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Elias Perkins papers

Call Number: MS 1013

Scope and Contents

This collection contains certificates and other papers of Elias Perkins and his son Nathaniel Shaw Perkins. The papers of Elias Perkins consist of several letters, notices, and certificates recording his election to Phi Beta Kappa, his election to Congress, his appointment to the public examination committee for Yale College, his appointment as judge of the New London, Connecticut, County Court, and votes of thanks from Yale officials, as well as his Yale B.A. diploma. There are also two orations by Perkins and a copy of the Freshman Laws, possibly in his hand.

The papers of Nathaniel Shaw Perkins (1797-1870) consist of a receipt for his Yale College tuition, his B.A. and M.A. diplomas, certificates of appointment as a military surgeon, receipts and cards of admission to classes at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and a certificate of appointment as a royal arch mason.

The final item in the collection is a letter from the United States State Department to Nathaniel Shaw Perkins (1822-1905) concerning Nathaniel Shaw.

These papers were separated in 1951 and 1980 from the Nathaniel and Thomas Shaw Papers (Ms. Gr. No. 445). The latter collection was given to Yale University as a memorial to Nathaniel Shaw Perkins by his daughter, Jane R. Perkins, and her brothers in 1926.


  • 1784-1833


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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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

Separated from the Nathaniel and Thomas Shaw Papers, 1951 and 1980.


0.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence and miscellaneous documents reflecting Elias Perkins attendance at Yale College (1782-1786) and his political activities as a member of the 7th Congress of the U.S. and as judge of the New London County Court. Also included are papers of Nathaniel Shaw Perkins documenting his Yale career (1808-1812), his service in the War of 1812, and his admission to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The papers also include a letter on Nathaniel Shaw from the U.S. State Department (1900).

Biographical / Historical

Elias Perkins was born in Newent Society, now Lisbon, Connecticut, on April 5, 1767. A twin-brother was graduated a year later, and an older brother a year earlier.

He left College with a high reputation for scholarship and after studying law settled in practice in New London, Connecticut, where he married on March 14, 1790, Lucretia Shaw, the only surviving daughter of the Rev. Ephraim Woodbridge (Yale 1765).

He was one of the Representatives of the city in the General Assembly during eight sessions between 1795 and 1800, and again in 1814 and 1815,--in which last session, as in one in 1798, he served as Speaker of the House.

At a comparatively early date (1799) he was appointed an Assistant Judge of the County, and in 1907 was promoted to the rank of Chief Judge, which he retained until 1825.

In politics he was a Federalist, and as such was elected to Congress for one term, 1801 to 1803. Later he was in the State Senate for six years, from 1817 to 1822, being also for this period ex-officio a Fellow of the Yale Corporation.

From 1829 to 1832 he was Mayor of New London.

He was the first President of the New London Bank, which was chartered in 1907.

In 1817 he was chosen to be a Deacon in the First Congregational Church in New London. An engraving from his full-length portrait is given in a volume of the American National Register.

His wife died on March 6, 1802, in her 29th year; and he next married on February 11, 1805, Mary, second daughter of John and Lucretia (Christophers) Mumford, of the present township of Salem, Connecticut, who died on March 22, 1830, in her 56th year.

By his first wife he had four sons and two daughters. The first and second sons were both graduated at Yale in 1812, and the others died in infancy. The younger daughter married Charles Griswold (Yale 1808).

Mr. Perkins died in New London on September 27, 1845, in his 79th year.

Two of his private letters to Governor Griswold (1800-01) are printed in the Family-Histories and Genealogies of Mr. And Mrs. Salisbury.

(Taken from Biographical Sketches of Yale College, F. B. Dexter, pp. 502-503).

Guide to the Elias Perkins Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
July 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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