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Guide to the Samuel Gilford Papers
1753-1951 (bulk 1753-1828)
  MS 249

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


@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Matthew Murphy

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on October 25, 2011
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: Samuel Gilford Papers
Dates: 1753-1951 (bulk 1753-1828)
Abstract: The Samuel Gilford Papers consist of documentation of the business dealings and personal life of sea captain and shipping merchant Samuel Gilford, of New York, as well as his son, Samuel Gilford Jr., and various other members of the Gilford family. Included in this collection are loose papers related to the firm of Thomas Buchanan and Son, as well as personal papers of the Buchanan family. This collection also contains papers and ephemera from the late 19th and early 20th centuries related to the Anna Riker and members of the Riker family.
Quantity: 3.0 Linear feet (4 boxes, 8 bound volumes)
Location note: Manuscript cage
Call Phrase: MS 249

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Biographical Note

Samuel Gilford was a sea captain and shipping merchant who lived and worked in New York City from the mid-eighteenth century to the early 19th century. Little is currently known about his birthplace or early life. Samuel Gilford married Penelope Codwise on December 13th, 1759, and together they had three known sons: Samuel Gilford Jr., Thomas B. Gilford, and Jacob T. Gilford. They also had a daughter named Mary, and it is possible that they also had other children. In 1773 Samuel Gilford bought the old house at 122 William Street, which was also known as the "Golden Hill Inn." He resided there until he was forced to leave New York because of the Revolution, and did not return to the house until 1783. After the Revolution, the Gilfords built another home next door, 124 William Street. Samuel Gilford lived at 122 William Street until his death in 1821. The Gilford family also owned at least two slaves in the 1760's, a woman named Cuba and a boy named Prince.

Samuel Gilford's shipping firm primarily did business in the United States, Great Britain, Jamaica, and the West Indies. Gilford shipped, purchased and sold all manner of goods, including sugar, rum, and other spirits. When he was old enough, Samuel Gilford Jr. joined his father in the business and they formed the firm Samuel Gilford and Son. Their offices were located at 61 Front Street.

Samuel Gilford Jr. eventually married Elizabeth Buchanan, daughter of merchant Thomas Buchanan. Thomas Buchanan ran a prominent firm from 1792 until 1809, when his son George Buchanan joined him to form the merchant firm Thomas Buchanan and Son. After Thomas Buchanan died, George ran the firm until 1824.

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Scope and Content Note

The Samuel Gilford Papers serve as historical records for not only the Gilford Family, but for the merchant class of early New York as a whole. It also gives a glimpse into the way business was conducted in Colonial New York and the early American Republic.

Aside from the records relating to the Gilford family, there are items related to the Buchanan family, another merchant family from the time period, and the Riker family from the late 19th and early 20th century.

The collection's greatest strength is its myriad of financial records, documenting many aspects of the shipping trade in pre- and post-Revolutionary New York. The collection also has several ships logs, which describe in meticulous detail the weather and the experiences of a crew at sea.

Notable items include receipts of purchase of two slaves by the Gilford family, receipts for Samuel Jr.'s education, passenger lists documenting trans-atlantic migration, as well as countless other unique documents.

The collection is physically divided between manuscripts and bound volumes. The manuscript boxes can be located with the call phrase Samuel Gilford Papers, the bound volumes with the call phrase BV Gilford. It should be noted that smaller bound volumes have been placed with the boxed materials, and are primarily ship's logs and account books. They are located in the business records subseries of the Gilford Family series. Four of the bound volumes are also available on microfilm, two of which are account books attributed to the Cornelia, one account book from the  William & Mary, and a general account book.

Arrangement

The records are organized into three series:

  1. Series I. Gilford Family, 1753-1843, undated
  2. Series II. Buchanan Family, 1787-1820, undated
  3. Series III. Riker Family, 1889-1951, undated

All materials are arranged chronologically.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Barney, James
  • Brown, William, of Albany, N.Y.
  • Buchanan, George
  • Buchanan, Thomas --1744-1815
  • Gilford, Samuel Jr.
  • Marvin, Alexander
  • Marvin, John, merchant of Albany, N.Y.
  • Marvin, William, merchant of Albany, N.Y.
  • Schuyler, Stephen P.

