April 2018: Brevoort Family Papers

A while ago I appraised a collection of the Brevoort Family Papers, donated to the Special Collections Department of Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island.  About ¾ of the collection consists of correspondence between family members, with several ALS written by famous 19th century figures, some of which are “letters of content.”

While the Brevoort name is not as well recognized as the Astors or the Vanderbilts, many Brevoorts were prominent in social, business, literary, and artistic circles of Old Dutch New York from the late 17th century to the end of the 19th century.  They had married into the Astor family and were acquainted, partners, or friendly with many important 18th and 19th century political, social, business and military leaders.  Of particular interest is the insight to be gained about the lifestyle, philosophies and values held by these social elite, especially in the decades before the Civil War.

The earliest item, relating to a 1694 land transfer, is concerned with an early Dutch estate, Wallabout Farm.

A search of the Online Catalog of the Library of Congress (OCLC) was conducted to identify any similar Brevoort holdings in North American libraries.  Only a handful of Brevoort Family papers were located.  This collection then would be the largest known gathering of Brevoort papers.  These letters have been passed down through the generations and have been well preserved.

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