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Mitchell-Tiffany family papers

Call Number: MS 701

Scope and Contents


The collection is divided into two major portions: the papers of Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell and the papers of other family members. Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell are the central figures of the collection; the materials found in Series V were preserved largely as a result of Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell's efforts to collect materials relating to the history of the family. Annie O. Mitchell outlived her husband by 27 years, and perhaps for this reason it is her papers which form the core of the collection. The strongest feature of the collection is that the materials, covering the period from 1803 to 1932, present an interesting perspective on American family life during several generations. The greatest concentration of material covers the late nineteenth century.

Dates and notations found throughout the collection, with the exception of those found in brackets, were made by family members during their preliminary processing of the collection and have been retained for the assistance which they might provide the researcher.

Series I, CORRESPONDENCE OF ALFRED AND ANNIE O. MITCHELL, is comprised almost entirely of incoming letters, the great majority of which are addressed to Annie O. (Tiffany) Mitchell. The correspondence covers the years from 1861 to 1932 and is divided into two sections.

The first, Select Correspondence, is arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the author. The individuals in this section are primarily family members or close friends, some of whom Annie O. (Tiffany) Mitchell apparently met during her school days. The most extensive groups of letters are from the two daughters, Alfreda (Mitchell) Bingham and Charly Tiffany (Mitchell) Jeans and their husbands. There are also a substantial number of letters from Annie O. Mitchell's parents, Charles and Harriet Tiffany; her brother, Louis Comfort Tiffany and his wife Mary; her aunt Lydia B. Young; and Alfred Mitchell's brother, Donald Grant Mitchell. These letters not only contain detailed information about the two branches of the family, but also provide insights into the social history of the period.

The most active correspondent in the collection was the Mitchells' youngest daughter, Charly Tiffany (Mitchell) Jeans. She attended Bryn Mawr College from 1894 to 1898, and only a few years after her marriage to James Hopwood Jeans (later Sir James Jeans) she returned with him to his native England. As a result of these extended separations from her family, there are many more letters from her in the collection than from any other single correspondent. The letters which she wrote to her parents from Bryn Mawr College are of particular interest because of the information which they contain about life at a woman's college at the turn of the century. Charly also wrote to her mother regularly throughout the first World War and while the letters do not mention very many specific events in detail, they do reveal something of her personal attitudes toward the war and particularly the German Zeppelin raids. In several of the letters from this period entire paragraphs have been erased. This may be as a result of war-time censorship, for in one letter Charly suggests that some of her letters may not be reaching America because of the censorship.

The remaining correspondence is essentially conversational and records primarily family news. There are, however, two letters from Hiram Bingham III which are of particular note. The first, dated 1924 Mar 28, relates his meeting with President Coolidge to discuss a keynote speech which Bingham was scheduled to make at the Republican state convention in Connecticut. The letter was written at the height of the Teapot Dome scandal while Bingham was Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut. In the letter he states that he has just heard of the resignation of Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty. The second letter, dated 1926 Mar 5, was written while Bingham was Senator from Connecticut, and discusses his work with the President's Aircraft Board and Dwight Morrow. For more material relating to Hiram and Alfreda (Mitchell) Bingham, see the Hiram Bingham Family Papers, MS Group No. 81.

The second section, General Correspondence, contains a few letters written by Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell, letters received from unidentified or less significant individuals, and less substantive letters received on special occasions. Letters are arranged chronologically within each of these categories. Letters written by Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell to other family members are filed with that individual's papers in Series V, PAPERS OF OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS. Only one folder of additional outgoing letters is filed in the General Correspondence of Series I. Scattered letters received from various individuals, primarily friends and acquaintances, span the years 1857 to 1932, with the largest concentration in the years 1862 to 1867. The single folder of invitations includes an invitation to the opening ceremonies for the Brooklyn Bridge (1883). At the end of General Correspondence there are three folders of letters received on the engagement of Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell (1871), and on the deaths of Charles L. Tiffany (1902) and Alfred Mitchell (1911).

There is some correspondence of a purely financial or legal nature in Series II, and the correspondence of family members other than Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell will be found in Series V. A few letters addressed to Alfred Mitchell on the subject of family history will be found in Series V, in the folders labeled "Papers used by Mary E. Perkins in the preparation of Chronicles of a Connecticut Farm, 1769-1905.

