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Henry Stevens papers, 1812-1935

2 linear feet

This collection is made up of correspondence, letter books, and transcriptions by rare book dealer and bibliographer Henry Stevens. The material primarily concerns his work obtaining books for prominent private collectors and libraries in the United States in the mid-19th century.

This collection is made up of correspondence, letter books, and transcriptions by rare book dealer and bibliographer Henry Stevens and his company. The material primarily concerns his work obtaining books for prominent private collectors and libraries in the United States in the mid-19th century.

The Correspondence and Documents series primarily consists of incoming letters to Henry Stevens about his book business. The correspondence concerns book catalogues, purchases, exhibitions, and other professional matters. Letters and documents from prominent individuals include materials from John Carter Brown (71 items), Obadiah Rich (26 items), and others. A small group of personal letters between members of the Stevens family, notes and drafts by Henry Stevens, and financial documents are also present. See the contributor list below for a partial list of letter-writers.

Seven items in this series pertain to Stevens's American Historical Nuggets, including manuscript and printed mock-ups of the title page and first page of the introduction. The papers also contain a manuscript of "Who Spoils our new English Books."

A group of 16 Letter and Account Books comprises the bulk of the collection. The volumes primarily contain outgoing business correspondence of Henry Stevens, related to his work as a bookseller and bibliographer in London, England. Recipients included John Carter Brown, Samuel Drake, William Deane, Charles B. Norton, and members of the Stevens family. The volumes also contain financial records.

The series pertains to the acquisition of materials for the libraries and individuals, including the following:
  • A. Asher & Co.
  • American Antiquarian Society
  • American Europe Express Company
  • Amherst College Library
  • Astor Library
  • Bodleian Library
  • British Museum.
  • Edinburgh University Library
  • Fry, Francis
  • Harvard College Library
  • Irving & Willey
  • Lawrence, Abbott.
  • Lenox, James.
  • Mercantile Library Association of the City of New-York
  • New York State Library
  • Pennsylvania State Library
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • United States Patent Office
  • University of Vermont Library
  • Vermont State Library
  • Virginia State Library
  • Yale College Library

The Henry Stevens Transcriptions and Notes series contains five transcriptions that Henry Stevens (1819-1886) made in the mid-19th century. The documents concern the years prior to the American Revolution, the New Hampshire Grants, Arthur St. Clair's defeat, and the Sullivan Rail Road.

The series contains the following items:
  • "Dr. Stiles' Account of the False Alarm in 1774" (By Ezra Stiles)
  • "Observations on the Right of Jurisdiction Claimed by the States of New York and New Hampshire, over the New Hampshire Grants (So Called) Lying on Both Sides of Connecticut River, in a Letter to the Inhabitants of those Grants" (Originally printed by E. Russel in Danvers, Massachusetts, 1778)
  • "A Public Defence of the Right of the New Hampshire Grants (So Called)..." (Originally printed by Alden Spooner, 1779)
  • "Lieut. Michl. McDonoughs Letter to His Brother. Dated at Fort Washington, Nov. 10, 1791"
  • "A Sermon Preached at Charlestown, N. H., on the First Sunday after the Opening of the Sullivan Rail Road, by J. Crosby" (By Jaazaniah Crosby, ca. 1849)

James M. Smith family collection, 1834-1889

0.25 linear feet

The James M. Smith family collection consists of Smith's incoming and outgoing correspondence concerning New York state politics, economic conditions, railroad development, and family news, as well as genealogical materials relating to the Smith family.

The James M. Smith family collection (121 items) contains letters and other materials related to James Murdock Smith of northern New York. The Correspondence series (114 items) includes Smith's correspondence from 1834-1889. Smith received 33 letters from his father, H. D. Smith, whose letters often pertain to politics, railroad construction and finance, and economic conditions in New York State. Among other subjects, he mentioned improvements to the town of Gouverneur (September 3, 1856), "unusually frequent" bankruptcies in Ogdensburg (January 3, 1854), Democratic Party factions, the Know-Nothings, and slavery and abolitionists. Smith's professional correspondence includes letters from New York Congressman Solomon G. Haven, who discussed the Dred Scott case (January 13, 1857), and from philanthropist Philo Parsons, who wrote about his plans to build a large park in Detroit, Michigan (December 8, 1873).

The series also contains personal letters that Smith received from family members, including his mother, Harriet Smith; his sisters, Esther M. Thrall and Louisa L. Anthony; and his aunt, Esther Doty. The Smith family reported news of Gouverneur, New York, and Doty commented on life in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in the 1850s, where she encountered mixed-race Native Americans (December 3, 1851). Many of the later letters concern James M. Smith's interest in genealogy. Smith also wrote 6 letters to his wife, Margaret, mentioning a cholera epidemic (August 28, 1852) and travel in southern Wisconsin (November 16, 1862), among other topics.

The Genealogy, Writings, and Ephemera series (7 items) includes 3 essays about the family of H. D. Smith, a political speech, and a newspaper clipping and printed advertisement regarding a historical work by R.W. Judson.