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Guide to the Beekman Family Papers
 MS 51

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Alisa Harrison and John Winter

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 24, 2019
Description is in English

Scope and Contents

The Beekman Family Papers consist largely of correspondence (mostly in English, some in French and Dutch), business papers, legal papers, financial documents, real estate documents and court records. Many of these papers center around the business and political affairs of the family in New York City and their various landholdings and accounts in New York State.

This collection was organized by Philip L. White during a fellowship before 1950. He was a doctoral student in history at Columbia when he set to work gathering the information that served to comprise his biography on the Beekman family, entitled "The Beekmans of New York," an entry in the American National Biography for Henry Beekman, and the three-volume published collection of business papers in the "Beekman Mercantile Papers." Along the way, he compiled more than four hundred pages of notes which provides an interesting--albeit somewhat limited--summary of this collection. It also seems apparent that the last few boxes, numbered 40-47, arrived after his fellowship ended and thus remain unaccounted for in the summary. There is one oversized box in this collection, Box 47. A PDF-version of White's summary description is available here (note that it may take a few minutes to download).

In addition to the manuscript collection, White also consulted the bound volumes of the Beekman family collection in his work on the mercantile papers. Housed separately from the Beekman Family Papers, the bound volumes can be found online at the N-YHS library catalogue by searching for "BV Beekman." Each set of volumes listed online has a brief description and a date range that accurately describes its contents.

The "Arrangement" section below represents the most recent attempt to reorganize the collection in a more user-friendly way: chronologically. As the researcher will notice, White's notes and the "Container List" are not always accurate, nor do they represent the entirety of this collection. This online finding aid--constructed predominantly as a box and folder list--aims to fill those gaps and create a functional point of entry into this collection.

More detailed information about the contents of the collection is provided in the box and folder descriptions.


This collection has not been fully processed or arranged. It is loosely organized by family member, as reflected in the box and folder list. To further assist researchers, the quick-reference guide below is designed to group the boxes and folders chronologically as well as by Beekman head of family. When a folder or box is placed under a particular family member, it means the bulk of that material is from that time period. Note that the date ranges are approximate only.

Key: "Box #" : "Folder #"

Ex: "1:2, 3, 4-5, 9" means Box 1, Folders 2, 3, 4 through 5, and 9


Henry Beekman (1688-1776): 1:12-13, 20(17th Century),

William Beekman- (1725-1795): 1:21-22, 11:1, 17(A), 17(B), 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24(A), 24(B), 27:1, 3-4,6-11, 31(A):1, 31(B),

James Beekman (1757-1837): 4:2, 13(A), 13(B), 14(A), 14(B), 15(A), 15(B), 31(C), 32(A), 32(B), 34(A), 34(B),

William Beekman Jr. (1754-1808): 16(A), 16(B),

Gerard Beekman (1774-1833): 1:10, 11, 18, 19, 4:1, 3-5, 5(B):12, 6(B):13-17, 7(A)-Part 1:1-7, 8(B):10, 17-18, 11:2, 31(A):2-7,

Theophilus E. Beekman (bulk of doc from 1810's-1820's): 42

James W Beekman (1815-1877): 1:1-9, 14, 23-25, 2:1-10, 3:1-5, 5(A):1-9, 5(B):11(Part I-II), 13, 6(A):1-12, 6(B):18, 7(A)-Part I:8-12, 7(A)-Part II, 7(B):22-28, 8(A):1-9, 8(B):11-16,19, 9:1-7, 10:1-3, 11:3-10,12-13, 25(A), 25(B), 26(A)1-5, 27:2,5, 30(A), 30(B), 38(A), 38(B), 41(A), 41(B), 44:1-8,

Gerard Beekman (1842-1918): The bulk of the genealogical material is filed within these boxes and folders (James W. Beekman and future generations engaged heavily in family genealogy) 8(B):20, 12:1-8, 26(A):5-7, 26(B):8-9, 28(A), 28(B), 29, 38(B): 7 (Not much here but look at the end of the folder for genealogy), 39(A), 39(B), 40(A), 40(B), 43(A), 43(B), 44:9, 46,

Josephine L. Beekman, Recollections (1872-1953): 1:17,

Beekman Family: Typically children's school papers, art, poetry, college admissions cards, and other documents that were filed separately from official or personal correspondence. 5(A): 10, 5(B): 14-17, 11:11, 33, 36 (Circa 1750-1800), 37 (Bulk 18th Cent), 44:10-12, 45,