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Littell family papers

Identifier: MSS 0449

Scope and Contents

The Littell family papers include correspondence, letters, scrapbooks, commonplace books, copybooks, published material, ephemera, realia, financial records, diaries, books, artwork, photographs, greeting cards, postcards, clippings, and research notes created or collected by members of the Morris, Harrington, Littell, and Winslow families of Pennsylvania and Delaware from circa 1808 to 2004. The papers were a gift of Jeanie L. and Julian D. Winslow, with an additional group of letters from Samuel M. Harrington. Jeanie Morse Littell Winslow’s great-grandfather, John Stockton Littell (I - 1806-1875), married into the Morris family of Germantown, Pennsylvania, and her paternal grandmother, Helen Arcadia Littell, was a member of the Harrington family of Dover, Delaware. The bulk of the collection comes from Morris, Harrington, and Littell family members from about 1830 to 1930.

The collection is strong in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century social and cultural history. It contains a variety of personal correspondence from male and female family members who were active in literary and scientific pursuits, politics, law, the ministry, and the military. It also contains significant examples of nineteenth- and twentieth-century copybooks, commonplace books, and diaries; early-nineteenth century literary publications; scientific manuscripts, illustrations, and published articles by two nineteenth-century female scientists; and materials on Episcopal Church history in the United States and China. The collection is a strong source of information on family history and genealogy for the Delaware Valley area, revealed through letters, clippings, family photographs, genealogical notes, and a unique lithographed family tree.

The collection is organized around generations of family groups into eight series. Series I. through III. contain the papers of the Morris, Harrington, and John Stockton Littell (I) families, respectively, and document how the families became interrelated. Series IV., V., and VI. contain the papers of several more generations of Littells, and of the Winslow family. Photographs and postcards have been left separate in Series VII. Series VIII. contains books and Series IX. includes realia.

Genealogical notes and clippings are scattered throughout the collection. Many family members seem to have been aware of their family history and of the importance of preserving historical materials for the next generation. For example, in 1839, Ann Willing Morris prepared a copybook as a Christmas present for her daughter, Susan Littell. She included biographical information about her ancestors and copied poems written by her grandmother, Anne Shippen Willing (see F6). Researchers of Delaware Valley family history will find genealogical notebooks on the Shippen, Morris, Littell, and Harrington families, as well as the Townsend, Morse, and Wilson families from New York State. The collection includes an extraordinary, oversized Morris Family Tree, lithographed on linen, which charts several hundred years of family genealogy (see F1 in oversize materials - mapcase). The Reverend John Stockton Littell (II) kept notebooks on family genealogy (see F91). In the 1970s, his son, Walter Wilson Littell, reincarnated Littell’s Living Age (see Biographical Note for Eliakim Littell, above) – the original had ceased publication in the 1940s – as a family heritage and genealogical resource (see F34).

Series I., Morris family papers, primarily comprises copybooks, manuscripts, and published articles written by Margaretta Hare Morris and her sister, Elizabeth Carrington Morris, nineteenth-century scientists. The Morris sisters worked in the back garden of their home, now known as the Morris-Littell House, in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Commonplace books in Series I contain botanical drawings by Margaretta and Elizabeth, as well as specimens of plants that Elizabeth collected. Elizabeth Carrington Morris filled an album, titled “Contributions to the American Agriculturist” (see F18), with copies of articles signed “E.S.” The collection contains Botany for Young People and Common Schools, by noted botanist Dr. Asa Gray, inscribed to “Miss Morris with the Author’s best regards.”

Margaretta H. Morris was one of only a few female members of the Philadelphia Academy of the Natural Sciences. Series I contains some of her notes in manuscript and fragments of the Academy’s publication, Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, dating from 1847, which mention her name and work on the seventeen-year cicada. The American Agriculturist listed “M. H. Morris” in its “Index to Correspondents and Illustrations” for 1847 and printed articles under that byline. [American Agriculturist (New York: Harper & Bros.), Vol. VI, March, 1847.]

Series I includes three letters written to Elizabeth C. Morris by Mary Roberdeau, who may have been the daughter of Isaac Roberdeau, the assistant designer of the city of Washington, D. C.. Mary was staying at the White House during the administration of President John Quincy Adams. Stamped “free,” and franked with Adams’ signature, these letters offer a young woman’s eyewitness account of the daily habits of the Adams family and of Washington social life in 1827-1828. The Morris sisters also corresponded with the social reformer and Civil War nurse Dorothea Dix, two of whose letters are in this collection (see Series I, F8, and Series III, F38).

