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Gibbs family papers

Call Number: MS 236

Scope and Contents

The Gibbs Family Papers are housed in a single box (15 folders) and one folio and span the dates 1718 to 1893. The papers contain a variety of materials from legal documents and correspondence to tax papers and a poem.

The most interesting letters are found in folders 3 and 4, thirteen letters from Connecticut statesman Roger Sherman to his brother-in-law Henry Gibbs, a Salem, Massachusetts merchant. Many of the letters concern business matters. Five, however, written by Sherman between 1789 Jun 1 and 1790 Jun 10 discuss the activities of the first Congress of the United States. The papers also contain three letters written by Roger Sherman, Jr. to his uncle and aunt.

Other items of possible interest include a letter from Yale Professor of Sacred Literature Josiah W. Gibbs to the Reverend Isaac N. Tarbox (1815-1888) recommending William C. Shipman; an 1852 agreement between Gibbs and William C. Fowler (1793-1881), author of a well known three volume series of English grammers, on Gibbs' participation in this project; and a poem, "The Storm," written in 1893 by the famous scientist J. Willard Gibbs. See theGenealogical Chart for an outline of the relationships among the persons represented in this collection.

The eighteenth century material in the Gibbs Family Papers, folders 1-4, was donated to Yale University in 1942 by Theodora, Ralph Gibbs, and Willard Gibbs Van Name, "The Storm" was given by A. Guyot Cameron, and the remaining items were purchased.

Note: Mary (Shrimpton) Gibbs, Henry Gibbs, and Mary (Gibbs) Cotton do not belong to the Gibbs family line of the Reverend Henry Gibbs (1668-1723) and Henry Gibbs (1709-1759).


  • 1718-1893


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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box, 1 folio)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Correspondence, financial papers and memorabilia of members of the Gibbs family. Of principal interest are thirteen letters (1783-1796) from Roger Sherman to his brother-in-law, Henry Gibbs, of which five (1789-1790) discuss the deliberations of the first Congress of the United States. Other figures represented in the papers are two Josiah Willard Gibbses (father and son) and Addison Van Name.

Biographical / Historical

Roger Sherman, 1721-1793: Connecticut statesman, delegate to the Continental Congress, 1774-1781, signer and delegate to Constitutional Convention, 1783-1784, Congressman, 1789-1791; Senator, 1791-1793. Josiah Willard Gibbs, 1790-1861: orientalist, philologist, teacher, librarian Yale, 1824-1843, Professor of Sacred Literature, Yale, 1826-1861. Josiah Willard Gibbs, 1839-1903: mathematician, physicist, Professor of Mathematical Physics, Yale, 1871-1903. Addison Van Name, 1835-1922: librarian, philologist, librarian, Yale, 1865-1905.

For a chart outlining the genealogical relations of the Gibbs family, please consult the Genealogical Chart.
Guide to the Gibbs Family Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Bruce P. Stark
April 1982
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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