Series II, FINANCIAL, LEGAL AND HOUSEHOLD PAPERS OF ALFRED AND ANNIE O. MITCHELL, consists of financial statements, statements of receipts and disbursements, financial and legal correspondence, legal documents, stock certificates, notices of stockholders meetings, and various household accounts, receipts, and memoranda. The items in this series are arranged chronologically by type of material.

The series begins with wills of Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell. The first large group of materials--agreements, legal briefs, and financial statements concerning the Annie O. Mitchell Trust--is extensive but incomplete, covering the years 1911 to 1935. Statements of receipts and disbursements consist of financial reports concerning various properties owned by Annie O. Mitchell. The statements were prepared by her nephew, Donald Grant Mitchell, Jr., who acted as her agent. They cover the years 1919 to 1932. The next major group of materials consists of correspondence, legal documents, and financial statements relating to the estate of Charles L. Tiffany (1902-1929), the Burnett Y. Tiffany Trust (1902-1932), the Louise H. Tiffany Trust (1906-1909), the Annie O. Mitchell Trust for Alfreda M. Bingham and Charly T. M. Jeans (1917-1931), and the Annie O. Mitchell Tiffany Trust for Olivia Jeans (1925-1927). Throughout this section of the series are letters from Robert Thorne, legal counsel for Annie O. Mitchell, and from Charles L. Tiffany II, as an official of Tiffany and Company.

The Mitchell household papers include stock certificates, stockholders' notices, household account books, records of servants' wages in Jamaica and New York, receipts, bills and inventories. These materials relate to homes in New York City, Salem, Connecticut, and Port Antonio, Jamaica, and to trips to Europe and Japan.

Series III, DIARIES AND WRITINGS OF ALFRED AND ANNIE O. MITCHELL, contains diaries, memoranda books, articles and notebooks, arranged by author and by type of material. Items are arranged chronologically within each category of material.

Annie O. Mitchell's papers in this series consist of diaries, memoranda books and notes on family history. The diaries cover the years 1865-1867, 1896, and 1911-1929. The early diaries contain periodic entries of various lengths recording events of personal interest. The later diaries, however, contain only brief entries noting daily activities. The chronological gap between the two sets of diaries is partially filled by a series of memoranda books, dated 1867 to 1895. The content of these memoranda books varies from book to book; some contain only financial notations while others include notes of daily activities. One folder of notes on family history completes Annie O. Mitchell's writings.

Alfred Mitchell's writings include one diary volume, several articles and a Civil War regimental roll book. His diary covers the years 1906 to 1910, with very brief entries concerning weather conditions and daily activities. The articles include manuscripts concerning his stay on a guano island and the Guatemala coffee growing business; his translation of a French novel, clipped from Hearth and Home, a periodical edited by his brother Donald G. Mitchell and Harriet Beecher Stowe; and a notebook and clippings concerning the plants of Jamaica, entitled "A Natural History of the Folly." Alfred Mitchell's papers also include a regimental roll-book listing soldiers involved in the assault on Port Hudson, Louisiana, during the Civil War.

During the years 1911 and 1912 Annie O. Mitchell employed a secretary named Miss Miller, who kept memoranda books recording the Mitchells' daily activities. The two volumes are included here because they provide a diary-like account of their lives during these two years, including the death of Alfred Mitchell.

Series IV, PERSONAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS OF ALFRED AND ANNIE O. MITCHELL, is comprised of school catalogs, student compositions, notebooks, passports, invitations, gift lists, visitors' cards and newspaper clippings. These papers are arranged by individual and by type of material, and provide general personal information about Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell. Of special interest are student compositions of Annie O. Tiffany and obituaries of Alfred Mitchell.

Series V, PAPERS OF OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS, contains letters, legal documents, financial records, sermons, writings and newspaper clippings pertaining to more than twenty-five relatives of Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell. The papers of individual family members are arranged alphabetically by name, with letters filed with the recipient's papers. Letters written by Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell, for example, may be found in the papers of Alfreda M. Bingham, Charly T. M. Jeans, and several other family members. The individuals whose papers are contained in this series are members of the Mitchell, Tiffany, Woodbridge, Mumford, Bingham, Jeans, Perkins, Young and Thatcher families. The biographical sketches and genealogicalchart provided in the register will aid in identifying individuals and relationships.