The Morris family papers include two cross-stitch samplers, one with “S. Morris, 6” across the top; several early-nineteenth-century copies of the Book of Common Prayer; a leather-bound volume, titled Letters from the Countess de Sancerre, published in 1767 and signed “Luke Morris, Junr., 1785”; and a wooden cross given to Margaretta H. Morris by the reformer Dorothea Dix. Most of these items are described in Series IX, Realia.

The Morris family materials apparently came into the Littell family through Elizabeth and Margaretta’s younger sister, Susan Sophia, who married John Stockton Littell in 1832. Copybooks and commonplace books often reflect usage by multiple family members over several generations. For example, Elizabeth C. Morris’ album, titled “Offerings of Friendship,” (see F12), which was created between 1826 and 1864, was inscribed by T. Gardiner Littell in 1876. Many of the books contain popular poems, song lyrics, and original verse by various members of the Morris and Littell families.

Series II contains papers of the Harringtons, a prominent nineteenth-century Delaware family for whom the town of Harrington, Delaware, is named. The bulk of Series II contains correspondence, dated from 1862 to 1878, between Purnell Frederick (Fred) Harrington, who attended the United States Naval Academy and subsequently made a career of naval service, and various members of his family. These letters, arranged chronologically and preserved in binders by members of the Harrington and Littell families, include descriptions of training at the U. S. Naval Academy; navy life; the progress of the Civil War in Delaware and elsewhere; and the business and political activities of Fred’s brothers, Richard and Samuel Milby Harrington. Fred fought on board the U.S.S. Monongahela in the Battle of Mobile Bay under Admiral Farragut in August, 1864. One of his letters to his brother, Samuel Milby Harrington, dated July 17, 1864, contains a diagram of the battle plan (see F21). Also included are courtship and love letters saved by Fred’s wife, Maria (Mia) Ruán.

Fred’s father, Samuel Maxwell Harrington, who was Chancellor of Delaware in the late 1850s, is also well represented in this collection of letters. Personal correspondence with his wife, Mary Lofland, daughters Mary E. and Lydia Harrington, and sister, Mary Raybold, detail school and marriage arrangements, and reveal attitudes about social unrest and the political situation both before and during the Civil War. One letter is on Delaware Railroad stationery. Although most of his letters are personal, he kept some copies of business correspondence. One important item other than correspondence in Series II is a silver goblet presented by Delaware College to Samuel Milby Harrington in 1856 as an award for the “Best Essay on Our Nation’s Greatness.”

Series III contains papers of John Stockton Littell (I), his wife, Susan Morris Littell, and their children (except T. Gardiner Littell (I), whose family papers form a separate series, Series IV). Susan Littell’s scrapbooks contain correspondence and original scientific drawings by her sisters, Elizabeth and Margaretta Morris. John Stockton Littell (I) contributed original poems and song lyrics. Some of these may have appeared in The Clay Minstrel, a collection of Whig songs dedicated to Henry Clay, which John Stockton Littell (I) edited. Two copies of that book, one a first edition inscribed to Susan S. M. Littell, are included in the collection.

Also in Series III is a letter to Susan Littell from Dorothea Dix, dated 1867, containing a scrap of ribbon in the form of a tiny American flag. A scrapbook belonging to Harriet Hare Littell includes autographs of José Vargas, president of Venezuela in 1835-1836, and the author Washington Irving. Finally, Series III contains items published by E. (Eliakim) Littell, John’s older brother, including Literary Portfolio, the Philadelphia Mail, both from 1830, and Littell’s Living Age, dated 1879-1881.

Series IV, the Reverend T. Gardiner Littell (I) family papers, reveals the beginning of the Littell family’s active involvement in the Episcopal ministry. Littell men over several generations became leading Episcopal ministers, and Littell women were also active in the church. T. Gardiner Littell (I), Susan and John S. Littell’s (I) younger son, was the first of this branch of the Littell family to be ordained, but Susan apparently was quite committed to the faith, as a letter to her other son, Charles Willing Littell, indicates. In it (see F 38), she explains why she feels he should complete his education at Episcopal Burlington College, and not at “sectarian” Yale.

Series IV contains several scrapbooks and old account books that Gardiner Littell (I) recycled as scrapbooks for religious clippings. His correspondence includes letters from A. Felix du Pont at St. John’s Church in Wilmington, Delaware. Other items of interest in Series IV include record books of investments made by Gardiner Littell (I) for his family and for church work. He apparently held mortgages and made loans as a way of investing money left to him by his sister, Harriet Hare Littell. These financial records contain examples of early-twentieth-century stock certificates; receipts from businesses in the Wilmington, Delaware, area; and real estate information for properties in Wilmington. In 1885, Delaware College awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity to Gardiner Littell (I). The original certificate of this degree is included in the collection along with materials on the fiftieth commencement exercises of the college.

