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Gad Day family papers

Call Number: MS 1225

Scope and Contents

Letters and other papers, 1742-1910, relating to the family of Gad Day and to the family of his daughter-in-law, Sarah Rice (Seaver) Day of Montreal, Canada, Marlboro, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut, make up this collection. The materials are arranged by family member. The oldest item is a surveyor's notebook for 1742-1743 kept by Josiah Day of West Springfield, Massachusetts. The papers of Gad Day include accounts of materials and labor used in constructing Day's house in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, promisory notes, three of which are from Day to Yale, and deeds for land in Pittsfield and New Haven. There is also one letter from Day to his parents thanking them for their care of him during his childhood.

The papers of George E. Day make up approximately one-third of the collection. There is a small amount of correspondence, most of it concerning Yale, including several letters from Samuel Holmes about leaving money to the University to endow a professorship. There are, further, Day's diary for 1832-1837, a marriage license signed by him as minister, and three notebooks on the genealogy of the Day family.

Other Day family papers include an account book of the estate of George E. and Olivia Day kept by the executor, Henry Branford Sargent, and two items pertaining to Horace Day: a letter from Isaac Parsons about pews in Center Church in New Haven, and a deed to Albert Thomas for land in New Haven.

Papers of the Rice and Seaver families include a letter from Hannah (Palfrey) Cole Rice to her daughter, Sarah C. (Rice) Seaver, about the death of her child; seventy-four copies of letters relating to the settlement of the estate of Heman Seaver, most of them from Henry Rice, who was the brother and lawyer of Seaver's wife, and the rest from other Seaver family members; and a letter from John Strong Rice concerning pews in Center Church.

The bulk of these papers were given to Yale University by Arthur E. Head in 1947 and 1953. Of the remainder, Professor B.C. Nangle gave the Gad Day letter and deeds in 1946, while the George E. Day Papers were given in part by the estate of George E. Day in 1905.


  • 1742-1910


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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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

Chiefly the gift of Arthur E. Head, 1947 and 1953. Also gifts of B.C. Nangle and estate of George E. Day, 1946 and 1905.


1 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Four generations of a Connecticut and Massachusetts family, beginning with Josiah Day who is represented by his surveyor's notebook, 1742-1743. The principal figure is his great-grandson, George Edward Day,clergyman and professor at the Yale Divinity School, 1863-1895. Included in the papers are his correspondence, a diary (1832-1837), genealogical notebooks and the account book of his estate. Also represented are his father, Gad Day, with correspondence, accounts and deeds (1811-1844), his brother Horace Day, and Hannah Palfrey Cole Rice with a letter (1819) to her daughter, Sarah Cazneau Rice Seaver about the death of her child.

Biographical / Historical


George Edward Day, elder son of Gad and Roxanna (Rice) Day, and brother of Horace Day (Yale, 1836), was a descendant of Robert Day, who came from Ipswich, England, to Boston, Mass., in the bark Elizabeth in April, 1634, and was one of the original proprietors of Hartford, Conn., having probably journeyed thither through the wilderness with Rev. Thomas Hooker in 1636. Through his mother he was descended from Thomas Yale, uncle of Elihu Yale, in whose honor Yale College received its name. He was born March 19, 1815, in Pittsfield, Mass., but in 1822 removed with his parents to New Haven, Conn.

After graduation from Yale College in 1833, he taught two years in the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in New York City. In the education of this class he was deeply interested and, while a student in the Yale Theological Seminary, wrote on the subject for the American Journal of Science in 1836. The results of his investigations, made by request during subsequent visits abroad, were published in a "Report on Institutions for the Deaf and Dumb in Europe, especially Germany," in 1845, and a similar Report for Holland and Paris, in 1861. On completing his theological course in 1838, before entering the active ministry, he was Instructor in Sacred Literature in the Yale Divinity School for two years.

He was ordained pastor of the Union (Congregational) Church in Marlboro, Mass., December 2, 1840, continued there seven years, and then from January, 1848, to May, 1851, filled the pastorate of the Edwards Church, Northampton, Mass.

Following ten years of pastoral work, he was for fifteen years Professor of Biblical Literature in the Lane Theological Seminary at Cincinnati, O. In 1863 he established the Theological Eclectic, which he edited through seven volumes, when it was merged with the Bibliotheca Sacra. While aborad in the summer of 1865 he purchased in Great Britain and on the Continent large additions for the Library of Lane Seminary.

