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.