The Winterthur Library

 The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera





Creator:          Goodwin family                                   

Title:               Papers

Dates:             1889-1893

Call No.:         Col. 239          

Acc. No.:         92x116

Quantity:        about 360 items

Location:        15 K 1






The Goodwin family was among the earliest residents of Hartford, Conneticut.  By the end of the 19th century, they had become quite wealthy and claimed extensive real estate holdings.  Major James Goodwin began his career in the stage coach business.  With the onset of railroads, Goodwin shifted his focus to the insurance business.  He became president of Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Co., served on the boards of directors of a number of other firms, was a large stockholder in many more corporations, and was active in many local charities.  Goodwin married Lucy Morgan on July 30, 1832.  Although the couple had several children, only three survived to adulthood (James Junius, b. 1835, Rev. Francis, b. 1839, and Mary, b. 1846).  When James died suddenly in 1878, the administration of his real estate holdings was passed on to James Junius and Francis.


Both men are written up in 19th century biographical and historical volumes.  James J. served on many insurance company and banking boards, worked along side his cousin, J. Pierpont Morgan, and enjoyed membership in Hartford's civic and cultural organizations.  Francis was educated to become an Episcopal clergyman and served as rector of Trinity Episcopal Church from 1865 to 1871.  Although he resigned for health reasons, from the time of his father's death he spent a great deal of time administering the estate.  Francis served on the boards of Trinity College and the Wadsworth Athenaeum, among others.  Interested in building design, he fashioned himself as an amateur architect.  In the 1890s, he became a major promoter of parks and served as Hartford's street and park commissioner.


For the period covered by this collection, the Goodwin brothers were active in the construction of new buildings and additions to exiting buildings, both for private and commercial use.  T. A. (Theodore Alden) Curtis was the supervisor of each of the projects, providing evidence that this material may be from Curtis' office files.  Curtis is identified as a building designer, specializing in public buildings as well as houses.  From 1891 to 1903 he was a partner in the firm, Curtis & Johnson.


Buildings represented in this collection include: the residence of Rev. Francis Goodwin, Woodside (the Goodwin family home), the Wadsworth Athenaeum, Trinity Church, a house on Brook St., the Phalanx Putnam Armory, a commercial building on the east corner of Asylum and Haynes Sts. (the specifications indicate that it had insurance rooms and stores), and a building on the west corner of Haynes and Pearl Sts. (probably an addition to the Goodwin Bldg.)  The later three buildings were part of the Goodwin commercial block.


The original Wadsworth Athenaeum building was designed by Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis in 1844.  In 1891 and 1892, alterations and additions were made to the building as designed by J.C. Cady & Co., a New York architectural firm (Cady trained under A.J. Davis).  Francis Goodwin was President of the Board of the Athenaeum and oversaw much of the building activity.


In 1891 and 1892, Francis was also involved with the building of Trinity Episcopal Church's parish house and Chapel, called Goodwin Hall.  He and his wife, Mary Alsop Jackson, provided the funds in the memory of their daughter, Lucy Morgan Goodwin.  Although the specifications do not identify the architect, it was probably Frederick C. Withers.


The house at the southwest corner of Brook and Fairmont Sts. provides an example of dwellings constructed by the Goodwins.  In a history of Hartford, J.H. Trumball illustrates moderate priced cottages erected by the Goodwins on Albany St.  (His volume pre-dates the documents in this collection).  He also notes that their construction activities on the Queen Anne blocks on Asylum Street demonstrated the possibilities of molded brick, carving, and terra cotta.


The last three buildings represented in this collection were designed by architect George Keller.  After working for several architectural firms, Keller settled in Hartford after the Civil War.  He became Hartford's leading 19th century architect.  Construction of these buildings seems to have taken place at this time.  The contractors were the same and much of the steam piping for the buildings was interconnected.  Contractors were the Barrett Brothers for carpentry, C. B. Andrus for mason work, N.A. Bosworth for steam heating, and Robinson Lead Co. for plumbing and gas.





The collection, numbering about 360 items, includes specifications, contracts, reports on work in progress, measurements, and comments on construction details for the above mentioned buildings.


