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Charles H. Cragin Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: circa 1975

Biographical History

Charles Hartwell Cragin (1817-1887) was an American physician and genealogist.

Born in Alsted, New Hampshire, he attended the Academy of Groton. He taught school in Richmond, Virginia (1837-1838) and Fitchburg, Massachusetts (1838-1840); during the latter period he also studied medicine, earning his M.D. in 1844. He practiced medicine in Washington, D.C. and Georgetown. Along with Alexander G. Abell, he established Sacramento Hospital at Sutter's Fort in 1849, the first hospital in what is today Sacramento, California. He later served four years as Police Commissioner of the District of Columbia and three years as Postmaster at Georgetown.

In his youth Cragin was romantically involved with Mary E. Thurston, who died in 1839 at age 18 of erysipelas. Several years later Cragin married his first wife, Mary Foxall McKenney (1845), who died in 1853. In 1857 Cragin married Henrietta Foxall McKenney (the two women are assumed to be sisters). In 1860 Cragin wrote and published a family history entitled The genealogy of the Cragin family, being the descendants of John Cragin, of Woburn, Massachusetts, from 1652 to 1858.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Charles H. Cragin Papers consists of correspondence and subject files.

Correspondence contains both incoming and outgoing items. Family correspondence is placed first, including Charles' father and siblings. There is considerable correspondence with Alexander G. Abell, author of a biography of President Tyler, and with a young woman named Mary E. Thurston, evidently an early love of Cragin's.

Subject files contains a few bills, two essays by Cragin, and two printed items.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged family first, then alphabetically by correspondent.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Additional Abell material is available in the Alexander G. Abell Correspondence.

Subject Headings


Abell, Alexander Gurdon, 1819-1890.
Cragin family.
Cragin, Charles H. (Charles Hartwell), 1817-1887.
Haven, Joseph, 1816-1874.
Tyler, John, 1790-1862.


Genealogists -- United States.
Physicians -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Bills of sale.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Charles H. Cragin Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents


Subject files