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Henry Ellsworth Wood Papers
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection spans several generations of the Wood family, focusing on the personal life and business activities of Henry Ellsworth Wood. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, including some 300 pieces from Henry Ellsworth Wood to his wife, Belle Matteson McGinnis Wood.
Background
Henry Ellsworth Wood was born in 1855 in Joliet, Illinois, the son of William Cowper Wood and Hannah Tucker Lawrence. The Woods hailed from a prominent Connecticut family which included Oliver Ellsworth, the third Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In 1868, William accompanied Major John Wesley Powell’s expedition to explore the headwaters of the Colorado River, hoping a trip to the West might improve his health. Thirteen-year old Henry joined his father for much of the journey. Having entered Yale University with the class of 1876, Henry left after two years of study in mineralogy for a job with the Edgar Thompson Steel Works in Braddocks, Pennsylvania. In 1876, Henry Ellsworth Wood returned to Colorado where he began work in the Boulder County mines as a miner, ore assorter and assayer. He arrived in Leadville, Colorado in 1878, partnering with Maurice Hayes before establishing his own assay office and laboratory. Life in Leadville proved difficult for his family and in 1889 Henry moved the business to Denver. In 1898, he expanded his professional activities with the formation of the Henry E. Wood Ore Testing Works. He patented the Wood Ore Flotation process in 1909 and in 1912 turned his attention toward the concentration of Molybdenite. During the First World War, Henry shipped the product to England, France and the United States from the largest Molybdenite mine in Canada. His finances suffered following the war and eventually Henry joined his sons in their general oil business. Henry Ellsworth Wood married Belle Matteson McGinnis on November 1, 1880 in New York City. The Woods established a residence in Colorado, though each traveled extensively. Belle, granddaughter of former Illinois governor Joel Aldrich Matteson, possessed her own Colorado ties. Her aunt, Mary Jane Matteson, married mining and real estate broker Roswell Eaton Goodell and the pair became prominent Leadville residents. The Goodells had five daughters with whom both Henry and Belle were close. In 1881, Mary Matteson Goodell married mining engineer James Benton Grant, operator of the Grant Smelter at Leadville and later first Democratic governor of Colorado. The Woods had three children: Katharine Earle Wood, Oliver Ellsworth Wood, and Lawrence Matteson Wood. The death of their daughter Katharine shortly after the birth of her daughter Katharine Wood Manice in 1902, involved the Woods in a protracted dispute with her widower, Arthur R. Manice, regarding both the upbringing of their granddaughter and various financial entanglements. The Woods celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1930. Having fallen on hard times financially, Henry Ellsworth Wood died in Sacramento, California in 1932.
Extent
726 items
Restrictions
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.
Availability
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to following web site.