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Colgate Family papers

Call Number: MS 144

Scope and Contents

The Colgate Family Papers, 1752-1874, consist of letters, diaries, account books, and miscellaneous financial and legal papers of the Davies, Brasher, Craig, and other related families centered in New York City. They document both personal relations and business matters, the latter connected with the Atlantic trade and with land sales in western Virginia. Much of the information about business is in correspondence between members of these families. These are the principal components of the papers:

  1. legal and financial papers, 1752-1794, of Benjamin Davies (1728-7) and his wife, Elizabeth (Wessells) Davies (d. 1794).
  2. diary, 1766, of Judith (Gasherie) Brasher (1700-1772).
  3. family expense book, 1773-1791, of Helen (Kortright) Brasher (1739-1819).
  4. letters of John Pintard (1759-1844) and John Marsden Pintard, 1783-1799, to their. kinsmen, Elias Boudinot (1740-1821) and Elisha Boudinot (1749-1819). John Marsden Pintard's letters from Madeira, 1783-1785, contain commercial and political news. John Pintard's earliest letter, 1783, shows him apprehensive about a mercantile career.
  5. miscellaneous papers, 1793-1801, of Samuel Craig (1757?-1802). Craig was buying land in western Virginia.
  6. correspondence, account books, and legal and financial papers, 1796-1814, of Abraham Kortright Brasher (1777-1814). Brasher wrote to his brother, Gasherie Brasher (b. 1773), from Lisbon in 1798; to his sister, Helen Kortright (Brasher) Craig (1777-1853), from New Orleans in 1801; and to several persons from "Drondheim" [Trondheim?] in 1813. He received letters from business associates while doing business in New Orleans (1801-1803) and New York. The financial papers include receipts for the purchase of slaves in Jamaica in 1801 and documents related to the British seizure of the brig Harriot in 1804.
  7. letters and business papers, 1805-1855, of Samuel Davies Craig (1785-1856). Craig exchanged many letters with his wife, Helen Kortright (Brasher) Craig (1777-1853), and his son, Benjamin Davies Craig (1808-1879), and he pursued his father's land interests in Virginia in the late 1810s and the late 1840s.
  8. extracts from a journal, 1813, of a cruise in the privateer Scourge, commanded by Samuel G. Nicoll.
  9. diary, 1837-1848, possibly by Robert Colgate II (1812-1885).
  10. journal, 1856-1857, of a voyage to China.

For more biographical and genealogical information, see Helena Kortright Brasher, 1739-1819, by Craig Colgate, Jr., which is the first item in the papers, and typed genealogical notes filed with it.

The loose papers and the volumes are arranged in separate chronological sequences. The volumes are in three chronological sequences to conform to different sizes of containers. Most items have been cataloged individually in the department's manuscript catalog.

The Colgate Family Papers were given to Yale University Library by the estate of Craig Colgate, Craig Colgate, Jr., and Mrs. James G. Cannon between 1955 and 1979.

A receipt book of Benjamin Davies has been transferred to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library because it contains a receipt written and signed by Button Gwinnett.


  • 1752-1875


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the estate of Craig Colgate, Craig Colgate, Jr., and Mrs. James G. Cannon between 1955 and 1979.


1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes, 1 folio)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Letters, diaries, account books, financial and legal papers and memorabilia of the Davies, Brasher, Craig and related families, based in New York City. The business documents relate to the Atlantic trade (1788-1814) and comprise, among other records, receipts for the purchase of slaves in Jamaica in 1801. The diaries and account books in the collection include the family expense book (1739-1819) of Helen Kortright Brasher, a diary kept by Judith Brasher in 1766, extracts from a journal of a cruise in a privateer (1813), a diary (1837-1848) possibly belonging to Robert Colgate II, and a journal (1856-1858) of a voyage to China. Among the genealogical information is a biography of Helena Kortright Brasher written by Craig Colgate, Jr.

Guide to the Colgate Family Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Susan Grigg
August 1979
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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