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Joshua E. Clayton papers

Call Number: WA MSS S-1355

Scope and Contents

The Joshua E. Clayton Papers document the career of a mining engineer working primarily in the western United States. The collection spans the period 1864-1892, but the bulk of the collection covers Clayton's mining interests during the 1860s and 1870s.

The papers are arranged in three sections. Clayton's Reports on Mining Properties contains statements he prepared on various mines and mining districts in California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, and Utah. Other Documents Regarding Mining consists of various agreements, assay certificates, and other papers which Clayton collected. Correspondence contains letters written both to and by Clayton as well as other documents directly related to the correspondents.

Clayton's Reports on Mining Properties is arranged chronologically. An attempt has been made to identify the mining district, county, and state for the mine or area described (brackets [] were used in folder titles to identify supplied information). Most of the reports are in the form of letters written in pencil and may represent drafts or copies Clayton made for his files. Generally the reports include the following data: a description of the property's location using geographic features and often naming the district and county; a geological description of the area; a detailed report on the location and direction of the vein, surrounding rock, and any development work (tunnels, etc.); and estimates on the value of the property as well as recommendations for development. The majority of the reports are for mines and districts in Utah.

Other Documents Regarding Mining , arranged chronologically, contains a variety of papers documenting mining in Montana, Nevada, and Utah. All the items for 1865 concern claims in the Union Mining District, Nye County, Nevada. The 1866 file consists of assay certificates issued by Theall & Co., of Austin, Nevada, for samples deposited by Clayton. The 1869 file contains a draft agreement for development work on a mine in the Gold Mountain Mining District, Nye County, and 1872 contains an agreement for the transfer of mining property in White Pine County, Nevada. In 1883 Clayton drafted a prospectus for the Bannack Mining & Reduction Co. Ltd. to mine for a variety of ores in Beaverhead County, Montana. Along with this description of the proposed company and the mineral wealth of the area, there is a contract to sell property in the area to Bannack. The 1883 file also contains Clayton's appointment to the National Mining and Industrial Exposition Association and an article from Salt Lake City's Daily Tribune reporting Clayton's idea for a state mining association. In 1884 this idea came to fruition and the Salt Lake Mining Institute was founded with Clayton as its first president and general manager. The collection contains two drafts of his address to the people of Utah describing the purpose of the Institute. Clayton wanted the Institute to establish a museum and library on Utah's mineral resources.

Correspondence , arranged alphabetically by correspondent, also focuses on Clayton's mining career. The collection includes copies of his letters to Samuel B. Martin concerning a mining operation in Silver Peak, Nevada. Clayton, who appears to be the supervisor or manager, describes the hauling and mill machinery and there is a receipt for supplies purchased by Martin for "S.P.& R.M.G.& S.M. Co." Letters from W. B. Odgen also concern the Silver Peak mine. The collection contains Clayton's correspondence with the secretary of the Original Hidden Treasure Mining Company while he was superintendent in 1870. John R. Park, president of the University of Deseret, exchanged letters with Clayton, as president of the Salt Lake Mining Institute, concerning museum management. Alexander Wakefield's letters and legal papers document his involvement with Clayton in the business side of mining. Other correspondence has been filed in folder 61. Most of the letters refer to mining properties and reports. An 1882 letter from Clayton to Governor Murray reports on his work as Utah's commissioner to the National Mining and Industrial Exhibition.

Oversize material has been filed in Box 3.


  • 1864 - 1892


Physical Description

Other Storage Formats: Oversize

Conditions Governing Access

Box 4: Restricted fragile material. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Joshua E. Clayton 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

Most of the Joshua E. Clayton Papers were donated by Charles and Lindley E. Eberstadt in 1959 and 1963. Charles Eberstadt donated the report on the Granite Mountain Lode and Stephens Mining Property (Box 1, folder 39) in 1959 and Lindley donated the other mining reports and the correspondence in 1963. The origin of the other material (primarily the section "Other Documents Regarding Mining") is unknown, except for the 1853 agreement which was donated by Charles and Lindley Eberstadt in 1969.


3 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The collection consists primarily of Clayton's reports on mines and mining districts in California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, and Utah. There are also a variety of papers, including correspondence, documenting mining in Montana, Nevada, and Utah.

Guide to the Joshua E. Clayton Papers
Under Revision
by Susie R. Bock
May 1992
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.