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Guide to the Pierrepont family papers ARC.263

Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Teresa Mora (1999), with modifications by Larry Weimer (2011).

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 09, 2022
eng using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Last updated by John Zarrillo Updated by Maggie Schreiner to reflect the incorporation of additional materials Updated by Alice Griffin to include CBH language.  , March 2017 , March 2019 , May 2022

Scope and Contents

The Pierrepont family papers illustrate the intersection of commercial, civic and personal interests across three generations of a Brooklyn family, principally in the nineteenth century. Although these papers span the period from 1761 to 1918, the bulk of the collection concerns the business dealings of Henry Evelyn Pierrepont from 1838 to his death in 1888. This especially includes an extensive set of records concerning the Pierrepont Stores, the family's warehouse on Brooklyn's East River waterfront. Included in the collection are correspondence, deeds, indentures, leases, accounting records, diaries, maps, invoices, receipts, business proposals, legal filings, clippings, and historical and genealogical manuscripts.

Included in the collection are a substantial number of deeds, leases, indentures, manuscript maps, title searches, and other documents concerning acquisition of land by the Pierreponts, primarily Hezekiah Beers Pierpont, in Brooklyn Heights and the adjoining waterfront. Similar documents concern the development of this land for personal use (e.g., the building of the family's home at One Pierrepont Place), civic improvement (e.g., the opening of streets, allocation of land to churches), and commercial ventures. Competing priorities among these interests can be seen in the collection, as in connection with attempts by cable car and elevated railway companies to build on or near Pierrepont property.

The Pierrepont's commercial activities are exceptionally well-represented in the collection. An extensive set of records for the Pierrepont Stores, from 1856-1888, includes day books, journals, ledgers, cash books, and records of deliveries received from arriving ships and goods transported to and from the Stores. In addition to the financial aspects of the business, the ledgers provide much information about the names of ships, their origin, and their cargo. Further, the Stores's time book is in the collection, with data on the names and daily hours of the workers. Correspondence, building construction and repair invoices, architectural plans, and business management documents concerning the Stores are in the collection. Henry's involvement as an officer of the Union Ferry Company, and the development of East River waterfront and ferry rights is well-represented in the collection with correspondence, proposals, maps, and legal documents. Account records related to Hezekiah's early nineteenth century distillery operation are in the collection.

A range of personal papers are in the collection. Many of these concern Henry and other Pierreponts engagement with civic institutions, such as the Long Island Historical Society, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Green-Wood Cemetery, and the Astronomical Society of Brooklyn. Henry's manuscript and supporting material for his published history of the Fulton Ferry is in the collection, along with other historical, biographical and genealogical materials. The collection includes a Civil War-themed scrapbook. Henry's rich diary from the last years (1877-1888) of his life is the collection. Correspondence between members of the Pierreponts, including Hezekiah's wife, Anna Maria, give insight into the Pierrepont's vision and concerns for the Montague Street area, for the Stores, and for their family welfare.


The collection is organized in the following series:

Missing Title

  1. Series 1: Mercantile, Farm and Distillery
  2. Series 2: Personal and Social Matters
  3. Series 3: Brooklyn Real Estate
  4. Series 4: Pierrepont Stores
  5. Series 5: Rail Lines in Brooklyn
  6. Series 6: Brooklyn Waterfront and Ferries
  7. Series 7: Newspaper Clippings
  8. Series 8: Diaries