Edward W. Kinsley

2 boxes (0.67 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 101
rotating decorative images from SCUA collections

Edward Wilkinson Kinsley was an abolitionist and merchant from Massachusetts. Born in New Hampshire, his parents were also strong abolitionists. He and his family then moved to Springfield, Massaschusetts and he had moved himself to Boston by the time he was sixteen years old. There, he bacame a strong figure in helping African-American troops in the Civil War and he eventually raised the 1st Colored Regiment of North Carolina. Kinsley also served as a wool dealer in the firm of Horswell, Kinsley, and French of Boston.

Background on Edward W. Kinsley

Edward Wilkinson Kinsley was born on December 24, 1829 in Nashua, New Hampshire. Both of his parents were abolitionists and he followed in their footsteps. He and his family then moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, when he was two years old, and by the time he was sixteen, he had moved himself to Boston, Massachusetts. He became involved in politics and activism, spending most of his time fighting for equal pay for African-American troops in the Union Army. He worked closely with Massachusetts Governor John Andrew, also a prominent abolitionist. Kinsley helped raise the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the first African-American regiment of the Civil War, along with the 55th Massachsuetts Regiment. He also went on to raise the 35th Colored Regiment of U.S. troops, also known as the 1st North Carolina Colored Regiment. Kinsley served as a merchant and wood dealer at Horswell, Kinsley, and French while in Boston, as well as a state agent. He married Calista Adelaide Billings on April 16, 1856. Kinsley later died in 1891 at the age of 62.

Scope of collection

Included in this collection are Edward W. Kinsley's reminiscences, diary entries, correspondence, and miscellaneous items. His reminiscences vary in topic, but are centered around the lead-up to the Civil War and the war itself, including his interactions with Governor John Albion Andrew and the second election of President Lincoln. His diary entries include his experiences in the South, and his correspondence include people such as Massachusetts Governor John Andrew, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Charles Sumner. Included in the miscellaneous items are news clippings, a scrapbook from a post of the Grand Army of the Republic, and notes from his wife, Calista's, diary.

Series descriptions

Contains personal writings by Edward W. Kinsley, including excerpts from his diary and a large series of reminiscences dictated to his daughter.

Contains correspondence to and by Edward W. Kinsley. Includes correspondence with numerous Union Army officials along with other notable persons of the times such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Albion Andrew, and Charles Sumner.

Contains a variety of items, including diary excerpts from Kinsley's wife, Calista, a scrapbook from a Grand Army of the Republic Post named in Kinsley's honor, as well as news clippings and photographs related to both Kinsley and Mori Arinori, the first Japanese ambassador to the United States.


