© 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Ludington Family Papers

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

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Susan Kriete

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 08, 2016
Description is in English

Descriptive Summary

Title: Ludington Family Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1776-1945
Dates [bulk]: Bulk, 1840-1860
Abstract: This collection includes correspondence, journals, photographs, and ephemera relating to several generations of Ludington family members in New York City, Carmel, New York, and Wisconsin.
Quantity: 6.0 Linear feet (8 boxes, 9 volumes, 4 oversize folders)
Call Phrase: MS.2962

Return to Top »

Biographical/Historical note

This is a collection of family papers from the descendants of William Ludington, the patriarch of the Ludington family in America. William Ludington emigrated from England and settled in the Massachusetts Bay colony sometime around 1639. The first family member represented in these papers is Henry Ludington (1739-1817), who gained some renown for his involvement in the American Revolution. He served as Colonel of the 7th Regiment of the Dutchess County Militia and was aide to Washington at the Battle of White Plains. He also served as a member of the New York Assembly in the 1770's and 1780's.

Henry Ludington's oldest daughter, Sybil, also played a role in Revolutionary events, one that earned her fame as a female Paul Revere. According to a 1907 article by her great-nephew, Connecticut historian Louis S. Patrick, 16-year-old Sybil Ludington rode about forty miles through the night of 26 April 1777 to warn the militiamen under her father's command that the British were burning Danbury, Connecticut. Although Colonel Ludington's troops arrived too late to save Danbury, they fought with British troops as they left the area. After the war, Sybil Ludington married Edward Ogden and they had one child. There is a small amount of material relating to Sybil Ludington and the Ogden family included in the collection.

The bulk of the collection relates to the family of Lewis Ludington, Henry Ludington's sixth son and youngest child. Lewis Ludington was born in Fredericksburg, New York, on June 25, 1786. With his brother Frederick, Lewis ran a general store near their home. He married Polly Townsend and in 1816, they moved to the village of Carmel. Although Carmel remained the family homestead, in the 1830's Lewis and his nephew, Harrison Ludington, bought land in Wisconsin and formed in Milwaukee the general mercantile firm of Ludington, Burchard & Co. Harvey Burchard, also of Carmel, retired a year or two later, and the firm became Ludington & Company. One of the foremost businesses in Milwaukee, Ludington and Co. also owned docks there, and had lumber mills at Oconto. About 1843, Lewis bought a tract of land in Columbia County, which he subsequently laid out as the town of Columbia. He was prominently involved in the development of the city until his death in 1857.

Lewis and Polly had nine children. The most represented in this collection is their fifth child, Charles Ludington. Charles was born at Carmel, New York, on February 1, 1825. In 1842, he became a clerk in a wholesale dry-goods store in New York, and later was a partner in the firm of Lathrop, Ludington & Company. One of the leading dry-goods firms of New York, the business was located first on Cortlandt Street, and later on Park Row. Like others in its field, the firm did a considerable amount of business with the Southern states before the Civil War. A strong Union supporter, Charles contributed to recruiting and equipping troops in New York City and Putnam County, but hired a substitute to serve for him as a soldier. He was involved with many civic and cultural institutions in New York throughout his life.

Charles corresponded frequently with his younger brother, James Ludington. James was born at Carmel on April 18, 1827. In 1843, he went to Milwaukee to work in Ludington and Co., the firm founded by his father, Lewis Ludington. James also aided his father in founding the town of Columbus. He later acquired extensive sawmills on the Pere Marquette River, in Michigan, and founded the town of Ludington there.

The collection also includes some photograph albums of Charles' son, Charles Henry Ludington, Jr., and his wife Ethel Mildred Saltus.

More complete family history will be found in the Ludington-Saltus Records volume, which is part of the collection.

Return to Top »

Scope and Contents note

The Ludington Family Papers span several generations but relate chiefly to Lewis Ludington (1786-1857) and his family, in particular, his sons Charles (1825-1910) and James (1827-1891). Papers include correspondence relating to family and business matters, financial records of the family's assorted business interests, and family portraits and photograph albums. Family members were located in New York City, in Carmel, New York, and in Wisconsin, and their correspondence describes aspects of life in all three locations.

