Samuel S. Seward
Papers, 1790-1851

SC14995

Quantity: 5 Boxes (1.50 cubic feet)
Access: Open for research.
Alternative Format: Also available on microfilm: MB/FM,320.9747,S14,200-5099
Acquisition: Purchased from Hoosierland Books, August 1968
Processed By: Fred Bassett, Senior Librarian, Manuscripts and Special Collection, July 1989; revised April 2011

Printable Version (PDF, 61 KB)pdf icon

View catalog record

Biographical Note:

Samuel Swezy (Sweezy) Seward was born December 5, 1768, on Merits Island, New York, the third son of John and Mary Seward. The early years of his life were spent mostly in Morris County, New Jersey. About 1800 he settled in the Town of Florida, Orange County, New York, where he set up a medical practice, and established a mercantile business. In 1795 he married Mary Jennings of Goshen, New York, and they had five children. One of their sons was William Henry Seward (1801-1872), who was a governor of New York State (1839-1842), a United States senator (1849-1861), and Secretary of State in the administrations of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson (1861-1869).

Samuel S. Seward also was active in politics and government. In 1804 he served as a member of the New York State Assembly. In 1815 he became a judge of the Orange County Court and subsequently served as First Judge of the Orange County Court, a position he held for seventeen years.

Records indicate Seward amassed a substantial fortune by the 1840s, some of which was devoted to philanthropic endeavors. In 1846 he established the S.S. Seward Institute, a free (public) school in Florida, New York. He created a $20,000 endowment for the institute and provided for the purchase of land and the erection of the school building.  He died August 24, 1849.

Scope and Content Note:

The papers of Samuel S. Seward consist chiefly of correspondence related to his personal and family life as well as his career in business, politics, and government.

Personal correspondence consists mostly of letters Seward received from members of his immediate family, including his son William Henry Seward.  The letters from William Henry offer insight into the early years of William Henry’s personal life and career in law and politics. In particular, the letters detail his time as student at Union College in Schenectady, New York (1817-1820), and his subsequent move to Auburn, New York, in 1823, where he entered law practice with Elijah Miller, the father of his fiancée, Frances Adeline Miller. The letters also detail his entrance into politics in the late 1820s, his career in the New York State Senate (1830-1834), as an agent for the Holland Land Company (1836-1838), and as governor of New York State (1839-1842).

Samuel Seward received a number of letters from other members of his family, including his other sons, Benjamin and George, and his daughter, Louisa Cornelia. Their letters generally concern personal and family matters. In the 1820s Louisa was a student at Emma Willard Seminary, which she writes about in some of the letters. Included are letters Samuel Seward received from some of his grandchildren; his brothers, John and Edwin Seward; and a nephew, Israel Seward. These letters include details of their personal lives and careers as well as news about the family.

These papers also include a substantial number of letters addressed to Samuel Seward from many individuals other than his immediate family and close relatives. The content of these letters relate mostly his mercantile business and investments in land and real estate. During the later years the establishment of the S.S. Seward Institute is considered in a number of letters.

The collection also includes accounts, receipts, and other papers related to his personal and business finances; schedule of lands, deeds, and land surveys related to his investment in real estate; and legal papers and correspondence of executors of the Samuel Swezy Seward estate.

Related Collections:

This repository also has several other collections that contain letters and papers related to the Seward family, in particular the life and career of William Henry Seward. The largest group is found in the William Henry Seward Collection (SC21153), which consists chiefly of letters related to his service as governor of New York State from 1839 to 1843, and as a member of the United States Senate from 1849 to 1861. Other major sources of William Henry Seward letters are the Edwin D. Morgan Papers (SC11818), the Albert Haller Tracy Papers (SC15305), and the Robert C. Wetmore Papers (SC17905). Most of the letters in these collections relate chiefly to matters of New York State politics and government. Unpublished finding aids are available for all of these collections.

