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Guide to the Rogers Family Papers
1614-1950 (bulk 1831-1950)
  MS 523

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

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Kaitlyn Medley & Megan Dolan

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on January 09, 2015
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

The Rogers Family Papers documents the family life and career of John Rogers, Jr. (1829-1904), the famous sculptor and former machinist, as well as Rogers family members dating back to the early 17th century. Notable ancestors included are Reverend John Rogers (1572-1636) of Dedham, Essex, descendant of the Martyr John Rogers and Reverend John Rogers (1630-1684), 5th President of Harvard University (1682-1684). Divided into two series, John Rogers, Jr. and the Rogers Family, the former consists of both personal and business letters, writings, drawings, and financial documents accumulated by John Rogers, Jr. through out his life. The latter series contains personal correspondence created or received by the immediate family members John Rogers, Jr. such as his sisters, father, or children. The second series also holds sermons, correspondence, and journals of Rogers family ancestors passed down from one generation to the next, and genealogical accounts, obituaries and timelines put together by later generations.

The letters of John Rogers, Jr. date back to his youth in Roxbury, Massachusetts and continue through his occupation as a machinist in New Hampshire, New York, and Missouri to his later career as a sculptor in New York City and New Canaan, Connecticut. As a sculptor of renown in the late 19th century, the correspondence of John Rogers, Jr. includes letters to and from some prominent figures, Henry Ward Beecher, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Grover Cleveland. Rogers' sculptures often reflected themes of the Civil War which included and enthused some of these men, prompting notes of thanks and recognition. His lengthier communication with Henry Ward Beecher followed Rogers' 1860 exhibition of the first of a series of Civil War series called "The Slave Auction." The papers of John Rogers, Jr. additionally include personal writings and drawings that he created primarily in young adulthood, such as sketches from his trip to Spain in 1849 as well as animated short stories. John Rogers, Jr. also preserved important letters, contracts, and patents from his career as a sculptor. These records have been arranged in the last subseries and largely include correspondence relating to exhibitions of Rogers Groups and donations of statues by Rogers to museums and galleries.

The Rogers Family Papers consist of the correspondence of immediate family members of John Rogers, Jr., including his parents John Rogers, Sr. and Sarah Ellen Derby, siblings, most prominently Ellen Rogers, wife Harriet M. F. Rogers, and children, primarily Derby and Katherine R. Rogers. The family correspondence is largely comprised of communication between family members, but also in the case of Derby and Katherine R. Rogers, business correspondence relating to the Rogers Groups after their father's death. Rogers Family Papers also consist of the letters, diaries and sermons of ancestors, many of whom were Protestant religious leaders. The final subseries of the collection contains genealogical records collected by the younger generation of the Rogers family. Included are notes and letters, timelines, a scrapbook, and an extensive hand-written timeline dating back to the 15th century.


The records are organized into the following 3 series:

  1. Series I: John Rogers, Jr.
  2. Series II: Rogers Family
  3. Series III: Photocopies of Rogers Family Documents