Skip to main content

Kingsley memorial collection

Call Number: MS 604

Scope and Contents

The Kingsley Memorial Collection is composed of family correspondence, diaries, and legal, financial, and professional papers which document the lives of several members of the Kingsley family or of the related Coit, Gilman, Upham, and Farnam families. One third of the collection concerns James Luce Kingsley, his tenure on the Yale faculty, and his classical and historical scholarship. Another third of the collection relates to the life and work of William Lathrop Kingsley, especially his editorship of the New Englander and his service to Yale College and the class of 1843. The remaining third of the collection recounts the lives of family members in Norwich, Connecticut; Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Canadaigua, New York; and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, during the first half of the nineteenth century. The European and world travels of several family members and the life of the Upham family during the War of 1812 are highlighted in the collection.

The collection, which the Yale Library received as gifts from Daniel Coit Gilman in 1903 and from Elizabeth Kingsley Farnam in 1941 and 1942 and in the years following, is arranged in three series of approximately equal size: I. JAMES LUCE KINGSLEY PAPERS, 1803-1852; II. WILLIAM L. KINGSLEY PAPERS, 1830-1898; and III. FAMILY PAPERS, 1696/7-1934.

  3. III. FAMILY PAPERS, 1696/7-1934

The bulk of the collection dates from the nineteenth century. Related family materials are found in the Gilman Family Papers (MS 240) and the Farnam Family Papers (MS 203).

Series I is composed of the papers of James Luce Kingsley. The series includes account books, lecture notes, and writings of James Luce Kingsley, but letters addressed to Kingsley comprise the majority of the material. The letters are arranged by the name of the author, and correspondents include former students, parents of Yale students, classical scholars, fellow academicians, publishers, and family members. In general the correspondence concerns Latin scholarship, Yale and New England history, genealogy, and inquiries addressed to Kingsley as Yale professor and librarian. Kingsley's historical interests are reflected in correspondence with Jared Sparks, John Farmer, and James Savage, while Yale concerns are discussed in letters from Benjamin Silliman, Denison Olmstead, and Theodore Dwight Woolsey. Student term bills are the subject of letters from several parents including John C. Calhoun and Thomas Smith Grimké. Kingsley's fellow tutor, George Hoadly, writes lengthy descriptive letters concerning his travels and service as the Washington correspondent for the United States Gazette of Philadelphia, and former student Joseph Emerson Worcester writes of his geographical and lexicographical publishing, activities in Boston, and dispute with Noah Webster over publication of the dictionary.

Kingsley's family correspondents include his Coit in-laws in Norwich, Connecticut and his sons George Theodore and Henry Coit Kingsley, who both settled in Cleveland, Ohio in the late 1830s to practice law. (Kingsley's correspondence with his son William Lathrop is in Series II.) The series includes many letters of condolence following George's accidental drowning death in 1842. There are also many long letters written by Kingsley during his 1845 trip to Europe, during which he purchased books for the Yale College Library.

Personal papers of James Luce Kingsley (boxes 4-5) include items relating to Yale students and Kingsley's scholarship. Folders 144-146 contain accounts for money received by Kingsley for the personal expenses of many Yale students. The series also includes a gradebook, report on the course of study, lecture notes, essays on Latin, and Kingsley's notes for the Triennial Catalogue.

Series II includes the correspondence and personal papers of James Luce Kingsley's son, William Lathrop Kingsley. Correspondence comprises the bulk of the series, and incoming letters form the majority of the correspondence. The most frequent correspondents are fellow classmates of the Yale class of 1843, contributors and subscribers to the New Englander, and family members. Frequent topics in the correspondence include class meeting activities and Kingsley's writings on Puritanism and early New Haven history. Three of Kingsley's steadfast correspondents are classmates William Wallace Atterbury, William Henry Goodrich, and Edward Whiting Gilman who write of their further studies, and ministerial duties, and personal lives. Gilman, also Kingsley's cousin, relates news of family members in Norwich and elsewhere.

Additional major family correspondents include H. Louise Upham Kingsley, Henry Coit Kingsley, Elizabeth Kingsley Blake, Daniel Coit Gilman, and James and Lydia Coit Kingsley. The series includes both incoming letters from these correspondents to William L. Kingsley and letters to them (folders 366-379) from him. Kingsley's letters to family members describe his trips to Europe in 1848, 1852-1853, and 1855, as well as time spent in Ohio and in Ridgebury, Connecticut. Most of the letters from H. Louise (Lou) Upham Kingsley date from the year prior to her marriage to William L. Kingsley and are written from Charlestown, Massachusetts, to Kingsley in New Haven. Lou, who wrote at least four to five times a week, expresses her unwillingness to marry until Kingsley is settled in an occupation. After Kingsley joined the New Englander, the letters are full of wedding plans and details of domestic arrangements. Henry Coit Kingsley writes of his life as a lawyer in Ohio, while James Luce Kingsley's letters consist of descriptions of his 1845 trip to Europe.

Folders 518-519 contain condolence letters addressed to Elizabeth Kingsley Farnam on the death of her father. Folder 519 includes the handwritten eulogy or memorial tribute delivered by Timothy Dwight on this occasion.

The series concludes with a box of William L. Kingsley's personal papers, which includes account books and diaries. The account books document Kingsley's personal and travel expenses and also record some expenses for the Division Street Church and the New Englander. Diaries in folders 531-532 describe Kingsley's 1855 trip abroad.

Series III, FAMILY PAPERS, is composed of correspondence, diaries, legal and financial papers, genealogical notes, and memorabilia of many Kingsley and Upham family members and their relations. Material in the series is arranged in alphabetical order by the names of the records' creators, many of whom are family members. Letters not by family members are often addressed to them. Writers and recipients include H. Louise Upham Kingsley, her parents, sisters, brothers, and friends; Lathrop, Coit, Gilman, and Kingsley family members; and related Bateses, Clarkes, Elys, Perits, Blakes, and Farnams.

Letters of George Theodore Kingsley from Ohio, an 1830 travel diary, and student memorabilia are included in folders 626-633. Henry Coit Kingsley's papers (folders 634-641) include letters to his mother and sister from Ohio in the 1830s and travel letters from his 1852-1853 European trip. Folders 649-651 contain additional papers relating to James Luce Kingsley. These include estate papers and other financial records, memorabilia, notes, and printed copies of funeral addresses by Theodore Dwight Woolsey and Thomas A. Thacher. Notes made by Noah Porter of deathbed conversations with James Luce Kingsley are in folder 694. Folder 633 contains a diary of Lydia Coit Kingsley, in which she made brief entries concerning her activities and feelings between 1818 and 1840.

Folder 675 contains a diary kept by Daniel Coit Lathrop on a trip to Holland and England in 1783. His entries are detailed and describe conversations and local news. Elizabeth Kingsley Farnam's journal of her 1890-1891 honeymoon trip around the world is in folders 622-623. Other Farnam family papers including the estate papers of Henry Farnam are in folders 589-590. Notes and correspondence of Elizabeth Kingsley Farnam and others concerning Kingsley family genealogy as well as unidentified Kingsley family material is included in folders 668-672.

The series includes many papers of Timothy Upham and his family. Upham, who was an officer in the United States Army, commanded the defenses of the Portsmouth, New Hampshire harbor and also served in Plattsburgh, New York during the War of 1812. Correspondence of Upham, his wife Eliza Adams Upham, and other family members at this time (folders 699-700, 708-709, 722, 738, and 760-762) relates to his service, local sentiment concerning the war, and family preparations for a threatened British invasion. Folder 724 also contains Eliza Adams Upham's recipe book. Later family materials document the lives of several Upham children. Among H. Louise Upham Kingsley's papers are numerous letters to family members and notebooks of favorite family recipes (folder 646). Anna Maria Upham, who married John Bates in 1847, writes of her domestic arrangements, social life, and family in Canandaigua, New York, while Martha Ann Upham, who married Hosey Clarke in 1852, writes similar letters from Marshall and then Detroit, Michigan. Additional details of Upham family members in Michigan can be found in the letters of Charlotte Mary Upham. Genealogical papers on the Upham family are included in folder 743.

The series also includes a few papers unrelated to family matters. Folders 539, 566, 568, and 580 contain letters addressed to Benjamin Silliman and folder 565 includes proposals for a Yale exhibit at the United States Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. Folders 610 and 611 contain writings that may have been intended for publication in the New Englander. The last folders in the series contain miscellaneous calling cards, printed material, and photographs.


  • 1696-1934


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Existence and Location of Copies

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 Daniel Coit Gilman, 1903; and Elizabeth Kingsley Farnam, 1941-1942.


Arranged in three series: I. James Luce Kingsley Papers, 1803-1852. II. William L. Kingsley, 1830-1898. III. Family Papers, 1696/1697-1934.

Associated Materials

Related material: Farnam Family Papers (MS 203). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.


7.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The collection is composed of family correspondence, diaries, and legal, financial, and professional papers which document the lives of several members of the Kingsley family or of the related Coit, Gilman, Upham, and Farnam families. One third of the collection concerns James Luce Kingsley, his tenure on the Yale faculty, and his classical and historical scholarship. Another third of the collection relates to the life and work of William Lathrop Kingsley, especially his editorship of the New Englander and his service to Yale College and the Class of 1843. The remaining third of the collection recounts the lives of family members in Norwich, Connecticut; Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Canandaigua, New York; and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, during the first half of the nineteenth century. The European and world travels of family members and the life of the Upham family during the War of 1812 are highlighted in the collection.

