Charles P. S. Wardwell Papers: Finding Aid mssWardwell

Gayle Richardson
The Huntington Library
November 2020
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Business Number: (626) 405-2191

Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
Title: Charles P. S. Wardwell papers
Creator: Wardwell, Charles P. S.
Identifier/Call Number: mssWardwell
Physical Description: 6.25 Linear Feet (5 boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1840-1891
Date (bulk): 1850-1870
Abstract: A collection related to the life and career of American inventor Charles P. S. Wardwell.
Language of Material: Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Charles P. S. Wardwell papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Dawson's Book Shop, August 1982.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Pickney S. Wardwell (1824-1879) was a New Hampshire inventor. Wardwell was born in Oxford County, Maine, son of Joseph H. Wardwell and Lydia Wardwell; in the early 1850s he moved to Lake Village, New Hampshire. In 1854 to 1855, 1858, and 1862 to 1863, he patented various tenoning machines and circular sawing machines. During the Civil War, he worked at the Springfield Armory (Massachusetts). Wardwell was the founder of the C.P.S. Wardwell Company and in 1878, he was the owner of The Wardwell Needle Co. in Lake Village, New Hampshire. He died in Boston, Massachusetts in March 1879. Wardwell's elder brother George J. Wardwell had worked as a painter and tried his hand at farming before moving to Canada and taking a job at Page's Oar Factory at Coaticook, Quebec (1859). His other brother, Jarvis traveled to California and in 1852 was working at a mine in Deer Creek. He then returned to New England and in 1861 worked in Boston for James Boy and Sons on harness work for the government. In 1863, Joseph W. Wardwell worked at a mill in Oneida, New York, and in 1864, enlisted in 7th unassigned Company of Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, which was organized for the garrison of forts in Boston Harbor, and later attached as company C to the 3rd Massachusetts regiment of Heavy Artillery. After the war, in 1867, he worked at Springfield Armory. His brothers William H., Nathaniel, and Spafford H. Wardwell and his sister Sarah E. (Lizzie) Wardwell Farnum lived in Rumford, Maine.

Scope and Contents

A collection of 454 items from 1840 to 1891, which contains personal and professional correspondence of Charles P. S. Wardwell. Correspondents include his wife Marcia P. Wardwell, brothers, parents, and other family members, friends and business associates. The letters discuss family matters, including personal, social, religious, and professional lives of various family members. Subjects also include political news; everyday life, primarily in New England; as well as Wardwell's various inventions and patents. Included are letters describing Page's Oar Factory at Coaticook, Quebec (1859); emigration; working conditions; wages; and social life of miners in California during the Gold Rush; the Civil War; and Freedmen. Also included is a diary of William H. Wardwell covering November 1855 to December 1856 and letters addressed to Marcia P. Wardwell from her sisters.

Processing Information

Processed by Harriet McLoone, March 1983. In 2020, Gayle Richardson created the finding aid derived from a legacy summary report.


Arranged alphabetically.


Former call number: mssWardwell papers.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Freedmen -- United States
Inventors -- United States
Married women -- New England
Miners -- California
Patents -- United States
California -- Description and travel
Coaticook (Québec) -- Description and travel
Lake Village (N.H.)
New England -- Social life and customs -- 19th century
Rumford (Me.)
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
Business correspondence -- United States -- 19th century
Diaries -- New England -- 19th century
Family papers -- New England -- 19th century
Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 19th century
Personal papers -- New England -- 19th century
Professional papers -- New England -- 19th century
Farnum, Sarah E. Wardwell, -1858
Wardwell, Jarvis C.
Wardwell, Joseph W.
Wardwell, Marcia P.
Wardwell, Nathaniel
Wardwell, Spafford H.
Wardwell, William H.
Springfield Armory (U.S.) -- Officials and employees
United States. Army. Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Regiment, 3rd (1863-1865)

Box 1

Family correspondence: Lizzie Farnum - P. W. Wardwell

Box 2

Family correspondence: S. H. Wardwell - William H. Wardwell

Box 3

Correspondence: A-C

Box 4

Correspondence: D-P

Box 5

Correspondence: R-Z; ephemera