The Edwards Pierrepont Collection, though quite small, does provide important materials pertaining to various aspects of his professional and personal life. There are also materials relating to the important political issues of the day. The collection is divided into two series: CORRESPONDENCE and SPECIAL FILES. CORRESPONDENCE is divided into two subsections: "General Correspondence" and "Correspondence of Others."
"General Correspondence," which forms the major part of the series, includes letters about legal cases from clients and other lawyers, letters of congratulation on Pierrepont's appointments to various positions and on speeches he gave or pamphlets he wrote, letters from friends and officials in Great Britain, and letters concerning a published letter of advice written by Pierrepont to his son, Edward Pierrepont. In addition, there are letters from Samuel Augustus Willoughby Duffey (1843-1887), Pierrepont's nephew and a presbyterian minister and hymnologist, and from Samuel Augustus Willoughby, Pierrepont's father-in-law, for whom Pierrepont acted as attorney.
Many of the letters Pierrepont received relate to some of the important political issues of the day. There are, for example, a number of letters from William Maxwell Evarts, a classmate and life-long friend of Pierrepont's, who became Secretary of State and Attorney General. These include letters concerning Evarts' Civil War mission to England, the impeachment of President Johnson, the Hayes-Tilden election, and political affairs in general. There are also letters from Roscoe Conkling, mainly of a personal nature, but also touching upon the Republican party.
Pierrepont received a number of letters and telegrams pertaining to the Mississippi crisis, a series of armed uprisings by white vigilanties against the Negro "scalawag" coalition which formed the backbone of Radical Reconstruction in the south. Letters from the following persons are pertinent: Adelbert Ames, governor of Mississippi; Blanche Kelso Bruce; W. W. Dedrick; Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State; President Ulysses S. Grant, and his son, Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. (1852-1929); J. B. Guthrie; Levi P. Luckey, Grant's secretary; W. Noonan, and A. Warner.
Letters pertaining to the "whiskey ring" include those written to Pierrepont by Benjamin Helm Bristow, Secretary of the Treasury; David Patterson Dyer, United States representative, and President Grant. There are also letters written by Pierrepont to David Patterson Dyer, Scott Lord, and President Grant.
Letters on the question of bimetallic currency were written to Pierrepont by J. B. Bick, U. S. Senator; Richard P. Bland; Frederick Augustus Conkling, U. S. Representative; the National Bi-metallic Coinage Association; the National Executive Silver Committee (of which Pierrepont was a member); Henry E. Pierrepont; William E. Rogers; William Sawkerner; and William M. Stewart.
Other correspondents of note include Simeon E. Baldwin, jurist and governor of Connecticut; Henry Barnard, first U. S. commissioner of education; James Birney, lawyer and diplomat; George Bliss, U. S. district attorney for the southern district of New York; Simon Cameron, Secretary of War; Edward C. Cannington, U. S. district attorney for Washington; John Adams Dix, governor of New York and United States minister to France; Timothy Dwight, president of Yale College; Marshall O. Roberts, a leading capitalist; William H. Seward, secretary of state; Benjamin Silliman, Jr., chemist; and Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War. There is also a letter and printed circular signed by William Marcy Tweed and others.
"Correspondence of Others" consists of letters received by Pierrepont's wife and a number of business letters received by Alfred H. P. Edwards, whose estate Pierrepont administered. Correspondents of note, not previously mentioned, includes Noah Davis, U. S. district attorney for the southern district of New York; Frederick William Seward, Undersecretary of State; John Palmer Usher, Secretary of the Interior; and Henry Ward Beecher.
SPECIAL FILES consists primarily of legal and financial documents, newspaper clippings, and copies of printed articles. Most of the legal material pertains to cases in which Pierrepont acted as attorney. In addition, there are affidavits, contracts, some of which relate to Pierrepont's private transactions as a property-holder, and papers relating to the estates which Pierrepont administered. The financial material consists mostly of receipts received by Pierrepont and his wife, purchases made in Europe. There are also insurance certificates, promissory notes, and miscellaneous receipts. Of particular interest are two proclamations (1874 and 1875) by President Grant concerning the Mississippi crisis.
A calendar of the important correspondence in the Collection is contained in the Appendix to this Register. Additional important correspondence has been added to the Collection since this calendar was completed.