As a result of Alfred Mitchell's efforts to collect information concerning his ancestors, the Mitchell family is the most fully represented family in this series. The papers of Alfreda (Mitchell) Bingham and Charly T. (Mitchell) Jeans include correspondence, juvenile papers and wedding aanouncements. The largest group of materials in the series consists of the sermons of the Reverend Alfred Mitchell (1790-1831), spanning the years 1821 to 1831. The papers of Donald Grant Mitchell (1822-1908) include correspondence, financial and legal papers, twenty-one issues of Hearth and Home (1869), maps of the Edgewood development, a report on East Rock park in New Haven, and newspaper clippings. His literary papers are in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Other Mitchell family members represented in this series include Louis Mitchell (1826-1881), Lucretia M. (Woodbridge) Mitchell (1794-1839), Stephen Mix Mitchell (1743-1835), Stephen Mix Mitchell II (1818-1839), and Walter Mitchell (1777-1849). The papers of Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812-1902) contain correspondence, bills and receipts, a brief published biography, newspaper clippings and obituaries. There is a small amount of material relating to Charles L. Tiffany II (1878-?), Harriet (Young) Tiffany (1813-1897), and Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933).

The series also contains some genealogical material, including an annotated copy of the Woodbridge Record, other genealogical records of the Woodbridge family, and materials used by Mary E. Perkins in preparing Chronicles of a Connecticut Farm, 1769-1905.

Series VI, PHOTOGRAPHS, contains seven folders of photographs, two photograph scrapbooks of Alfreda Mitchell, fourteen photograph albums of Alfred Mitchell, and eight albums of photographs by professional photographers. Most of the individual photographs are professional portraits of Mitchell and Tiffany family members. Alfred Mitchell's portraits of his immediate family, other relatives, and friends--particularly in albums titled "Portraits" and "Family History" (volumesI-V)--reveal his talents as an amateur photographer. Other albums document the family's many trips to Europe, the Caribbean, Egypt, Mexico, and the southern and western United States. Professional photographs include the "Millet collection of Japanese photos," numerous cartes de visite (by Mathew Brady, among others), and cabinet photographs.

The Mitchell-Tiffany Papers have been donated to the Yale University Library over a period of more than thirty years. In 1945 Walter L. Mitchell donated a small collection of Mitchell family papers, including: letters and papers, 1803-1868, of Walter Mitchell, Donald Grant Mitchell and other family members; sermons of Reverend Alfred Mitchell; and the "Woodbridge Record." This collection was incorporated with the Mitchell-Tiffany Papers after the bulk of the present collection was donated by Woodbridge Bingham in 1967. Additional papers were given by Woodbridge Bingham and Alfred Mitchell Bingham at various times prior to and during 1978.

Researchers may wish to consult the registers for the following related collections:

Alfred Bingham Papers, MS Group No. 148: papers of Alfred Mitchell Bingham (b. 1905), relating primarily to his career as editor of Common Sense.

Bingham Family Papers, MS Group No. 81: include papers of Hiram Bingham III (1875-1956) and Alfreda (Mitchell) Bingham (1874-1967), which contain some correspondence and papers relating to Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell.

Yale Peruvian Expedition Papers, MS Group No. 664: expeditions led by Hiram Bingham III in 1911, 1912 and 1914-15; papers include journals and writings of Bingham and some correspondence from Annie O. Mitchell.

Donald Grant Mitchell Papers, Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

See also, Union Manuscript Catalogue, under the following headings: Bingham, Alfred Mitchell (b. 1905), Bingham, Hiram (1875-1956), Mitchell, Alfred (1832-1911), Mitchell, Donald Grant (1822-1908), Mitchell, Lucretia Mumford (Woodbridge) (1792-1839), Mitchell, Stephen Mix (1743-1835), Mitchell, Walter (1777-1849), Tiffany, Louis Comfort (1848-1933), and Tiffany & Company.


  • 1803-1932


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown, though much of the material in this collection is likely in the public domain. 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 the Mitchell-Tiffany families between 1945 and 1978.


Arranged in six series: I. Correspondence of Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell. II. Financial, Legal and Household Papers. III. Diaries and Writings. IV. Personal and Biographical Materials. V. Papers of Other Family Members. VI. Photographs and Artifacts.


