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Guide to the Strong 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 Catherine Newton. Machine-readable finding aid created by Catherine Newton and Susan Kriete.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 21, 2012
Finding Aid is written in English.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Strong Family Papers
Dates: 1747-1940
Abstract: This collection contains assorted papers of the Strong family of New York and Long Island. It consists of two separate acquisitions, arranged as two series. Series I includes correspondence and other documents spanning three generations of Strongs: Selah Strong (1737-1815), Benjamin Strong (1770-1851), and George Washington Strong (1793-1855) [father of noted diarist George Templeton Strong]. Series II consists of the diaries and a few other papers from the estate of George Ruggles Strong (1851-1941)[George Templeton Strong's son]. Also included in Series II are approximately one hundred family photographs.
Quantity: 0.5 Linear feet (4 boxes)
Language of Materials note: The documents in this collection are in English.
Call Phrase: MS602

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Biographical note

The Strong family of Long Island and New York City traces its American roots to Elder John Strong, an early Puritan who settled in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1659. The family boasts many distinguished members, including the noted diarist Geroge Templeton Strong (whose diaries are held by N-YHS in a separate collection).

Three generations of the Strong family are represented in the original series of this collection. Selah Strong (1737-1815) married Anna Smith, daughter of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Colony of New York in 1760. He served in the American Revolution as a captain, fought in the Battle of Long Island, and was captured and held on a Jersey prison ship. He was the first judge of the Court of Common Pleas, a senator from 1792 to 1800, and treasurer of Suffolk County from 1786 to 1802.

His son, Benjamin Strong (1770-1851), was a clerk in the US Treasury Department under Alexander Hamilton (1789-190); merchant in New York City (1791-1809); president of the New York Sugar Refining Co. (1809-31); president of the Dry Dock Company (1833-37); and president of the Seaman's Bank for Savings (1834-51). He also served for 31 years as engineer of the Fire Department, and was an elder in both the Cedar Street and Pearl Street Presbyterian churches and an executive member of the American Bible Society.

George Washington Strong (1793-1855), the son of Benjamin, was a prominent New York lawyer and a founding partner of the firm that became Cadwallader, Wickersham and Taft. His son, George Templeton Strong, was also a successful lawyer but attained his greatest renown posthumously, when his diaries were discovered and published in 1952.

John Ruggles Strong (1851-1941), the son of George Templeton Strong, is represented in a second series of separately acquired materials. A lawyer, musician and poet, John Ruggles Strong also kept a diary which is held in this collection.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection includes correspondence, diaries, deeds, personal notes, and photographs of members of the Strong family located in Long Island and New York City.

The collection consists of two separate acquisitions, arranged in two series. Series I, Early Generations, consists mainly of correspondence from Benjamin Strong in New York City to his father and other members of his immediate family, spanning the period from 1790 to 1839. Letters to Selah Strong concern New York State politics (Selah Strong was elected New York State senator in 1792), Tammany Hall's support of Strong in his campaign for the senate, comments on Greenleaf's New York Journal, as well as family and business matters, sale of farm animals, fire wood, farm products, etc., in New York City. Additional correspondence includes 35 letters from Benjamin to his brother, Thomas S. Strong, a farmer in Brookhaven, Long Island, concerning family matters, his management of Thomas's financial affairs in New York City, and the sale of farm produce, meat, fire wood, fence posts, and hoop poles in New York City; letters to his brother George Washington Strong, on Long Island, many concerning the yellow fever epidemic of 1822 in New York City; letters to Rev. Isaac Ferris, concerning his appointment to the Pearl Street Presbyterian Church; and letters to various other family members, including Caroline A. S. Strong, Selah B. Strong, and a letter addressed to Selah Strong from his wife, Anna Strong, Feb. 28, 1800. Also included are approximately 21 deeds, releases, receipts, and related documents concerning title to property on John Street, New York City, owned by Benjamin Strong in 1832; accounts of Thomas S. Strong with his brother Benjamin, 1795-1847; and legal papers involving a trust for James H. Woodhull, "an idiot," (son of Benjamin's brother-in-law) and the members of assigned committee on his estate, including Benjamin and George W. Strong

Series II consists of diary entries and assorted other documents from John Ruggles Strong (the son of noted diarist George Templeton Strong). The first diary (bound) records John's activities over a 25 year period, from 1909 (at which point John Ruggles Strong was a retired widower) to 1936. Frequent mention is made of his adult son George Templeton Strong III (born 1888). The two had a contentious relationship. From 1923 to 1937, John began keeping a separate diary on loose sheets, with each page headed "George," to record his son's activities and their stormy relationship. At least one entry touches upon the ethnic transition of their uptown neighborhood, Hamilton Heights in West Harlem: "George says the owner or manager of the tennis court in front of his house, a Jew named Ullman, has rented teh court to Negroes, refusing to rent it any longer to the present white tenants" (December 1, 1934). Series II also includes approximately 100 family photographs, including portraits of family members from earlier generations.

Arrangement note

The collection consists of two separate acquisitions of Strong family material that has been arranged in two series.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Strong, Anna
  • Strong, Benjamin, 1770-1851
  • Strong, George Ruggles, 1851-1941
  • Strong, George Washington, 1783-1855
  • Strong, Selah, 1737-1815
  • Strong, Thomas S., 1765-1840

Document Type

  • Accounts
  • Deeds
  • Diaries
  • Financial records
  • Journals
  • Legal documents
  • Photographs
  • Tintypes

Subject Topics

  • Family--New York (State)--New York
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Social Life and Customs

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access note

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.)

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

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

Related Material at the New-York Historical Society

George Templeton Strong's diary can be accessed using the library catalog.


Dwight, Benjamin W. (1975). The History of the descendants of elder John Strong of Northampton, Mass.. Baltimore: Gateway Press.

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Container List

Series I. Early Generations (1747-1848), 1747-1848

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Photocopied material relating to Benjamin Strong
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Business Financial Records
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Correspondence-Anna Strong to Selah Strong
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Correspondence-Benjamin Strong to Caroline A. Strong
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Correspondence-Benjamin Strong to George Washington Strong
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Correspondence-Benjamin Strong to Rev. Isaac Ferris
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Correspondence-Benjamin Strong to Selah Strong
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Correspondence-Benjamin Strong to Selah Strong
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Correspondence-Benjamin Strong to Thomas S. Strong
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Correspondence-George Washington Strong to Thomas S. Strong
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Deeds
Box: Oversize Small Folder : Strong Family-Deeds Deeds
Box: Oversize Medium Folder : Strong Family-Deeds Deeds
Box: Oversize-Medium Folder : Strong Family-Deeds Deeds
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Invitation to Princeton Commencement Ball
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Legal and Financial Documents
1783-1841, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Miscellaneous Writings
1839, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Print of George Washington Strong

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Series II. George Ruggles Strong

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Photocopied census reports and registration card
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Steinway Hall concert program featuring Symphonic Poem composed by George Templeton Strong
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Diary-Bound-John Ruggles Strong
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Diary-Loose-John Ruggles Strong
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Diary-"Special Events"-John Ruggles Strong
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Newspaper Clippings
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Personal Notes
1920-1928, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Photographs-Vacation in Marblehead, MA
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Photographs-Portraits
1853-1899, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Photographs-Tintypes
Box: 3 Folder : Photograph Album-Portraits
Box: 4 Folder : Photograph Album-Vacation in Catskills

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