Highlights include: specifications for the carpentry and ironwork for the Wadsworth Athenaeum that detail what had to be done to the existing structure to effect successful renovation; requirements for skylights, ceiling lights, windows, glass, hardware, and speaking tubes for communication between different floors; notes about suppliers that had to be used; and a bill for extra carpentry work on the Brook St. house that offers a description of its architectural detail.


Many of the documents are still bundled in a sleeve that identifies the building to which they pertain.  Within the folders labeled Goodwin Building some of the items refer to a building on the corner of Haynes and Asylum Sts., while others name it the J.J. and F. Goodwin Building.  Whether these documents relate to an addition and renovation of the famed Goodwin Building or a distinct building next door is not entirely clear.  Indeed, it is possible that both activities are represented.


A box folder list with brief description of contents follows.  All of the monthly and final reports were prepared by T.A. Curtis for J.J. and/or F. Goodwin based on materials used and labor performed by contractors.





The collection has been organized by building. 





Purchased from Carmen Valentino.






            Goodwin, James Junius, 1835-1915.

            Goodwin, Francis, 1839-1923.

            Bissell, Hiram, 1818-1910.

            Curtis, T. A. (Theodore Alden), 1831-1914.

            Andrus, C. B. (Charles Bostwick), 1847-1936.

            Cady, J. Cleveland, 1837?-1919.

            Keller, George, 1842-1935.

            Robinson, Charles.

            Scoville, A. W. (Albert W.), 1851-1941.

            Bosworth, N. A.          




            J. C. Cady & Co.

            Longstaff & Hurd.

            Barrett Bros.

            Robinson Lead Co.

            R. T. Oakes & Co.

            Pitkin Bros. Iron Works Co.


            Architecture - Connecticut - Hartford.

            Building materials.

            Building trades.

            Construction contracts.

            Building - Details.

            Building - Superintendence.

            Buildings - Mechanical equipment - Specifications.

            Buildings - Environmental engineering.


            Commercial buildings.

            Construction industry - Management.

            Contracts for work and labor.

            Church architecture.

            Dwellings - Heating and ventilation.

            Dwellings - Maintenance and repair.

            Electric wiring, Interior.






            Lighting, Architectural and decorative.




            Public buildings - Heating and ventilation.



            Wages - Building trades.



            Bills (financial).














Location: 15 K 1



Box 1


Folder 1:          Residence of Rev. F. Goodwin:

Monthly reports of work done on account of changes and additions, A.W. Scoville, Contractor. June-July 1891.

                                    Bill for materials, 1891.


Folder 2:          Woodside (ca. 1893) (home of James J. Goodwin, also called “Goodwin Castle”:

                                    Plumbing specifications (2 copies)

                                    Monthly reports of mason work, Hiram Bissell, contractor.


Folder 3:          Wadsworth Athenaeum-Specifications:

                                    Specifications of iron work and materials

                                    Specifications of carpentry work

                                    Specifications of steam heating work

                                    Specifications of mason work


Folder 4:          Wadsworth Athenaeum-Monthly Reports:

Monthly reports of work done on Athenaeum for additions and alterations, June 1891 to Nov. 1892. Longstaff & Hurd, contractors.


Folder 5:          Trinity Church—Specs:

                                    Specifications for Foundation Walls

                                    Contract with Hiram Bissell to build walls

                                    Bills for labor and materials


Folder 6:          Trinity Church-Excavation and computations:

                                    Computations for excavation and stonework

                                    Estimates of brick work

                                    Quantity of work required


Folder 7:          Trinity Church-Mason work:

            Monthly reports on mason work, Hiram Bissell mason. April 1891-January 1893.

                                    Bissell’s estimates.

                                    Letter to Bissell from J.P. Falt & Co. regarding stone shipped.


Folder 8:          Trinity Church-Carpentry work:

                                    Monthly reports on carpentry work, Barrett Bros. 1891-1892.

                                    Annotated specifications for carpentry work.

Measurements and letter signed T.A. Curtis regarding completion of work and payment due the Barrett Bros.


Folder 9:          Trinity Church-Plumbing:


                                    Monthly report for plumbing, Robinson Lead Co., August 1, 1891


Folder 10:        Brook Street House (1892):

Monthly reports and final report of mason work, Charles B. Andrus, contractor.

                                    Bills for stone work and brick wall.

                                    Monthly reports for carpenter’s work, Barrett Bros.

                                    Monthly reports for plumbing and gas fitting, Thomas Oakes, contractor.