Of particular interest is a journal kept by Charles Ludington from 1842-1848, documenting his life in New York City, his visits to the family home in Carmel, New York, and his travels west to the family business established in Wisconsin. The collection also includes printed material and ephemera reflecting Charles' membership and participation in many of New York's leading cultural and civic institutions, in particular those relating to art. The collection includes invitations and tickets to various exhibitions, as well as correspondence between Charles and prominent American artists Sanford Gifford, Jervis McAntee, and Charles Wrey, from whom Charles apparently purchased original works of art. Other highlights include correspondence and ephemera relating to the Civil War and Lincoln's assassination.

The collection also contains a few business records, including two account books which appear to be from the store Lewis Ludington opened in 1817 with his older brother Frederick.

More detailed information about the contents will be found in the Scope and Contents notes for each series.

Return to Top »

Return to Top »

Administrative Information

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. Researchers on site may print out unlimited copies from microfilm reader-printer machines at per-exposure rates. See guidelines in Reading Room for details. 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.) Items that include presidential signatures will be presented to researchers in duplicate form.

Use Restrictions

This collection is owned by the New-York Historical Society. The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation note

This collection should be cited as the Ludington Family Papers, MS 2962, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials at Other Institutions

A collection of correspondence to and from George W. Ludington (brother of Charles Ludington) is held by the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

The papers of Harrison Ludington are held by The State Historical Society of Wisconsin.


Gift of Jane Ludington, 2015.

Return to Top »

Container List

Series I: Genealogical and biographical material

Scope and Contents note

This series includes genealogical research and notes of various Ludington family members. Also included are two books with more detailed biographical and genealogical information: a memoir of Colonel Henry Ludington, by Willis Fletcher Johnson, and the Ludington-Saltus Records, compiled by Ethel (Saltus) Ludington. There is also a copy of The Spy Unmasked, by H.S. Barnum, an account of Enoch Crosby, a Patriot spy during the Revolution. Crosby was friendly with Colonel Henry Ludington, sometimes lodging with the family, and is believed to be the model for the character Harvey Birch in James Fenimore Cooper's novel  The Spy.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Biographical sketches and genealogies
1878, 1886, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Background information, Colonel Henry Ludington (includes artotype facsimiles of military appointments and other historic documents)
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Correspondence regarding family history
1882-1894, 1974
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Correspondence and news clippings regarding Sybil Ludington
1888-1894, 1988
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Pamphlets on history of Quaker Hill
1905, 1907
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Putnam County memorabilia (includes artotype facsimiles of historical documents and paintings)
1853, undated
Volume: BV Ludington 1 Folder : Colonel Henry Ludington, A Memoir, by Willis Fletcher Johnson
Volume: BV Ludington 2 Folder : Ludington-Saltus Records, edited by Louis Effingham DeForest
Volume: BV Ludington 3 Folder : The Spy Unmasked; or, Memoirs of Enoch Crosby, alias Harvey Birch, by H.L. Barnum

Return to Top »

Series II: Correspondence and journals

Scope and Contents note

This series consists primarily of correspondence between the members of Lewis Ludington's family: his wife, Polly, and children Laura, Delia, William Edgar, Robert, Charles, James, Lavinia, Emily and Amelia. The majority of the letters are to or from Charles Ludington. Topics include school, travel, and business matters of Charles Ludington's dry goods business in New York City, and of the family lumber business in Milwaukee.

Notable letters include a description of traveling through Detroit in the 1840's; a description of the Whig parade in New York on October 30, 1844; a letter regretting Henry Clay losing the election of 1844; various letters about Lavinia attending the Rutgers Female Institute; a letter describing the fire at Niblo's Garden in 1846; a description of the funeral of John Quincy Adams in 1848; a rapturous letter about seeing singer Jenny Lind in 1850; and a letter expressing outrage over Lincoln's assassination in 1865. There are a few letters from James Ludington in the 1860's on the topic of his sister Laura's husband Robert, who was an alcoholic. Most of the later family correspondence is between Charles and James, and deals primarily with business matters.

In addition to family correspondence, there is a folder of letters from George W. Chapman, agent for Lathrop, Ludington & Co., to Charles Ludington, regarding business and employment matters. There is also one folder of correspondence from various other non-family members, primarily concerning business matters. Correspondents include Robert Lathrop, Panama Canal promoter Frederick Kelley, and Congressmen Augustus Frank, George W. Patterson, and William Walter Phelps.