Box and Folder List:


Box Folder Contents
1 0 Finding aid and genealogical information
    Letters to Samuel S. Seward from family, 1817-1849 (William Henry Seward letters file separately.)
1 1 1817-1818 (13 items)
1 2 1819 (20 items)
1 3 1820-1827 (18 items)
1 4 1828 (25 items)
1 5 1829 (20 items)
1 6 1830 (13 items)
1 7 1831 (4 items)
1 8 1832 (13 items)
1 9 1833 (9 items)
1 10 1834, 1837-1838 (16 items)
1 11 1839: January-August (14 items)
1 12 1839: September-December (18 items)
2 1 1840-1843 (15 items)
2 2 1844-1847 (8 items)
2 3 1848-1849 (5 items)
    Letters to Samuel S. Seward from William Henry Seward, 1817-1847 (See appended inventory for details.)
2 4 1817-1819 (22 items)
2 5 1820-1821, 1823 (10 items)
2 6 1828-1830 (23 items)
2 7 1831-1834 (24 items)
2 8 1837-1843 (22 items)
2 9 1845-1848, and undated  (12 items)
2 10 Letters to other Seward family members, 1818-1840 (23 items); includes letters addressed to Mary Jennings Seward, Benjamin, and George Seward
    Letters from Samuel S. Seward (drafts of outgoing letters), 1809-1848
2 11 1809-1831 (47 items)
2 12 1832-1848 (63 items)
    Letters to Samuel S. Seward from others, 1803-1848
3 1 1803 (11 items)
3 2 1804: January-March (24 items)
3 3 1804: April-December (19 items)
3 4 1807, 1809-1812 (11 items)
3 5 1817-1818 (27 items)
3 6 1819 (30 items)
3 7 1820-1821 (31 items)
3 8 1823, 1825-1828 (29 items)
3 9 1829 (33 items)
3 10 1830: January-June (32 items)
3 11 1830: July-December (27 items)
4 1 1831: January-June (22 items)
4 2 1831: July-December (19 items)
4 3 1832: January-March (33 items)
4 4 1832: April-December  (21 items)
4 5 1833 (23 items)
4 6 1834-1837 (37 items)
4 7 1839-1840 (19 items)
4 8 1841-1842 (20 items)
4 9 1843 (35 items)
4 10 1844-1845, 1847 (29 items)
4 11 1848-1849 (20 items)
    Financial and Legal Papers, 1790-1851
5 1 Accounts, bills, receipts, etc., 1823-1829 (79 items)
5 2 Accounts, bills, receipts, etc., 1830-1832 (107 items)
5 3 Accounts, bills, receipts, etc., 1833-1843 (ca. 100 items)
5 4 Miscellaneous financial papers, 1818-1847 (27 items)
5 5 Accounts Rendered, 1846-1847, 1849 (7 items)
5 6 Letters, Executor, Statements, 1837, 1846-1850 (ca. 50 items)
5 Samuel S. Seward estate (M. Grier, executor), 1849-1851 (ca. 60 items)
5 8 Land titles, contracts, bonds, etc., 1790-1850 (15 items)
5 9 Schedule of lands, surveys and maps of lots, etc., 1803-1850 (19 items)
5 10 Memorandum related to land, 1818, 1845-1847 (26 items)
5 11 S.S. Seward Institute: Correspondence and financial records, 1840-1847 (37 items)
5 12 S.S. Seward Institute: Correspondence and financial records, 1848-1849 (39 items); includes a number of letters from J. Romeyn Beck
5 13 Sabbath (Sunday) School proposal (1817) and miscellaneous papers (11 items)

 

Appendix: Inventory of letters of William Henry Seward to Samuel S. Seward, 1817-1848