Several of Gardiner and Helen Littell’s children became active in church ministry. Their second son, the Reverend Samuel Harrington Littell (“Harrington”), worked as a Chinese missionary during the early twentieth century, eventually becoming Bishop of Hawaii. Series IV contains clippings and letters describing missionary life in China, written by and about Harrington. When Harrington’s first wife died, his sister, Helen Arcadia Littell, traveled to China to help Harrington with his children. Her letters from China to her sister, Mary, describe her impressions of Chinese life and culture in the early twentieth century. Clippings about Harrington’s descendants reveal the continuity of their church involvement.

The papers of the eldest son of Gardiner and Helen Littell, the Reverend John Stockton Littell (II), comprise Series V. The collection contains several of his fifteen published books, one complete manuscript of 500 Questions and Answers on Religion, and numerous published sermons and articles. An autograph book and samples of his student work survive from his days at the Rugby Academy in Wilmington, Delaware, in the late 1880s. Correspondence between him and Gertrude Wilson (1877-1919), of Buffalo, whom he married in 1900, chronicle their ultimately successful efforts to overcome her family’s resistance to their marriage, revealing elements of turn-of-the-century social tensions. A caption written by a family member on Gertrude’s wedding photograph indicates that her gown has been preserved at a Buffalo museum. Social invitations, calling cards, clippings, and an elaborate commemorative book from the wedding illuminate the family’s social status. Genealogical information on the Wilson family and their ancestors is included, as well as a letter circa 1870 to “Jennie [Jeanie] Morse.”

Gertrude Wilson and John Stockton Littell (II) had six children. Some of their letters and artwork are preserved, as well as photographs depicting family activities. Their eldest daughter, Margaret Littell (1903-1990), became a concert pianist who taught at the Wilmington [Delaware] Music School. Series V includes some of her letters, recital programs, reviews, and news clippings.

Series V.1 contains diaries and papers belonging to John Stockton (II) and Gertrude Littell’s eldest son, T. Gardiner Littell (II - 1902-1929). An avid diarist, Gardiner Littell (II) wrote almost daily from the age of thirteen until his premature death at the age of twenty-six. His twenty-three volumes of diaries, covering the years 1915 through 1929, present the world through the eyes of a young man whose wide-ranging concerns included religion, philosophy, nature, history, and international politics. The diarist was very concerned from a young age with the world situation, frequently commenting on World War I, the League of Nations, labor struggles, injustice, Bolshevism, and other subjects of international interest. He was also preoccupied with his own growth and development and the contribution he sought to make in the world. He recorded funny anecdotes, such as what happened when someone spilled popcorn in the pancake batter (see Vol. XX, p. 47, F136). Early diaries (see F116 through F121) reveal family life, religious involvement, and student life at the Kent School in New Milford, Connecticut. Later diaries reflect the maturing boy’s intellectual and spiritual growth, which he expressed in music and art criticism, in his deepening understanding of international political economy, and in his increasingly sophisticated writing style. With Volume IX, Gardiner appears to have made a distinction between a “journal” for personal reflection and a “notebook,” which records activities and studies during an overlapping time period. (See Vol. IX, F126 and Vol. X, F127.) In 1927, Gardiner and his younger brother Walter drove across the United States, a trip described in Volumes XIX and XX, and documented in a clipping from the Hartford Times (F135). Also included are papers from his student days at Harvard, and a letter of condolence from Arthur M. Schlesinger, Harvard professor of history, dated 1929, to John Stockton Littell (II), mourning the loss of a bright young mind in the early death of Gardiner Littell (II).

Walter Wilson Littell (1910-1995), the Littell’s second son, preserved much of the family genealogical information and kept his own research notes. These have been kept separately, in the order received, in Subseries V.2, along with copies of Littell’s Living Age, Section 2, the genealogy publication of the organization Walter founded, Littell Families of America.

Series VI, Winslow family papers, contains two subseries. Series VI.1 contains papers belonging to Jeanie Morse Littell Winslow, including a scrapbook and photographs from her European trip in the 1930s; invitations, cards, programs; clippings about the couple’s children, one of whom, Dallas Winslow, served as a state representative in Delaware. Also included are drafts toward Jeanie Winslow’s book of poetry, Finding Poetry in Every Day Life (2002).

Series VI.2 is composed of research notes on Delaware history compiled over a period of years by Julian D. Winslow, toward several books, including Samuel Maxwell Harrington: a Pioneer Judge (Vantage, 1994) and Sussex Awakens to the Toot (Julian D. Winslow, 1999). The series also includes a small group of personal papers, with correspondence, a passport, and his work on the family genealogical records. The remaining subseries are family papers related to Julian and Jeanie Winslow’s children, Dallas, Mary, and Helen.