In April, 1866, he returned to New Haven as Professor of the Hebrew Language and Literature and Biblical Theology in the Yale Divinity School, and maintained his official connection with the School to the close of his long life. The value of his services in the erection of the present buildings was gratefully acknowledged by his associates, and his self-sacrificing devotion to his work, both in instruction and outside of the classroom, was manifest. In 1888 he became Dean of the Divinity School, and for three or four years thereafter shared the duties of his professorship with Professor Harper, late President of Chicago University. Upon his retirement from the Office of Dean in 1895, he was made Professor Emeritus. He received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Marietta College in 1856.

Professor Day compiled "A Genealogical Register of the Descendants in the Male Line of Robert Day, of Hartford, Conn., who died in 1648"; 1st edition, New Haven, 1840; 2nd edition, 1848. He was Secretary of his college class from 1866 to the close of his life, and in 1870 and 1879 issued Records of the Class.

Professor Day retained his enthusiasm for linguistic study, acquiring new langagues even in his later years. He translated from the Dutch Van Oosterzee's "Biblical Theology of the New Testament" in 1871, and edited an American edition of Oehler's "Biblical Theology of the Old Testament" in 1883. By taste and experience he was well fitted for his share in the revision of the English version of the Bible, and served as Secretary of the American Revision Committee and a member of the Old Testament Company from its formation in 1871.

He was thoroughly familiar with the history and present condition of the great missionary work of the church, and at his own expense collected and catalogued an exceedingly valuable missionary library, now numbering about seven thousand five hundred volumes. This he gave to the Yale Divinity School, and also provided funds for its maintenance and increase, and ultimately a new fire-proof building for the same. He was active in efforts which resulted in the erection of a monument to Rev. John Robinson, the "Pilgrim" pastor, in Leyden, Holland.

Professor Day died July 2, 1905, in his 91st year. Injuries resulting from a fall had confined him to his house for fifteen months previous, but he bore his helplessness with wonderful resignation. He married, in 1843, Amelia H., daughter of Henry and Mary Oaks. She died in 1875, and he afterward married Olivia Clarke Hotchkiss, who survives him. The latter was the daughter of Lewis and Hanna (Trowbridge) Hotchkiss of New Haven. There were no children by either marriage.

He was a member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Japan, and a Corresponding Member of the New England Historic-Genealogical Society from 1847, and of the American Oriental Society from 1848.

(Yale Obituary Record, no. 65, pages 522-525)

* * * * *

HORACE DAY, 1816-1902

Horace Day, younger son of Gad and Roxanna (Rice) Day was born in Pittsfield, Mass., on November 5, 1816, but removed with his parents to New Haven in 1822, and took his preparatory course in the Hopkins Grammar School in this city under the instruction of Mr., afterward President, Noah Porter.

After graduation, he had a brief experience in teaching, and then studied three years in Yale Seminary, but was not ordained owing to imperfect health. He engaged in business and was for several years a bookseller in New Haven, in the firm of Day & Fitch. In 1848 he visited Europe, and on his return became Editor of the Journal and Courier, and subsequently Assistant Editor of the Cincinnati Gazette. He returned to New Haven in 1856, and three years later again went abroad. Upon his return in 1860 he was chosen Superintendent of the Public Schools of New Haven, and held that office for five years. In 1868 he became Secretary of the Board of Education and served the city in that capacity continuously to the end of his life. During about fifteen years preceding 1897 he was also Clerk of the District.

Mr. Day was one of the founders of the New Haven Colony Historical Society, and its first Secretary, holding the office from 1862 to 1865. At the opening of the present building in 1893, he delivered the Commemorative Address. He was esteemed as an antiquarian, and was often consulted regarding early landmarks and local history. He assisted in the compilation of several genealogies. On the death of his classmate, Rev. Edward E. Atwater, in 1887, he became Class Secretary, having previously been one of the permanent Class Committee.

He united with the College Church in 1835 and had been a member of the Center Church since 1846. With the late Judge William W. Boardman (Yale 1812) he was larely instrumental in securing from the State Legislature an annual appropriation for the New Haven Hospital.

Mr. Day died from the infirmatives of age aggravated by uraemic poisoning at his home on College street where he had lived for thirty-five years, on July 22, 1902, in the 86th year of his age.

He married, on November 20, 1844, Sarah Rice, daughter of Heman and Sarah C. (Rice) Seaver, a native of Montreal, Canada, and subsequently a resident of Marlboro, Mass. Of their three sons and three daughters, the youngest son and the two younger daughters survive. Mrs. Day died in 1898. Mr. Day's only brother graduated from Yale College in 1833 and has been Professor of the Hebrew Language and Literature in the Yale Divinity School since 1866.

(Yale Obituary Record, No. 62, pages 211-212)

For a chart outlining the partial genealogical relations of the Day family, please consult theGenealogical Chart.

Preliminary Guide to the Gad Day Family Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
June 1983
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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