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Guide to the James N. Wells' Sons Records
1700s-1981 (bulk, 1820s-1930s)
 MS 599

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer and Elise Winks

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 17, 2021
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Container 1     Title Date
Offsite-Box: 1 Box 1

Scope and Contents

Bulk of the box contents date from 1820s-1860s, with some bills and other documents from 1899-1901. One document dates from 1933, a legal filing for a will/estate settlement that relates to Ogden matters (see box 2). The 1820s documents include, among other matters, the building of a house by Wells on Grand Street for John F. Adriance and a contract by which Peter Perrine apprenticed himself to Wells. Documents from the 1850s include those that relate, among many other matters, to Wells's work for Columbia College trustee G.M. Ogden in leasing out lots on 48th Street. There are also some documents in connection with the Hudson River Rail Road.

1818-1901, 1933
Offsite-Box: 2 Box 2

Scope and Contents

About one-half of the contents dates from the 1820s-1860s. These relate mostly to the Moore properties, but also include personal bills (millinery, groceries, tuition, subscriptions, etc.). There is a subscription book (1831) recording funds collected for construction of the Protestant Episcopal Church of St. Peter.

The second half of the box dates from the 1930s-1940 and relate to investments, taxes, estate matters, etc. for various Ogden family members (e.g., Francis L. Ogden, Gertrude H. Ogden, Clement M. Ogden, et al.). Attorneys William Harison and Thomas H. Hewitt appear here. Maps from 1930 of the Moore properties are here. Some documents are in French, including those related to X-rays (in the file) and medical matters for a Mr. Ogden (1938).

1830s-1860s, 1930s-1940
Offsite-Box: 3 Box 3

Scope and Contents

Includes Wells's copybook of outgoing letters and other documents related to the Protestant Episcopal "French Church," or de Esprit (1830s). There are more documents concerning Wells's work for Columbia College (1860s), specifications for masonry for Benjamin Moore's country house at Sing Sing/Ossining, and Francis Ludlow Ogden-related matters (1900). Along with the usual assortment of Clement Moore documents are specifications for a bulkhead to be built from 19th-24th streets and an 1830 map of lots on 24th street.

1830s-1900
Offsite-Box: 4 Box 4

Scope and Contents

Includes, among the usual Moore and other matters, some documents concerning Columbia College properties and James N. Wells' Sons accounts with Marie Madeleine Isabelle de Courval (1906-09).

1817-1909
Offsite-Box: 5 Box 5

Scope and Contents

Includes, among the usual Moore and other matters, a drawing/plan by Wells, Jr. for a church to be erected at Matagorda, Texas, along with related correspondence (1840s).

1820s-1894
Offsite-Box: 6 Box 6

Scope and Contents

In addition to the usual Moore and other matters, there are specifications for a banking house on Wall Street for the Manhattan Company (undated), various documents related to the Theological Seminary (1830s-40s), correspondence with Abner Lee Clement and others concerning the church in Matagorda, Texas (1840s), and documents concerning Mary Ray de Courval (1860s).

1820s-1890s
Offsite-Box: 7 Box 7

Scope and Contents

Includes many blank church pew deeds for St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Manhattan. Among the many matters are those related to Richard Ray estate (1870s), Francis Ogden (1890s), and Benjamin Moore (1870s-90s)

1871-1900
Offsite-Box: 8 Box 8

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other matters, Robert Ray matters from the 1840s-1901; Moore matters, especially for the 1890s; and bills, etc.

1840s-1901
Offsite-Box: 9 Box 9

Scope and Contents

Includes a typical assortment of bills and checks, with various rentals, Moore and Ray matters, etc.

1839-1898
Offsite-Box: 10 Box 10

Scope and Contents

Includes the usual assortment of checks, and other transactional documents, mostly from the 1880s-90s, though there are Moore documents from the 1830s, and others ranging to about 1917.

1830s-1917
Offsite-Box: 11 Box 11

Scope and Contents

Benjamin Moore's will is in this box (1879).

1860s-1907
Offsite-Box: 12 Box 12

Scope and Contents

An inventory of furniture at Miss Wood's house in Newport, Rhode Island (1867) is in this box.

1840s-1905
Offsite-Box: 13 Box 13

Scope and Contents

Includes, among many other matters, those related to the Theological Seminary, including plumbing specifications.

1830s-1907
Offsite-Box: 14 Box 14

Scope and Contents

Includes, among many other matters, documents related to Columbia College (including 1850s sewer connections); the Theological Seminary; description of carpenter's work for a Gothic house to be built at Tarrytown for William Paulding, with related documents (1840s); book of "exact copy" of accounts of Wells as executor and trustee of Thomas Southard estate, 1860s-80s; and Benjamin Moore's house at Sing Sing/Ossining.

1840s-1900
Offsite-Box: 15 Box 15

Scope and Contents

Includes, among many matters, documents related to the Theological Seminary, Clement Moore's bulkhead, and those concerning Francis L. Ogden.

1850s-1908
Offsite-Box: 16 Box 16

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other matters, those related to the Ogdens.

1850s-1939
Offsite-Box: 17 Box 17

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other matters, documents concerning Columbia College (1850-60s) and Robert Ray.

1840s-1906
Offsite-Box: 18 Box 18
1840s-1900
Offsite-Box: 19 Box 19

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other matters, documents concerning Robert Ray; several historical documents from the 1780s-circa 1816 related to Reverend Benjamin Moore, including the 1816 document naming his son, Clement Moore, as executor; and Moore family holdings in upstate New York, including a map of the Kayaderosseras Patent.

1780s-1907
Offsite-Box: 20 Box 20

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other matters, documents related to the Theological Seminary; specifications for Benjamin Moore's house in Sing Sing/Ossining, 1850s; and the establishment of a Chelsea stage line, with a list of subscribers, 1830s.

1830s-1899
Offsite-Box: 21 Box 21

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other matters, documents related to Columbia College, especially regarding furnishings of buildings (1850s); and Theological Seminary.

1840s-1876
Offsite-Box: 22 Box 22

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other matters, documents referring to James N. Wells, Jr.'s partnership (dissolved in 1843) with fellow carpenters Samuel Smith and William H. Smith; and Columbia College.

1828-1880
Offsite-Box: 23 Box 23

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other matters, the lease agreement between Trinity Church and Wells for 27 lots on Hudson, Barrow, Greenwich, and Christopher streets. A few documents from the 1930s relate to the Ogdens and include report cards for D.D. Ogden and programs from Sunningdale School (U.K.?).

1820s-1903, 1930s
Offsite-Box: 24 Box 24

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other matters, Theological Seminary. The 1930s documents are primarily insurance policies on various properties.

1860s-1932
Offsite-Box: 25 Box 25

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other matters, a typed copy of Clement Moore's will. A printed version is found below in box 26. These are helpful for identifying relevant family and in-law surnames (Ogden, Clarke, Taylor, as well as Moore), and related property lots in Chelsea and elsewhere.

1844-1907
Offsite-Box: 26 Box 26

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other matters, documents from the 1700s concerning the Kayadarosseras Patent, including a map and field book survey for Mrs. Mary Clarke; a printed version of Clement Moore's will; and Francis L. Ogden's notes taken during recitation at Columbia College Law School regarding Parsons on contracts and Blackstone's commentaries.

1700s, 1851-1940
Offsite-Box: 27 Box 27

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other matters, legal filings, inventory, and other documents concerning Catherine V.C. Moore, who was sent on "retreat" apparently due to mental health issues (i.e., referred to as "lunatic" in the documents), 1870s-80s.

1846-1908
Offsite-Box: 28 Box 28: Checks

Scope and Contents

This box holds only bundles of checks from various years.

1832-1900
Offsite-Box: 29 Box 29

Scope and Contents

Includes, among other matters, the sale of property on Vandam and Varick streets to Wells (1817), with passing mention of the Tontine coffeehouse; the will of Abraham Storm (1832, died 1833); and the will of James N. Wells (1860).

1817-1906
Offsite-Box: 30 Box 30: Checkbooks and account books

Scope and Contents

This box holds many small account books, circa 1840s-circa 1902, with most appearing to date from the 1850s-60s. There are also several checkbooks/stubs from the 1880s.

1840s-circa 1902
Offsite-Box: 31 Box 31: Account books

Scope and Contents

This box holds many small account books.

circa 1837-1939
Offsite-Box: 32 Box 32: Accounting records and correspondence

Scope and Contents

This box holds the following items: Account book (1860-61); Day book (1860-79); Cash receipts book (2 volumes, 1888-1901); Office supplies(?) expense record (circa 1910s-1950s); and a letterbox of correspondence for correspondents A-L (1927-1929). The other letters for 1927-29 are somewhat scattered in files in other boxes.

1860-1950s
Offsite-Box: 33 Box 33: Artifacts, newspapers, forms

Scope and Contents

This box holds the following: 2 newspapers from 1981: 23rd Street Association 50th anniversary supplement to Town & Village and Empire State Building 50th anniversary commemorative issue from Real Estate Weekly; a few blank forms; and the following artifacts: Printing woodblocks for James N. Wells' Sons letterhead and other text, pencils, metal container (possibly for carrying field notebooks), and 6 corporate seal stamps for 340 Realty Corp, Chelsea Ventures Inc., 511-19 St Corp, Momac Corp, 13th Avenue and 24th Street Corporation, and London Terrace Corporation.

