Williamson family collection, 1862-1918
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Williamson family
- The Williamson family collection is made up of 9 bound volumes pertaining to Clara Gurley Williamson, her daughters Ruth and Mary, and other members of the Williamson family of New Brunswick, New Jersey. The items include diaries, financial records, a newspaper clipping scrapbook, and a photograph album.
- 0.5 linear feet
- Collection processed and finding aid created by Cassie Schmitt, October 2006, and Meg Hixon, May 2013
- Scope and Content:
The Williamson family collection is made up of 9 bound volumes pertaining to Clara Gurley Williamson, her daughters Ruth and Mary, and other members of the Williamson family.
The D. Abeel Williamson Diary, composed in a pre-printed pocket diary, contains David Abeel Williamson's daily entries about his life in New Brunswick, New Jersey, from January 1, 1862-May 25, 1862, and about his experiences with the 7th New York Militia Regiment from May 26, 1862-August 27, 1862. His early entries mainly record the weather and his social activities; he mentioned his admission to the bar in his entries of May 21, 1862, and May 22, 1862. A newspaper clipping about the surrender of Fort Donelson is pasted into the entries for February 16, 1862, and February 17, 1862. During his time in the army, Williamson noted the hot weather near Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, and mentioned other aspects of military service, such as guard duty, marching, and reviews. A commuter's ticket for the "New Jersey Rail Road" is laid into the volume's pocket.
The Hattie S. Williamson Memorandum Book contains financial records of collections that the Second Reformed Dutch Church Sunday School of New Brunswick, New Jersey, received from November 26, 1865-June 16, 1867. The amount of each donation is recorded next to the donor's name. Other records pertain to the Sunday school's accounts with the Novelty Rubber Company and the church's efforts to raise money for an organ.
The Clara Gurley Account Book, kept from July 9, -April 16, 1880, contains accounts for Gurley's purchases of items such as books, ribbon, fabrics, and buttons. A piece of fabric is pinned onto the book's final page.
The first Clara Gurley Williamson Diary, written in a pre-printed Excelsior volume, covers the year 1905. Williamson began writing in Dresden, Germany, where she had lived with her children since late 1903, and recounted her daily activities and news of acquaintances. In April, she and her children took an extended tour of Europe, including Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, and Holland, where Williamson remarked on visits to museums and other points of interest. The entries from August concern the family's return to the United States on the Holland-American Line steamer Ryndam and their first months back in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Indianapolis, Indiana. Williamson kept a record of letters written and received and acquaintances' addresses in the volume's memoranda section. She laid newspaper clippings, a letter, calling cards, small photographs, stamps, and other items in the volume. The final page of the diary contains a newspaper clipping about the Williamsons' return to the United States and intention to relocate to Indianapolis.
The Mary Williamson Diary recounts the author's travels through Europe from April 10, 1905-August 11, 1905. Williamson described her daily activities and sightseeing in cities such as Prague, Munich, Venice, Rome, and Paris, as she visited museums and places of historical importance with her mother and sister. The diary includes a list of books Williamson read from 1907-1908 and a list of addresses of European hotels.
The Ruth A. Williamson Diary pertains to the author's experiences and travels in England from June 7, 1909-September 3, 1909. She spent most of her time in London; some later entries mention travels around southern England and to Edinburgh, Scotland. Williamson most frequently wrote about sightseeing and visiting famous landmarks, but also commented on other activities, such as shopping. Ruth A. Williamson's calling card is laid into the volume.
The second Clara Gurley Williamson Diary, also in a pre-printed Excelsior volume, contains daily entries about Williamson's life in Indianapolis, Indiana, from January 1, 1918-April 2, 1918. Williamson commented on her social activities, her health, and news of her friends and family members, especially her children. She occasionally mentioned news of the war, such as the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (February 22, 1918). Financial records and instructions for knitting a "Kitchener sock" are written in the back of the volume. Items laid in include a calling card for Charles G. Williamson containing his military address, a cloth United States flag mounted on a small wooden dowel, and clippings about the deaths of Henry Janeway Hardenburgh and Douw D. Williamson. A postcard with a painting of Waikite Geyser in New Zealand, addressed to A. Parsons in London, England, is also laid into the diary.
The Scrapbook (1860s-1880s) is comprised of newspaper clippings about numerous topics, including biographies of William Gurley and biographical notices about other members of the Gurley family, such as Clara Gurley Williamson and Esther Gurley Cook. Some clippings feature prominent individuals such as Ulysses S. Grant, Charles Dickens, and Louisa May Alcott. Items report national news, news from Troy, New York, and stories about Emma Willard and the Troy Female Seminary. Additional topics include poetry, international travel, and stamp collecting.
