Richard P. Hunt believed in equality. Though he passed away in 1856, brick buildings scattered through the village and the business block on the NE corner of 96 and Main Street still show that he literally helped build Waterloo. In his home at 405 E. Main St., part of Women’s Rights National Historical Park, he harbored fugitive slaves and hosted determined women. Thanks to those women, the United States had a women’s rights movement.
To celebrate his 217th birthday on September 2, Women’s Rights National Historical Park has opened, for research, a set of personal and business papers held by the family and private owners for more than 140 years. The Hunt Family Papers, now available to the public for the first time, include roughly 1,000 separate pieces dating from 1828 to 1856. Some examples are plans and contracts for workers’ housing, Waterloo Woolen and Cotton Mill records, letters of condolence, Richard P. Hunt, Jr.’s school essays, and farm and store records.
“Richard Hunt really is an example of ’do everything and do it right,’” said Ami Ghazala, park superintendent. “Though the women’s movement was not built with bricks and mortar like his buildings in Waterloo, Richard P. Hunt, his family, and his business associates created a foundation of support that made the First Women’s Rights Convention a success. I invite everyone to take a look at his papers to find the man who boosted women and Waterloo.”
The public is encouraged to use the Hunt Family Papers weekdays by appointment from 9 to 4 at the park visitor center, 136 Fall Street, Seneca Falls. A finding aid/guide is available on the park website at http://www.nps.gov/wori/historyculture/upload/HFP-Finding-Aid.pdf. Please contact Vivien Rose, Chief of Cultural Resources, at 568-2991 ext. 5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements to see the papers.
For more information, please visit our website at www.nps.gov/wori or call (315) 568-0024. All sites within Women’s Rights National Historical Park are free and open to the public. Follow the park’s social media sites for Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/womensrightsnps) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/WomensRightsNPS) to learn more about our upcoming programs.
Illustration provided: 1838 plan for workers’ housing in Waterloo.