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Rix Family Correspondence
mssHM 76000-76184  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Rix Family Correspondence
    Dates: c.1868-1903
    Collection Number: mssHM 76000-76184
    Creator: Rix family
    Extent: 187 items
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: Correspondence to Sarah Rix of Connecticut from various family members, including her brother Charles Allen Rix in Dunlap, Iowa. Charles' correspondence, as well as that of his nephew George Tracy Rix, describes life in Iowa from 1870-1903. Other letters in the collection trace family connections and events in Connecticut in the later part of the 19th century.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    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]. Rix Family Correspondence, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Purchased from Cowan's Auctions, Inc., on June 23, 2011.

    Biographical Note

    Sarah Rix (1817-1889) was born in Connecticut on August 30, 1817. She never married and spent many of her adult years living with her sisters and brothers-in-law. She died in 1889.
    Charles Allen Rix was born in Preston, Connecticut, on January 21, 1820. In 1859 he married Sarah Elizabeth Chapman (d. 1893) and the couple moved to Dunlap, Iowa. Charles Rix was one of the nine children of Thomas Tracy Rix (1774-1859) and Mary Jennings (1778-1876). Rix, his brother Thomas, and their sisters married extensively into the Chapman and Burdick families.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists almost entirely of letters sent to Sarah Rix by her family members, primarily her brother Charles and sisters Nancy, Phebe, and Eunice, as well as various nieces and nephews. Included are 61 letters sent by Charles Rix in Dunlap, Iowa, from 1870-1894. Charles describes his life in Iowa extensively, including notes on the landscape, his crops and success at farming, and his general happiness with living in the West. He describes in detail the prices of agriculture, livestock, and other living expenses over the course of the twenty years his letters cover, and notes that in general the “cost…for provision and clothing is low.” Charles also writes of family members, business affairs in Connecticut (he writes to Sarah about selling their “old home” for a low price, for which he blames their in-laws the Burdicks, noting “I have not much reason to Respect [them]”), of an 1883 cyclone, of an influx of immigrants from Illinois seeking to buy land, and of his worry over his wife Sarah’s many illnesses. A series of letters written by Charles’ nephew George Tracy Burdick to his sister Mary Adelaide Burdick from 1901-1903 also describe life in Iowa, where George worked in La Moille at the Kimball and Burdick General Store. George writes of a great increase in land speculation in Iowa in 1901, but also notes that “the great rush has been on the Dakotas and Minnesota.” An earlier letter describes his trip to Chicago in 1885.
    The remaining letters mainly consist of those written to Sarah Rix from her sisters and nieces in Connecticut. The majority of these cover news on family members and acquaintances, including weddings, births, deaths, marriages, and illnesses, particularly scarlet fever, pneumonia, and “deranged spells.” An unsigned letter chronicles the Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia (1876). Another letter by an unknown friend of Ella Burdick Burton written in 1887 relates details of religious fervor in Manchester, New Hampshire, which the friend writes is “unlike any ordinary place because there are so many Christians who have had deep religious experiences.” Also included in the collection are several cartes-de-visite and other ephemera.


    The correspondence is arranged chronologically in three boxes, followed by ephemera:
    • Box 1: Correspondence, 1868-1882
    • Box 2: Correspondence, 1883-1903
    • Box 3: Correspondence, photographs, and ephemera, undated

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Rix family--Correspondence.


    Centennial Exhibition (1876: Philadelphia, Pa.)
    Domestic relations--Connecticut.
    Frontier and pioneer life--Iowa.
    Land speculation--Iowa--History.
    Religious awakening--Christianity--History--19th century.

    Geographic Areas

    Chicago (Ill.)--Description and travel.
    Iowa--Description and travel.
    Iowa--History--19th century--Sources.


    Ephemera--United States--19th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--Connecticut--19th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--Iowa--19th century.