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Stevens family papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 1027

Scope and Contents

The collection contains Ebenezer Stevens' correspondence and documents, nine financial account books for the firm of Ebenezer Stevens' Sons, and three early twentieth-century reproductions of portraits of Ebenezer Stevens. The correspondence primarily relates to Stevens' military service; exceptions include twelve letters from Thomas Norbury Kerby (1758-1819), a merchant in Antigua, one letter from Stevens to Kerby's partner Samuel Byam Athill (1758-1832), and five letters from Robert Liston (1742-1836), Britain's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the United States. Other Papers contains military related material including a manuscript map of the installations around Fort Erie in Ontario, Canada.


  • 1777-1870


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Stevens 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

Purchased from Serendipity Books on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2000.


Organized into two series: I. Correspondence and Other Papers, 1777-1820. II. Account Books, 1846-1870.


2.6 Linear Feet (11 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The collection contains Ebenezer Stevens' correspondence and documents, and nine financial account books for the firm of Ebenezer Stevens' Sons. The correspondence primarily relates to Stevens' military service and cohort including Horatio Gates, and his relationships with Antigua merchants Thomas Norbury Kerby and Samuel Byam Athill; also present are letters from Robert Liston, Britain's minister plenipotentiary to the United States. Other papers include Ebenezer Stevens' military appointment certificate, a petition on behalf of a political appointment for John Murray Forbes, and a manuscript map of the military installations around Fort Erie in Ontario, Canada. The collection is accompanied by three early twentieth-century reproductions featuring images of Ebenezer Stevens.

Ebenezer Stevens (1751-1823)

Born in Roxbury in 1751, Ebenezer Stevens joined a Boston artillery company in 1768 at the age of seventeen; five years later, the company took part in the Boston Tea Party. An officer in the Revolutionary War, he fought at the battle of Bunker Hill under Major General Horatio Gates, played a key role at Saratoga, and served under Lafayette in Virginia and at Yorktown. After the Revolution Stevens settled in New York and became a prominent merchant in the West Indian and Caribbean trade, importing and selling rum, brandies, wines, gins, and other alcoholic beverages. He also pursued a political career as a member of the New York State Assembly. Having attained the grade of major general of the artillery of the state of New York, he participated in the battle of Fort Erie and left military service in 1814.

Stevens was married in 1774 to Rebecca Hodgdon, daughter of Benjamin Hodgdon, and with her had four children: Elizabeth (1775-1777); Horatio Gates (1778-1873, married Eliza Lucille Rhinelander); Rebecca Hodgdon (1780-1815, married John Peter Schermerhorn); and George Alexander (1782-1807). His second wife was Lucretia Ledyard Sands, with whom he had seven children: Samuel (1785-1844, Yale 1804); William (1787-1867); Alexander Hodgdon (1789-1869, Yale 1807, married three times: Mary Jane Bayard, Catherine Morris, and Phoebe Coles Lloyd); Byam Kerby (1792-1870, Yale 1811, married Frances Gallatin); John Austin (1795-1874, Yale 1813, married Abby Weld); Henry Hewgill (1797-1869, married Catherine Clarkson Crosby); and Mary Lucretia (1798-1877, married Frederick William Rhinelander).

In 1818 Byam Kerby Stevens and John Austin Stevens joined their father in business as Ebenezer Stevens & Sons, and continued the firm as Ebenezer Stevens' Sons after his death in 1823. Byam Kerby Stevens bought the firm and its name from his brother John in 1862; it closed with his death in 1870.

General note

The Ebenezer Stevens' Sons account books bear the labels of New York stationers Francis & Loutrel and Slote & Janes.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

Former call number: Uncat MSS 7; former collection title: Ebenezer Stevens Papers.
Guide to the Stevens 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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Opening Hours

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.