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Stark family papers

Identifier: RG069_184

Scope and Content

The Stark Family Papers consists of ten boxes of Correspondence, Family Papers, and Books.

Series 1. Correspondence, 1915-2004, the largest series, fills the first five boxes of the papers and is arranged more or less chronologically by correspondent.

The first folder contains World War I five 1918-19 letters from Private William G. Stark of the 102nd Infantry in France to his father and sister Jennie.1

The most important correspondent is Marion E. Stark (1894-1961) (Box 1, folder 2 - Box 3, folder 8). The bulk of the letters dates from the time that she served as an English teacher in the employ of the Seoul Foreign Student Association for thirty-four months between 1919 and 1922. The large collection of letters written to her mother, sisters Jennie and Olive, aunt Hattie Stark Gillette, and occasional ones to other family members document her adventures from the time she left Connecticut for Seoul, then controlled by Japan, in early September 1919 to her return home in August 1922. The first one was written in New York City on September 9, 1919 and later ones from Chicago, the train to the West Coast, and Seattle before she boarded the Suwa Maru bound for Yokohama, Japan. Marion's first letter from Seoul was written to her mother on October 5. Her last letter from that city was written on June 10, 1922 and she arrived back in Connecticut in August. She averaged 5-7 substantial letters a month to her family, many are numbered, and it usually took three to four weeks for them to reach their destination. The letters are written on a variety of Japanese stationeries and some consist of one sheet of paper several feet in length. Some of the stationery is quite attractive. One November 17. 1919 letter, for example, (Box 1, folder 6) to her sister Olive shows a branch with red flowers. Some envelopes are also quite interesting. See the one with purple diagrams on February 18, 1921 (Box 2, folder 5).

The letters provide a comprehensive overview of Marion's experience in Korea, plus documentation on her trip to China in 1921. Her first letter from the Far East on October 5 (Box 1, folder 5) provides a description of Japanese and Korean scenery and includes the comment that the Koreans "are not diminutive like the Japanese." The correspondence also includes occasional invitations (Box 1, folder 5) and letters from people in Korea and Japan. See, for example, Box 1, folders 7 and 16.

Marion discusses how well she has settled into life in Seoul, clothes, her health, shopping for herself and sending items back home, school matters, the activities of Christian missionaries, social life, the weather, vacation activities, and sometimes comments about the repressive rule of Japan over Korea. In a December 11, 1919 letter (Box 1, folder 7), she discussed the arrest of "Induc . . . the finest specimen of Korean young woman hood. She was "kept for five months in jail where she was subjected to an unmentionable variety of indignities" and only released after she promised not to take any further part in the independence movement. She also reported that Induc was arrested again and that a number of Korean nurses were likewise imprisoned. In another letter written on January 11, 1920 (Box 1, folder 9), Marion noted that "all the places are given their Japanese names and I always use the Korean names." In a letter of March 14, 1920 (Box 1, folder 13), she noted that Korea was under military rule and that the Japanese officials were "of an exceedingly low order of intelligence."

In a July 5, 1920 letter (Box 1, folder 17), she wrote that aside from the rain that there were two items of interest; a visit by the crew of the U.S.S. Albany and a trip she was planning with friends to the Diamond Mountains during summer vacation. During the summer of 1921, Marion made a trip to China, having secured a passport in anticipation of the journey in April (Box 7, folder 6). She arrived at Mukden on July 1, 1921 and wrote her first letter from Peking on July 5 (Box 2, folder 10) in which she compares China to Korea. "We residents of Korea think the Japanese railways in Korea are horrid; but they are heavenly by comparison with those of China." She spent her time there and at Peitaiho Beach sightseeing and shopping and returned to Seoul at the end of August for her third and final year of teaching. One highlight of school year was a visit of Marshal Joffre to Seoul in February 1922 (Box 2, folder 17). "I stood in a chilly Korean street two hours with a hoard of school children watching for him to pass."

On her trip home, Marion sailed from Yokohama on the Hakozaki Maru bound for Marseilles on June 23, 1922 and scheduled to reach that French city on August 10. Ports of call included Kobe, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Colombo, and Port Said (Box 2, folder 19). From Marseilles, she planned to spend a few days in Paris and London before sailing for New York. The total cost was estimated at $1,370 (Box 3, folder 1) in a letter she wrote to her mother on May 7, 1922. Letters of her trip back to the United States can be found in Box 3, folders 2-4.

