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Blake family papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 85

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of correspondence, financial papers, printed material, photographs, and miscellanea of the Blake family of New Haven, Connecticut. Several generations of family members are represented in the papers, including Eli Whitney, Eli Whitney Blake (1795-1886), Eli Whitney Blake (1836-1895), Henry Taylor Blake (1828-1922), and William Phipps Blake (1826-). Additional family members represented in the papers include: Charles Thompson Blake, Edward Foster Blake, James Pierrepont Blake, Dotha Bushnell, George Bushnell, George Ensign Bushnell, Mary Elizabeth Bushnell, and members of the Hazard, MacWhorter, Osborne, and Rice families.

Topics discussed in these papers include a wide variety of personal and family-related concerns, the estates of several family members, including Eli Whitney, and the professional careers of many of the above-named individuals. The scientific and inventing pursuits of Eli Whitney Blake (1795-1896), the academic career of physicist Eli Whitney Blake (1826-1895), the geological and mineralogical interests of William Phipps Blake are documented, as are the legal and political activites of Henry Taylor Blake, the hand craft industry operated by Dotha Bushnell, and the Civil War duties of Edward Foster Blake.
SERIES I, GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE, 1773-1920, contains letters in which only one of the correspondents is identified as a member of the Blake family. These letters do contain significant information on members of the Blake family and their activities, however. Among the correspondents included in this series are: members of the Adams, Bacon, Baldwin, Beecher, Belden, Burgess, Bushnell, Fairchild, Gilman, Henshaw, Merrill, Rice, Seely, Trumbull and Whitney families, and such individuals as Eliza Beers, Horace Bushnell, John J. Crittenden, Timothy Dwight, Edgar L. Heermance, Charles L. Ives, George B. MacLellan, Samuel B. Munson, and Increase N. Tarbox.

SERIES II, FAMILY CORRESPONDENCE, 1792-1921, contains letters exchanged between members of the extended Blake family. The letters are arranged alphabetically by the name of the author. For each author correspondence is organized alphabetically by the name of the correspondent. Thus, Charles Thompson Blake's letters to his father, Eli Whitney Blake are found under the former's name (box 8, folder 198), while Eli Whitney Blake's letters to his son Charles are found under the elder Blake's name (box 9, folder 223). Several generations and branches of the Blake family are represented in the series, including many of the female members.

The correspondence (and related papers) of Eli Whitney (box 19, folders 401-408) includes letters to his nephew, Eli Whitney Blake, and to his brother Josiah Whitney. Two financial accounts of cotton gin sales are also included (1807; 1824). Letters written to Eli Whitney Blake focus on the latter's impending education at Yale College (1811-1814), although later correspondence (1817-1819) includes a discussion of a hydrolic powered syphon for a water fountain

Correspondence to Josiah Whitney (1792-1823.) details Eli Whitney's interest and concern in family affairs and provides information on his business pursuits, including travels to the South in the early 1800's. The development and sale of the cotton gin are discussed, as are the political consequences of the Embargo Act and the War of 1812. Whitney was in Washington, D.C. in 1892, and his comments on the activities of Congress are those of a close observer. Personal and financial commentary continues through the year 1816. Correspondence from 1817-1819 is absent, although letters from 1820-1823 continue the regular exchange of letters between the brothers.

SERIES III, PERSONAL PAPERS, 1780-1920, contains a variety of account books, scrapbooks, sermons, notebooks, and miscellanea of family members and other individuals.Selectfiles contains material arranged by the individual author/compiler.Topicalfiles contain material not attributed to an individual.Selectfiles include a notebook identified as that of Caleb Cushing. The volume contains clippings and data relating to the presidential election of 1864. Items relating to Edward Foster Blake include a published "Synopsis of Chemical Lectures in Yale College," (ca. 1856) and a "Colloquy for the Wooden Spoon," (August, 1852).Topical filesinclude a small quantity of estate records, photographs, and obituaries for family members.

Dates

  • 1773-1921

Creator

Language

English

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 Thomas W. Hazard, 1946-1950.

Arrangement

The papers are arranged as follows: I. General Correspondence, 1773-1920. II. Family Correspondence, 1792-1921. III. Personal Papers, 1780-1920.

Extent

10 Linear Feet (23 boxes)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.0085

Overview

The papers consist of correspondence, financial papers, printed material, photographs, and miscellanea of the Blake family of New Haven, Connecticut. Several generations of family members are represented in the papers, including Eli Whitney, Eli Whitney Blake (1795-1886), Eli Whitney Blake (1836-1895), Henry Taylor Blake (1828-1922), and William Phipps Blake (1826-). Additional family members represented in the papers include: Charles Thompson Blake, Edward Foster Blake, James Pierrepont Blake, Dotha Bushnell, George Bushnell, George Ensign Bushnell, Mary Elizabeth Bushnell, and members of the Hazard, MacWhorter, Osborne, and Rice families.

Biographical / Historical

ELI WHITNEY BLAKE, 1795-1886

Eli Whitney Blake was born in Westboro, Massachusetts on January 27, 1795. He graduated from Yale in 1816 and assisted his uncle, Eli Whitney, in the operation of a gun factory in New Haven, Connecticut. Blake continued the business after Whitney's death. In 1858 he invented the Blake crusher, a machine which broke stone into gravel. Blake wrote scientific papers and received an honorary degree (LL.D.) from Yale in 1875. He died in New Haven, Connecticut on August 18, 1886.

ELI WHITNEY BLAKE, 1836-1895

Eli Whitney Blake was born in New Haven, Connecticut on April 20, 1836. He graduated from Yale College in 1857. He served as professor of chemistry at the University of Vermont (1867), professor of physics at Cornell University (1868-1870), acting professor of physics at Columbia (1868-1869), and professor of physics at Brown University (1870-1886).

WILLIAM PHIPPS BLAKE, 1826

William Phipps Blake was born in New York City on June 1, 1826. He received the degree of Ph.B. from Yale in 1852. He served as geologist and mineralogist for a U.S. Pacific railroad expedition and became a professor of mineralogy and geology.

HENRY TAYLOR BLAKE, 1828-1922

Henry Taylor Blake was born in New Haven, Connecticut on April 27, 1828. He graduated from Yale in 1848 (A.B.) and studied at the Yale Law School. He practiced law in Bridgeport, Connecticut from 1850-1885. He returned to New Haven in 1885 and served on many municipal organizations until his death on April 6, 1922.
Title
Guide to the Blake Family Papers
Author
compiled by William E. Brown, Jr. and Isabell McDonnell
Date
December 1984
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • October 2008: Finding aid revision description not supplied.

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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