Series VII contains a collection of postcards, mostly unwritten, from Winslow family trips. Most depict vacation and historic sites within the United States, including a number of Delaware attractions. There are also some postcards from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. These have been arranged by locality in two boxes. A third box of postcards were collected by Margaret Littell and include a numbered series of images from a European tour, images of works of art, images of Keene, New Hampshire (including photograph post cards), as well as a few postcards sent by Mary Morris Littell and cards sent to sisters, Margaret and Mary Littell.

Series VII also contains family photographs from circa 1850-1975. They have been arranged according to family groupings similar to the arrangement of the papers. Members of the John Stockton Littell (I) family were photographed by Cummings in Wilmington, Broadbent in Philadelphia, and by D. Hinkle of Germantown. A portrait of Susan Sophia Morris Littell, taken by Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown, of Philadelphia, is preserved in a carved and painted veneer wooden frame labeled “Thornton’s Picture Frame and Looking Glass Depot,” Philadelphia. An outdoor Harrington family photograph depicts a man in uniform, possibly P. F. Harrington, and clothing characteristic of the early 1860s. Another is captioned, “P. F. Harrington at the World War Monument, 1935.”

Photographs of the T. Gardiner Littell (I) family include professional portraits by J. Paul Brown of Wilmington, Delaware, circa 1860, and a rare portrait of a family nanny, by Bucher, of Wilmington, Delaware, circa 1880. Mementos from the family trip to Europe in 1894 include two pictures of dogs. One is a portrait, labeled “Jock,” taken by W. Forshaw of Oxford, England. The other is a Swiss postcard photograph depicting St. Bernards. Snapshots depict automobile trips and hiking, leisure activities that were central to the family during coming generations. Samuel Harrington Littell, who became Bishop of Hawaii, is shown in an 1889 photograph of the graduating class of the George Fox Martin School in West Philadelphia. Also included are photographs of his family and their residence in Hawaii, circa 1930.

The John Stockton (II) family photographs include some portraits of the ancestors of Gertrude Wilson Littell, John’s first wife. These include members of the Morse and Wilson families. Researchers of turn-of-the-century formal clothing may be interested in two photographs of Gertrude Wilson, one depicting her debutante dress, and the other of her elaborate wedding dress. The bulk of these photographs are snapshots depicting the family in leisure activities. There are photographic postcards with scenes of the Delaware resort towns, Rehoboth Beach, and Lewes, in the 1930s. Margaret Littell, Wilmington pianist and music instructor, is pictured at the piano in two photographs.

Series VIII consists of twenty-eight nineteenth and twentieth century books, most of which belonged to members of the Littell, with a few originally belonging to Morris family members. For a complete list of the books see the detailed contents list below.

Realia, found in Series IX, comprises over one hundred items originally belonging to the Morris, Morse, Littell, Harrington, and Winslow families. Subseries IX.A. through IX.E. lists the pieces of realia which have been identified as originally belonging to particular families. Items not identified as belonging to a particular branch of the family are listed in item number order in Subseries IX.F. Detailed descriptions of each item are provided in the contents list below.

The items of realia consist of a variety of family heirlooms, including artifacts of historical interest, such as a pendant fashioned from a piece of the first transatlantic cable, bullets fired during the revolutionary war, wainscoting from the house of William Penn, wood from the coffin of George Washington, a small beaded cross from Dorothea Dix, paper currency from the Revolutionary and Civil War time periods, and grains of barley from Pompeii. The realia also encompasses items which reflect family interests, for example antique eyeglasses, carved ivory, calling card cases, Chinese embroidered slippers, playing cards, cross stitch on linen samplers, and antique children’s toys.


  • Creation: 1808-2005


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Note

The Littell family represented in this collection traces its ancestry to some of the early eighteenth-century European settlers in the greater Delaware River Valley of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Quaker Littells originally came to New Jersey from New England in the early 1700s. Through marriage, the Littell family united with descendants of the Shippen, Willing, and Morris families of Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware, and later with the Harrington family of Dover, Delaware. The following family history highlights individual members who appear in the Littell family papers. Names in bold indicate that personal papers are present for that individual.

“Eliakim Littell,” in Malone, Dumas, ed. Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. VI. New York: Scribner, 1961.Littell, John. Family Records or Genealogies of the First Settlers of Passaic Valley (and vicinity), above Chatham. Feltville, NJ: Stationers' Hall Press, 1852.“Thomas Willing,” retrieved March 18, 2002, and “Isaac Roberdeau,” retrieved April 9, 2002, from American National Biography Online, http://www.anb.orgWilson, James Grant, and John Fiske. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. III. New York: Appleton, 1888.Additional biographical information is derived from the collection.