Two additional folders of correspondence have been organized by topic: "Civil War Correspondence" deals primarily with recruiting efforts in Carmel, New York, which Charles Ludington supported; and "Art Correspondence," which includes letters between Charles Ludington and various artists and art dealers, including Jervis McEntee, Sanford Gifford, and Jacob Wrey Mould.

This series also includes a journal kept by Charles Ludington from 1842 to 1847. It includes colorful descriptions of various events in New York City, such as the procession to celebrate completion of the Croton Aqueduct, and gives a real flavor of daily life during that time period. Charles made frequent visits to the family home in Carmel and also describes trips to and from the Wisconsin Territory, where his father had established a lumber business. A transcription of the journal is also included.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Correspondence, Henry and Sybil Ludington
1802, 1833-1838
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Family correspondence
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Family correspondence (primarily Charles to parents)
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Family correspondence
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Family correspondence (Jenny Lind letter)
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Family correspondence
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Family correspondence
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Family correspondence
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Family correspondence
1857, 1859-1862
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Family correspondence
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Family correspondence
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Family correspondence
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Family correspondence (includes Harrison Ludington)
1870-1879, 1885
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Correspondence, George W. Chapman
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Other correspondence
Oversize: medium Folder : Luddington OS1 Letter from Edward Morgan to Lewis Enoch
1819 January
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Civil war correspondence
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Letters from artists and art dealers to Charles Ludington (including Jarvis McEntee, Sandford Robinson Gifford, Laurent Thompson and others)
Volume: BV Ludington 4 Folder : Journal of Charles Luddington
Volume: BV Ludington 4A Journal of Charles Luddington (transcription)
Volume: BV Ludington 5 Folder : Address book with descriptions of local businessmen
Volume: BV Ludington 6 Folder : List and description of property in Pine Lands prepared by James Ludington

Return to Top »

Series III: Financial and legal documents

Scope and Contents note

This series contains a variety of financial and legal records, primarily of Lewis Ludington and Charles Ludington. It includes two account books which appear to be from the store Lewis opened in 1817 with his older brother Frederick, along with assorted loose receipts and accounts. Also included are receipts of banking transactions with various New York firms, including Meigs & Greenleaf, Robinson, Chase & Co., and others. Legal documents include successive partnership agreements between Charles Ludington and Richard Lathrop, and statements relating to the estate of Charles Ludington. Also included are Henry Ludington's military commissions and the will of Elisha Ludington, Henry Ludington's uncle and father-in-law.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Oversize: medium Folder : Ludington OS1 Deeds for property in Fredericksburg
1761, 1771
Oversize: Medium Folder : Ludington OS1 Will of Elisha Ludington
Oversize: Medium Folder : OS1 Commission of Henry Ludington as Colonel of Militia for Duchess County (facsimile)
Oversize: Medium Folder : Ludington OS1 Commission of Henry Ludington as Lieutenant of Militia for Duchess County
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Receipts and accounts (Henry Ludington, Frederick Ludington, Samuel Townsend)
Volume: BV Ludington 7-8 Folder : Account books (2)
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Banking and brokerage transactions
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Partnership agreements, Lathrop and Ludington; estate of Charles H. Ludington
1848, 1853, 1910-1912

Return to Top »

Series IV: Printed material and ephemera

Scope and Contents note

This series contains invitations, calling and business cards, programs, menus, and other ephemera from the many civic and cultural institutions with which Charles Ludington was associated. These include the Citizens Association of New York, the Chamber of Commerce, the New York Young Men's Christian Association, the Century Club, the American Art Union, the National Academy of Design, and many others.

Civil war related ephemera includes confederate currency and newspapers, U.S.Sanitary Fair Commission announcements, reports from various relief associations, menus and other printed material from the Union League, a printed program of George Bancroft's eulogy for Abraham Lincoln, and the crepe mourning band Charles Ludington wore following Lincoln's assassination.