Folder 11:        Armory-Specs:

                                    Memorandum specifications for the proposed Putnam Phalanx Armory

                                    Specifications for steam heating

                                    Specifications for plumbing

                                    Specifications for carpentry

                                    Specifications for mason work

                                    Barrett Bros. proposition for swing door and chain nail in Phalanx restaurant



Folder 12:        Armory-Carpentry:

                                    Monthly and final reports of carpentry work, Barrett Bros.

                                    Bills for material and extra work

Correspondence from the Barrett Bros. regarding expenditures, progress, and original estimates



Folder 13:        Armory-Steaming heating:

                                    Monthly reports for heating, N.A. Bosworth

                                    Bills for heating and steam pipes, Bosworth

                                    Final report of plumbing and gas fitting work, Robinson Lead Co.

                                    Bid for heating, Pitkin Bros.


Folder 14:        Armory-Masonry:

                                    Monthly reports for mason work, C.B. Andrus

                                    Bills for extra mason work, C.B. Andrus

                                    Bid for mason work from Bissell & Biddle


Box 2


Folder 1:          Building on the East Corner of Asylum & Haynes-Specs/Contracts:

                                    Specifications for steam heat

                                    Specifications for plumbing

                                    Contract for carpentry with the Barrett Bros.

                                    Computations for excavation


Folder 2:          Building on the East Corner of Asylum & Haynes-Mason work:

                                    Monthly and final reports, C.B. Andrus


                                    Bills for extra work

                                    Bill for fitting brackets in insurance office

                                    Bid from Lincoln Co. for finishing beams for vault


Folder 3:          Building on the East Corner of Asylum & Haynes-Plumbing:


                                    Monthly reports, Robinson Lead Co.

            Billheads used by Robinson Lead Co. contain depictions of heaters, boilers, valves, etc.  The firm advertised itself as selling “artistic gas fixtures.”


Folder 4:          Building on the East Corner of Asylum & Haynes-Steam heating:

                                    Monthly reports, N.A. Bosworth

                                    Bills for extra work


Folder 5:          Building on the East Corner of Asylum & Haynes- Carpentry:

                                    Monthly and final reports, Barrett Brothers

                                    Bills for extra work


Folder 6:          Goodwin Building-Specs:

                                    Specifications for ironwork

                                    Specifications for low pressure steam engine apparatus

                                    Specifications for plumbing

                                    Specifications for steam heating

                                    Specifications for tinning roof

                                    Contract for carpentry work


Folder 7:          Computations:

                                    Computations for carpentry work


Folders 8-9      Goodwin Building-Carpentry work (two folders):

Bids and estimates for deafening floors, tin roofing, changes in elevator, and shutters

                                    Receipts and letters about project, addressed to T.A. Curtis

                                    Bills for material and labor

                                    Monthly and final reports of carpentry work, Barrett Bros.


Folder 10:        Goodwin Building-Mason work:          

                                    Monthly and final reports, C.B. Andrus


                                    Bills for extra work


Folder 11:        Goodwin Building-Electric light wiring:

                                    Monthly report of work and final estimate, R.T. Oakes & Co.


Folder 12:        Goodwin Building-Plumbing:

                                    Monthly reports, George Robinson

                                    Bills for extra work and materials

Amount due for extra work on contract and sewers, leaders, vents, and piping


Folder 13:        Goodwin Building-Ironwork:

                                    Bid of Lincoln & Co. for ironwork

                                    Monthly report, Lincoln & Co.

                                    Receipts and letters from Lincoln & Co. about iron materials

                                    Bids submitting prices for ironwork


Folder 14:        Goodwin Building-Steam heating:

                                    Monthly and final reports, N.A. Bosworth

                                    Letters with bids

Descriptions of complications encountered in the process of installing system


Folder 15:        Goodwin Building-Miscellaneous:

                                    Bill for Minton tile ordered by Curtis

                                    Bills from various vendors for building materials

                                    Bid from M. Cullen for piping

                                    Bid and bills from R.T. Oakes & Co. for electric wiring


Folder 16:        Miscellaneous:

                                    List of contractors

                                    List of plumbers

                                    Sketch of the building lines for Asylum and Pearl Sts.

                                    Sketch of building front and windows

                                    1918 Manual of the City of Hartford, Ct.