A Photograph Album contains 42 carte-de-visite photographs, 2 lithographs, and 1 tintype print. Most of the photographs are studio portraits of men, women, and children, including many members of the Gurley family and related families. Most of the pictures are dated 1866-1880, though the album includes a 1902 photograph of Charles G. Williamson in a military uniform.
- Biographical / Historical:
William Gurley (1821-1887), a graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was a manufacturer in Troy, New York. He and his wife, Maria R. Kenney (d. 1897), had four surviving children: Clara Augusta (b. 1849), Esther Maria (b. 1853, m. Paul Cook), Lewis Warren (b. 1857), and Mary Miller (b. 1860). Clara A. Gurley, an alumna of the Troy Female Seminary, married Dr. Nicholas Williamson (1845-1902) of New Brunswick, New Jersey, on June 2, 1881. Williamson was mayor of New Brunswick from 1895-1902. They had five children: Clara Clouston (b. 1882), Nicholas (August 6, 1883-August 14, 1883), Ruth Alice (b. May 31, 1886), Charles Gurley (b. February 28, 1888), and Mary Agnes Burlock (b. July 29, 1891). In 1903, following her husband's death, Clara Gurley Williamson and her children moved to Dresden, Germany, where they remained until April 1905. Afterward, the Williamson family moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. Clara Gurley Williamson died in 1918.
Nicholas Williamson, son of Nicholas Williamson and Mary Rebecca Burlock, was born in New York City on March 9, 1845. He had six siblings: David Abeel (1840-1862), Mariana (1843-1871), Agnes (b. 1848), Douw Ditmars (b. 1851), George Norman (b. 1853) and Martha Codwise (b. 1855). David Abeel Williamson attended Rutgers College and volunteered as a private with the 7th New York Militia Regiment during the Civil War.
- Acquisition Information:
- 2002. M-4205 .
- Processing information:
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
This collection arrived at the Clements Library with the Louis G. Monté collection. Louis G. Monté does not have any apparent connection to the Gurley or Williamson families.
Columbia University, the New York State Library, Rutgers University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill all have collections related to the Gurley and Williamson families.
Biographical Record of the Officers and Graduates of the Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, 1824-1886. Ed. Henry B. Nason. Troy, N.Y.: William H. Young, 1887.
Catalogue of the Officers and Alumni of Rutgers College (Originally Queen's College) in New Brunswick, N.J., 1766 to 1909. Trenton, N.J.: State Gazette Publishing Co., Printers, 1909.
Emma Willard and Her Pupils or Fifty Years of Troy Female Seminary, 1822-1872. New York: Mr. Russell Sage, 1898.
Gurley, Albert E. The History of Genealogy of the Gurley Family. Hartford, Conn.: Press of The Case, Lockwood, and Brainard Company, 1897.
Raven, John Howard. Catalogue of the Officers and Alumni of Rutgers College (Originally Queen's College) in New Brunswick, N.J.: 1766 to 1916. Trenton, N.J.: State Gazette Publishing Co., 1916.
Williamson, James Abeel. Genealogical Records of the Williamson Family in America. Wyoming, N.J.: 1896.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Church fund raising.
World War, 1914-1918.
Cartes-de-visite (card photographs)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Instructions (document genre)
Lists (document genres)
Troy Female Seminary.
Alcott, Louisa May, 1832-1888.
Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870.
Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885.
Willard, Emma, 1787-1870.
Gurley, William, 1821-1887.
Williamson, Charles Gurley, b. 1888.
Williamson, Clara Gurley, 1849-1918.
Williamson, Nicholas, 1845-1902.
Williamson, Daniel Abeel, 1840-1862.
Williamson, Hattie S.
Williamson, Mary, b. 1891.
Williamson, Ruth A., b. 1886.
Austria--Description and travel.
Edinburgh (Scotland)--Description and travel.
England--Description and travel.
France--Description and travel.
Germany--Description and travel.
Italy--Description and travel.
Netherlands--Description and travel.
New Brunswick (N.J.)
New Jersey--Social life and customs.
New York (State) Militia. Infantry Regiment, 7th.
Prague (Czech Republic)--Description and travel.
Switzerland--Description and travel.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright status is unknown
- PREFERRED CITATION:
Williamson Family Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan