Skip to main content

Cushman family papers

Call Number: MS 161

Scope and Contents

The Cushman Family Papers consist primarily of letters, diaries, writings, sermons, letter books, business papers, and memorabilia of David Cushman (1795-) of West Exeter, Otsego County, New York and members of his family. The papers relate to personal, family, and business matters and have been arranged into three series: (I) Correspondence, (II) Family Papers, and (III) Business Papers.

Series I, CORRESPONDENCE, is arranged chronologically and spans the years 1832 and 1868 with the bulk of the material falling into the period 1861-1868. It consists primarily of letters exchanged among members of David Cushman's family. Of interest in this series are a group of letters between David Cushman and Gerrit Smith on anti-slavery subjects; also, on this same topic, there is an interesting exchange of letters (1839 February and March) between Cushman and a slave owning friend in Virginia. Other letters of interest include a series of letters from Edward, George, and James Cushman to members of their family while they were attending the Collegiate School of Charles Bartlett in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1847; a letter dated 1864 December 20 to George Cushman from a friend desribing Sherman's march through Georgia; and an eight-page letter from Augustine Hale (1861 December 30) to David Cushman regarding life in Nevada Territory and a great flood in California, Washington, and Oregon.

Series II, FAMILY PAPERS, consist of school boy papers from the Poughkeepsie Collegiate School, diaries, two political papers written by David Cushman, and other miscellaneous family papers. Also included in this series is a group of sermons by the Reverend Job Cushman* (1797-) who was an 1819 graduate of Brown University where he studied theology under Calvin Park.

Series III, BUSINESS PAPERS, consist primarily of letter-press copy books, 1855-1868 of David Cushman. The letters were written from various places in the Midwest and East as he was trying to collect on various accounts while apparently working for his newphew, Alonzo Ritter Cushman (1818-) who was a commission merchant in New York City. Also included are two account books and miscellaneous other business and financial papers.

The papers were given by the Misses Mary and Helen Kilborne in June 1965.

* Job Cushman was a distant cousin of David Cushman, David's father, Minerva Cushman and Job Cushman being 5th generation descendants of Thomas Cushman, the Elder (1608-1691) asthis chart shows.


  • 1832-1868


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 Mary and Helen Kilborne, 1965.


Arranged in three series: I. Correspondence. II. Family Papers. III. Business Papers.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Letters, diaries, writings, sermons, letter books, business papers, and memorabilia of David Cushman (1795-) of West Exeter, Otsego County, New York and members of his family. The papers relate primarily to personal, family, and business matters, although there is some material on the anti-slavery movement and some Civil War papers of George C. Cushman. Other material of interest includes some papers relating to the Poughkeepsie Collegiate School and a series of business letters written from the Midwest, 1855-1868.

Biographical / Historical

David Cushman was born on February 17, 1795 in West Exeter, Otsego County, New York. He married his first wife, Hetta Curtiss, daughter of Deacon Amos Curtiss, on January 26, 1819. They had one daughter Diantha (1819-) and a son Floyd Smith (1821-1825). Hetta (Curtiss) Cushman died on February 21, 1824; two years later, on September 11, 1826 David Cushman married Julia Maria Curtiss, her sister. They had five sons and six daughters.

David Cushman was an active abolitionist and in a letter of December 12, 1850 he stated: "Our sympathies are with the oppressed having attended every National Convention since 1835 for anti-slavery objects."

Cushman's death date is unknown.

For a chart outlining the genealogical relations of the Cushman family, please consult the Genealogical Chart.

Guide to the Cushman Family Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Steven Hensen
July 1974
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

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours