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George Jacob Abbot papers

Call Number: MS 28
Scope and Contents

The George Jacob Abbot Papers consist mainly of correspondence, drafts of speeches, unfinished drafts of U.S. State Department papers, newspaper clippings and other materials related to Abbot's employment as secretary to Daniel Webster and to his diplomatic service. There are some Abbot family materials among the papers as well.

The correspondence consists of approximately 700 letters, of which 104 (1811-1852) are by Webster and 74 are to him, and 247 (1842-1878) are by Abbot and 175 to him. Nearly half of Abbot's letters were written during his diplomatic service in England and Canada. Among the important correspondents are Thomas Stephenson, U.S. Consular Agent; Emory McClintock, Vice-consul at Sheffield; Prentiss Mellen, first Chief Justice of Maine; and judges Charles Jackson, James Kent, and Joseph Story. The correspondence is arranged chronologically, but the letters are individually catalogued in the Department's manuscript catalogue, and a list of correspondents follow the folder listing.

The speeches include copies of Webster's Fourth of July speech of 1851 and a speech delivered before the New York Historical Society in 1852. There are several copies of other speeches as well as notes and fragments pertaining to them. These are untitled and undated.

The State Department drafts relate to the British attack on the American steamer Caroline in 1837, to the fisheries dispute with England in 1851, and to the case of John S. Thrasher, and American being held in Cuba, 1851-1852.

The newspaper clippings are mainly reviews of Webster's speeches and reports of his political activities.

Other materials, presumably related to Abbot's secretarial duties, include receipts, inventories, lists of names and photographs. A folio contains a certificate of appointment, signed by Millard Fillmore and Daniel Webster, of George King Rogers to the U.S. Consulate in France and a chart of the square mileage of each state and territory of the United States.

Not directly related to Abbot's employment is a draft deposition (ca. 1776) by Peter Green concerning loyalist activities in the colonies.

Abbot's family is represented by a manuscript sermon of his father, Rev. Jacob Abbot (1768-1834); "A Record of the Last Days of Daniel Webster," an unpublished manuscript by Mary J. C. Throop, Abbot's daughter (b. 1842); and by school examination papers of Anna Abbot Throop, Abbot's grandaughter (b. 1869). A printed sermon, Discourse Delivered in Windham, N.H., November 5, 1834, at the Internment of Rev. Jacob Abbot (Nashua, N.H.: Alfred Beard, 1835), has been transferred to the Yale Divinity Library.

The Daniel Webster materials were presumably gathered by Abbot for use in preparing the six volumes of the Works of Daniel Webster (Boston, 1851). Most of Edward Everett's letters to Abbot refer to the editing and production of the Works. Apparently the Webster papers were also used by Mrs. Throop in preparing her manuscript.

The George Jacob Abbot Papers were given to Yale University Library by Wilkie Bushby in September 1955.

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 Wilkie Bushby in 1955.


Arranged in five sections: Correspondence, Writings, Photographs, Printed Matter, and Newspaper Clippings.

1.5 Linear Feet (4 boxes, 1 folio)
Related Names
Abbot, George Jacob, 1812-1879
Language of Materials