Spanning nearly the first 200 years of the Republic, this well-crafted and meticulously researched work chronicles the history of a single strand of family through seven generations. Peter Haring Judd draws on a treasure trove of letters, photographs, and genealogical records to present the rich and colorful stories of members of the herring, Haring, Clark, Denton, Phelps, white, Griggs, and Judd families, placing the individuals within the context of the social, economic, and historical forces that shape their lives, as well as the regions and places where they resided and worked.
Judd follows the thread of the family’s fortunes and misfortunes from people born under the British flag in New York City and the Hudson River Valley to their twentieth-century descendants in industrial Connecticut. The voices of these families reflect a wide range of experiences in a changing American landscape. Earlier generations participated in momentous events of the Revolution, were heirs to the early Republic’s expanding society and economy, and engaged in the northern campaign at Lake Ontario in the war of 1812. They were among the citizens who seized the opportunities afforded by access to former Indian lands in frontier New York and farther west, and by thriving commercial trade stimulated by steady improvements in transportation. Later generations carry the narrative to Minneapolis and then to Waterbury, Connecticut, where family members were part of the rise and fall of the once dynamic and bustling manufacturing center.
More Lasting than Brass also tells a human story, one that reveals men and women responding to surroundings and circumstances, marrying, divorcing, raising families, coping with illnesses, choosing paths to pursue, completing ventures, or having them cut short by mortality. In this distinctive volume, Judd skillfully joins history and genealogy to re-create and illuminate the whole lives of individual family members against the backdrop of their times.
More Lasting than Brass: A Thread of Family from Revolutionary New York to Industrial Connecticut
by Peter Haring Judd
By Alan Taylor, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Davis, author of William Cooper’s Town (1995), the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History for that year, and American Colonies (2001):
In More Lasting than Brass, Peter Haring Judd offers a distinctive marriage of history and genealogy that magnifies their individual strengths. From history, he recovers social and economic context, giving meaning to the shifting concerns and constraints of successive lives. From genealogical inquiry, Judd connects the present through a sequence of lives, each a way station of change and a measure of continuity. History enables us to see Samuel Haring or Julia Phelps Haring as exemplars of social mobility and class formation characteristic of their generations, while, as individuals, they give personalities to otherwise abstract concepts. Especially for the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Judd draws from a rich collection of family letters and photos. Of course he supplements them with the staples of informed genealogy (and social history): vital, probate, and census records. But he also resourcefully probes into such distinctive and productive corners as corporate, sanitarium, and private academy documents. Finally, in deft prose, he narrates the rise and fall of a family fortune in a manner that reveals the key stages in the intertwined history of American capitalism and the life cycle of families…
GENEALOGICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES IN CONNECTION WITH MORE LASTING THAN BRASS
I prepared detailed genealogical notes on the families in More Lasting than Brass. These will be useful to anyone connected to these families. I have provided expanded information on these and related families in my Four American Ancestries.
Peter Haring Judd, Genealogical and Biographical Notes: Haring-Herring, Clark, Denton, White, Griggs, Judd, and related families (New York: by the author, 2005).
269 p, paperback and ebook.
LOCN 2005905695, ISBN 0-88082-190-6.
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Alan Taylor, author of William Cooper’s Town (1995), the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for that year, and American Colonies (2001).
Carol’s husband, Stuart Edwards Judd, inherited the Mattatuck Manufacturing Co. in Waterbury from his father and ran it successfully through the 1950s. In 1962 a disabling illness forced its sale. It was demolished at the turn of the century as part of the changes in the former industrial city.
The Connecticut Society of Genealogists awarded More Lasting than Brass its Grand Prize in 2006.
"Judd (More Lasting Than Brass, 2004) offers a real-life epistolary tale of a bizarre literary love triangle; A detailed biography that offers valuable insight into the lives of three accomplished women... Their missives about politics, their literary and artistic friends, and even the behaviors of their beloved pet cats are as finely wrought as their heartfelt notes on their romantic complications."
"Avoiding a narration of relentless celebration, Judd tells this family saga with refreshing honesty and acuity. Despite, or perhaps because of, the material comfort enjoyed by the family, many young members experienced profound stress in early adulthood. For example, Judd writes this of his mother, her siblings, and her parents: “Given the psychological troubles that each of the children had in abundance, and though there was a genetic origin for some, the family dynamics may have involved paternal disparagement of the sons (Bobby’s self-esteem suffered in later life), and over-compensating – perhaps enveloping— maternal affection for Haring and Carol, contributed to later troubles” (p. 406). Such penetrating observations never taste of betrayal because Judd suffuses the overall story with such affection. Humanely empathetic to all, he details the psychological toll of family life, as well as the triumphs of love in a narrative of America’s transformation from rebellious colonies to global power and its domestic costs."
-From the Foreword by Professor Alan Taylor, University of California, Davis
"In More Lasting than Brass, Peter Haring Judd follows one ‘thread’ of his family tree from revolutionary-era New York through Connecticut’s industrial decline in the mid-twentieth century. Combining a genealogist’s eye for detail and familial connections with a historian’s appreciation for social and economic context, Judd provides his readers with an examination of individual experiences that illuminates abstract historical developments. Judd draws upon a wealth of sources, including family letters, probate, census, land, church, and vital records to tell the story of his family’s experiences. He traces his Haring ancestors’ movement from the agricultural communities of revolutionary New York to the flourishing commercial centers of Albany and New York City, experiences that capture both the geographic and social mobility of the new nation.
Through marriage, the prosperous mercantile family moved into the late nineteenth-century industrial economy of Waterbury, Connecticut, a city once known as the “Brass Capital of the World.” Ownership of and investment in Waterbury’s metal-working factories achieved tremendous prosperity for the family and permitted them lives of privilege characterized by college educations (for the men), European tours, live-in servants, and membership in refined social circles. The family’s affluence allowed it to weather the Great Depression; however, changes in the global industrial economy in the mid-twentieth century left most Waterbury factories unable to compete. The author himself had to sell the family’s factory, ending the Harings’ association with Waterbury manufacturing on the eve of Connecticut’s industrial decline."
-From the review by Mary Beth Stevens in The Journal of the Early Republic