Series 1. Personal Writings
Diary: First Visit to the South
1863 May-Jun
Box 1: 34
Diary: Memoranda From Leaves of Diary
Box 1: 35
Diary: Second Visit to the South
1863 Dec-1864 Jan
Box 1: 36
Reminiscences: Table of Contents - I. Ordered to Newbern by Gov. Andrew
1870 Feb
Box 1: 42
Reminiscences: II. Raising the First North Carolina Colored Regiment
1870 Feb
Box 1: 43
Reminiscences: III. Wilder Dwight
1870 Feb
Box 1: 44
Reminiscences: IV. Ordered to Washington by Governor Andrew
1870 Feb
Box 1: 45
Reminiscences: V. Second Visit to the South and Emancipation Proclamation Celebration
1870 Feb
Box 1: 46
Reminiscences: VI. President Lincoln's Letter and the Steamboat
1870 Feb
Box 1: 47
Reminiscences: VII. A Little More About Ann Starkey
1870 Feb
Box 1: 48
Reminiscences: VIII. How Colonel Hutchings Freed a Slave
1870 Feb
Box 1: 49
Reminiscences: IX. General Tom Stevenson's Confirmation as Brigadier-General
1870 Feb
Box 1: 50
Reminiscences: X. The Second Election of Mr. Lincoln
1870 Feb
Box 1: 51
Reminiscences: XI. The Inauguration Ball
1870 Feb
Box 1: 52
Reminiscences: XII. Honey Hill
1870 Feb
Box 1: 53
Reminiscences: XIII. Colonel Blodgett
1870 Feb
Box 1: 54
Reminiscences: XIV. Hoop-Skirt
1870 Feb
Box 1: 55
Reminiscences: XV. The Story of Governor Andrew and the Poor Apple Woman
1870 Feb
Box 1: 56
Reminiscences: XVI. The Fall of Richmond
1870 Feb
Box 1: 57
Reminiscences: XVII. Andrew and Sumner
1870 Feb
Box 1: 58
Reminiscences: XVIII. Charles Goodyear
1870 Feb
Box 1: 59
Reminiscences: XIX. Sergeant Koster
1870 Feb
Box 1: 60
Reminiscences: XX. Arinori Mori
1870 Feb
Box 1: 61
Reminiscences: XXI. A Visit to John Bright
1870 Feb
Box 1: 62
Reminiscences: XXII. Christmas in London
1870 Feb
Box 1: 63
Reminiscences: XXIII. Springfield Speech
1870 Feb
Box 1: 64
Reminiscences: XXIV. A Trip to the West
1870 Feb
Box 1: 65
Reminiscences: XXV. How Bees Saved a Life
1870 Feb
Box 1: 66
Reminiscences: XXVI. John Creerer of Chicago
1870 Feb
Box 1: 67
Reminiscences: XXVII. Edward A. White
1870 Feb
Box 1: 68
Reminiscences: XXVIII. Ned's Christmas Money
1870 Feb
Box 1: 69
Series 2. Correspondence
Correspondence: Andrew, John Albion
1863 Dec-1866
Box 1: 1
Correspondence: Beecher, James C.
1863 Jun-1865 Oct
Box 1: 2
Correspondence: Blackmar, Wilson W.
1870 Jan
Box 1: 3
Correspondence: Bigelow, J.W. (John?)
1865 Feb
Box 1: 4
Correspondence: Child, Francis James
Box 1: 5
Correspondence: Codman, C. R.
1875 Sep
Box 1: 6
Correspondence: Dawes, Henry Laurens
1875 Sep
Box 1: 7
Correspondence: Endicott, William
Box 1: 8
Correspondence: Euouye, Y.
1875 Jan
Box 1: 9
Correspondence: Forbes, John Murray
1874 Mar-1875 Sep
Box 1: 10
Correspondence: Foster, John Gray
1863 Aug
Box 1: 11
Correspondence: Hara, N.
1874 Jun
Box 1: 12
Correspondence: Hargit, Mariah
1863 Jul
Box 1: 13
Correspondence: Hartwell, Alfred Stedman
1864 Jan-1865 Dec
Box 1: 14
Correspondence: Hongua, A.
1874 Nov
Box 1: 15
Correspondence: Howe, L. I.
1864 Mar
Box 1: 16
Correspondence: James, Helen
1864 Feb
Box 1: 17
Correspondence: Kinsman, J. B.
1864 Apr
Box 1: 18
Correspondence: Landy, Luke R.
1880 Jun
Box 1: 19
Correspondence: McKay, George F.
1864 Aug
Box 1: 20
Correspondence: McKim, William N.
1863 May
Box 1: 21
Correspondence: Meigs, Montgomery Cunningham
1863 May
Box 1: 22
Correspondence: Miles, Nelson A.
1868 Jun
Box 1: 23
Correspondence: Mitchell, Joseph
1865 Feb-1867 Sep
Box 1: 24
Correspondence: Seward, Charles
1875 Aug
Box 1: 25
Correspondence: Starkey, Mary Ann
1864 Oct-1866 Sep
Box 1: 26
Correspondence: Stowe, Harriet Beecher
1863 Sep, undated
Box 1: 27
Correspondence: Sullivan, John W.
1863 Dec
Box 1: 28
Correspondence: Sumner, Charles
1863 Apr-1876 Mar
Box 1: 29
Correspondence: Unidentified
1864 Jul-1870 Jul, undated
Box 1: 30
Correspondence: Wild, Edward Augustus
1863 Nov, undated
Box 1: 31
Correspondence: Wild, F. E.
1864 Apr-1865 May
Box 1: 32
Correspondence: Wild, Walter C.
1863 Jun
Box 1: 33
Series 3. Miscellaneous
Historical Journal of Massachusetts: "General Edward A. Wild and Civil War Discrimination"
1985 Jan
Box 1: 37
Kinsley, Calista A.: Notes From Diary
1862 Sep-1864 Jan
Box 1: 38
News Clippings: Kinsley, Edward W.
Box 1: 39
News Clippings: Mori, Arinori
Box 1: 40
Photographs: Mori, Arinori
1871-1873 Mar
Box 1: 41
Scrapbook: Grand Army of the Republic Edward W. Kinsley Post 113
1891 Jun
Box 2

Administrative information


The collection is open for research.


Gift of Elizabeth Goucher, great-grandaughter, November 1956.

Processing Information

Processed by Linda Seidman, November 1985.



Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: Edward W. Kinsley Papers (MS 101). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms


  • Kinsley, Edward W. (Edward Wilkinson), 1829-1891
  • Massachusetts
  • United States—History—Civil War, 1861-1865—African Americans


  • Kinsley, Edward W. (Edward Wilkinson), 1829-1891 [main entry]

Genres and formats

  • Correspondence
  • Diaries