The Three Morris Sisters of Germantown, Pennsylvania

Margaretta Hare Morris (1791-1867), Elizabeth Carrington Morris (1795-1865), and Susan Sophia Morris (1800-1868) were the daughters of Ann Willing Morris (1767-1853) and Luke Morris (1760-1802) of Germantown, Pennsylvania. Elizabeth and Margaretta achieved recognition as scientists during their lifetime. The sisters used the back garden of their Germantown home to study insects and plants. Elizabeth corresponded with Dr. Asa Gray, a noted botanist and member of the American Academy of Natural Sciences. She maintained a collection of rare plants, and may have contributed articles to the American Agriculturist. Margaretta is credited with discovering the seventeen-year-cicada. She was invited to become a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, which published the results of her work in their Proceedings. Her papers were read before the American Philosophical Society, and she published articles in the American Agriculturist under the name "M. H. Morris."

The Morris sisters had roots in the Delaware Valley that reached back to the colonial period. Their great-great-great-grandfather, Edward Shippen (1639-1712), was the first mayor of Philadelphia. Shippen’s granddaughter, Anne, married Charles Willing (1710-1754), a merchant, who also became a mayor of Philadelphia. Wilmington, Delaware, is said to be named for the Willing family. Robert Morris, the financier and originator of the first Bank of the United States, was an apprentice in Charles Willing’s firm. Morris later became a partner of Willing’s son, Thomas (1731-1821), in the firm of Willing, Morris, and Company. Thomas Willing, banker, businessman, and Revolutionary-era political leader, was the Morris sisters’ great-uncle.

Charles Willing (1738-1788), Thomas’ younger brother, married Elizabeth Hannah Carrington, of Barbados, in 1760. Their daughter, Ann Willing Morris (1767-1853), married Luke Morris (1760-1802), whose great-grandfather, Anthony Morris II (1654-1721), had been the mayor of Philadelphia in 1703-4. Ann Willing Morris and Luke Morris had four children who survived to adulthood, the three sisters mentioned above and Thomas Willing Morris, who married Caroline M. Calvert of Maryland. Widowed at age 35, Ann did not remarry. Susan Sophia Morris (1800-1868), Ann’s youngest daughter, married John Stockton Littell (1806-1875) in 1832. The three Morris sisters were part of a nineteenth-century social and cultural network of correspondents that included Dr. Asa Gray, the reformer Dorothea Dix, and Mary Roberdeau, who was a guest of President John Quincy Adams at the White House in 1827-1828.

The Littells

Captain Eliakim Littell (d. 1805) was an officer during the American Revolution. He was descended from Quakers who had come to New Jersey from New England during the seventeenth century. Stephen Littell (1772-1818), Eliakim’s third child, married Susan Gardiner (1777-1813) in 1796, and the couple had four children. Their daughter, Susan Elton, married into the Urmston family. Two of their sons went into publishing, while a third son, Squier Littell (1803-1886), became a physician.

Eliakim Littell (1797-1870), publisher, was the eldest son of Stephen and Susan Gardiner Littell. Eliakim and a partner by the name of Henry began publishing Philadelphia Register and National Recorder, a sixteen-page weekly, in 1819. This publication was known as the National Recorder from 1819-1821, and Saturday Magazine from 1821-1822. By 1822, it had grown from a 16-page to a 96-page weekly, Museum of Foreign Literature and Science. Robert Walsh edited it from 1822-1823. Littell experimented with adding illustrations in 1826. Littell's two brothers, Squier Littell (1803-1886), and John Stockton Littell (I - 1806-1875), helped him in the publishing business at various times. For example, “E. Littell & Brother” published Literary Port Folio: A Weekly Journal of Literature, Science, Art, and the Times. By 1829, E. Littell was publishing books and magazines under his name only, including Remember Me: A Religious and Literary Miscellany Intended as a Christmas and New Year's Present (1829), and Philadelphia Mail and Universal Literary and General Advertiser. In 1844, Littell sold Museum and started Littell’s Living Age, which continued in publication until 1897, when it became Living Age. Most of Littell’s publications, except for the Philadelphia Mail, which was mostly advertising, contained original work and reprints of European and American literature and nonfiction. Eliakim Littell is credited by the editor of the Dictionary of American Biography as having been instrumental in making European intellectual movements accessible to “every cultivated American home” during the early national period.

