Scope and arrangement
The Schieffelin Family papers reflect the lives of Jacob Schieffelin (1757-1835), prominent New York City merchant, landowner and Loyalist who founded a successful wholesale drug business which bore the family name throughout the 19th century; and his wife, Hannah Lawrence Schieffelin (1758-1838), daughter of a New York merchant and Quaker, John Lawrence; their son, Richard Lawrence Schieffelin (1801-89) and grandson, George Richard Schieffelin (1836-1910) both of whom were prominent New York City lawyers who specialized in chancery and real estate law.
The papers provide sporadic documentation of Jacob Schieffelin's early life as lieutenant in the Detroit Volunteers and as merchant in Montreal. About one half of the papers relate to his real estate transactions and land holdings in New York City and State and in Ohio and Pennsylvania, including parchment deeds, mortgages, indentures, and land maps. Included are papers relating to the founding of St. Mary's (Episcopal) Church in Manhattanville of which he was a warden; and papers relating to the mercantile firm of Jacob Schieffelin (later, Jacob Schieffelin & Son) including correspondence with the London firm of Effingham & Lawrence, and papers relating to the seizure by the British of the Ship "Brunswick", the confiscation of its cargo, and the resulting claim for indemnification.
The papers of Hannah Lawrence Schieffelin consist of literary manuscripts and notebooks of poems, and a manuscript narrative of her journey (1780-81) with her husband to the St. Lawrence and through the wilderness of Canada to Detroit in which she describes places visited, including Niagara Falls, encounters with British officers, Indians and Indian Chiefs, reports of atrocities and massacres, and social life and conditions on the frontier.
The bulk of the papers of Richard Lawrence Schieffelin and his son George Richard Schieffelin reflect their law practice and real estate interests in New York City. Included are ledgers and account books, relative to the estates of Jacob Schieffelin, Benjamin Ferris and members of the Delaplaine family; deeds, mortgages, land maps, indentures, bills and receipts and some personal miscellany. There are also literary manuscripts and notebooks of Richard Lawrence Schieffelin containing his articles, essays, poems, autobiographical and other writings, an orderly book which reflects his service in the New York State Infantry; and correspondence from John Ferris Delaplaine (1815-85) to George Richard Schieffelin relating mainly to real estate matters. There are also genealogical papers, photographs and miscellaneous papers of members of the Schieffelin, Blair and Scribner families and a few issues of 19th century newspapers published in New York City.
The Schieffelin family papers are arranged in nine series:
- 1769-1835The papers are arranged into three series: Series A. Miscellaneous Correspondence and Papers; Series B. Mercantile Papers; and Series C. Land Papers.
The bulk of the papers (ca.1774-1818) of Hannah Lawrence Schieffelin consist of manuscripts and two notebooks of her occasional poems signed with her nom de plume "Matilda" which were often written in response to a family or public event. They are arranged in chronological order. Included are several poems reflecting her anti-slavery views, and an ode on the death of George Washington. One of the poems,, a vindication of Edward Rushton's advice to Washington on his relations with his slaves, was written for The Time Piece and Literary Companion. Another poem was written as a tribute to a brother, Richard Lawrence, who died (1798) in an epidemic. There is also one letter (1784) to her from a London friend, William Roberts.
There is also a manuscript account (incomplete,, 32 leaves) entitled "Narrative of events and observations that occurred during a journey through Canada in the years 1780-81" which records her voyage from New York to Detroit with her husband in the months following her marriage. The narrative which is written in a flowing literary style describes in abundant detail the events of her long journey through the wilderness of Canada, the places visited, including Quebec, Montreal, Niagara Falls, Fort Niagara, Fort Schlosser, and Detroit, encounters with Indians, social life and conditions at the frontier outposts, reports of atrocities and massacres, and military expeditions conducted by British troops. There are lengthy descriptions of the character and dress of the Indians including the Mohawk Chief, Joseph Brandt (1742-1807) and his wife. A transcript copy of her journal (1780) kept during the period of her courtship is filed in the papers of Jacob Schieffelin (Container 11, folder 3).
Included also are a few items of correspondence (1780-1818) including a letter (1790) by her at Montreal to her parents; two letters (1780) to her from Jacob Schieffelin written just prior to their marriage; and two receipts signed by the American artist Archibald Robertson (1765-1865). There are also a few miscellaneous papers and handwritten copies of poems by others.
- 1792-1889The papers (1792-1889) of Richard Lawrence Schieffelin are arranged into six series: "A". Personal Miscellaneous Papers; "B". Writings and Notebooks; "C". Legal and Estate Papers; "D". Land Papers; "E". Bills and Receipts; and "F". Printed Matter.
- 1864-1908()The papers (1864-1908) of George Richard Schieffelin are arranged into five series: "A". Correspondence Received from John Ferris Delaplaine; "B". Personal Miscellany; "C". Bills and Receipts; "D". Land Papers; and "E". Legal Account Books and Papers.
The Miscellaneous Papers of Schieffelin and Related Families (1795-1843) include two letters to Arthur H. Scribner, a copy of the last will and testament of Charles Scribner; papers of various members of the Schieffelin and McKay families. Included is a naturalization certificate (1795) of George McKay; and a record book (1812-13) kept by Capt. George K. McKay of the U.S. Artillery at Ellis Island, listing clothing and other supplies issued to enlisted men under his command.