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Alexander Stewart Webb papers

Call Number: MS 684

Scope and Contents

The Alexander Stewart Webb Collection consists of five boxes of correspondence and four boxes of printed and written material dealing with the public and private life of Alexander Stewart Webb (1835-1911). The span of the collection 1818 to 1930. The early letters are of his mother and other relatives and the later letters concerning him are Written friends to Webb's son and daughters. The bulk of the collection is the letters of Webb during the Civil War and later as President of the College of the City of New York.

The wartime letters of Alexander Stewart Webb to his father, wife, and sister cover Webb's activities, impressions, and thoughts as an officer at Port Pickens, later in the Amy of the Potomac, and ultimately to serving under General Meade in the final decisive battles of the war. Webb was very active the Peninsula campaign, about which he later wrote a book. He played an outstanding role in the battles at Chancellors ville and Gettysburg, in the letter of rich displayed "distinguished personal gallantry" for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Having been seriously wounded at Spotsylvania, Webb was reassigned to teaching at West Point. He resigned, to accept the presidency of the College of the City of New York in 1869 when assigned to field duty in the West. He was an active administrator in this post and was highly regarded by both students and faculty; his tenure saw a great rise in the prestige and reputation of City College.

During the 1870's, 1880's and 1890's, much of the correspondence deals with the attempt to have Webb's name placed on the U.S. Army officer's reserve list. The bill for this purpose passed either the House or Senate at various times, but it was never passed by both and enacted. Another main topic of the correspondence is the disagreement between two factions over General Meade's conduct at the Battle of Gettysburg. General Webb was one of the leading spokesmen of the pro-Meade group opposing the anti-Meade group led primarily by Generals Butterfield and Doubleday. The conflict reached its height in 1890 at the occasion of the visit of the Count of Paris to the United States.

Webb served as head of City College until his retirement in 1902. He remained active in the civic duties in New York until his death in 1911.

The collection consists of 9 manuscript boxes, one folio, and one folio case containing approximately 4,500 items, donated by various members of the Webb family, including Mrs. Eliza Osgood Webb, Miss Anna R. Alexandre, and Mrs. J. Frederic Schenck, 1936-1964.


  • 1818-1930


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research; due to the nature of the material, box 12 requires staff supervision.

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 members of the Webb family including Mrs. Eliza Osgood Webb, Anna R. Alexandre, and Mrs. Frederic Schenck, 1936-1964.


6.5 Linear Feet (10 boxes, 2 folios)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence and papers of Alexander Stewart Webb which detail his personal, military, and academic activities. Webb's military service at Fort Pickens, Florida; as a member of the Army of the Potomac, and with General George Meade during the Civil War is documented, as is his tenure as president of the College of the City of New York.

Biographical / Historical

Alexander S. Webb: joined U.S. Army in 1855; served in Minnesota and Florida, and in 1857 became professor of mathematics at West Point; served in Civil War, attaining rank of major-general, and retiring in 1866; returned to teaching at West Point; left the army in 1870; in 1869 became president of College of the City of New York.

Guide to the Alexander Stewart Webb Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Manuscripts and Archives Staff
October 1984
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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