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Guide to the Low, Fleming, and King Family Papers
 MS 3091

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Joseph Ditta

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 01, 2019
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents

Merchant Nicholas Low (1739–1826), in partnership with his brothers-in-law Hugh and Alexander Wallace, and nephew, William Wallace, imported Irish linens, salt, gunpowder, dry goods, and wine, while exporting corn, wheat, tobacco, rice, cotton, potash, and flaxseed. The collection includes letters from a number of his business contacts such as Magrath & Higgins (Madeira), Post & Russell (New York), Widow John Lang, Son & Co. (Bremen), James Waring & Co. (London), Richard H. Wilcocks & Co. (Philadelphia), and Ramsey, Gatchell and Bancroft (Waterford, Ireland). Also present is a 1794 letter from Alexander Hamilton, the postscript to which congratulates Low on his recent marriage, and a letter from Low's daughter, Henrietta, showing concern for the fate of Baltimore in the days following the British attack on Fort McHenry of September 13–14, 1814. (See Series I.)

Augustus Fleming, stepson of Nicholas Low, is represented by a few items: one letter (1828), a receipt (1865), and canceled checks (1845, 1863–1864). (See Series II.)

Nicholas Low's daughter, Henrietta Liston Low (1799-1882), married Charles King (1789-1867), son of diplomat Rufus King (1755-1827), so the collection includes some material (largely correspondence and receipts) from their descendants, such as the commission of son Cornelius Low King (1829–1893) as First Lieutenant in the 14th Regiment of Infantry during the Civil War. (See Series III.)

A group of miscellaneous documents—some possibly originating with the King family, but not identified as such—includes letters, receipts, two printed items to the Veterans of the Seventh Regiment, and a photoreproduction of a bas relief portrait of Abraham Lincoln. (See Series IV).

The collection includes an assemblage probably made by a numismatist and/or a philatelist, as it contains examples of foreign paper currency, and postage and revenue stamps torn or soaked from documents (in many cases the stamps remain attached to fragments of documents). In August 1862, the United States (Union) government began taxing various goods, services, and legal transactions. Taxes were paid by purchasing a revenue stamp of the appropriate denomination and affixing it to the taxable item. (See Series V.)


The collection is organized in five series, with material sorted chronologically within each series:

Series I
 Nicholas Low and Low & Wallace, 1794-1814
Series II
 Augustus Fleming, 1828-1865
Series III
 King family, 1861-1934
Series IV
 Miscellaneous documents, 1868-1908, undated
Series V
 Philately, postal history, numismatics, circa 1862-1945, undated