John Stockton Littell (I), was the youngest son of Stephen and Susan Gardiner Littell. Orphaned at a young age, John worked in publishing with his older brother, Eliakim Littell (1797-1870), and as a partner in a Baltimore bookstore. In 1832, he married Susan Sophia Morris. Later, he studied law, became active in politics, and served as president of the Pennsylvania State Convention of the Constitutional Union Party in 1860. He wrote The Clay Minstrel; or National Songster, to which is prefixed a sketch of the life, public services, and character of Henry Clay, a collection of political campaign songs published in 1842. In 1846, he edited a history of the American Revolution originally written by Alexander Graydon, titled Memoirs Of His Own Time, With Reminiscences Of The Men And Events Of The Revolution. John and Susan Morris Littell raised three children to adulthood in Germantown, Pennsylvania, where their youngest child, Margaretta Morris, died at the age of nine. Charles Willing Littell (1832-1895), John and Susan’s eldest son, studied law, and married Susan Lemmon.

Thomas Gardiner Littell (I - 1837-1911), youngest son of Susan Morris Littell and John Stockton Littell (I), was the first of many subsequent Littells to become an Episcopal priest. Ordained in 1859, he served at Christ Church in Dover, Delaware, from 1865-1866, and St. John’s Church in Wilmington from 1868 until 1894. He started a church in Keene, New Hampshire, where the family spent their summers. He worked for the New York City Mission for ten years while serving at St. John’s Church in Yonkers, New York, until 1909, when he retired. Harriet Hare Littell (1835-1885), his sister, made him the executor of her will, which specified that her money be used “for missions, poor churches, or for himself.” He invested this money in real estate and financial securities, records of which form the bulk of his papers in this collection. He was a member and chaplain of the Delaware Society Sons of the American Revolution.

The Harringtons of Delaware

In 1867, Thomas Gardiner Littell (I) married Helen Arcadia Harrington (1848-1924), who was the youngest daughter of prominent Delawareans Samuel Maxwell Harrington and Mary Lofland. Samuel Maxwell Harrington (1803-1865), Delaware lawyer, judge, and businessman, was the son of Richard Harrington (1772-1821), a Delaware sheriff. From 1832-1855, Samuel was Associate Justice of the Superior Court of Delaware, becoming Chief Justice in 1855, and Chancellor in 1857. In his capacity as Associate Justice, he also served as the first law reporter of Delaware, compiling three volumes of “Reports of the Supreme Court of Delaware,” from 1837-1844. With John M. Clayton, he was a founder of the Delaware Railroad Company and became its first president in 1852. Politically, he was a Whig, and Unionist during the Civil War. In 1836, he married Mary Lofland (1813-1871), who was the daughter of Dr. Purnell Lofland (1793-1852) and Arcadia Milby. The couple had nine children.

Samuel Milby Harrington (1840-1878), eldest son of Samuel Maxwell Harrington and Mary Lofland, graduated from Delaware College in the late 1860s, and practiced law in the firm of Harrington and Hoffecker in Wilmington, Delaware. His brother, Purnell Frederick Harrington (1844-1937), attended the U.S. Naval Academy, made a career of naval service, and rose to the rank of Rear Admiral. He served with Admiral Farragut during the Civil War in the Battle of Mobile Bay. He married Maria (Mia) Ruán, daughter of a prominent family of St. Croix, Virgin Islands. Richard Harrington (1847-1884), also a son of Samuel Maxwell Harrington and Mary Lofland, practiced law and became U.S. District Attorney in 1865.

Descendants of Thomas Gardiner Littell (I) and Helen Arcadia Harrington Littell

The Reverend T. Gardiner Littell (I) and Helen Arcadia Harrington had three sons, two of whom became Episcopal ministers and one a physician, and two daughters. The youngest son, Elton Gardiner Littell (II - 1879-1962), became a pediatrician, and was superintendent of health in the Yonkers, New York, public schools. The daughters, Helen Arcadia Littell (1880-1934) and Mary Morris Littell (1884-1984), were both active in the Women’s Auxiliary of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware. Helen was chairwoman of the Church Periodical Club and also raised money for Chinese mission work. Mary was a charter member of the Alliance Francaise (Wilmington, Delaware), the Historical Society of Delaware, and the Colonial Dames of America.

Samuel Harrington Littell (1873-1967) graduated from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, in 1895, and from General Theological Seminary in 1898. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1899 in Shanghai, China. He worked as an Episcopal missionary in China for the next thirty-one years, witnessing the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, the 1911 revolution that established the Chinese Republic, and the 1927 uprising in Wuchang and Hankow. In 1929, Harrington Littell was appointed Bishop of Honolulu, where he served during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity by Trinity College in 1937, Harrington retired from missionary work in 1942, and moved to New York City.

