Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Hartsuff, Arthur (fl. 1870-1893) to wife

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also request a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05201.004 Author/Creator: Hartsuff, Arthur (fl. 1870-1893) Place Written: General MacKenzie's Headquarters, Colorado Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 19 June 1881 Pagination: 12 p. ; 24.9 x 19.5 cm.

Summary of Content: re: Hartsuff opens with the admonition that his wife and children should deprive themselves of nothing since he is deprived of almost every comfort in the field. He goes on to describe the High Sierra as "worse than anything you ever saw, barren sand hills, dirt and dust meet us on almost every side, and almost no vegetation and no trees to releive the monotony." Also gives a rough sketch of the tribes, their locations and the prospects of trouble in the upcoming relocation of the Uncompahgre Utes from "their old haunts to their new, from these sand hills, deep canyons, rugged mountains, indeed what seems to be a miserable country, to a worse one." The remainder of this portion of the letter is an account of the journey, by rail and by coach, from Kansas City to the terminus of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad at Marshall Pass ("like the terminus of all railways. . . a sink of iniquity") and then onward to Gunnison by open coach. Of particular interest is Hartsuff's account of a train trip up through the Grand Canyon. 6/26, Hartsuff, realizing that his letter has gone on too long, cuts off the travelogue and closes his letter to his wife adding a note thanking Florence for her "long well written letter" and encouraging her to continue her careful studies.

Background Information:

People: Hartsuff, Arthur

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: American WestMilitary HistoryHealth and MedicalSoldier's LetterWestward ExpansionAmerican Indian HistoryChildren and FamilyGeography and Natural HistoryTravelTransportationRailroadWomen's EducationWomen's HistoryEducation

Sub Era: Reconstruction

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources