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Ezra Stiles Papers

 Collection
Call Number: GEN MSS 1475

Scope and Contents

The Ezra Stiles Papers contain correspondence; autograph manuscript writings, many incorporating maps and drawings; personal papers and artifacts; family papers; and writings by others and printed material owned by Ezra Stiles or the Stiles family. Correspondence, 1740s-1795, consists of incoming letters, autograph manuscript copies of outgoing letters, and related family and third-party correspondence. Writings by Stiles, 1740s-1795, include research notes, drafts, and other works, with emphases on biblical scholarship and languages; New England history, church history, and population; Native American population, languages, and cultures; and astronomy, meteorology, and silk production. Other papers include diaries relating to his research and writing, 1769-1795; diaries containing notes on travel in New England and the middle-Atlantic region, 1760-1794; diaries of weather observation in Newport, Rhode Island, and New Haven, Connecticut, 1763-1795; and sermons, 1751-1789. Most materials date from Stiles’s years as a minister in Newport, Rhode Island, 1755-1777, or his career at Yale as a student and tutor, 1742-1755, and as president, from 1777 until his death in 1795. Also present is a small amount of manuscripts relating to New England history or the Stiles family, 1660s-1730s; family papers, 1790s-1830s; papers of later descendants, 1840-1940s; and printed material about Stiles and the Stiles Papers, 1950s-1990s. The Papers document Stiles’s career as a clergyman and educator, his intellectual interests, and his engagement with colleagues and contemporary events. The Papers are a resource for the study of Yale and New Haven history, Native Americans in New England, and colonial and American religion, education, politics, science, and intellectual and social life.

For more information about contents of the Papers, see: “Ezra Stiles and His Papers,” in A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Ezra Stiles Papers at Yale University, edited by Harold E. Selesky (New Haven: Yale University Library, 1978).
Online access (Yale University Library Digital Collections)

Dates

  • 1667-1991
  • Majority of material found within 1740-1795

Creator

Language of Materials

Chiefly in English and Latin; some materials in Hebrew or French.

Conditions Governing Access

This material is open for research.

Items requiring conservation treatment: Restricted fragile material. Temporary removal forms have been filed in the Papers. Microfilm or paper reference surrogates may be available. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Existence and Location of Copies

Materials acquired 1805-circa 1975: available on microfilm from Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Conditions Governing Use

The Ezra Stiles Papers are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequest of Ezra Stiles (Yale 1746), 1805.

Additions acquired by gift and purchase from Stiles family descendants and other sources, circa 1805-2011. For more information, see Appendix 1: Provenance Additions to Stiles Bequest.

Arrangement

Organized into seven series: I. Correspondence, 1703-1903. II. Itineraries, 1760-1794. III. Literary Diary, 1769-1795. IV. Meteorological Journals, 1763-1795. V. Miscellaneous Volumes and Papers, 1667-1948. VI. Sermons, 1751-1794. VII. Information About Ezra Stiles and the Stiles Papers, 1957-1991.

Location of other archival materials

Edward Taylor Collection (GEN MSS 1476), Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Records of early Yale College Presidents in: Records of the Treasurer, Yale University (RU 151), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library. Yale University Corporation Records (RU 164), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Objects in: Yale Objects Collection (RU 104), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Paintings and objects in: Yale University Art Gallery.

Ezra Stiles Collection (MSS 7), New Haven Museum.

Second Congregational Church Records, Newport Historical Society.

Printed materials owned by Stiles may be found in the Yale University Library online catalog by searching "Stiles, Ezra" as a special collections subject.

Extent

40.23 Linear Feet ((89 boxes) + 3 broadside)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.stiles

Overview

The Ezra Stiles Papers contain correspondence; autograph manuscript writings, many incorporating maps and drawings; personal papers and artifacts; family papers; and writings by others and printed material owned by Ezra Stiles or the Stiles family. Correspondence, 1740s-1795, consists of incoming letters, autograph manuscript copies of outgoing letters, and related family and third-party correspondence. Writings by Stiles, 1740s-1795, include research notes, drafts, and other works, with emphases on biblical scholarship and languages; New England history, church history, and population; Native American population, languages, and cultures; and astronomy, meteorology, and silk production. Other papers include diaries relating to his research and writing, 1769-1795; diaries containing notes on travel in New England and the middle-Atlantic region, 1760-1794; diaries of weather observation in Newport, Rhode Island, and New Haven, Connecticut, 1763-1795; and sermons, 1751-1789. Most materials date from Stiles’s years as a minister in Newport, Rhode Island, 1755-1777, or his career at Yale as a student and tutor, 1742-1755, and as president, from 1777 until his death in 1795. Also present is a small amount of manuscripts relating to New England history or the Stiles family, 1660s-1730s; family papers, 1790s-1830s; papers of later descendants, 1840-1940s; and printed material about Stiles and the Stiles Papers, 1950s-1990s. The Papers document Stiles’s career as a clergyman and educator, his intellectual interests, and his engagement with colleagues and contemporary events. The Papers are a resource for the study of Yale and New Haven history, Native Americans in New England, and colonial and American religion, education, politics, science, and intellectual and social life.

Ezra Stiles (1727-1795) (Yale 1746)

Ezra Stiles (1727-1795) (Yale 1746), minister of the Second Congregational Church, Newport, Rhode Island, 1755-1776, and the First Congregational Church, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1777; Yale College tutor, 1749-1755, and president of Yale College, 1777-1795. Ezra Stiles was a son of Isaac Stiles (1697-1760) (Yale 1722), minister in North Haven, Connecticut, and Kezia Taylor Stiles (1702-1727), a daughter of clergyman and poet Edward Taylor (1642-1729) (Harvard 1671), of Westfield, Massachusetts. Ezra Stiles married Elizabeth Hubbard (1731-1775) in 1757, and married Mary Checkley in 1782. Stiles and Hubbard had eight children, including Elizabeth Stiles (1758-1795); Ezra Stiles, Jr. (1759-1784) (Harvard 1778); Emilia Stiles Leavitt (1762-1833); Isaac Stiles (1763- 1795) (Yale 1783); Ruth Stiles Gannett (1765-1808); and Mary Stiles Holmes (1767-1795).

As a clergyman and educator, Stiles participated in religious and political events in New Haven, Connecticut, and New England during the 1740s-1790s; made reforms in the curriculum and governance of Yale College; conducted scientific research; and was a close observer of the American Revolution and national politics of the early United States. Stiles corresponded widely with American clergy, educators, and statesmen, and pursued scientific interests with British and European correspondents. He published sermons and orations, and was the author of diaries and other writings relating to his interests in religion, politics, education, and science.

For more information about Ezra Stiles, see: Edmund S. Morgan. The Gentle Puritan: A Life of Ezra Stiles, 1727-1795 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1962). Online access (Hathitrust)

Chronology

1727 November 29 (new style: December 10)
Born in North Haven Parish, New Haven, Connecticut
1742 September 9-1746
Yale College student
1746 September
Yale College bachelor of arts
1746-1748
Caretaker of house for David Wooster, New Haven, Connecticut
1748 fall
Yale College butler
1749 May 30
Licensed to preach by New Haven County association of ministers
1749 May-1755
Yale College tutor
1749 September
Yale College master of arts
1755-1776
Minister, Second Congregational Church, Newport, Rhode Island
1757 February 10
Married Elizabeth Hubbard (1731-1775)
1776 March
Relocated to Dighton, Massachusetts, during British occupation of Newport, Rhode Island
1777 May
Minister, First Congregational Church, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
1777 September-1795
Yale College president
1782 October 17
Married Mary Checkley
1795 May 12
Died in New Haven, Connecticut

The Stiles family and related families:

The following are partial genealogies, showing ancestors and descendants of Ezra Stiles and members of related families who are listed in the Stiles Papers as correspondents or appear in other file titles or file notes. Donors of additions to Ezra Stiles’s 1805 bequest are indicated by italics.

Lists of siblings, spouses, and children, and identification of donors are not complete. For a comprehensive Stiles family genealogy, 1595-1890s, see: Stiles, Henry Reed. The Stiles Family in America (Jersey City: Doan and Pilson, 1895). Online access (Hathitrust)
Stiles Family

(1)John Stiles (1595-1662/1663) m. (1629) Rachel Talcott (1610-1674); emigrated from England to Connecticut (1636)

-----(2)John Stiles (circa 1633-1683) m. (1658) Dorcas Burt (1638-1743)

----------(3)John Stiles (1665-1753) m. Ruth Bancroft (1670-1714)

---------------(4)John Stiles (1692-1763) m. (1713) Mary Osborn (1695-)

--------------------(5)Israel Stiles (1719-1790) m. (circa 1748) Martha Rockwell (1720-1790)

-------------------------(6)Asahel Stiles (1753-1833) m. Tryphena Chapin (1756-1831)

------------------------------(7)Asahel Chapin Stiles (1793-1866) m. Eliza Belknap (1806-1858)

------------------------------(7)Samuel Stiles (1796-1861) m. (1825) Charlotte Sophia Reed (1802-1869)

------------------------------(7)Ezra Stiles (1799-1844) (Yale 1823) m. (1823) Anna Spear (1797-1889)

---------------(4)Isaac Stiles (1697-1760) (Yale 1722): see below

---------------(4)Abel Stiles (1709-1783) (Yale 1733) m. (1740) Alethea Robinson (1710-1786)

--------------------(5)Alethea Stiles Marcy (1745-1784) m. (1762) Hadlock Marcy (1739/1740- 1784) (Yale 1761)

-----(2)Isaac Stiles (1635-1714/1715) m. (circa 1665) Hannah Palmer (1645-1715)

----------(3)Jonathan Stiles (“Long Jonathan”) (1688/1689-1758) m. Rebecca Canfield circa 1683-1731)

---------------(4)Jonathan Stiles (1721-1806) m. (1755) Joanna Tuttle (1728-1781)

--------------------(5)Timothy Stiles (1758-); m. (1779) Demaris Crane (1755-)

-------------------------(6)Jonathan Tuttle Stiles (1784-1859) m. Anna Card (1794-1886)

------------------------------(7)David Stiles (1817-1895) m. Clarinda Cummings Shaw (1821-1878)

-----------------------------------(8)Albert M. Stiles (1840-1920) m. Mary W. Teeters (1840-1925)

----------------------------------------(9)Emma Lewis Stiles Vessey (1870-1953) m. Alvin Charles Vessey (1879-1946)

--------------------------------------------- (10)Ruth Harriet Vessey De Fay (1919-2011) m. Donald Warren De Fay (1916-2011)

--------------------(5)Jonathan Stiles (1755-1807) m. (1775) Sarah Tuthill (circa 1759-)



(4)Isaac Stiles (1697-1760) (Yale 1722)

m. (1725) Kezia Taylor Stiles (1702-1727): see Taylor Family

-----(5)Ezra Stiles (1727-1795) (Yale 1746): see below

m. (1728) Esther Hooker (1702-1779)

-----(5)Isaac Stiles (1729-1783) m. (1750) Mabel Clark (1730-1802)

-----(5)Kezia Stiles Munson (1731-1768); m. (1751) Basil Munson (1730-1803)

-----(5)Ashbel Stiles (1734-1734)

-----(5)Ashbel Stiles (1735-1810) m. (1759) Hannah Stiles (circa 1735-1810)

-----(5)Esther Stiles (1736-1737)

-----(5)Job Stiles (1738-1738)

-----(5)Esther Stiles Bradley (1739-); m. Lemuel Bradley (1736-)

-----(5)Job Stiles (1741-1751)

-----(5)Ruth Stiles (1744-1759)

-----(5)Lucy Stiles (1746-1751)



(5)Ezra Stiles (1727-1795) (Yale 1746)

m. (1757) Elizabeth Hubbard Stiles (1731-1775): see Hubbard Family

-----(6)Elizabeth Stiles (“Betsy”) (1758-1795)

-----(6)Ezra Stiles (1759-1784) (Harvard 1778) m. (1781) Sybil Noyes Avery (1761-1830)

----------(7) Elizabeth Hubbard Stiles Denio (1782-) m. John Denio

---------------(8)Amelia Denio Noble (1806-) m. William Noble

--------------------(9)Annette Lucile Noble (1844-1932)

---------------(8)Mary Miller Denio Baker (1811-1879) m. James Addison Potter (1798-1878)

--------------------(9)Alice Potter (1844-1883) m. Joseph Baker (1819-1912)

-------------------------(10)Ray Stannard Baker (1870-1946) m. (1896) Jessie Irene Beal (1870-1962)

------------------------------(11)James Stannard Baker (1899-1995)

----------(7)Emilia Harriot Stiles (1784-)

-----(6)Kezia Taylor Stiles Sturges (1760-1785) m. (1784) Lewis Burr Sturges (1763-1844)

-----(6)Emilia Stiles Leavitt (1762-1833): see Leavitt Family

-----(6)Isaac Stiles (1763-1795) (Yale 1783)

-----(6)Ruth Stiles Gannett (1765-1808): see Gannett Family

-----(6)Mary Stiles Holmes (“Polly”) (1767-1795) m. (1790) Abiel Holmes (1763-1837)

----------(7)Mary Jackson Holmes Parsons (1802-1825) m. (1822) Usher Parsons (1788-1868)

----------(7)Ann Susan Holmes Upham (1804-1877) m. Charles Wentworth Upham (1802-1785)

----------(7)Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) m. Amelia Lee Jackson (1818-1888)

---------------(8)Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935) m. Fanny Bowditch Dixwell (1840-1929)

-----(6)Sarah Stiles (1769-1769)

m. (1782) Mary Checkley Stiles (1744-1801)
Taylor Family

(1)Edward Taylor (1642-1729) (Harvard 1671) m. (1692) Ruth Wyllys (1670-1730)

-----(2)Kezia Taylor Stiles (1702-1727) m. (1725) Isaac Stiles (1697-1760) (Yale 1722)

-----(2)Eldad Taylor (1708-1777) m. (1742) Thankful Day (1721-1803)

----------(3)John Taylor (1762-1840) (Yale 1784) m. (1788) Elizabeth Terry (1766-1843)

---------------(4)Henry Wyllys Taylor (1796-1888) (Yale 1816) m. (1832) Martha Caldwell Masters (1808-1884)

---------------(4)Harriet Taylor Terry (1794-1841) m. Roderick Terry (1788-1849)

--------------------(5)Roderick Terry (1815-1891) m. Sarah Pierson

-------------------------(6)Henry Taylor Terry (1847-1936) (Yale 1869)
Hubbard Family

(1)John Hubbard (1703-1773) (Yale Hon 1730) m. (1724) Elizabeth Stevens (1703-1744)

-----(2)Leverett Hubbard (1725-1794) (Yale 1744) m. Sarah Whitehead

----------(3)Stephen Whitehead Hubbard (1747-1771) (Yale 1766)

----------(3)Leverett Hubbard (1749-1787)

-----(2)John Hubbard (1727-1786) (Yale 1744)

----------(3)John Hubbard (1751-1837) m. (1770) Mary Russell Frost (1736-1806)

-----(2)Elizabeth Hubbard Stiles (1731-1775) m. (1757) Ezra Stiles (1727-1795) (Yale 1746): see Stiles Family
Leavitt Family

(1)Jonathan Leavitt (1731-1802) m. (1761) Sarah Hooker (1742-1791)

-----(2)Jonathan Leavitt (1764-1831) (Yale 1785) m. (1796) Emilia Stiles Leavitt (1762-1833): see Stiles Family

----------(3)Sarah Hooker Leavitt Wells (1797-1837) m. (1819) Samuel Wells (1792-1864)

---------------(4)Sarah Leavitt Wells Clarke (1820-1859) m. (1857) Moses Clarke

---------------(4)Jonathan Leavitt Wells (1827-1899) m. Delia Delano (-1894)

---------------(4)Mary Louisa Wells Peck (1833-) m. (1858) Ebenezer Peck

---------------(4)Harry Martin Wells (1835-)

----------(3)Maria Holmes Leavitt (1798-1878)

----------(3)Emilia Stiles Leavitt Jenkins Foote (1799-1867) m. (1826) Charles Jenkins (1786-1831); m. (1841) Elial Todd Foote (1796-1877)

----------------(4)Amelia Leavitt Jenkins Foote (1827-1911) m. (1851) Charles Cheney Foote (1825-1871), son of her stepfather, Elial Todd Foote (1796-1877): see Foote Family

----------------(4)Charles Southworth Jenkins (1828-1835)

----------------(4)Jonathan Leavitt Jenkins (1830-1913)

----------(3)Jonathan Leavitt (1803-1821) (Yale 1822)

----------(3)Elizabeth Hubbard Leavitt Ingersoll (1807-1867) m. (1831) Charles John James Ingersoll (1806-1863)

---------------(4)Charles Thomas Ingersoll (1840-1904) m. (1866) Imogene Pauline Hungerford (1843-)

--------------------(5)Thomas Stiles Ingersoll (1871-1933)

-----(2)Roswell Leavitt (1775-1820) m. (1798) Dorothy Ashley (1776-1846)

----------(3)Jonathan Leavitt (1800-1877) (Amherst 1825)

-----2)Hooker Leavitt (1785-1842) m. (1808) Nancy Munn (1790-1878)

----------(3)Horatio Leavitt (1812-1866)

----------(3)David Leavitt (1817-1873)

----------(3)Thomas Hooker Leavitt (1824-1906)
Gannett Family

(1)Joseph Gannett (1722-1789) m. (1744) Elizabeth Latham (1725-1815)

-----(2)Caleb Gannett (1745-1818) (Harvard 1763) m. (1799) Ruth Stiles Gannett (1765-1808): see Stiles Family

----------(3)Ezra Stiles Gannett (1801-1871) (Harvard 1820) m. (1835) Anna Linzee Tilden (1811-1846)

---------------(4)Catherine Booth Gannett Wells (1838-1911) m. Samuel Wells (1836-1903)

--------------------(5)Stiles Gannett Wells (1864-1907)

--------------------(5)Samuel Wells (1869-1899)

--------------------(5)Louisa Appleton Wells (1872-1945)

---------------(4)William Channing Gannett (1840-1923) (Harvard 1860) m. (1887) Mary Thorn Lewis (1854-1952)

--------------------(5)Lewis Stiles Gannett (1891-1966) (Harvard 1913) m. (1917) Mary Elizabeth Ross (-1972); m. (1931) Ruth Chrisman Arens Gannett (1896-1979)

-------------------------(6)Michael Ross Gannett (1919-2011) m. Katherine E.

-------------------------(6)Ruth Stiles Gannett Kahn (1923-) m. H. Peter Kahn (1921-1997)

----------(3)Eliza Stiles Andrews (step daughter)
Foote Family

(1)Elial Todd Foote (1796-1877) m. (1818) Anna L. Cheney (1800-1840); m. (1841) Emilia Stiles Leavitt Jenkins Foote (1799-1867): see Leavitt Family

-----(2)Charles Cheney Foote (1825-1871) m. (1851) Amelia Leavitt Jenkins Foote (1827- 1911): see Leavitt Family

---------------(3)Sarah Wells Foote (1859-1955)

---------------(3)Charles Jenkins Foote (1861-1954) (Yale 1883; 1890 Med) m. Grace W. Knouse (1877-1937)

--------------------(4)Amelia Lynde Foote Roe (1918-2004) m. Arthur Allport William Roe (1917-1990)

-----(2)Horace Allen Foote (1832-1903)

----------(3)Sherman Knevals Foote (1874-1955) m. Katherine D. Foote (1889-1968)

The Ezra Stiles papers:

Ezra Stiles bequeathed a “cabinet of manuscripts containing 30 or 40 volumes” to his son-in-law, Abiel Holmes (1763-1837) (Yale 1783), with a requirement that they be deposited in Yale College ten years after Stiles’s death. Holmes, married to Stiles’s daughter Mary Stiles Holmes (1767-1795) and minister of the First Congregational Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, published The Life of Ezra Stiles (Boston: Thomas & Andrews, 1798), based on the papers in his possession. Custody of the papers was transferred to Yale College in 1805. Although Stiles’s will had specified storage in the “president’s house,” his daughter Emilia Stiles Leavitt found the papers in Connecticut Hall circa 1818, reporting to president Jeremiah Day that they were inadequately stored, some items were missing, and some materials not listed in Stiles’s will had been added. Day moved the papers to the president’s house in 1818, and they remained in custody of the president until eventual transfer to the Yale University Library, and later to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

In the same will, Stiles bequeathed a separate “trunk of manuscripts” to his son Isaac (1763-1795) (Yale 1783). Isaac Stiles did not receive these, as he was missing at sea when his father died; he was not found, and by 1802 was presumed deceased. Contents of the trunk may have been acquired by Emilia Stiles Leavitt and Ruth Stiles Gannett, the only children of Ezra Stiles still living in 1802. Gifts from their descendants to the Yale University Library and the Beinecke Library continued from the 19th century through the 1980s, and these likely included manuscripts originally bequeathed to Isaac Stiles.

While researching The Gentle Puritan: A Life of Ezra Stiles, 1727-1795, published in 1962, Edmund S. Morgan noted missing items and additions to the original bequest, then stored in the Rare Book Room in Sterling Memorial Library. Materials integrated with the original bequest during the 20th century include a large group of Stiles and Stiles family papers donated in 1940 by Lewis Stiles Gannett (1891-1966), a great-grandson of Ruth Stiles Gannett; additional gifts of Lewis Stiles Gannett and other Stiles descendants, 1920s-1980s; Ezra Stiles correspondence and manuscripts given by Mary Emma Stillman Harkness in the 1930s; letters to Stiles and other papers relating to his presidency transferred from the Yale Treasurer’s Office in the 1940s; a small amount of gifts and purchases from other sources, 1930s-1970s; and possibly additional undocumented accessions. Stiles Family papers in these accessions extended the scope of the Papers from 1795 through the 1850s. Manuscripts, printed materials, paintings, clothing, furniture, and other three-dimensional objects, relating to Stiles and the Stiles family but not part of the Stiles Papers, acquired by Yale during the 18th-20th centuries, are held by the Beinecke Library, Yale University’s Manuscripts and Archives, the Yale University Benjamin Franklin Collection, and the Yale University Art Gallery.

During 1975-1978, the Yale University Library produced a microfilm edition of the Stiles Papers under the direction of Edmund S. Morgan (Yale University Sterling Professor of History, 1965-1986) and editorship of historian Harold E. Selesky (Yale 1972 PhD). The microfilm edition encompassed contents of the original bequest and additions integrated through the mid-1970s, and incorporated photocopies of additional correspondence, manuscript documents, and printed material related to Stiles that are held by Yale repositories but not part of the Stiles Papers. A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Ezra Stiles Papers at Yale University, edited by Harold E. Selesky (New Haven: Yale University Library, 1978), documents the history of the project and provides collection- and series-level content summaries and page-level name and subject indexing of microfilmed materials.

Following publication of the microfilm edition and index, a small amount of additional materials relating to Stiles was acquired by the Beinecke Library during the 1980s-2011. These materials, including correspondence of Ezra Stiles and papers of descendants dated through the 1940s, were integrated with the Stiles Papers during full processing of the Papers in 2018. Also during full processing, papers of clergyman and poet Edward Taylor (1642-1729), a maternal grandfather of Ezra Stiles, partially microfilmed as part of the Stiles Papers, were collocated with other Taylor manuscripts held by the Beinecke Library and reprocessed as the Edward Taylor Collection (call number Gen Mss 1476).
Sources

Dexter, Franklin Bowditch. Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College (New York: Holt, 1885-1912).
“Ezra Stiles,” in volume II, pages 92-97. Stiles received a bachelor of arts degree from Yale College in 1746 and a master of arts degree from Yale College in 1749.
Online access (Hathitrust)


Holmes, Abiel. The Life of Ezra Stiles (Boston: Thomas & Andrews, 1798), Biography based on the Ezra Stiles Papers.
Abiel Holmes (1763-1837) (Yale 1783), minister of the First Congregational Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was married to Mary Stiles Holmes (1767-1795), a daughter of Ezra Stiles.
Online access (Hathitrust)


Morgan, Edmund S. The Gentle Puritan: A Life of Ezra Stiles, 1727-1795. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1962).
Biography based on the Ezra Stiles Papers, with appendix, “A Note on the Stiles Papers,” pages 465-472.
Edmund S. (Edmund Sears) Morgan (1916-2013) was Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University, serving on the faculty from 1955 until retirement in 1986.
Online access (Hathitrust)


Selesky, Harold E., ed. A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Ezra Stiles Papers at Yale University (New Haven: Yale University Library, 1978).
Page-level name and subject indexes for each series of the Ezra Stiles Papers, as microfilmed in 1978, with prefaces, “Ezra Stiles and His Papers,” pages x-xx, and “Reel Notes,” pages xxi-xxvi.
Online access (Yale University Library Digital Collections)


Sibley’s Harvard Graduates (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1962).
“Ezra Stiles,” in volume XII, pages 67-101. Stiles received an honorary master of arts degree from Harvard College in 1754.
Online access (Hathitrust)


Stiles, Henry Reed. The Stiles Family in America (Jersey City: Doan and Pilson, 1895).
Stiles family genealogy, 1595-1890s.
Online access (Hathitrust)


The Yale University Library Gazette Andrews, Charles M. “The Newly Acquired Stiles Papers.” In The Yale University Library Gazette (1941 April), pages 65-70.
Description of addition acquired from Lewis Stiles Gannett in 1940.
Online access (JSTOR; Yale access only)
See also additional articles, 1930s-1980s, about Stiles and acquisitions of Stiles materials.
Online access (JSTOR; Yale access only)

Other Finding Aids

Materials acquired 1805-circa 1975: view page-level subject indexes in A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Ezra Stiles Papers at Yale University

Publications

The Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles, edited by Franklin Bowditch Dexter (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1901)

Ezra Stiles and the Jews: Selected Passages from his Literary Diary Concerning Jews and Judaism, with critical and explanatory notes by George Alexander Kohut. (New York: Cowen, 1902)

Extracts From the Itineraries and Other Miscellanies of Ezra Stiles, edited by Franklin Bowditch Dexter. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1916)

Letters & Papers of Ezra Stiles, President of Yale College, 1778-1795: Presented to Yale University Library by Mrs. Edward S. Harkness, edited by Isabel M. Calder (New Haven: Yale University Library, 1933)

Processing Information

Stiles Bequest and Additions

Materials have been added to the Stiles Papers since acquisition of the Stiles bequest in 1805. At the time of processing in 2018, no comprehensive record of additions or removals was found. Issues of the Connecticut Gazette and Newport Mercury, 1765-1766, formerly part of the Stiles Papers, were disbound and integrated with the Yale University Library newspaper collection in 1946. Disbound covers and related notes removed from these newspapers remain in the Papers. Other printed materials owned by Ezra Stiles may be found in Yale’s online catalog; possibly some of these items were removed from the Stiles Papers. Some contents of the Papers were treated by conservators during custody by Yale or possibly by former owners, including silking of fragile paper.

Editions of Stiles’s literary diary and extracts from his itineraries and other papers were published during the 1900s-1930s and are widely available in research libraries. Prior to publication of A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Ezra Stiles Papers at Yale University in 1978, the Stiles Papers were accessed via card files and lists made by the Yale Library, including a typescript index of names and subjects annotated “Stiles Papers in Yale: Index,” undated, and a typescript “Index to Illustrative Material in the Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles (vol. 1-15), prepared by Joseph W. Reed, 1957.”

Microfilm Edition

In preparation for microfilming in 1978, the Stiles Papers, then classed as Ms Vault Stiles, were organized into six series: Correspondence, Itineraries, Literary Diary, Meteorological Journals, Miscellaneous Volumes and Papers, and Sermons. Contents of each series were rehoused, generally with item-level foldering. Prior to microfilming, some volumes of correspondence and other papers, including volumes apparently bound while owned by Ezra Stiles, were disbound and contents of some disbound volumes were dispersed within one or more series. Remaining bound volumes were housed in custom phase boxes. Some papers were encapsulated in mylar sealed with adhesive, including contents of the following disbound volumes rehoused in post bindings: Literary diary, volume 1; Literary Diary, volume 2; and "Observations on Silkworms and the Culture of Silk.” Folders were labeled manually, and contents were identified on typescript index cards used as microfilm targets and filed in each folder or phase box. Accession information, such as immediate source of acquisition, purchase fund, and brief description, was filed with some items acquired since the Stiles bequest. Reference folders, usually containing photocopies, were created for materials related to Stiles held by Yale repositories but not part of the Papers, and as see references for materials within the Stiles Papers.

After microfilming, the Stiles Papers were accessed primarily through A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Ezra Stiles Papers at Yale University, which provides page-level indexing and collocates index entries with microfilm reels. For the Literary Diary Series, the Guide reproduces the index to The Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles, edited by Franklin Bowditch Dexter. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1901), citing this published edition by volume and page. For other series, the Guide identifies items by date or microfilm item number. Some microfilmed items were also represented in the Beinecke Library’s manuscript and print card catalogs, and a few of these brief descriptions were converted to online catalog records. During 1978-2018, readers were generally required to access the Papers via the microfilm, and each microfilm frame included a notice requiring permission of the Yale University Library for reproduction or publication. Materials classed as Ms Vault Stiles that were not microfilmed were accessible only by minimal box and folder labeling. These materials included disbound volume covers, some with annotations by Ezra Stiles or Abiel Holmes; autograph manuscript sermons by Naphtali Daggett (1727-1780) (Yale 1748); photocopies of materials in Ms Vault Stiles or materials held by other repositories; and curatorial records, including card files and lists predating the microfilm Guide.

Full Processing

In 2018, the Ezra Stiles Papers were reclassed as GEN MSS 1475 and reprocessed with a comprehensive collection-level description and box and folder listing. Reprocessing incorporated all materials formerly classed as Ms Vault Stiles, and integrated related materials formerly classed as Uncat Ms Vault File Stiles, Uncat Ms Vault 321, GEN MSS FILE 468, GEN MSS MISC 2986 F-1, GEN MSS MISC 3032 F-1, GEN MSS MISC 3032 F-2, Ms Vault Section 2 Drawer 1, Ms Vault Shelves North Haven, Ms Vault Shelves Yale, Z20 005 1, Z20 005 2, Z20 005 3, Z20 005 4, Z34 099, Z36 006/6, Z36 270, ZZ35 5, ZZ35 5:2, and Z117 175/3. The series organization of Ms Vault Stiles was maintained, with an additional seventh series, “Information About Ezra Stiles and the Stiles Papers.” The Correspondence Series, formerly arranged chronologically, was rearranged alphabetically by correspondent name, in conformance with indexing in the microfilm Guide. Existing arrangements were maintained for other series.

The Papers were rehoused and new box and folder numbers were assigned. Existing item-level foldering and volume-level custom boxing was maintained, and manual annotations on folders relating to microfilm indexing were preserved. Index cards used as microfilm targets were discarded, and accession information, superseded card files and lists, and other curatorial records were transferred to curator’s administrative files. References to items within the Papers were incorporated in the box and folder listing, and reference folders for these and for items external to the Papers were discarded. References were recorded in the box and folder listing as found on reference folders; accuracy of references was not verified. Items were removed from mylar sealed with adhesive and from post bindings. Forty-two items, with accompanying descriptions, purchased from A. S. W. Rosenbach by Mary Emma Stillman Harkness and given by Harkness to Yale in 1931, were removed from collector’s bindings and integrated in the Correspondence and Miscellaneous Volumes and Papers Series; provenance was identified in file-level notes, and collector’s bindings were discarded. Oversize and three-dimensional items were identified and rehoused. All fragile and silked items were referred to conservators for evaluation and treatment. Other than restricted access to fragile materials, all other access, reproduction, and publication restrictions were lifted.

The Stiles Papers are accessible through item-level listings in the finding aid and through indexes in the microfilm Guide, which provide page-level subject analysis not replicated in the finding aid. Items referenced in microfilm indexes may be found in the Papers via the following elements common to index entries and item listings: Correspondence Series: correspondent name and item date Itineraries Series: volume and page number Literary Diary Series: diary entry date, as determined from The Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles, edited by Franklin Bowditch Dexter. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1901) Meteorological Journals Series: volume and page number Miscellaneous Volumes and Papers Series: item number (MVP #) Sermons Series: item number (SER #)

File-level descriptions of microfilmed materials were based on microfilm targets. All file-level descriptions incorporate standardized personal and corporate names, titles of published works, and subject and genre terms. For descriptive conventions specific to each series, see series-level descriptions. The following apply to all series:

Ezra Stiles (1727-1795) (Yale 1746) is generally abbreviated “ES”.

Preferred sources for standard terms: Personal names, in order of preference: Library of Congress Name Authority File; Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College or Sibley’s Harvard Graduates; The Stiles Family in America; or other genealogical sources. Class years for graduates of Yale, Harvard, and the College of New Jersey follow names when applicable. Corporate names: Library of Congress Name Authority File. Topical and geographic subjects: Library of Congress Subject Headings. Titles of published works: title page of first edition.

File titles, dates, and notes: Transcribed file titles are in quotation marks, with standardized spelling supplied in square brackets to facilitate keyword searching. Item-level dates conform to dates in microfilm index entries. Dates generally identify earliest date of creation and may not include later additions or annotations. Page number spans conform to microfilm index entries. Page numbers supplied by Yale Library staff prior to microfilming are in brackets. Printed materials are identified in file titles as “print,” with publisher information if known. The following are noted at the file level when known: Provenance other than Stiles’s bequest. Former call numbers, other than Ms Vault Stiles. Yale University Art Gallery registration numbers.
Title
Guide to the Ezra Stiles papers
Status
In Progress
Author
Karen Spicher
Date
2019 May
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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