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Guide to the Van Ness-Philip Family Papers
1711-1963 (bulk 1711-1945)
  MS 653

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


@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

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

Historical Note

The Van Ness-Philip Family Papers reflect a century of these two connected New York State families' participation in public, commercial, social and military life from the late 1700's to early 1900's.

The collection begins with David Burnes, an original proprietor of land in downtown Washington, D.C. and father-in-law to General John P. Van Ness. John P. Van Ness's involvement in politics, business, banking, the War of 1812, the election of 1828 make him a important figure in the public forum and his many correspondents include Gilbert Stuart, Andrew Jackson, Aaron Burr, John Quincy Adams, John Jacob Astor and Daniel Webster. The Van Ness family papers also include information of Ann E., Cornelius P., James, Marcia, Peter William P. and William W. Van Ness. These papers also document the family carpet business, variously called James Philip and Son, and W.G. Philip and Company.

Military history is also documented in the collection of John Van Ness Philip (d. 1862), an officer who served in both the Mexican and Civil Wars. He took part in the Kossuth mission aboard the U.S.S. Mississippi in 1851 and the invasion of California in 1846 aboard the U.S.S.  Cyane in the Mexican American War.

A large part of the collection focuses on the family of William Henry Philip (ca.1840's-1881), who attended Lenox Academy and Williams College, served in the Civil War, ran for Congress and worked as a lawyer and businessman in Washington, D.C. He married Eliza Worthington Philip (ca.1860's-1896) in 1864 and they had two sons, John Van Ness Philip and Howard Hoffman Philip. The family settled at Talavera in Claverack, Columbia County, New York, and later lived in Washington, D.C. and Europe. John Van Ness Philip attended Princeton, served in the Spanish-American War, was a lawyer and social figure in Washington, D.C. and involved in Columbia County politics. Herman Hoffman Philip, (ca.1870's-1950) attended Cambridge University, traveled in the far West, served with the Rough Riders on San Juan Hill and provided diplomatic service in the Mid-East, Africa, Scandinavia, and South America.

The Worthington family papers include those of Midshipman Thomas B. Worthington and his physician father Charles Worthington, lawyer William M. Worthington John G. Worthington and his early law practice in Cincinnati, Ohio, and later years in Washington, D.C. as well as additional family correspondence.

Genealogical information of the Van Ness family, as well as clippings and mausoleum information, such as the deed and cemetery plot are located at the end of the collection along with genealogical files of the Philip and Worthington families.