1981, undated
Offsite-Box: 34 Box 34: Checkbook stubs, etc.

Scope and Contents

Box holds: Checkbook stubs from dates approximately 1827, 1830-1832, 1837-45, 1853-56; record of rental or other property-related receipts, 1858-59; patent application to Great Britain by Clement Moore Ogden for "improvements in or relating to collapsible chairs," 1938; blank forms for loft leases and for store leases, 1942.

1827-1859, 1938, 1942
Offsite-Box: 35 Box 35: Various

Scope and Contents

Box holds: hand drawn & colored map of the Chelsea properties owned by Clement C. Moore's descendants, as of 1938; hand drawn & colored copy of a 1834 Chelsea area map, related to a legal matter involving Robert Ray and Richard Ray; two indentures and related documents from Clement Moore, 1827-36; pages of the New-York Mirror Advertiser, 1832; Clement Moore rent roll, 1828-29; statements of legal fees from Walther Lutz of Germany in estate matters, 1936-37 (documents in German); blank forms of general releases by corporations; Ross F. Eadie's certificate of membership in the Industrial Real Estate Brokers Association, 1964; 506 West 21st Street lease from Barbara H. Jones to Joseph Wellwood, 1875; several letters, 1858-59; a Time Inc reproduction of an 1855 booklet "Moore's St. Nicholas," 1951.

1827-1964
Offsite-Box: 36 Box 36: Various

Scope and Contents

The box holds a large number of indentures (leases, deeds) concerning Clement Moore and his heirs, and perhaps others; various accounts and records of transactions; hand drawn property maps; printed maps (many fragmenting) of land and lots in New York and elsewhere (including those related to Columbia College); a broadside for a farm sale; a Clarke family genealogy, circa 1850s (Clement Moore's maternal grandfather); and various sketches. Also there are 4 identical copies of a vintage photograph of the exterior of James N. Wells' Sons offices at 191-193 9th Avenue between 21st and 22nd streets (circa 1930).

1830s-1890s, circa 1930
Offsite-Box: 37 Box 37: Land Book of the Borough of Manhattan, New York City. Desk & Library Edition

Scope and Contents

1927 edition published by G.W. Bromley & Co., with corrections made to plates from 1929-1934 as listed at front of volume.

1927-1934
Offsite-Box: 38 Box 38: Atlas of the City of New York, Borough of Manhattan. Volume 2. 14th Street to 59th Street

Scope and Contents

Republished by G.W. Bromley & Co in 1957, with corrections to plates made and listed at front of volume through 1979.

1957-1979
Offsite-Box: 38 Box 38: "Maps shewing a proposed exterior street along the Hudson River from Hammond Street to 135th Street in the city of New-York"
undated
Offsite-Box: 39 Rolled items

Scope and Contents

Includes 1 blueprint (1930), with telephone-related details for a building, likely London Terrace apartments; map of property of Mary Clarke heirs; and blueline drawings for James N. Wells' Sons of Chelsea area street map.

1930, undated
Offsite-Box: 39 "Map of Lands in the 12th Ward of the City of New York Belonging to the Estate of Cornelius Ray, Dec'd"

Scope and Contents

Certified copy of an 1834 map, entered into chancery as a partition map in the matter of Robert Ray and Richard Ray vs. John A. King and others, with an 1844 addition covering the area west of 11th Avenue.

circa 1844
Offsite-Box: 39 3 rolled objects. Restricted due to fragility

Scope and Contents

Map: "Moore, Franklin & Robinson, DeKay, Eckford and Clarke Estates." Map: "Map of the Common Lands From 26th Street to 43rd Street, showing the Old Streets and Plots as Surveyed and Mapped in 1796 by Cassimer T.H. Goerek, City Surveyor, and the Distance between those Old Streets and our Present Streets" by J.B. Holmes, City Surveyor, July 1872 Rolled item: labeled on outside as "North River View." Not unrolled due to fragmenting.

1872, undated
Offsite-Box: 39 Unidentified fragments of blueprint(s)

Scope and Contents

Restricted. The fragments require conservation humidification, flattening, and piecing together before use. It is not clear if the fragments are from one or multiple blueprints. One fragment indicates it is from 1930. Another indicates it is from a first floor plan, and various fragments indicate that the plan includes space for several stores.

1930, undated