In 1902, Harrington Littell and Charlotte Moeller Mason married and had several children. Charlotte died in China in 1913. Needing help with the children, Harrington appealed to his sister, Helen Arcadia Littell (1880-1934), who traveled to China to help until, in 1915, Harrington married Evelyn Taber.

John Stockton Littell (II - 1870-1932), Episcopal priest, teacher, author, editor, and historian, was the eldest son of the Reverend Thomas Gardiner Littell (I) and Helen Arcadia Harrington. He attended Rugby Academy in Wilmington, Delaware, graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1890, and from the General Theological Seminary in New York, 1893. He also studied at Oxford. In 1912, the University of the South awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree for his major work on church history, The Historians and the English Reformation. He was the author of fifteen books and numerous published articles, sermons, and inspirational writings, including 500 Questions and Answers on Religion.

While serving the church in Buffalo, New York, he met and, in 1900, married Gertrude Wilson (1877-1919), daughter of Walter Townsend Wilson and Jeanie Morse. The couple had six children. From Buffalo, the family moved to Keene, New Hampshire, where John was minister at St. James Church from 1906-1918. In 1918, he accepted the position of pastor of St. James Church in West Hartford, Connecticut, where he served until 1929. Gertrude Wilson Littell died during the flu epidemic in the winter of 1918-1919. In 1923, John married Estelle Sherman (1889-1978). From 1929 until his death in 1932, he served the parishes of St. Peter’s, in Lewes, and All Saints’ Mission, in nearby Rehoboth, Delaware.

Descendants of John Stockton Littell and Gertrude Wilson Littell

Thomas Gardiner Littell (II - 1903-1929), historian, writer, traveler, was the eldest son of the Reverend John Stockton Littell (II) and Gertrude Wilson. A faithful daily diarist from the age of thirteen, Gardiner recorded details of everyday life in the Littell family. He also recorded his academic and intellectual endeavors, personal struggles, and his travels in Europe and the United States. He attended Kent School, in Connecticut, and Harvard, where he initially entertained thoughts of studying chemistry in order to bridge what he perceived as a gap between science and religious ministry. He eventually settled on history, which he studied with Arthur M. Schlesinger. He died suddenly, at age twenty-six, just before receiving his Ph.D. in history from Harvard.

Margaret Littell (1903-1990) graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music. She studied piano with James Friskin at the Juilliard School, and with the French pianist, Emile Baume. She also studied at the Tobias Matthay Music School in London. She was a frequent recitalist at the Wilmington Music School, where she was a faculty member for many years.

Walter Wilson Littell (1910-1995) attended the Choir School of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, and graduated from Yale in 1932. He spent several years teaching in Hawaii before earning a master’s degree in education from Harvard. After teaching mathematics and science for some years, he began working in the chemical industry. The family genealogist, Walter helped to organize the Littell Families of America, Inc., and edited the new Littell’s Living Age.

Jeanie Morse Littell Winslow, the youngest child of John Stockton and Gertrude Wilson Littell, attended the Hannah More Academy in Reisterstown, Maryland. Jeanie and Julian D. Winslow both graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1941, and married the following December. Julian Winslow became a Wilmington, Delaware, lawyer with an interest in local and family history. Julian and Jeanie Winslow have three children, Helen L. Winslow, J. Dallas Winslow, Jr., and Mary Peters Winslow Reddick.

Genealogical Charts

Much of the following information is derived from genealogical notes in the collection by John Stockton Littell (1870-1932), and his son, Walter Wilson Littell.

Individuals whose papers are in the collection are shown in bold.

Genealogical Chart 1: Morris Family Genealogy

  • Anthony Morris II (1654-1721) m. (1676) Mary Jones (d. 1688)
    • Anthony Morris III (1681/2-1763) m. (1704) Phoebe Guest (1685-1768)
      • Anthony Morris IV (1705-1780) m. (1752) Elizabeth Hudson (1721/2-1783)
        • Luke Morris (1760-1802) m. (1786) Ann Willing (1767-1853) (see Genealogical Chart 2)

Genealogical Chart 2: Shippen/Willing/Morris Family Genealogy

  • Edward Shippen (1639-1712)
  • Anne Shippen m. (1731) Charles Willing (1710-1754)
    • Thomas Willing (1731-1821)
    • Charles Willing (1738-1788) m. (1760) Elizabeth Hannah Carrington (1739/40-1795)
      • Ann Willing (1767-1853) m. (1786) Luke Morris (1760-1802)
        • Margaretta Hare Morris (1791-1867)
        • Thomas Willing Morris (1792-1852)
        • Elizabeth Carrington Morris (1795-1865)
        • Susan Sophia Morris (1800-1868) m. (1832) John Stockton Littell (1806-1875) (see Genealogical Chart 3)

