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Hezekiah Howe Papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 1365

Scope and Contents

The Hezekiah Howe Papers consist of fifteen bound volumes of manuscript records documenting three bookselling firms in New Haven, Connecticut, in which Howe was partner or owner: Beers & Howe, Howe & DeForest, and Hezekiah Howe & Co. The volumes include four bookshop inventories (1812, 1815, 1832, 1835) and four letter books (1811-1818 and 1833-1838), with financial records consisting of two ledgers (1829-1837), two journals (1831-1838), a day book (1832-1841), and two waste books (1832-1841).

Four volumes contain manuscript shop inventories made to record the transfer of ownership between business partners. The first volume is dated April 1, 1812, and reflects stock on hand when Beers & Howe became Howe & DeForest; the second volume is dated March 1, 1815, listing the stock on hand at Howe & DeForest on the day it was acquired by Hezekiah Howe. Each volume contains a manuscript receipt showing the price paid to the departing partner. The inventories classify books under headings of divinity, law, medical, history, Bibles & prayer books, arts & sciences, and "Miscellanies" (primarily literature), followed by second-hand books, stationery, blank books, alphabet and penmanship books, atlases, maps, and charts. Also listed are the optical, mathematical, and musical instruments, "pocket books" for men and women, and "Miscellaneous Articles" sold by the firm such as trunks, ivory tablets, snuff boxes, dice, buttons, and other sundries. The 1812 inventory is divided into sections distinguishing "Imported" from "American" titles. The third inventory is dated June 1, 1832, and lists the books and stationery that Hezekiah Howe & Co. partner Augustus Russell Street sold to Alfred Terry, and the printing office equipment that Street sold to Hezekiah Howe & Co. The fourth inventory is dated April 1, 1835, and list the books, stationery, and prints that Alfred Terry sold to Herrick and Noyes, the successor to Hezekiah Howe & Co.; the latter volume contains a non-compete clause signed by Terry and Howe.

The four letter books contain manuscript copies of 4,725 outgoing letters from booksellers Beers & Howe (1811-1812), Howe & DeForest (1812-1815), and Hezekiah Howe (1815-1818 and 1833-1838); all volumes have alphabetical name indexes in front. The recipients were retail customers, editors, printers, publishers, and booksellers primarily situated between Boston and Washington, D.C., in particular Philadelphia. Frequent correspondents were Mathew Carey, Evert Duyckinck, Jeremiah Evarts, William Hilliard, Lambert Lockwood, Francis Nichols, John Wiley, and A. T. Goodrich, who operated as an agent for Howe in New York City. Firms include Birch and Small; Bradford & Read; Clark & Lyman; Collins & Co.; Desilver, Thomas & Co.; Eastburn, Kirk & Co.; Farrand and Nicholas; Grigg & Elliot; Hale & Hosmer; Hudson & Goodwin; J.S. & C. Adams; Kimber & Conrad; Kirk & Mercein; Leavitt, Lord, and Co.; Michael Burnham & Co.; T. & J. Swords; Thomas B. Wait and Co.; and Whiting and Watson, among many others. The letters discuss all matters involved in bookselling and publishing, including prices and arrangements for acquiring, selling, and shipping books and journals.


  • 1811 - 1841


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Hezekiah Howe 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 Roger Sherman White, 2nd (Yale 1899, LLB 1902), 1913.

Related Materials

Associated material: Edward Claudius Herrick Papers (MS 691), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.


2.71 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Hezekiah Howe Papers consist of fifteen bound volumes of manuscript records documenting three bookselling firms in New Haven, Connecticut, in which Howe was partner or owner: Beers & Howe, Howe & DeForest, and Hezekiah Howe & Co. The volumes include four bookshop inventories (1812, 1815, 1832, 1835) and four letter books (1811-1818 and 1833-1838), with financial records consisting of two ledgers (1829-1837), two journals (1831-1838), a day book (1832-1841), and two waste books (1832-1841).

Hezekiah Howe (1775-1838)

Hezekiah Howe, bookseller and publisher in New Haven, Connecticut. He was born in Killingly, Connecticut, in 1775, married Lydia Wilkinson in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1809, and died in New Haven on May 26, 1838. Howe formed partnerships with several New Haven booksellers including Isaac Beers (1806-1812), DeLauzon DeForest (1812-1815), George Spalding (1818-1823), and briefly in New York, with William R. Dwight (1821-1822). At other times he operated under his own name or as Hezekiah Howe & Co. with partners Augustus Russell Street (1824-1832) and Howe's son-in-law Alfred Terry (1832-1835). The firm was succeeded by Herrick and Noyes, whose partners were Edward Claudius Herrick (1811-1862) and Benjamin Noyes (1816-1891). In addition to his book businesses, Howe served as brigadier general of the Second Brigade of the Connecticut Militia, managed several bridge and canal lotteries in Connecticut, was part owner of a cotton factory in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and became owner, editor, and publisher of the Connecticut Journal in 1826.

Beers & Howe

Beers & Howe, bookselling firm established in New Haven, Connecticut, in February 1806 by partners Isaac Beers (1742?-1813) and Hezeziah Howe (1775-1838), succeeding the firm Isaac Beers and Co. The partnership was called Beers, Howe & Co. in 1809-1810, reverting to Beers & Howe in 1810, and was succeeded by Howe & DeForest on March 2, 1812. Isaac Beers died in New Haven on August 30, 1813.

Howe & DeForest

Howe & DeForest, bookselling firm in New Haven, Connecticut, founded March 2, 1812, by partners Hezekiah Howe (1775-1838) and DeLauzon DeForest (1781-1815), succeeding the firm Beers & Howe. Also appearing in print as Howe & Deforest, Howe & De Forest, and How & Deforest, the partnership was dissolved on June 23, 1815. DeLauzon DeForest (alternately spelled DeLauzun DeForest) died in New Haven on November 27, 1815.

Augustus Russell Street (1791-1866)

Augustus Russell Street was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on November 5, 1791, the son of hardware merchant Titus Street (1758-1842) and Amaryllis Atwater Street. He graduated from Yale College in 1812, studied law, and in 1815 married Caroline M. Leffingwell (1790-1877), a granddaughter of Isaac Beers. Street began a mercantile career with the hardware merchants Sherman, Porter & Co. (1816-1817) and Charles Sherman (1817-1818), before entering a limited partnership with bookseller Hezekiah Howe (1824-1832). Following his father's death, Street traveled abroad (1843-1848), and returned to New Haven to pursue philanthropic efforts benefiting Yale College, including funding its School of Fine Arts. He died in New Haven on June 12, 1866.

Alfred Terry (1802-1860)

Alfred Terry was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on July 28, 1802, the son of Nathaniel Terry (1768-1844) and Catharine Wadsworth Terry. He graduated from Yale College in 1821, studied law in Litchfield, Connecticut, and practiced as an attorney in Hartford from 1824 to 1831. In 1825 he married Clarissa Howe (1803-1874), and in 1832 moved to New Haven to enter the bookselling business with his father-in-law Hezekiah Howe. Terry served as town clerk of New Haven from 1843 to 1856, and died in New Haven on December 14, 1860.

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 numbers: MS Vault Shelves Howe & DeForest, Z117 031f, Z117 067, Z117 0073a-j, Z117 0196s, and Z117 0209

Guide to the Hezekiah Howe Papers
by Sandra Markham
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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