Document Type

  • Account books
  • Accounts
  • Bills of exchange
  • Bills of lading
  • Clippings
  • Correspondence
  • Daybooks
  • Insurance Policies
  • Invoices
  • Ledgers
  • Manifests
  • Photographic prints
  • Postcards
  • Programs
  • Promissory notes
  • Receipts
  • Ship's Logs
  • Ship's Manifests
  • Slave bill of sale

Subject Organizations

  • Chance (Brig)
  • Cornelia (Brig)
  • Franchot & Van Rensselaer
  • Henry Van Vleck & Co.
  • John Rogers & Co.
  • Samuel Gilford and Son
  • Thomas Buchanan and Son (Firm)
  • Van Wyck & Son
  • Whiting & Clark
  • William & Mary (Sloop)

Subject Topics

  • Insurance, Marine --New York (State) --New York
  • Rum Industry
  • Rum industry --New York (State) --New York
  • Shipping
  • Shipping --New York (State) --New York
  • Ships --Cargo
  • Ships --Maintenance and Repair
  • Slavery --New York (State) --New York
  • Sugar Trade
  • Sugar trade --New York (State) --New York
  • Tea Trade
  • Wages --Sailors
  • Wharves --New York (State) --New York
  • Wine Industry

Subject Places

  • Jamaica --Commerce
  • New York (N.Y.) --Commerce
  • West Indies --Commerce

Family Name(s)

  • Buchanan Family
  • Gilford Family
  • Ricker Family

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Donation, ca. 1950's

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Portions of the collection that have been microfilmed will be brought to the researcher in that format and can be made available by Interlibrary loan.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Use Restrictions

Permission to quote from this collection in a publication must be requested and granted in writing. Send permission requests, citing the name of the collection from which you wish to quote, to

Manuscripts Curator
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Samuel Gilford Papers, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

Material related to Samuel Gilford's other two sons, Thomas B. Gilford and Jacob T. Gilford, is held at the New-York Historical Society. Fifteen small volumes of Thomas B. Gilford's account books from the late 19th century can be accessed with the call phrase "BV Gilford, Thomas B." Jacob T. Gilford's lecture notes kept while he was a medical student studying under Dr. David Hosack in the early 19th century can be accessed with the call phrase "BV Gilford, Jacob T." Additionally, five volumes of records related to the firm of Thomas Buchanan and Son can be accessed with the call phrase "BV Buchanan, Thomas and Son." One letterbook belonging to Almy Buchanan related to Thomas Buchanan's estate can be accessed by the call phrase "BV Buchanan, Almy."

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Container List

Series I: Gilford Family, 1753-1909, undated

Scope and Contents note

This series contains business and personal papers related to the Gilford family from the mid 18th century up until the early 20th century, with the bulk being the mid eighteenth century to the mid 19th century. The papers concern subjects related to the shipping business of Samuel Gilford, as well as family bills and material related to the Gilford family's home and estate.

Subseries I: Correspondence, 1762-1828

Scope and Contents note

This subseries contains both personal and business correspondence.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Correspondence
1762, 1789
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Correspondence
1790-1798
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Correspondence
1802-1809
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Correspondence
1815-1828

