaper clippings (circa 1867-1890); Edward Bates Gillett's undated journal and Lucy Douglass Fowler Gillett's herbarium; 12 notebooks, circa 1910-1924, containing notes taken by Frederick Huntington Gillett from Amherst classes in Latin, history, political science and religion, and one notebook serving as his commonplace book; two journals chronicling Robert Swift Gillett's 1915 and 1916 summer military training; and, photographs of Edward Bates Gillett, Lucy Douglass Fowler Gillett, Frederick Huntington Gillett, Arthur Lincoln Gillett and Robert Swift Gillett, singly and in groups.


  • Creation: 1848 - circa 1920


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to this collection for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from Gillett Family Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Edward Bates Gillett (1817-1890) graduated from Amherst in 1839 and from Harvard Law School in 1841. He was the District Attorney for Hamden and Berkshire counties from 1856 to 1871. Two famous cases he tried, the Starkweather libel suit and the prosecution of "the Northampton Bank Robbers," received state and nationwide attention and he was pressed to run for governor of Massachusetts but declined. He was badly injured in an 1877 carriage accident during the Northampton Bank robbery case and never fully recovered. He was awarded an honorary LL.D. from Amherst in 1885. Edward Bates Gillett was chosen by Sophia Smith as one of the first Trustees as well as the Vice-President (1871-1890) of Smith College He also served as a trustee of Amherst College and the Hartford Theological Seminary. He married Lucy D. Fowler in 1848 and was survived by three children: Frederick, Arthur, and Lucy Douglass Gillett.

Lucy Douglass Fowler Gillett (1830-?), mother of Frederick Huntington Gillett and Arthur Lincoln Gillett, married Edward Bates Gillett on November 1, 1848.

Frederick Huntington Gillett (1851-1935), son of Edward Gillett (AC 1839) was a member of the Amherst College Class of 1874. He received an M.A. from Amherst College in 1877 and an LL.B. from Harvard University in the same year. He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1877, practiced law in Springfield Mass., 1877-1893, and served as assistant Attorney General of Massachusetts, 1879-1882. He was a member of the Massachusetts Legislature, 1890-1891; a U.S. Congressman, 1893-1925 (Speaker of the House, 1919-1925); and a U.S. Senator, 1925-1931.

Arthur Lincoln Gillett (1859-1938), son of Edward Bates Gillett (AC 1839), graduated with a B.A. from Amherst in 1880. He returned to Amherst after four years of study at the Hartford Seminary to receive his M.A. in 1884 and his D.D. in 1901. He was an eminent theologian who spent many years as the chair of the department of religion and philosophy at the Hartford Theological Seminary. Arthur Lincoln Gillett was a trustee of Amherst and Smith Colleges.

Robert Swift Gillett (1895-1918), son of Arthur Gillett, graduated from Amherst in 1916 and enrolled in Harvard Law School. When the United States entered the war, he enlisted. He was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant at Plattsburg, N.Y. Subsequently, he made 1st Lieutenant and was assigned to aviation services. During an observation trip to Kingsville, Texas, he was killed in a plane accident on September 17, 1918.


1.5 Linear feet (2 archives boxes; 2 flat boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection contains a scrapbook, journal, herbarium, photographs and college notebooks of various members of the Gillett family. Many members of family attended Amherst College: Edward Bates Gillett (AC 1839), Frederick Huntington Gillett (AC 1874), Arthur Lincoln Gillett (AC 1880), and Robert Swift Gillett (AC 1916). The herbarium is believed to have been kept by Lucy Douglass Fowler Gillett.


This collection is organized into seven series:

  1. Series 1: Scrapbook, circa 1867-1890
  2. Series 2: Edward Bates Gillett Journal, undated
  3. Series 3: Lucy Douglass Fowler Gillett Herbarium,1848
  4. Series 4: Frederick Huntington Gillett Amherst Notebooks, 1870-1874
  5. Series 5: Frederick Huntington Gillett Commonplace Book, circa 1910-1924
  6. Series 6: Robert Swift Gillett Journals, summer 1915 and summer 1916
  7. Series 7: Photographs, 1862-circa 1928
Finding aid prepared by David Schaich (AC 2006), Student Encoding Assistant; John Emil Vincent, Intern, Simmons College GSLIS.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299