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Elihu Yale collection

Call Number: MS 566

Scope and Contents

The Elihu Yale Collection is a compilation of printed materials and photographs — and a few original documents — concerning Elihu Yale (1649-1721), one of Yale College's early benefactors. The materials cover the dates 1610 (photostat)-1987. Only a small part of the collection could be considered as the papers of Elihu Yale or the Yale family; in almost every case the collection contains only the photostatic copy of a document housed elsewhere (particularly at the Public Record Office in London). The chief exceptions to this are an intriguing eighteenth-century manuscript volume of recipes, prepared for Yale's granddaughter, Lady Barbara North, and one volume of a rare printed catalogue of Yale's estate.

Most of the material about Yale is printed matter, available elsewhere, but there are also notes, typescripts and letters by various people interested in Elihu Yale. Of these, the largest single segment is that collected by Charles Hervey Townshend (1833-1904).

Because of the many sources, and the likelihood that material will be added from time to time, the collection has been arranged topically rather than by author. The more significant items, however, though filed according to topic, are foldered and listed individually. Oversize materials concerning all topics are filed in the folios at the end of the collection.

For further photographs, the reader should consult the "Individuals" section of the Yale Picture Collection. Books about Elihu Yale are catalogued under Ycz. Y2.


  • 1610-2000


Conditions Governing Access

While this collection as a whole is available for research, parts of it may be restricted due to law, university policy or fragility. Any restricted material will be noted as such.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown, though much of the material in this collection is likely in the public domain. 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.


8.25 Linear Feet (9 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


A miscellaneous collection of documents, printed or photocopied, by and about Elihu Yale. Included are records of the Agency of Fort St. George (Madras, India), 1679-1692, during the years of Elihu Yale's governorship, biographical and genealogical materials, copies of correspondence (1699-1719) with Catherine and Elihu Nicks and material on Madras, India and Wrexham, Wales. In the few family papers are a copy of the will of Thomas Yale (1619), the "Recipe book" of Lady Bab North, written for Elihu Yale's granddaughter, memorabilia, and photographs of Yale family tombs and portraits.

Biographical / Historical

In 1671 Elihu Yale was appointed a writer in the East India Company. He was sent to Madras, India in 1672, and became a member of the council and second in command to the governor. In 1687 Yale became president and governor of Fort Saint George. He returned to England in 1699, where he carried on trade in diamonds. In 1718 Yale made a gift to the Collegiate School at New Haven, Connecticut, which, in appreciation, changed its name to Yale College.
Guide to the Elihu Yale Collection
Under Revision
compiled by John Espy and staff of Manuscripts and Archives
April 1981
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

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

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