21 Linear Feet (31 boxes, 8 folios)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The major figures in these papers are Alfred and Annie O. Tiffany Mitchell, whose correspondence, diaries, writings, financial accounts, photographs and other memorabilia make up the major part of the papers. Of particular interest is a long series of letters from their daughter, Charly Tiffany Mitchell Jeans. During her years at Bryn Mawr College, 1894-1898, her letters describe her education and life there. After her marriage in 1907 to the English philosopher, James Jeans, she wrote of her life in England with particularly graphic letters during the first World War. Nine branches of the family are represented in the remaining papers by scattered items of correspondence, clippings, household accounts, financial papers and assorted memorabilia. The sermons of Alfred Mitchell (1790-1831) make up the largest single portion of this section; the papers of the most prominent family member, Louis Comfort Tiffany, include only a small amount of correspondence, clippings and a drawing. His letters to his sister, Annie O. Mitchell, are in the Mitchell correspondence. The papers also include extensive genealogies, family histories and photographs of the United States and places abroad visited by Alfred Mitchell.

Biographical / Historical

Alfred Mitchell was the youngest son of the Reverend Alfred Mitchell and Lucretia M. (Woodbridge) Mitchell. When the Reverend Mitchell died on December 19, 1831, his wife accepted the invitation of her uncle, Judge Elias Perkins, to occupy his home, the Shaw mansion in New London. It was here that Alfred Mitchell was born on April 1, 1832. His mother died on March 29, 1839, and his eldest brother, Stephen Mix Mitchell (1818-1839), died a few weeks later as a result of pulmonary disease. In the summer of 1839 Gen. William Williams became the guardian of the Mitchell children.

Alfred Mitchell was a member of the class of 1854 at Yale College but left without taking a degree because of poor health. He was later awarded an honorary degree by the university. As a young man Alfred Mitchell engaged in the whaling industry in Honolulu and the ship chandlery business in New York. These business enterprises, neither of which appears to have been successful, required travel to the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands. In 1861 Alfred Mitchell returned from the Sandwich Islands to enlist in the Union Army. He took a commission as a captain in the Thirteenth Connecticut Regiment, which was transported to Louisiana and became part of the Army of the Gulf of Mexico. Alfred Mitchell was promoted to the rank of Major in May, 1863, and ultimately served on the staff of General Henry W. Birge.

After the war Mitchell moved to California where he worked in gold mining for several years, without financial success. On his return to the East he traveled to Guatemala to investigate the prospects for entering the coffee business, but his interests in Guatemala never seem to have advanced beyond the preliminary stages.

On April 27, 1871, Alfred Mitchell married Annie O. Tiffany, daughter of Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of a prominent jewelry business. Alfred Mitchell became a trustee of Tiffany and Company but appears to have engaged in few, if any, other business activities after his marriage.

Annie Olivia Tiffany was born on November 27, 1844, in New York, the daughter of Charles Lewis Tiffany and Harriet Olivia A. (Young) Tiffany. She attended the Wheaton Female Seminary in Norton, Massachusetts, and married Alfred Mitchell on April 27, 1871. After their marriage, the Mitchells established residences at the Mitchell family home in New London, New York City, and, after 1900, their estate "The Folly" at Port Antonio, Jamaica. They also owned property at Salem, Connecticut, which had formerly been in the Woodbridge family. They traveled frequently throughout Europe, Egypt and Japan. Alfred and Annie O. Mitchell had two daughters, Alfreda Mitchell and Charly Tiffany Mitchell.

Alfred Mitchell died at Port Antonio on April 27, 1911, at the age of 79. After her husband's death Mrs. Mitchell spent most of her time at home in Florida. She died in Miami on January 2, 1937, at the age of 92.


Alfreda (Mitchell) Bingham was born in New York on December 29, 1874, the daughter of Alfred and Annie O. (Tiffany) Mitchell.

On November 20, 1900, she married Hiram Bingham III, son of Rev. Hiram and Minerva Clarissa (Brewster) Bingham. Seven sons were born of the marriage: Woodbridge, born November 20, 1901; Hiram IV, born July 17, 1903; Alfred Mitchell, born February 20, 1905; Charles Tiffany, born August 31, 1906; Brewster, born September 1, 1908; Mitchell, born November 20, 1910; and Jonathan Brewster, born April 24, 1914.

Alfreda and Hiram Bingham were divorced on March 27, 1937. Alfreda Bingham later married Henry Gregor, a pianist and composer born in Moscow of German and Russian parents. She died on August 27, 1967.

