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Jonathan Lee papers

Call Number: MS 958

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of correspondence, sermons, journals, notebooks, and other papers relating to the personal life and professional career of Jonathan Lee, a graduate of Yale University (B.A., 1809) and Congregational Minister in Otis, Massachusetts; Weybridge, Vermont; and Salisbury, Connecticut.

The Lee Papers are arranged in ten (10) boxes and total four and one-quarter (4.25) linear feet. The papers are arranged in three series: I. Correspondence, 1781-1857, II. Sermons, 1812-1836, III. Volumes, 1804-1844.

SERIES I, CORRESPONDENCE, 1781-1805, consists primarily of letters exchanged between members of the Lee family. Jonathan Lee maintained a regular correspondence with family members, including his parents, brothers, sisters, and his wife. Early letters consist of messages from Jonathan Lee to family members as he studied at Yale College and Andover Theological Seminary. Lee wrote regularly and in great detail of his studies and life at school. Lee also corresponded with family members while in the Michigan Territory during the 1820s and 1830s. He ventured there as a representative of the American Home Missionary Society, and engaged in religious work in the area of Tecumseh, Michigan. Lee exchanged religious views and family information from the Midwest, and he continued this correspondence upon his return to New England in the 1830s, after which he assumed positions in Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. During the 1840s he corresponded with his offspring quite regularly, including several letters to and from his daughter Harriet, as she recuperated from an illness in an Utica, New York asylum.

SERIES II, SERMONS, 1812-1836, consists of several handwritten sermons which Lee delivered in the course of his religious training and practice. These sermons, as indicated on the text, were often delivered several times in a variety of locations in and around New England.

SERIES III, VOLUMES, 1804-1844, consists of a commonplace book, a journal (1804-1844), and several notebooks which Lee compiled in the course of his academic work at Yale College (1808-1809).

The Lee Papers were donated by William Todd and supplemented by purchases, in 1941.


  • 1781-1857


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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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 William Todd, with supplemental purchases, 1941.


Arranged in three series: I. Correspondence, 1781-1857. II. Sermons, 1812-1836. III. Volumes, 1804-1844.


4.25 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The papers consist of correspondence, notebooks, journals and sermons of Jonathan Lee, which document his professional and personal life in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut.

Biographical / Historical

Jonathan Lee was born on July 19, 1786, in Salisbury, Connecticut, the son of Deacon Milo and Ruth Camp Lee. He fitted for college with Rev. Ammi R, Robbins, of Norfolk, and entered the Freshman Class in Sept., 1804, but was compelled by poor health to relinquish study for an entire year during his college course. He graduated from Yale in 1809 and from Andover Theological Seminary in 1812.

Lee was ordained and installed pastor of the Congregational Church in Otis, Massachusetts in 1815. He was dismissed from this charge, July 10, 1831, at his own request. He subsequently was the pastor of the Congregational Church in Weybridge, Vermont from 1834-1837. He published an "Address, designed to be presented to a Mutual Council," called for his dismission, (pp. 23, 8°, Middlebury, Vt., 1837.) Two sermons preached at Otis were also published. In 1838 Lee returned to Salisbury to teach and resided there until his death in 1866.

He was twice married. His first wife, who died Nov. 14, 1826, was Harriet Dewey, daughter of Col. J. Danforth, of Pittsfield, Mass. He married, Nov. 25, 1827, Mary, daughter of Col. Adonijah Strong, of Salisbury. She died Dec. 24, 1863, aged 76.

Guide to the Jonathan Lee Papers
Under Revision
compiled by William E. Brown, Jr. and Isabelle McDonnell
October 1984
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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