University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Trafton collection of Sarah Orne Jewett materials, 1856-1990

Full finding aid (pdf)

Collection Scope and Content

The collection includes a large variety of research pertaining to the life of Sarah Orne Jewett. There is information on Jewett geneology, as well as The Old Berwick Historical Society and the Sarah Orne Jewett House restoration. There is an essay on Jewett by John Frost, as well as one by a Harvard student. The collection includes numerous transcriptions of letters and journal entries, many from the Houghton Library, as well as the Boston Public Library, Princeton, New York University, Allegheny College, and others. There is a copy of Sarah Wyman Whitman’s will, and copies of letters from Willa Cather to Mary Jewett.

Biographical/Historical Note

Burton Trafton, Jr. (1925-1990) was a researcher and school counselor from Jewett’s hometown of South Berwick, Maine. His father and mother were significant members of The Old Berwick Historical Society. He was the husband of Mervin Bronson. In 1949, for the centenial of Jewett’s birth, Trafton wrote a guest editorial on Jewett in the Boston Sunday Post. Also in 1949, Trafton edited a reissue of Jewett’s posthumous poetry collection, Verses, (American Weave Press, originally published in 1916) for which he wrote an introduction. He wrote his 1957 master’s thesis from the University of New Hampshire on Jewett materials he collected. Trafton maintained a long-time friendship and correspondence with MWWC founder and curator, Dorothy Healy, and when Trafton died in 1990, he donated a large quantity of Jewett materials to the MWWC, including all of Jewett’s private library, Jewett’s parlor couch, Jewett’s elementary school teacher’s (Miss Raynes) desk, and a stained glass, black metal “wreath” by Sarah Wyman Whitman. Trafton was a lifelong, passionate, and eloquent advocate for Jewett.