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Winthrop-Weston family papers

Call Number: MS 549

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence and other papers of the Winthrop and Weston families, in particular of William Woolsey Winthrop, his sister Sarah Chauncey (Winthrop) Weston, and their mother, Elizabeth Dwight (Woolsey) Winthrop. A partial genealogical chart can be found in the repository.

Family correspondence, mostly letters from William and Sarah Winthrop to their mother, makes up the bulk of the papers. Of particular interest are William Winthrop's letters from St. Anthony, Minnesota, where he moved in 1857 to practice law, and from Virginia during his military service in the Civil War. Unfortunately, only a few letters from this period are contained in the papers. Other materials include several undated stories, poem, and other writings, for the most part by William Winthrop, and a few small sketches.


  • 1845-1911


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research. The entire collection is available on microfilm. Patrons must use HM 200 instead of the originals.

Existence and Location of Copies

Entire collection is also available on microfilm (446 frames on 1 reel, 35mm.) from Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, at cost. Order no. HM200. Additional information not yet available in the online version of the finding aid exists in the repository. Contact Manuscripts and Archives for assistance.

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 Mary S. Weston Dominick, 1938.


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


The papers primarily contain the family correspondence of William Woolsey Winthrop (1831-1899), his sister Sarah Chauncey Winthrop Weston, and their mother, Elizabeth Dwight Woolsey Winthrop. Several letters were written by William Winthrop from St. Anthony, Minnesota and others concern his Civil War military experiences.

Biographical / Historical

William [Woolsey] Winthrop, youngest son of Francis B. Winthrop (Y. C. 1804) and Elizabeth (Woolsey) Winthrop, was born in New Haven on August 3, 1831.

He studied law in the Yale Law School, receiving the degree of LL.B. in 1853, and supplementing his course by another year in the Harvard Law School. In 1855 he entered on practice in Boston, in partnership with Hon. William J. Hubbard, and in 1860 removed to New York City and formed a partnership with his classmate Little.

In April, 1861, he enlisted in the 7th Regiment, N. Y. Militia, and served through the war, attaining the rank of Colonel. In February, 1867, he was transferred to the regular army as Major and Judge Advocate, and in July 1884, was promoted to be Deputy Judge-Advocate General with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. His final promotion to the position of Assistant Judge-Advocate General, with the grade of Colonel, was in January, 1895. From 1882 to 1886 he was Judge-Advocate of the Division of the Pacific, and from 1886 to 1890 Professor of Law at West Point. In his later years he was on duty in the War Department at Washington, until his retirement in August 1895.

He died suddenly, from anacute attack of heart-disease, while at Atlantic City, N. J., during the night of April 8, 1899, in his 68th year.

He published in 1886 a work in two volumes on Military Law, which has become a standard authority. He also prepared the Digest of Opinions of the Judge-Advocates Generalofthe U.S. Army; and was in his later years a contributor to literary and scientific periodicals.

The honorary degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred on him by Georgetown University in 1896.

He married, in 1877, Miss Alice Worthington, who survives him.

[From Yale Obituary Record]

Guide to the Winthrop-Weston Family Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
September 1981
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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