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Wildman family papers

Call Number: MS 1029

Scope and Contents

These letters and business papers of the Wildman family of Danbury, Connecticut, mainly concern Zalman Wildman and his son, Frederick S. Wildman. Zalman Wildman, lawyer and congressman, and his brother, Seymour Wildman, were proprietors of Z. & S. Wildman, Hat Manufacturers, and the first manufacturers from Danbury to establish outlets in the South for Danbury hats.

Included in their papers are forty-four letters, arranged chronologically 1816-1877, all of a business nature except one. The exception, dated September 20, 1847, is from Lucy S. Wildman to her brother, Horatio Wildman, recounting family news. There are, further, ninety-five other items, 1808-1869 and undated, consisting of bills, receipts, writs, records of sales, notes, drafts, agreements, and similar papers, all arranged in one chronological sequence, except for two oversize items located in the folio. The collection is completed by a receipt book, 1803-1821, of Z. & S. Wildman. The receipts are nearly all for commodities such as saddles, shoes, hats, butter, and farm produce consigned to their Charleston, South Carolina store.

These papers were purchased in two lots in 1944 and 1945. Papers of more distantly related Wildman family members living in Colorado form part of the Collection of Western Americana in the Beinecke Rare Book Library.


  • 1803-1877


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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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

Purchased in 1944-1945.


2.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Principal figure in the papers is Zalman Wildman, lawyer and congressman who, with his brother, Seymour, were proprietors of Z. & S. Wildman, Hat Manufacturers, and the first manufacturers from Danbury to establish outlets in the South for Danbury hats. The papers consist almost entirely of business records including correspondence, financial and legal papers, and a receipt book. This latter volume (1803-1821) records the commodities shipped from Danbury by the firm to its Charleston, South Carolina store. Included also is a single family letter (1847) from Lucy S. Wildman to her brother, Horatio.

Biographical / Historical

Zalmon Wildman was born in Danbury, Connecticut, on February 16, 1775. He was a hat manufacturer and established hat shops in Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. In 1805, he was appointed postmaster of Danbury, a position he held for three decades. In 1818 and 1819, he was a member of the Connecticut State House of Representatives. In 1834, he was elected as a Democratic representative to the United States Congress, but he died just nine months after taking office. His death occurred in Washington, D.C., on December 10, 1835.

Guide to the Wildman Family Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
June 1983
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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