Circa 1878 Manuscript Sermon by Edward Comfort Starr, Connecticut Minister and Missionary.

Innovative orthography by a Starr

The large format handwriting and innovative orthography of this manuscript sermon suggests its actual pulpit use by the Yale-educated and trained Congregational minister, Edward Comfort Starr (1844–1941). Starr’s manuscript annotation on the front cover says that this sermon on Revelations 21:7 is typical of the sermons he preached circa 1878. At that time, Starr was the minister at Wethersfield Avenue Church in Hartford, Connecticut.

The large format of the manuscript’s handwriting made it easier to read while preaching to the congregation. It was written upon specially ruled and formatted sermon papers manufactured by the Sunnyside Paper Company of Springfield, Massachusetts. Starr’s abbreviated and truncated spelling of words permitted an economy of handwriting that makes his words more quickly grasped. The opening of his sermon demonstrates the unusual orthographic style:

It s [dotted “s”] a cmon & natl mattr o pride w us to be cnectd w some celebrt, & yt more to be dscnd fr a noteworthy personage. In hs [crossed “h” and dotted “s”] country, evrybdy wants to trce hs [dotted “s”] lineage fr some o h [crossed “h”] memrle no. who, f csanc [conscience’s?] ske, bravd t perils o t ocn, t hostilt o trchrs foes, t hardshps o t wildrns, & t privtns o a new settlemt on t far bordrs o t earth, to form a free stle [settlement?].

Edward Comfort Starr was born in Guilford, Connecticut and educated at Yale College (B. A. 1866), Yale Divinity School (B. D. 1870), and Andover Theological Seminary. He was as a Home Missionary in the West and was ordained a Congregational minister in Minnesota in 1871. Starr preached in Minnesota and Connecticut. In 1878, he married Emily Amelia Jackson in Hartford. Starr authored and edited several religious books. In 1926 he wrote a history of Cornwall, Connecticut, where he died, age 97.

An unusual manuscript sermon notable for its innovative orthography.

Description: Circa 1878 Manuscript Sermon by Edward Comfort Starr, Connecticut Minister and Missionary.

[Likely Hartford, Connecticut, ca 1878]. 28 pages of large format ink manuscript. Sermon Booklet. 9 x 7¼ inches. Wrappers perforated twice along spine and string-tied; 18 wide-ruled, wove paper leaves. Manuscript note and date and with Rev. E. C. Starr on upper cover.


Ref. Yale University Obituary Record, 1940–43, pp5–6.

Price: $50.00