Charly Tiffany (Mitchell) Jeans was born in New York on January 22, 1877, the daughter of Alfred and Annie O. (Tiffany) Mitchell.

Charly Mitchell attended Bryn Mawr College from 1894 to 1898. In 1907 she married James Hopwood Jeans (later Sir James Jeans) and in 1909 returned with him to England. James and Charly (Mitchell) Jeans had one daughter, Olivia Jeans. Charly Jeans seems to have suffered from poor health throughout her adult life and died in 1934 at the age of 57.

Reverend Alfred Mitchell, the youngest son of Stephen Mix Mitchell (1743-1835), was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut, on May 22, 1790. He graduated from Yale College in 1809, and then studied theology with the Reverend Dr. Ebenezer Porter, of Washington, Connecticut. When Dr. Porter accepted a professorship at Andover Theological Seminary in March, 1832, Alfred Mitchell accompanied him and finished the year with the senior class.

Mitchell then preached for a short time to a congregation in Bridge-water, Massachusetts. In 1813 he began a pastorate at the Second Congregational Church at Chelsea on the Landing in Norwich, Connecticut. Mitchell was ordained and installed on October 27, 1814, the ordination sermon being preached by Dr. Porter (a copy of which is included in the collection). His prosperous pastorate was terminated by his death, after an illness of eight weeks, on December 19, 1831, at the age of 41.

On January 16, 1815, Reverend Mitchell married Lucretia Mumford Woodbridge, the second daughter of Nathaniel Shaw and Elizabeth (Mumford) Woodbridge, of what is now Salem, Connecticut. She died on March 29, 1839, at the age of 45. Their marriage produced four daughters and five sons. Two daughters and a son died in infancy. The eldest son, Stephen Mix Mitchell, born April 13, 1818, was a member of the Amherst College class of 1838 but withdrew because of pulmonary disease, which proved fatal in 1839. Donald Grant Mitchell (1822-1908) was the second son, and the youngest son was Alfred Mitchell (1832-1911).

Donald Grant Mitchell was born in Norwich, Connecticut on April 12, 1822, the son of Rev. Alfred Mitchell and Lucretia M. (Woodbridge) Mitchell. He graduated from Yale in 1841, where, in his last year, he was editor of the Yale Literary Magazine. After graduation he moved to the family farm in Salem, Connecticut, and continued his literary work. In 1843 he was awarded a silver medal (by the New York Agricultural Society) for his plans of farm buildings. From the autumn of 1844 until January, 1845, he worked as a clerk to Joel W. White, consul to Liverpool. Because of a pulmonary weakness he retired to the milder climate of the island of Jersey. From March, 1845, to August, 1846, he traveled, much of the time on foot, through Britain and Europe.

Returning to America in comparatively good health in September, 1846, Mitchell began writing for the Morning Courier and New York Enquirer under the pseudonym "Ik Marvel." In New York he also studied law, (under the guidance of John Osborne Sargent), but his principal interest continued to be his literary work. In 1847 he published his first book, Fresh Gleanings, which was a record of his European travels. In June, 1848, he went to Paris and wrote a series of 30 letters for the Courier and Enquirer on the Revolution of 1848. His second book, The Battle Summer (1850), written after his return to America, dealt with events leading up to the revolution. A projected sequel was never written. During 1850 he edited the Lorgnette, a journal designed to satirize the follies of New York society. His Reveries of a Bachelor was a popular success and was followed in 1851 by Dream Life. Beginning in 1868, he edited the journal Hearth and Home, with Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Donald Grant Mitchell contributed to the leading American periodicals from 1842 to 1897. His writings also include: Fudge Doings (1855); My Farm of Edgewood (1863); Seven Stories (1864); Wet Days at Edgewood (1865); Doctor Johns (1866); Rural Studies (1867, republished as Out-of-Town Places, 1884); About Old Story Tellers (1877); Woodbridge Record (1883); Daniel Tyler (1883); Bound Together (1884); English Lands, Letters and Kings (4 vols. 1889-1897); and American Lands and Letters (2 vols. 1897-1899). The Edgewood edition of his works in fifteen volumes was published in 1907.

On May 31, 1853, Donald Grant Mitchell married Mary Frances Pringle, of Charleston, South Carolina. He then served as the United States Consul in Venice until his resignation in February 1854, when he moved to Paris. Mitchell returned to the United States in May, 1855, and purchased a two hundred acre farm, later increased to 360 acres, near New Haven, Connecticut. He called this farm "Edgewood." His earlier interests in farming grew to include town and park planning, and "Edgewood" became the example of his sense of beauty to which his series of Edgewood books were devoted. In 1904 the New England Association of Park Superintendants awarded Mitchell a silver cup in recognition that he had "laid the foundation for scientific and beautiful park building throughout this country." Included in the collection is his proposal for the lay-out of East Rock Park in New Haven. Donald Grant Mitchell died at Edgewood on December 15, 1908.

Louis Mitchell was born November 7, 1826, in New London, Connecticut, the son of the Reverend Alfred Mitchell and Lucretia M. (Woodbridge) Mitchell. He suffered from serious physical disabilities as a result of a childhood illness which was poorly treated. After the death of his mother in 1839, he and his younger brother Alfred continued their education under the guardianship of General William Williams. At the outbreak of the Civil War Alfred was commissioned as a captain in the Thirteenth Connecticut Regiment, and although Louis was exempted from service because of his physical disabilities, he took passage as ship companion on the vessel which transported the Thirteenth Regiment to New Orleans. He collected information on the Connecticut regiments which he supplied to those who later compiled records. He also collected the material for a proposed genealogy of the Woodbridge family, but died before he was able to complete the project. The notes which he left were used by Donald Grant Mitchell to complete the genealogy, which was published in 1883 as the Woodbridge Record. Louis Mitchell lived in Norwich with his cousin, Mrs. Levi Hart Goddard, and in New London with the family of his brother Alfred Mitchell. He died on July 15, 1881, at the age of 54.

Stephen Mix Mitchell was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut on December 9, 1743, the only child of James Mitchell and his second wife Rebecca, daughter of Rev. Stephen and Mary (Stoddard) Mix. James Mitchell had emigrated from Paisley, Scotland, and settled in Wethersfield, Connecticut. Stephen Mix Mitchell's mother, who was a first cousin of Jonathan Edwards, died while he was an infant. After his graduation from Yale College in 1763, Stephen Mitchell received a Berkeley Scholarship and in September, 1766, began a three year term as tutor in the college. At the same time he pursued a law degree under the direction of the Hon. Jared Ingersoll. On August 2, 1769, he married Hannah Grant, daughter of Donald Grant, an emigrant from Inverness, Scotland, to Newtown, Connecticut.

Stephen Mix Mitchell was admitted to the Fairfield County bar in 1770, and settled in Newtown, but in 1772 moved to Wethersfield, where he continued in practice for about seven years. He began his public career as a Representative in the General Assembly of the State in October, 1778, and in the following May he accepted the office of Associate Judge of the Hartford County Court. He was elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1783, 1785, and 1787 and lived to be the last surviving member of the Old Congress, with the exception of President James Madison. Mitchell continued as Representative in the General Assembly (serving one term as clerk) until his transfer to the upper house of the legislature in 1784. He was reelected to the House of Assistants for seven more years (1785, 1787, 1792) and was then chosen to fill the unexpired term of the late Honorable Roger Sherman as United States Senator, serving from December, 1793, to March, 1795. In May, 1790, he became Presiding Judge of the Hartford County Court, until his transfer to the Superior Court in October, 1795. Mitchell became Chief Justice of the State in May, 1807, retiring in 1814. He was a presidential elector in 1805, and in 1807 Yale College conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. In 1788 Mitchell served as a member of the State Convention which ratified the Constitution of the United States and in 1818 as a member of the State Constitutional Convention.

Stephen Mix Mitchell died in Wethersfield on September 30, 1835, at the age of 93. His wife, Hannah (Grant) Mitchell, died on February 14, 1830, at the age of 81. Their marriage produced eleven children, of whom Walter Mitchell (1777-1849) and the Rev. Alfred Mitchell (1790-1831) are represented in the collection.

Walter Mitchell, the third son of the Honorable Stephen Mix Mitchell, was born in Wethersfield on October 7, 1777. He became a lawyer and practiced for many years in Hartford. He also served as a judge of the Hartford County Court from 1838 to 1840. He never married and died in Hartford on July 29, 1849, at the age of 72.