Box Folder Item Description
      Letters of William Henry Seward to Samuel S. Seward, 1817-1819
2 4 1 A.L.S.: Union College, January 13, 1817
2 4 2 A.L.S.: Schenectady, [N.Y.], January 16, 1817
2 4 3 A.L.S.: Union College, January 20, 1817
2 4 4 A.L.S.: Union College, Schenectady, [N.Y.], February 8, 1817
2 4 5 A.L.S.: Union College, Schenectady, [N.Y.], February 28, 1817
2 4 6 A.L.S.: Union College, March 10, 1817
2 4 7 A.L.S.: Union College, May [4], 1817
2 4 8 A.L.S.: Union College, May 28, 1817
2 4 9 A.L.S.: Union College, June 11, 1817
2 4 10 A.L.S.: Union College, July 1, 1817
2 4 11 A.L.S.: Union College, September 24, 1817
2 4 12 A.L.S.: Union College, October 21, 1817
2 4 13 A.L.S.: Union College, November 26, 1817
2 4 14 A.L.S.: Union College, January 17, 1818
2 4 15 A.L.S.: Union College, March 6, 1818
2 4 16 A.L.S.: Union College, May 4, 1818
2 4 17 A.L.S.: Union College, September 30, 1818
2 4 18 A.L.S.: Union College, November 22, 1818
2 4 19 A.L.S.: Eatonton, Putnam Co., Ga., February 16, 1819
2 4 20 A.L.S.: Eatonton, Putnam Co., Ga., March 11, 1819
2 4 21 A.L.S.: Putnam Co., [Ga.], April 24, 1819
2 4 22 A.L.S.: Savannah, [Ga.], June 12, 1819
      Letters of William Henry Seward to Samuel S. Seward, 1820-1823
2 5 1 A.L.S.: Union College, January 11, 1820
2 5 2 A.L.S.: Union College, March 8, 1820
2 5 3 A.L.S.: Union College, May [18], 1820
2 5 4 A.L.S.: [Schenectady, N.Y.], [May 22, 1820]; on letter of  H.M. Hopkins to William H. Seward, Goshen, [N.Y.], May 18, 1820
2 5 5 A.L.S.: Union College, June 6, 1820
2 5 6 A.L.S.: New York, December 20, 1820
2 5 7 A.L.S.: New York, January 12, 1821
2 5 8 A.L.S.: New York, December 26, 1821
2 5 9 A.L.S.: Auburn, [N.Y.], May 22, 1823
2 5 10 A.L.S.: Auburn, June 3, 1823
      Letters of William Henry Seward to Samuel S. Seward, 1828-1830
2 6 1 A.L.S.: Auburn, January 7, 1828
2 6 2 A.L.S.: Auburn, January 12, 1828
2 6 3 A.L.S.: Auburn, January 18, 1828
2 6 4 A.L.S.: Auburn, February 12, 1828
2 6 5 A.L.S.: Auburn, February 20, 1828
2 6 6 A.L.S.: Auburn, February 29, 1828
2 6 7 A.L.S.: Auburn, March 14, 1828
2 6 8 A.L.S.: Auburn, June 28, 1828
2 6 9 A.L.S.: Auburn, July 28, 1828
2 6 10 A.L.S.: Auburn, August 16, 1828
2 6 11 A.L.S.: Auburn, April 22, 1829
2 6 12 A.L.S.: Auburn, June 5, 1829
2 6 13 A.L.S.: Auburn,, July 3, 1829
2 6 14 A.L.S.: Auburn, October 21, 1829
2 6 15 A.L.S.: Auburn, December 8, 1829
2 6 16 A.L.S.: Auburn, June 6, 1830
2 6 17 A.L.S.: Auburn, July 9, 1830
2 6 18 A.L.S.: Auburn, July 22, 1830
2 6 19 A.L.S.: Auburn, October 1, 1830
2 6 20 A.L.S.: Auburn, November 5, 1830
2 6 21 A.L.S.: Auburn, November 7, 1830
2 6 22 A.L.S.: Auburn, November 23, 1830
