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Guide to the Scrapbooks of Charles Simpson
  MS 2405

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

@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Gabrielle Sanchez

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 04, 2011
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Charles Simpson Scrapbooks
Dates: 1864-1904
Abstract: Two scrapbooks containing letters, photographs, and memorabilia collected by Charles Augustus Simpson, his wife Julia Wolff Simpson, and their son, Edward Charles Simpson.
Quantity: 0.5 Linear feet (2 volumes)
Location note: Manuscript cage
Call Phrase: MS 2405

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Biographical Note

1842 Charles Augustus Simpson is born in Stockholm, Sweden
1853 Julia Wolff is born in Utica, New York
1863-1864 Charles leaves Sweden for New York City
1864-1865 Charles joins the United States Navy, serving on the USS Cayuga in the Gulf of Mexico
1874 Charles and Julia marry
1876 Edward Charles Simpson is born
1878 Fanny Elizabeth Simpson is born
1882 Fanny dies
1890-1894 The family moves to Dresden, Germany (and later Brussels, Belgium) for the purpose of providing Edward an education in a European school. During this period, Charles and Julia travel extensively throughout Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
1894 The family returns to New York. Edward enrolls in Packard's Business College.
1909 Charles dies
1933 Edward dies

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Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of two scrapbooks. The first, titled "Ancestral Records of the Simpson Family and of their Kindred by Marriage, from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Time," consists primarily of autobiographical accounts written by Charles, Julia, and Edward Simpson. Charles describes his childhood in Sweden, his arduous trip to the United States, his brief service in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War, and his successful career as a real estate agent. He also explains his decision to have his son educated in Europe, and describes his numerous trips overseas. Finally, he provides a great deal of detail about some of the illnesses he suffered later in life. Julia's brief account focuses on her childhood and young adulthood in Utica, New York and New York City. Edward's autobiography, written at the age of twenty-eight, describes his childhood in New York City, his schooling in Europe and at Packard's Business College, and his employment subsequent to his graduation. The autobiographies are accompanied by a few maps and a great many photographs of New York City, the family, their trips abroad, and their home. This volume also contains a detailed family tree, tracing the Simpson family to seventeenth-century Sweden, and the Wolff family to eighteenth-century France and Germany.

The second volume, titled "Miscellaneous Records of the Simpson Family and of their Kindred by Marriage. Book Number One." contains letters, photographs, legal documents, receipts, sketches, and other materials collected by the members of the Simpson family. Charles Simpson was an amateur photographer, and the scrapbook contains a great many photographs of New York City, including Coney Island and the Statue of Liberty, as well as photographs of Italy, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Egypt, Turkey, and other destinations the family visited in the 1890s. In addition, Charles was a member of the Society of Amateur Photographers. A few articles which he published in The American Amateur Photographer are inserted in the scrapbook. Also included are ticket stubs, currency, travel itineraries, maps, and postcards from various foreign countries. Materials relating to Charles' business as a real estate agent include some photographs of his shop, business cards, and some financial papers. Among the official documents are Charles' passports, his U.S. citizenship papers, and Edward's birth certificate. There are also many items related to Edward's schooling, including his report cards from his grammar school in New York, assignments he completed for his German school in New York, report cards from his school in Dresden, and assignments and report cards from Packard's Business College.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Simpson, Charles Augustus (1842-1909)
  • Simpson, Edward Charles (1876-1933)
  • Simpson, Julia Wolff (b. 1853)

Document Type

  • Certificates
  • Correspondence
  • Currency
  • Notes
  • Photographs
  • Postcards
  • Receipts
  • Sketches
  • Tickets

Subject Topics

  • Business education
  • Cayuga (Screw gunboat)
  • Education - Germany
  • Education - New York (City) - 19th century
  • Egypt-Description and travel
  • Europe-Description and travel
  • Packard's Business College
  • Photographers
  • Society of Amateur Photographers of New York
  • Sweden - emigration and immigration
  • United States - History - Civil War, 1861-1865
  • USS Vermont

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Administrative Information


Donation, 2004.

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

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.

Use Restrictions

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

Library Director
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as The Charles Simpson Scrapbooks, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

Lantern slide collection, PR-070-01 and Transparency file, PR-070

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Container List

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 1 Ancestral Record of the Simpson Family and of their Kindred by Marriage, From the Seventeenth Century to the Present Time.
1863-1904, n.d.
Volume: 2 Miscellaneous records of the Simpson Family and of Their Kindred by Marriage. Book Number One.

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