De Forest family papers
Scope and Contents
The papers consist of correspondence, writings, personal papers, legal and financial records, and related papers of the De Forest family. There is also some correspondence relating to the Sergeant and Shepard families (who married into the De Forest family). Family members prominent in the papers include John Hancock De Forest, his wife Dotha Woodward, and their sons George Frederick De Forest, Henry Alfred De Forest, Andrew Woodward De Forest, and John William De Forest. John Hancock De Forest's brothers, Benjamin and Ezra De Forest, and their children are also represented in the papers.
Drafts and printed material by and relating to John William De Forest provide insight into his writing career. De Forest's career is similarly reflected in contracts and correspondence with publishers. The Writings series also includes his son Louis Shepard De Forest's book Tuberculosis as a local and contagious disease in New Haven (1891).
Family papers contain business and genealogy documents. Warranty deeds, wills, and estate documents trace the De Forest's wealth and connection to Connecticut history. A number of warranty deeds reflect the De Forest's acquisition of property in Seymour, Derby, and New Haven, Connecticut. Some legal and financial records relate to John Hancock De Forest's company, the Humphreysville Manufacturing Company, and Seymour (formerly Humphreysville), Connecticut. An inventory of Dotha Woodward De Forest's estate following her death lists the contents of the De Forest's home, such as furniture, books, clothing, and other household effects, which combined provide insight into the life of a Connecticut family in the mid-nineteenth century. Military papers and a passport for John William De Forest document his experience as a soldier. The Family Papers series also includes documents pertaining to the histories of the De Forest, Sergeant, and Shepard families.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Existence and Location of Copies
Portions of the collection are available on microfilm.
Conditions Governing Use
The De Forest Family Papers is 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
Gift of Louis Effingham De Forest (Yale 1912), 1939.
Organized into three series: I. Correspondence, 1813-1953. II. Writings, 1855-1871. III. Family Papers, 1839-1933.
3.75 Linear Feet (10 boxes)
Language of Materials
The papers consist of correspondence, writings, personal papers, legal and financial records, and related papers of the De Forest family. There is also some correspondence relating to the Sergeant and Shepard families (who married into the De Forest family). Family members prominent in the papers include John Hancock De Forest, his wife Dotha Woodward, and their sons George Frederick De Forest, Henry Alfred De Forest, Andrew Woodward De Forest, and John William De Forest. The papers contain documents relating to John Hancock De Forest's company Humphreysville Manufacturing Company, based in Seymour, Connecticut. Drafts and publications by author John William De Forest, are also part of the papers. Tuberculosis, a book by John William De Forest's son, Louis Shepard De Forest, is also included in the papers.
De Forest Family
The De Forest family was a prominent New England family largely based in Connecticut. John Hancock De Forest owned the Humphreysville Manufacturing Company, a cotton textile mill, in Humphreysville (now Seymour), Connecticut. John Hancock De Forest and Dotha Woodward had four sons: George Frederick De Forest, who managed the Humphreysville Manufacturing Company following his father's death; Henry Alfred De Forest, a medical missionary and graduate of Yale University (B.A., 1832 and M.D., 1835); Andrew Woodward De Forest, a lumber businessman in New Haven; and John William De Forest, an author.
John William De Forest wrote essays, poetry, short stories, and novels (including Miss Ravenel's Conversion from Secession to Loyalty). De Forest's article "The Great American Novel," published in The Nation, is believed to be the first use of the expression.
The De Forest family has a number of connections with Yale University. Various De Forest family members are graduates of Yale and some established awards. David Curtis De Forest established the De Forest Fund and the De Forest Prize in English Oration at Yale College in 1823. John De Forest (B.A., 1826) established the De Forest Mathematical Prize in 1855 to recognize his son Erastus Lyman De Forest (B.A., 1854).
De Forest Family Tree
Family members who are prominent in the papers appear in boldface.
Benjamin De Forest (1749-1784) m. Mehitabel Curtis Lockwood (1751-1830)
-- 2 David Curtis De Forest (1774-1825) m. Julia Wooster (b. 1796)
--- 3 Carlos Maria De Forest (1813-) m. Margaret Watkins
-- 2 Benjamin DeForest (1780-1848) m. Alma Southmayd
-- 2 Ezra DeForest (1782-1868) m. Laura Wooster
-- 2 John Hancock De Forest (1776-1839) m. Dotha Woodward (d. 1847)
-- 3 George Frederick De Forest (1812-1883) m. Caroline Elizabeth Sergeant (b. 1822); Anna Williams Sergeant (b. 1838)
--- 4 Katharine De Forest
--- 4 Clara De Forest m. David James Burrell
--- 4 George Elliott De Forest m. Adeline Whiting Dix
--- 4 Robert De Forest
-- 3 Henry Alfred De Forest (1814-1858) m. Catharine Sedgwick Sergeant (1817-1896)
-- 3 Andrew Woodward De Forest (1817-1900) m. Lucretia Sturges Bennett (1820-1907)
--- 4 Eugene De Forest (1855-1929) m. Minnie Richards
--- 4 Charles Sturges De Forest (1853-1933) m. Lillian Ives
--- 4 Mary De Forest m. Duncan Leverich
--- 4 Edward m. Louise E. Hawley
--- 4 Lucia H. De Forest (1858-1886)
-- 3 John William De Forest (1826-1906) m. Harriet Silliman Shepard (1833-1878)
---- 4 Louis Shepard De Forest (1857-1938) m. Annie C. Everit (d. 1932)
----- 5 Charles Shepard De Forest
----- 5 Louis Effingham De Forest
Sergeant Family Tree
Sewall Sergeant (1789-1858) m. Clarissa Partridge (1793-1860)
-- 2 Catharine Sedgwick Sergeant (1817-1896) m. Henry Alfred De Forest (1814-1858)
-- 2 George Sergeant (1820-1875) m. Lydia A. Clark (d. 1863)
-- 2 Caroline Elizabeth Sergeant (b. 1822) m. George Frederick De Forest (1812-1883)
-- 2 Susan Sergeant (1825-1827)
-- 2 Sewall Sergeant (1827-1890) m. Alma Mercein
-- 2 Clarissa Partridge Sergeant (1829-1846)
-- 2 Susan Emily Sergeant (b. 1832) m. Alfred H. Dashiell
-- 2 John Elliott Sergeant (1835-1895) m. Caroline H. Matthews
-- 2 Anna Williams (b. 1838) m. George Frederick De Forest (1812-1883)
Shepard Family Tree
Charles Upham Shepard (1804-1886) m. Harriet Taylor
-- 2 Harriett Silliman Shepard (1833-1878) m. John William De Forest (1826-1906)
-- 2 Fanny Shepard m. Charles Pickney James
-- 2 Charles Upham Shepard, Junior
This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization, in 2012.
This collection includes materials previously identified by the following call numbers: Za De Forest, Uncat Za De Forest, and Za D362 +1.
- American literature -- 19th century
- Connecticut -- Social life and customs -- 19th century
- De Forest family
- De Forest, Andrew Woodward, 1817-1900
- De Forest, Dotha Woodward, d. 1847
- De Forest, George Frederick, 1812-1883
- De Forest, Henry Alfred, 1814-1858
- De Forest, John Hancock, 1776-1839
- De Forest, John William, 1826-1906
- De Forest, Louis Effingham, 1891-
- De Forest, Louis Shepard, 1857-1938
- Humphreysville Manufacturing Company
- Sergeant family
- Seymour (Conn.) -- History -- 19th century
- Shepard family
- Guide to the De Forest Family Papers
- by Beinecke Staff
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository
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New Haven, CT 06511
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