Marion also commented on news from home. In a March 1920 letter to Jennie (Box 1, folder 13) she wrote that she had heard about a blizzard in Connecticut and congratulated her younger sister on her raise. In two November 1920 letters (Box 2, folder1), she states that she is glad that Uncle Lewis [Gates] and Aunt Sarah are heading to a warmer climate for the winter and her hope that Lucius will enjoy business college (Box 2, folder 3). In January 1921, she mildly admonished her mother for devoting attention to the care of old lady who was living at the family home at the expense of her children (Box 2, folder 4). The papers contain few letters from Connecticut, one, however, was written by Aunt Sarah Gates to Marion on January 15, 1921 (Box 2, folder 4).

Five letters to Hattie Stark Gillette, sister of J. Warren Stark, are found in Box 3, folder 9. They come from her sister Mary Sherman of Santa Cruz, CA, Leonard Selden, Jennie Morgan, and cousin Eliza (Lida) Peck Morley. Additional letters are found with the Marion Stark correspondence.

The Hazel Purinton (Box 3, folders 10-20) section consists of letters she wrote to her mother and sister Doris in Hartford. They cover the 1927-28 school year when Hazel was teaching at the one-room Bill Hill School in Lyme. They document her life in a small, rural town in the first flowering of the automobile age near the end of the one-room school era, when the Grange was the chief social gathering place in the small community, and when she was being courted by her future husband Reg. She boarded with Margaret Reynolds in the village of Hamburg and generally walked the mile to and from her school. Most of her students came from a single family. The letters focus far more on social life than on the rigors of teaching.

The next four correspondents, J. Warren Stark, Alione Ely Stark, Gladys Stark, and Reginald Warren Stark, each take up one folder. They hold five letters to J. Warren Stark, two from former minister of the North Lyme Baptist Church J. C. Glavin, three from cousin Lida Morley, one from cousin Byron Clark. His wife Alione (Box 3, folder 22) wrote five letters to daughter-in-law Frances Stark recounting family news, plus single letters to Hattie Gillette and niece Gladys Stark. The folder also includes one letter written to Alione from a family friend. In her final letter written in 1952 about a year before her death, Alione told Gladys that Ellen had made rhubarb, that Reg left early from the normal evening of playing a card game called 500 to take his family to the movies, and the unexpected arrival of grandson Warren Stark O'Sullivan. Gladys was the recipient four letters and the folder includes a single letter to her mother Sadie. Reginald Stark wrote two letters to his younger brother Lucius in 1991, the year of his death, much concerning his garden.

The ninth and last correspondent is Jennie E. Stark. Although the earliest letter dates back to 1915, the bulk of the material consists of congratulatory cards and letters on her hundredth birthday in October 2001, condolence letters after the death of her elder sister Oliver in February 2003, and get well cards at the time of her final illness in the spring and early summer of that same year.

Series 2. Family Papers, 1755-2001, can be found in Boxes 6-8. The holdings are divided more or less alphabetically by family member with older materials located in Box 8. The first folder contains photostats on Abial Stark, great-great-great grandfather of J. Warren Stark, who died in 1755. Papers on Jennie Stark are found in Box 6, folders 2-15. They include journals of trips taken in 1928 and 1934, guides to the 1933 Chicago and 1939 New York World's Fairs, a photograph taken around the time of her hundredth birthday, and printed material documenting her education at Windham High School and Willimantic State Normal School. She graduated from high school in 1919 and normal school in 1926. Papers on Marion Stark fill most of Box 7. Some concern her time in Korea. They include Marion's contract with the Seoul Foreign School Association on March 31, 1919 to serve for thirty-four months at a salary of 100 yen per month (Box 7, folder 3) and other papers documenting her Korean sojourn, like 1922 dinner menu and concert programs on her voyage home, her April 1921 passport (folder 14), and postcards from Korea and China. Other materials for Marion include lists of pupils, photographs, and the distribution of her estate. Papers of William G. Stark (Box 7, folders 19-22) contain a portion of an April 10. 1918 newspaper report with news that he was wounded in battle, his Purple Heart awarded in 1932, and photos. Box 8 holds other interesting family papers. Folder 1, for example, holds two letters to Charles C. Peck written in 1836 and 1837 and one to sister Ann, brother Nathan, and sister Emily Stark from Laura Stark Morgan written in October 1837. Folder 2 has estate papers of Catherine Griffing, Abial Stark, and Lucius Stark. Folders 3-4 contain information on Lyme history and the North Lyme Baptist Church in Pleasant Valley where the family of J. Warren Stark worshipped. Found in folder 6 is a school register for the Lyme Pleasant Valley School for 1870-71. Among the students are Mary Stark, Hattie Stark, and Warren Stark. Folder 7, Stark family notes includes biographical information on Abial Stark, an account of the 1910 funeral of Lucius Stark, and photostats from the "Stark Family Genealogy" by Moreau J. Stark." Folder 8 contains an 1815 survey by Moses Warren of land sold to Watrous Beckwith in 1815 and the next has the 1841 will of Catharine Griffing, a copy of the 1784 marriage notice of Moses Warren and Mehitable Raymond, and the 1816 ear mark of Abial Stark all enclosed in glass.