Genealogical Chart 3: Descendants of Stephen Littell and Susan Gardiner

  • Stephen Littell (1772-1818) m. (1796) Susan Gardiner (1777-1813)**
    • Eliakim Littell (1797-1870)
    • Susan Elton Littell Urmston (1799-1837)
    • Squier Littell (1803-1886), physician
    • John Stockton Littell (1806-1875) m. (1832) Susan Sophia Morris (1800-1868) (see Genealogical Chart 2)
      • Charles Willing Littell (1832-1895) m. Susan Lemmon
      • Harriet Hare Littell (1835-1885)
      • Thomas Gardiner Littell (1837-1911) m. (1867) Helen Arcadia Harrington (1848-1924)
        • John Stockton Littell (1870-1932) m. Gertrude Wilson (d. 1919) (see Chart 5)
        • Samuel Harrington Littell (1873-1967) m. Charlotte Mason (d. 1913); m. Evelyn Tabor (d. 1969)
        • Elton Gardiner Littell (1877-1962) m. Anna Westcott
        • Helen Arcadia Littell (1880-1934)
        • Mary Morris Littell (1884-1984)
      • Margaretta Morris Littell (Meta) (1839-1848)

**Stephen Littell was the third child of Capt. Eliakim Littell, Revolutionary War officer who died in 1805; Susan Gardiner was the daughter of Thomas Gardiner [or Gardner] and Susan Elton.

Genealogical Chart 4: Harrington Family Genealogy

  • Richard Harrington (1772-1821)
    • Samuel Maxwell Harrington (1803-1865) m. (1836) Mary Lofland (1813-1871)*
      • Mary Elizabeth Harrington (1837-1928)
      • Annie Lofland Harrington, 1838-1839
      • Samuel Milby Harrington (1840-1878)
      • Lydia Burton Harrington (1842-1927)
      • Purnell Frederick Harrington (1844-1937) m. Maria (Mia) Ruán (d. 1926)
      • Richard Harrington (1847-1884)
      • Helen Arcadia Harrington (1848-1924) m. Thomas Gardiner Littell (see Genealogical Chart 3)
      • Augustus Reybold Harrington (1850-1919)
      • Austin Harrington (1852-1907)

* Mary Lofland was the daughter of Dr. Purnell Lofland (1793-1852) and Arcadia Milby

Genealogical Chart 5: Morse/Wilson/Littell/Winslow Genealogy

  • David Morse (1819-1908) m. Elizabeth Miller
    • Jeanie Morse (1851-1921) m. (1875) Walter Townsend Wilson (1847-1908)
      • Margaret Wilson (1881-1953)
      • Gertrude Wilson (1877-1919) m. (1900) John Stockton Littell (1870-1932) (see Genealogical Chart 3)*
        • Thomas Gardiner Littell (1902-1929)
        • Margaret Littell (1903-1990)
        • Gertrude (Gretchen) Littell (1905-2003)
        • Walter Wilson Littell (1910-1995)
        • Helen Littell (b. 1914)
        • Jeanie Morse Littell Winslow (b. 1918) m. 194? Julian D. Winslow
          • Dallas Winslow
          • Mary Winslow
          • Helen Winslow

* John Stockton Littell m. (1923) Estelle Sherman (1889-1978)


14.3 linear foot (30 boxes)

13 oversize box

1 oversize folder


The Littell family papers include correspondence, letters, scrapbooks, commonplace books, copybooks, published material, ephemera, realia, financial records, diaries, books, artwork, photographs, greeting cards, postcards, clippings, and research notes created or collected by members of the Morris, Harrington, Littell, and Winslow families of Pennsylvania and Delaware from circa 1808 to 2004.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Jeanie L. and Julian D. Winslow, 1998–2006 and Samuel Milby Harrington, 2000.

Shelving Summary

Boxes 1-9, 13, 17-18: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons

Boxes 10-12: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (17 inches)

Boxes 14-16: Shelved in SPEC MSS shoeboxes

Boxes 19-25: Shelved in SPEC VAULT MSS oversize boxes (17 inches)

Box 26: Shelved in SPEC VAULT MSS record center cartons

Box 27: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (15 inches)

Box 28: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (18 inches)

Box 29: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (32 inches)

Box 30: Shelved in SPEC VAULT MSS shoeboxes

F1: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize mapcases

Processing Information

Processed by Karen E. Ryder, 2002. Additions processed by Anita Wellner, 2006. Encoded by Lora J. Davis, January 2010 and Jaime Margalotti, July 2021.


Finding aid for Littell family papers
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2021 July 21
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA