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Guide to the Ray Family Papers
1794 - 1889
 MS 513

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


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Ashley Todd

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on December 13, 2011
Finding Aid is written in English

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: Ray Family Papers
Dates: 1794-1889
Abstract: The Ray Family was a prominent New York City family in the nineteenth century. Family members include Cornelius Ray (1755-1827), Robert Ray (1794-1879), Richard Ray (1799-1836) and Robert Ray Hamilton (1851-1890), the great grandson of Alexander Hamilton and primary member of the family featured in this collection. The majority of the materials concern a scandal Hamilton was the victim of, between August and November 1889, when a woman named Evangeline (Eva) Mann falsely led him to believe he was the father of a baby, Beatrice, who she had reportedly purchased from a midwife.
Quantity: 0.75 Linear feet (2 boxes)
Call Phrase: MS 513

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Biographical/Historical note

The Ray Family was a prominent New York City family in the nineteenth century. Family members include Cornelius Ray (1755-1827), Robert Ray (1794-1879), Richard Ray (1799-1836) and Robert Ray Hamilton (1851-1890), the great grandson of Alexander Hamilton and primary member of the family featured in this collection.

Robert Ray Hamilton was born in New York City on March 18, 1851 to Schuyler Hamilton and Cornelia Ray and attended Columbia College and Law School. He practiced law for a few years and then discovered an interest in politics. Hamilton was elected a member of Legislature from 1887-89 and served as the Republican Assemblyman in the eleventh district in 1881 and from 1886-88.

In the mid-1880s Hamilton began an unfortunate relationship with Evangeline (Eva) Mann, which resulted in a scandal that captivated public attention for months. Hamilton secretly married her in January 1889 after she convinced him that he had fathered a baby, Beatrice, who she had reportedly purchased from a midwife. In August of that year Hamilton discovered that not only had Eva lied to him about Beatrice, but that she was still reportedly married to her first husband, Joshua Mann. During an argument about Mann, Eva attempted to attack Hamilton with a knife; however, failing to hit him, she turned her attack on a maid, Mary Donnelly, who she suspected of telling Hamilton the truth about Beatrice and Mann. As punishment for stabbing and nearly killing Mary, Eva was sentenced in September 1889 to two years in the state prison in Trenton, NJ. By October Hamilton began the process of having his marriage with Eva annulled.

In May 1890 Hamilton left New York to take part in a hunting trip in the West. However, he soon made headlines again when he was found drowned in Yellowstone National Park's Snake River that September.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection contains correspondence, deeds and business records from the Ray Family, primarily belonging to or concerning Robert Ray Hamilton, the great grandson of Alexander Hamilton. The majority of the materials date from a four month period in 1889 following a scandal involving Robert Ray Hamilton and Evangeline (Eva) Mann, a woman he secretly married after she falsely led him to believe that he was the father of a baby, Beatrice, who she had reportedly purchased from a midwife.

Arrangement note

This collection is arranged into the following two series. Within these series materials are organized alphabetically and then chonologically. In the case that an item was undated, it was placed at the end of all similar, dated items.

  1. Series I: Ray Family
  2. Series II: Robert Ray Hamilton

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Hamilton, Alexander , 1757-1804
  • Hamilton, Robert Ray, 1851-1890
  • Hamilton, Schuyler, 1822-1903
  • Ray, Cornelius, 1755-1827
  • Ray, Richard, 1799-1836
  • Ray, Robert, 1794-1879

Document Type

  • Correspondence
  • Deeds
  • Subpoenas
  • Telegrams

Subject Topics

  • Foundlings--New York (State)--New York
  • Scandals --United States

Subject Places

  • New York (N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Custodial History note

Donated to the New-York Historical Society by Albert Paradis in 1980.

Conditions Governing Access note

Open to qualified researchers.

Conditions Governing Use note

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

Preferred Citation note

This collection should be cited as the Ray Family Papers, MS 513, The New-York Historical Society.

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Container List

Series I: Ray Family

Scope and Contents note

This series contains materials including deeds, bills, estate and account statements and notes pertaining to various members of the Ray Family, including Cornelius Ray, Robert Ray, Schuyler Hamilton, Schuyler Hamilton, Jr., Robert Ray Hamilton, Nathalie Baylies and Richard King.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Cornelius Ray, Business Papers
1794-1833
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Deeds
1825-37
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Deeds and Business Papers
1844-56
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Deeds and Business Papers
1868-82, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Estate of Robert Ray, Vouchers and Drafts
1880-84
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Tax Bills
1832-52

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Series II: Robert Ray Hamilton

Scope and Contents note

This series contains materials pertaining to Robert Ray Hamilton. The majority of the materials concern a scandal Hamilton was the victim of, between August and November 1889, when a woman named Evangeline (Eva) Mann falsely led him to believe he was the father of a baby, Beatrice, who she had reportedly purchased from a midwife. Only months after Hamilton secretly married her because of this claim, the truth of the situation was released publicly, resulting in family, friends and the public sending telegrams and writing letters to Hamilton expressing their sympathy for him, outrage at the situation and/or interest in adopting Beatrice. In addition to the correspondence regarding the scandal is the subpoena directing Hamilton to appear in court for Eva's trial, held in September 1889. This series also contains business correspondence regarding Hamilton's work as a lawyer and real estate agent, as well as bills resulting from his efforts to furnish the Republican Headquarters in New York City.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Bills for Furnishing the Republican Headquarters
1888-89
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Business Correspondence
1868-89
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Correspondence from Family
Aug. - Nov. 1889
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Correspondence from Friends
Aug. - Nov. 1889
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Correspondence from the Public
Aug. 1889
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Correspondence from the Public
Sept. 1889
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Correspondence from the Public
Sept. 1889
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Correspondence from the Public
Oct. - Nov. 1889
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Correspondence from the Public
1889, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Subpoena
Sept. 1889
Box: 2 Folder : 14 Telegrams
Aug. - Oct. 1889

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