Series 3. Books, 1784-1848, are located in Box 10 and consists of four items. The first is a xviii and 360-page essay, The Everlasting Punishment of the Ungodly (1786) by the Reverend Stephen Johnson (1724-1786), pastor in the Lyme First Society. It was purchased by one of the donors during the 1970s. The other three titles are family bibles that contain important genealogical information on the Griffing and Stark families. The first belonged to Miss Lucy Griffing and includes records of the family from the time of the birth of Joshua Griffing in 1752 to the death of Jasper Griffing in 1866. The Stark family Bible contains family data from the time of the marriage of Abial Stark in 1818 to 1894, while the Lucius Stark Bible contains information on the family of Lucius Stark, father of J. Warren Stark, and covers the years 1856 to 1965.


  1. 1 Two letters list James as the recipient, but it is clear from context that the actual person was William's half-sister Jennie.


  • 1755-2004

Language of Materials

The records are in English.

Biographical Note

The Stark Family Papers revolves around the family of J. Warren Stark (1862-1951) and his second wife Alione Ely Stark (1864-1953) of Lyme, Connecticut. Correspondents include William G. Stark, Marion E. Stark, Hazel Purinton who married Reginald Warren Stark, Hattie Stark Gillette, J. Warren Stark, Alione Ely Stark, Gladys Stark, and Jennie E. Stark. Below is a listing of the two generations of Starks represented in the collection.

Lucius Crosby (1824 - 1910) m.1. 1856 Ellen C. Warren (1833 - 1875); m.2. 1876 Julia Stark (1832 - 1915)

Mary Warren (1860 - 1937) m. Nov. 17, 1891 George W. Sherman (1865-1946)

Joshua Warren (1862 - 1951)

Harriet (Hattie) Roberts (1865 - 1956) m. 1905 Walter M. Gillette (Aug. 1868 - 1953)

Sarah (Sadie) Raymond (1874 - 1961) m.1. William Brown; m.1928 John Bartlett (d. 1950)

Gladys (b.c. 1897 - 1965)

Joshua Warren (1862 - 1951) m.1. 1887 Katie Gates (1870 - 1892); m.2. 1892 Alione Louise Ely (1864 - 1953)

Ellen Warren (1888 - 1974) m. 1917 Anthony John Giaconia (1872 - 1974)

William Gates (1890 - 1957) m. 1919 Florence Hope (d. Feb. 14, 1979)

Marion Ely (1894-1961)

Elsie Louise (1898 - 1908)

Olive Henrietta (1900 - 2003) m. 1920 Walter Ridgely O'Sullivan (d. 1960)

Jennie Elizabeth (1901-2003)

Reginald Warren (1903 - 1991) m. 1928 Hazel Elizabeth Purinton (1907 - 2005)

Charlotte Isabel (1904 - 1987) m. 1934 William Johnstone (d. 1967)

Lucius Robert (1905 - 1992) m. 1930 Frances Euvrard (1909 - 1993)


4.5 cubic feet


The Stark Family Papers revolves around the family of J. Warren Stark (1862-1951) and his second wife Alione Ely Stark (1864-1953) of Lyme, Connecticut. Correspondents include William G. Stark, Marion E. Stark, Hazel Purinton who married Reginald Warren Stark, Hattie Stark Gillette, J. Warren Stark, Alione Ely Stark, Gladys Stark, and Jennie E. Stark. The papers consists of correspondence, family papers, and books.


Series 1. Correspondence, 1915-2004

Series 2. Family Papers, 1755-2001

Series 3. Books, 1784-1848


Bruce P. Stark and Lucius D. Stark, grandchildren of J. Warren and Alione E. Stark and sons of Reginald Warren and Hazel Purinton Stark, donated the papers to the Connecticut State Library in 2017.

Related Material

RG 074:025, Stark Family Genealogy and History, compiled by Moreau J. Stark, Connecticut State Library.

RG 074:076, Stark Family Association, Connecticut State Library.

RG 069:184, Stark Family Papers
Finding aid prepared by Bruce P. Stark.
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Connecticut State Library Repository