2 6 23 A.L.S.: Auburn, December 7, 1830
      Letters of William Henry Seward to Samuel S. Seward, 1831-1834
2 7 1 A.L.S.: Albany, [N.Y.], January 21, 1831
2 7 2 A.L.S.: Senate Chamber, [Albany, N.Y.], January 31, 1831
2 7 3 A.L.S.: Auburn, October 24, 1831
2 7 4 A.L.S.: Albany, December 26, 1831
2 7 5 A.L.S.: Albany, January 26, 1832
2 7 6 A.L.S.: Albany, February 23, 1832
2 7 7 A.L.S.: Albany, March 24, 1832
2 7 8 A.L.S.: Albany, April 1, 1832
2 7 9 A.L.S.: Albany, April 14, 1832
2 7 10 A.L.S.: Auburn, June 8, 1832
2 7 11 A.L.S.: Auburn, July 5, 1832
2 7 12 A.L.S.: Auburn, December 8, [1832]
2 7 13 A.L.S.: Albany, January 10, 1833
2 7 14 A.L.S.: Albany, February 20, 1833
2 7 15 A.L.S.: Albany, March 7, 1833
2 7 16 A.L.S.: Albany, April 1, 1833
2 7 17 A.L.S.: Albany, April 2, 1833
2 7 18 A.L.S.: Albany, April 7/8, 1833
2 7 19 A.L.S.: Albany, April 8, 1833
2 7 20 A.L.S.: Albany, April 13, 1833
2 7 21 A.L.S.: Auburn, April 20, 1833
2 7 22 A.L.S.: Auburn, May 23, 1833
2 7 23 A.L.S.: Auburn, November 19, 1833
2 7 24 A.L.S.: Albany, March 28, 1834
      Letters of William Henry Seward to Samuel S. Seward, 1837-1843
2 8 1 A.L.S.: Westfield, [N.Y.], April 5, 1837
2 8 2 A.L.S.: Albany, May 13, 1837
2 8 3 A.L.S.: Westfield, [N.Y.], August 19, 1837
2 8 4 A.L.S.: Auburn, October 9, 1837
2 8 5 A.L.S.: Auburn, November 6, 1837
2 8 6 A.L.S.: Albany, February 11, 1839
2 8 7 A.L.S.: Albany, April 4, 1839
2 8 8 A.L.S.: Albany, April 12, 1839
2 8 9 A.L.S.: Albany, October 22, 1839
2 8 10 A.L.S.: Albany, January 10, 1840
2 8 11 A.L.S.: Albany, [February 25, 1841]
2 8 12 A.L.S.: Albany, [February 26, 1841]
2 8 13 A.L.S.: Albany, March 1, 1841
2 8 14 A.L.S.: Auburn, January 17, 1843
2 8 15 A.L.S.: Auburn, January 21, 1843
2 8 16 A.L.S.: Auburn, March 16, 1843
2 8 17 A.L.S.: Auburn, March 29, 1843
2 8 18 A.L.S.: Auburn, March 30, 1843
2 8 19 A.L.S.: New York, May 16, [1843]
2 8 20 A.L.S.: Auburn, September 12, 1843
2 8 21 A.L.S.: New York, [October 5, 1843]
2 8 22 Draft of the last will and testament of Samuel S, Seward proposed by William H. Seward, 1843
      Letters of William Henry Seward to Samuel S. Seward, 1845-1848
2 9 1 A.L.S.: Auburn, January 13, 1845
2 9 2 A.L.S.: Albany, November 29, 1845
2 9 3 A.L.S.: Auburn, December 6, 1845
2 9 4 A.L.S.: Auburn, December 20, 1845
2 9 5 A.L.S.: Albany, January 9, 1846
2 9 6 A.L.S.: Auburn, January 7, 1847
2 9 7 A.L.S.: Auburn, August 28, 1847
2 9 8 A.L.S.: Auburn, February 7, 1848
2 9 9 A.L.S.: Auburn, April 24, 1848
2 9 10 A.L.S.: Newburgh, [N.Y.], May 11, [18-?]
2 9 11 A.L.S.: Liverpool, [England], Sunday morning, [n.d.]
2 9 12 A.L.S.: [n.p.], [n.d.]
Last Updated: July 16, 2012