Subseries II: Business Records, 1753-1842, undated

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1753-1759
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1760-1765
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1766-1769
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1770-1779
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1782-1789
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1790-1799
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1800-1804
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1805-1812
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1815-1818
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1820-1824
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1836-1843
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Ship's Account Book, William & Mary
1759-1763
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Ship's Account Book, Cornelia
1763-1774
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Ship's Account Book, [ Cornelia?]
1765-1767
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Ship's Account Book, [ Cornelia?]
1768-1769
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Daybook
1784-1785
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Daybook
1785-1786
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Bills of Lading
1753-1762
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Bills of Lading
1763-1769
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Bills of Lading
1770-1811
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Bills of Lading
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Freight Lists
1755-1768
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Freight Lists
1800-1805
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Freight Lists
1806
Box: 2 Folder : 14 Freight Lists
1807-1811
Box: 2 Folder : 15 Passenger Lists
1805-1807
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Portage Bills, Seaman's Wages
1755, undated
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Warfage Book
1789-1790
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Ship's Log, William & Mary
1762
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Ship's Log, Cornelia
1766-1768
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Ship's Log, [ Cornelia?]
1768-1770
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Ship's Log, [Unknown]
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Marine Insurance Policies
1759-1769
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Marine Insurance Policies
1770-1774
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Legal Documents
1753-1815
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Bills of Exchange
1774, 1802-1816
Box: 3 Folder : 11 Cashier's Checks
1795-1812
Box: 3 Folder : 12 Currency
1817-1826
Box: 3 Folder : 13 Promissory Notes
1793-1800
Box: 3 Folder : 14 Promissory Notes
1801-1819
Box: 3 Folder : 15 Miscellaneous Documents
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 16 Index Book
undated
Volume: 1 Folder : General Account Book
1772-1777
Volume: 2 Folder : Daybook
1784-1785
Volume: 3 Folder : Daybook
1796-1801
Volume: 4 Folder : Daybook
1801-1807
Volume: 5 Folder : Ledger
1808-1821
Volume: 6 Folder : Notes Made and Accepted
1817-1822
Volume: 7 Folder : Receipt Book
1794-1804
Volume: 8 Folder : Receipt Book
1822-1827

Subseries III: Family Financial Records, 1756-1843, undated

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 17 Slavery Documents
1760, 1763
Box: 3 Folder : 18 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1756-1774
Box: 3 Folder : 19 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1782-1789
Box: 3 Folder : 20 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1790-1798
Box: 3 Folder : 21 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
1802-1827
Box: 3 Folder : 22 Accounts, Bills, Receipts
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 23 New-York Marine Society Membership Dues
1788-1809
Box: 3 Folder : 24 Newspaper Subscription Receipts
1790-1843

Subseries IV: Property and Estate Records, 1783-1909, undated

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 25 Home Insurance Policies for 122 William St.
1798, 1812, 1843
Box: 3 Folder : 26 Rent Receipts
1821
Box: 3 Folder : 27 Property Assessments
1793-1840
Box: 3 Folder : 28 Estate of John Finglays
1783, 1805
Box: 3 Folder : 29 Estate of Jacob Tabele
1831
Box: 3 Folder : 30 Photographs and Clippings of 122 William Street
1889, 1909, undated
Box: 3 Folder : 31 Miscellaneous Property and Estate Documents
1827, 1868

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Series II: Buchanan Family, 1787-1820, undated

Scope and Contents note

This series contains business and personal papers related to Thomas Buchanan, his son George Buchanan, and their firm of Thomas Buchanan and Son. Included are correspondence and business papers, as well as materials related to the estate of Thomas Buchanan.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 1 Correspondence
1787-1808
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Correspondence
1810-1814
Box: 4 Folder : 3 Correspondence
1815-1820
Box: 4 Folder : 4 Correspondence
undated
Box: 4 Folder : 5 Accounts, Bills, Receipts and Prices Current
1805-1819
Box: 4 Folder : 6 Bills of Lading
1809, 1817
Box: 4 Folder : 7 Passenger Lists
1807, 1810
Box: 4 Folder : 8 Bills of Exchange, Currency, Promissory Notes
1810-1815
Box: 4 Folder : 9 Business Legal Documents
1807, 1811
Box: 4 Folder : 10 Personal, Property and Estate Records
1812-1823, 1845, undated

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Series III: Riker Family, 1889-1951, undated

Scope and Contents note

This series consists of personal material related to various members of the Riker family, but primarly to Anna Riker. Included are all manner of personal ephemera, photographs, letters, and printed material.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 11 Correspondence
1889-1902
Box: 4 Folder : 12 Personal Ephemera and Photographs
1891-1911, undated
Box: 4 Folder : 13 Postcards
[1912] undated
Box: 4 Folder : 14 Printed Material
1891-1893, 1941, undated
Box: 4 Folder : 15 Daily Planner Belonging to a Member of the Riker Family
1951
Box: 4 Folder : 16 Newspaper Clippings
undated

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