Scope and arrangement
The collection consists of correspondence of Oliver Wolcott, Sr. and Oliver Wolcott, Jr. as collected by George Gibbs during the writing of his work Memoirs of the Administrations of Washington and John Adams, edited from the papers of Oliver Wolcott, Secretary of the Treasury (New York, 1846), with letters about the work received by Gibbs after its publication. The documents, many written or signed by prominent Americans, comprise extra-illustrated items removed from Gibbs' personal copy of his two-volume work, bound in four parts. Most are unpublished. Wolcott correspondence, 1789-1803, concerns political as well as business and personal matters, largely reflecting the Treasury Department career of Oliver Wolcott, Jr. (1789-1800). Correspondence of George Gibbs, 1846 and 1848, consists of letters from prominent persons and friends thanking him for copies of his book, some adding further comments. An unrelated 1820 letter from General Andrew Jackson to Colonel Charles Gibson concerns Jackson's retirement from the Army.
Oliver Wolcott, Sr. correspondence, 1789-1796, consists of his letter to Secretary of State Timothy Pickering thanking him for a copy of recent treaty,1796; a letter to him from Senator Oliver Ellsworth asking his opinion on an enclosed bill, 1789; a letter from his son Oliver Wolcott, Jr. enclosing Alexander Hamilton's final report, 1795; and a letter from John Jay, governor of New York, enclosing a copy of a criminal indictment, 1796. Enclosures are not present.
Oliver Wolcott, Jr. correspondence, 1789-1803, concerns political as well as business and personal matters. Most items are letters received by Wolcott from prominent political associates and others during the period of his service in the Treasury Department (1789-1800) under Presidents George Washington and John Adams. During this time the Federal capital moved from New York to Philadelphia, and finally to Washington, D.C. Letters to Wolcott concern Federalist party politics and political appointments, introductions, social events, and personal and business matters. Wolcott's appointments as Auditor (1789), Comptroller (1791) and Secretary of the Treasury (1795), as well as his Circuit Court appointment resulting from the Judiciary Act of 1801, are represented by letters from Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Edmund Randolph, and John Marshall, as well as Wolcott's signed oath as Secretary. Notable political associates include George Cabot, Samuel W. Dana, Elbridge Gerry, James Hillhouse, Charles Lee, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, James Ross, Uriah Tracy, Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., and brother-in-law Chauncey Goodrich, among others. A few letters congratulate him on his appointment as judge, and mention a testimonial dinner to be held in his honor before departing Washington. Other correspondents include physician Benjamin Rush, reporting on the health of a patient in the Wolcott household in Philadelphia, 1793, and authors Noah Webster, Jr. and Jedidiah Morse, writing to Wolcott about their own works. A letter from Benjamin Goodhue of Salem to Oliver Wolcott in New York, 1803, introduces his son, seeking funds for an Indian voyage. Family correspondents include his wife Elizabeth (called Betsy or Betsey but signing herself as Eliza), his sister Mary Ann, wife of Chauncey Goodrich, and his brother Frederick Wolcott. There is some reference to his wife’s poor health.
George Gibbs correspondence, 1846 and 1848, consists of letters from prominent persons and friends thanking him for copies of his book and praising his work, especially its defense of Federalist policies and personages. Some writers were contemporaries of Oliver Wolcott, Jr., such as Josiah Quincy and New York lawyer James Kent. Gibbs' reply to Kent is included.
An unrelated letter written by General Andrew Jackson at the Hermitage to Colonel Charles Gibson, 1820, advises that he will postpone his retirement from the Army at the request of President James Monroe.