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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.

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.


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.