Other notable items include an invitation and seating chart for the banquet honoring the officers of the French National Ship Isere, which carried the Statue of Liberty to the United States; invitations to and announcements of art exhibitions and auctions; and a solicitation of paintings from private collections for the opening of the new Metropolitan Museum building in Central Park.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 8 School exercises and other family memorabilia; application for membership in Sons of the American Revolution
1830's, undated
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Hotel and store receipts; telegrams
Box: 3 Folder : 11 Calling and business cards; newspaper advertisement for Lathrop and Ludington
Box: 3 Folder : 12 News clippings
1830's, 1850's, 1890's, undated
Oversize: large Folder : Ludington OS2 New York Sun
1877 March 3
Oversize: large Folder : Ludington OS2 Carnival Issue of the New Orleans Picayne newspaper
1901 February 18
Box: 4 Folder : 1 Civil war -- events and organizations
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Civil war -- Lincoln assassination, confederacy, 13th Amendment
Box: 4 Folder : 3 Civic and business associations (includes certificate for admission of destitute patient to Bellevue Hospital)
Oversize: Medium Folder : Ludington OS3 Certificates of membership; application for membership in the New York State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution
1878-1890, undated
Box: 4 Folder : 4 Banquets and meetings
Box: 4 Folder : 5 Art and cultural organizations
1849-1881, undated
Box: 4 Folder : 6 Opera librettos and play books
circa 1880's, 1902
Box: 4 Folder : 7 Opera librettos
circa 1890's-1900's
Box: 4 Folder : 8 Funeral program and condolences, Charles H. Ludington
Volume: BV Ludington 9 Folder : Manual for the Use of the Legislature of the State of New York

Return to Top »

Series V: Photographs, prints and drawings

Scope and Contents note

This series consists primarily of photos taken on trips of the family of Charles Ludington, Jr. and his wife, Ethel Saltus Ludington. Also included are other family portraits, and a framed drawing of a farm by Charles Ludington.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 1 Loose travel photos (primarily European locations)
circa 1890's-1900's
Box: 5 Folder : 2 Photo album, Alaska (disbound)
Box: 5 Folder : 3 Photo album, Alaska
Box: 5 Folder : 4 Photo album, Alaska
Box: 6 Folder : 1 Photo album, Bermuda (honeymoon of Charles H. and Ethel M. [Saltus] Ludington)
Box: 6 Folder : 2 Photo album, possibly Yellowstone
Box: 6 Folder : 3 Photo album, Venice and other European locations
Box: 6 Folder : 4 Photo album, unidentified travels
Box: 7 Folder : 1 Photo album, Vancouver Island, Canadian Rockies, Winnipeg, Lake of the Woods, Lachine Rapids
Box: 7 Folder : 2-3 Photo album, Switzerland and France (disbound)
Box: 7 Folder : 4 Portraits of family members (photographs)
1870's-1900's, 1945
Box: 7 Folder : 5 Portraits of Lewis Ludington, James Ludington, Nelson Ludington, and unidentified woman (prints)
circa 1870's
Box: 7 Folder : 6 Images of Lewis Ludington's home in Carmel, NY (photographs and prints); photographs of Ludingtonville, NY
Box: 7 Folder : 7 Hand-drawn plan and list of modifications to Lewis Ludington's home in Carmel, NY
1854, undated
Box: 7 Folder : 8 Photograph of waterfall at country home of I. Lyton Register near Ardmore, PA; photograph of William Cullen Bryant bust; Harvey Birch, The Peddlar Spy (engraving); other prints of historical subjects (Frederick Barracks, Embarkation of Mayflower, and others)
1868, undated
Oversize: small Folder : Ludington OS4 Drawing of a farm by Charles Ludington
circa 1880

Return to Top »

Series VI: Printing plates and personal effects

Scope and Contents note

This series consists primarily of engraving plates depicting family members and residences, most likely used for the genealogical volumes published by the family. A few family artifacts are also included.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 7 Folder : 9 Eagle pins; medals from unveiling of Joan of Arc statue in NYC
1915, undated
Box: 7 Folder : 10 Watch of Lewis Ludington
Box: 7 Folder : 11 Tooth (pulled tooth of Lewis Ludington?)
Box: 7 Folder : 12 Engraving plate, Lewis Ludington's home in Carmel
Box: 8 Folder : 1 Engraving plate, portrait of Lewis Ludington
Box: 8 Folder : 2-3 Copper engraving plates (house in Carmel and other scenes)
Box: 8 Folder : 4 Glass plate negative image of map (Ludingtonville?)

Return to Top »

Return to Top »