Charles Lewis Tiffany, the son of Comfort and Chloe (Draper) Tiffany, was born in Killingly, Connecticut, on February 15, 1812, a descendant of Humphrey Tiffany who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony around 1600. As a boy he attended district schools and then spent two years at an academy in Plainfield, Connecticut. At the age of fifteen he managed a general store for his father, and when his father's cotton manufacturing mill became prosperous, he entered the business. In 1837 he and John B. Young moved to New York and opened a stationery and notion shop. The business grew, and with the retirement of Young and Ellis, a third partner, from the firm, it was reorganized in 1853 as Tiffany and Company. By this time it had become primarily a jewelry business.

Tiffany and Company became the foremost of American jewelers, with more than twenty foreign monarchs among its customers. In addition to establishing Tiffany and Company, Charles Tiffany was one of the founders of the New York Society of Fine Arts, a patron of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a member of the National Academy of Design. France made him a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor (1878) and the Czar of Russia conferred on him the medal Praemia Digno.

Charles Tiffany married Harriet Olivia Avery Young, the sister of his first partner, on November 30, 1841. Six children were born of the marriage: Charles Lewis, born October 7, 1842, died in infancy; Annie Olivia, born November 27, 1844, later married Alfred Mitchell (1832-1911); Louis Comfort, born February 18, 1848, became the founder, president and director of the Tiffany Glass Company; Louise Harriet, born December 18, 1856; Henry Charles, born September 1, 1858, who also died in infancy; and Burnett Young, born April 12, 1860. Harriet (Young) Tiffany died November 6, 1897, in Yonkers, New York, and Charles Tiffany died February 18, 1902, in New York, at the age of 90.

Louis Comfort Tiffany was born in New York City on February 18, 1848, the son of Charles Lewis and Harriet Olivia A. (Young) Tiffany. His formal education took him through secondary school, after which he studied art, first with George Inness and Samuel Colman, and later under Leon Bailly in Paris. He was accepted as an associate of the National Academy of Design in 1871.

On May 15, 1872, he married Mary Woodbridge Goddard, a cousin of Alfred Mitchell, whom, she referred to affectionately as "Uncle Alf." Four children were born of the marriage: Mary Woodbridge, born April 3, 1873, was known as "May May;" Charles Louis, born December 9, 1874, died in infancy; Charles Lewis II, born January 7, 1878, later became a vice president of Tiffany and Company; and Hilda Goddard, born August 24, 1879. Mary (Goddard) Tiffany died on January 22, 1884. His second marriage, to, Louise Wakeman Knox, took place on November 9, 1886. Four children were born of the marriage: Louise Comfort, born September 24, 1887; Julia DeForest, born September 24, 1887; Annie Olivia, born December 29, 1888, who died as a young child; and Dorothy Trimble, born October 11, 1891. Louise (Knox) Tiffany died in 1904.

In 1877 Louis Tiffany and other artists, including Wyatt Eaton, John La Farge and Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who felt that the National Academy of Design was too narrow and unprogressive, organized the Society of American Artists. In 1875 Tiffany began experimenting with stained glass and in 1878 established a glass-making plant of his own. He invented a process of his own for making glass, giving it the name Favrile glass. Popularly known as "Tiffany" glass, it brought him his greatest popular reputation. Between 1893 and 1926 Tiffany was awarded numerous prizes and medals, among them the Grand Prix and a gold medal at the Paris Exposition of 1900. He was a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor and honorary member of the Imperial Society of Fine Arts of Tokyo and of the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts of Paris. In 1919 he established the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation for art students. He was a vice president and director of both Tiffany and Company jewelers and Tiffany and Company Safe Deposit Company. Louis Comfort Tiffany died in New York City on January 17, 1933, at the age of 84.

In addition to materials found in the collection, the following sources were used in the preparation of the biographical notes.

Dexter, Franklin Bowditch. Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College with Annals of the College History. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1907.

Dunn, Waldo H. The Life of Donald Grant Mitchell. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922.

Malone, Dumas, ed. Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936.

[underline]. National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. James T. White and Co. 1897. 1950.

Perkins, Mary E. Chronicles of a Connecticut Farm, 1769-1905. Privately printed, 1905.

Purtell, Joseph. The Tiffany Touch. New York: Random House, 1971.

Tiffany, Nelson Otis. The Tiffanys of America. 1901.

For a chart outlining the genealogical relations of the Mitchell-Tiffany family, please consult the Genealogical Chart.

Guide to the Mitchell-Tiffany Family Papers
Under Revision
by Peter Bartucca and Randall Jimerson
April 1978
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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