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Preliminary Guide to the William H. Hartwell Papers
Wyles Mss 37  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: William H. Hartwell Papers,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1865-1963
    Collection Number: Wyles Mss 37
    Creator: Hartwell (William H.)
    Extent: .2 linear feet (1 half-size document box)
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
    Physical Location: Del Sur
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions


    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    William H. Hartwell Papers. Wyles Mss 37. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mrs. F. W. Nordhoff, 1963.


    William Herman Hartwell was born in Keene, New Hampshire on August 28, 1844. He was the seventh of eight children, though only four would live past early childhood. His parents had both died by the time he graduated from school in 1862, when he decided to enlist in the Union Army to fight in the Civil War. He was mustered into Company I of the 9th Regiment of the New Hampshire Infantry on August 15, 1862. He fought in numerous battles, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Cemetery Hill, rising through the ranks to sergeant by the spring of 1863. He was captured by Confederate forces on September 30, 1864 and held as a prisoner-of-war for five months. With the conclusion of the war, he received an Honorable Discharge in June 1865.
    Rather than return to New Hampshire, Hartwell and his brother decided to head out west to make a new life for themselves. Although his brother was killed by Indians in Kansas only two years later, Hartwell eventually settled in Kirkwood, Illinois and started a family with his first wife, Lila Pence, whom he married in 1871. They had two sons, Albert and Robert. After working as a village clerk and tax collector, Hartwell took his family to Iowa in 1878. Three years later, however, his wife died. In 1890, he married again, to a widow named Mrs. Florence Ellis, née Chapin. She bore him two daughters, Marian and Ruth. By 1915, the family had moved to Santa Barbara, California, where William Hartwell died on May 23, 1924 at the age of 79.
    In 1939, Ruth Hartwell married Franklin W. Nordhoff, and she diligently collected and transcribed her father's writings and reminiscences of the Civil War, even submitting one of his accounts to the editors of American Heritage magazine. A widow for some forty years, she died in 1995.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection contains handwritten reminiscences of the Civil War, and the period following it, by William H. Hartwell, New Hampshire Infantry, 9th Regiment (Vol), Co. I. Also included is some commentary by his daughter, Ruth Hartwell Nordhoff, who donated the collection.