Biographical / Historical

JAMES LUCE KINGSLEY was born in 1778 and graduated from Yale College in 1799. From 1801 to 1851 he taught at Yale College. Kingsley was a scholar of history, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and also served as librarian of Yale College and editor of the Triennial Catalogue. He died in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1852.

* * * * *

GEORGE THEODORE KINGSLEY, the eldest son of Professor James L. Kingsley (Yale 1799), was born in New Haven on August 25, 1812.

After graduation he spent a year as a private tutor on the eastern shore of Maryland. He then studied in the Yale Law School for two years, and on being admitted to the bar, went in the fall of 1835 to Cleveland, Ohio, where he established himself in practice. His brother (Yale 1834) became his partner in 1837. In June, 1842, he went to Sandusky on professional business, and went to the wharf at midnight on June 9, to take a steamboat for Cleveland. The night was dark, the wind high, and the bay rough; he fell from the wharf, became encumbered in his cloak, which he carried on his arm, and was drowned, in his 30th year.

He was unmarried.

From: Biographical Notices of Graduates of Yale College, pp. 232-233.

* * * * * HENRY COIT KINGSLEY was born in New Haven, Conn., December 11, 1815, the second son of Professor James L. Kingsley (Yale 1799) and Lydia (Coit) Kingsley.

After graduation he was employed for a few months as a private tutor, and in the autumn of 1835 entered the Yale Law School. Here he studied for two years, with the exception of the winter of 1836-1837, which be spent in a law office in Columbus, Ohio. In December, 1837, he was admitted to the practice of law in Ohio, and established himself in Cleveland, in partnership with his brother (Yale 1832). He married, September 6, 1841, Miss Cornelia H., elder daughter of John Day, of Cleveland, who died August 31, 1843, leaving a daughter, who died in 1862. He married again, August 26, 1846, Mrs. Jane Handy, of Utica, N. Y., daughter of Briggs W. Thomas, of that place. He continued actively engaged in the practice of his profession, uniting with it land agencies, until the summer of 1852, when in consequence of the impaired health of himself and his wife, they went to Europe. On returning, in 1853, he removed his residence to New Haven. In 1854 he was elected a Director of the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad Company, which was then seriously, embarrassed, and in 1857 became insolvent. From 1857 to 1866 Mr. Kingsley had the principal charge of the financial affairs of the company, which in 1862 regained a sound position.

In July, 1862, he was elected Treasurer of Yale College, and he remained in this office until his death, fulfilling also during the same time many responsible private trusts with rare efficiency. On the morning of the 19th of November, 1886, while driving to his business he received a severe injury. A cart was driven against his carriage, and as the result, he was thrown violently forwards upon one of the wheels. Two ribs were broken, and other injuries were received. For some weeks he seemed to be in a fair way to recover, when unfavorable symptoms developed, and after severe and protracted suffering he passed away on the morning of December 19, at the age of 71. His wife survives him, without children.

Mr. Kingsley's services to the College which he loved so well, rendered as they were at much personal sacrifice, during years of feeble health, deserve the fullest and most grateful recognition. His acute and rapid judgment, his caution and his thoroughness, have made the years of his administration of the College finances a notable period, while his personal character commanded the respect and admiration of all who were brought into intimacy with him.

From: Yale Obituary Record, 1880-1890, pp. 367-368.

* * * * * WILLIAM LATHROP KINGSLEY, the third child and youngest son of Professor James L. Kingsley (Yale 1799) and Lydia (Coit) kingsley, was born in New Haven on April 1, 1824.

During the first year after graduation he studied in the Yale Law School, and then took the three years' course in the Divinity school. He spent the year 1848 in Europe, and for most of the year 1849 supplied a Congregational pulpit in Strongsville, near Cleveland, O. Returning to the East with somewhat impaired health, he undertook in 1850 the care of a small Congregational Church in Ridgebury, in the town of Ridgefield, Conn., but after brief trial was obliged to relinquish the hope of settled employment in his chosen profession. He returned to New Haven, and for the next six years was more or less an invalid, during which time he twice visited Europe.

In 1857 the condition of his health justified him in undertaking the editorship and proprietorship of the New Englander, to which magazine the best efforts of his life were given without stint and without due pecuniary reward for the next thirty-five years. In the meantime he was also abundantly active in religious, philanthropic, and literary work. He founded and carried on for many years the mission and Sunday school which became eventually the Taylor Church, in a suburb of New Haven. He was for a long series of years the efficient head of one of the most useful local charities. His literary interests were unusually wide, and he did much effective work in the pages of the New Englander and elsewhere, especially in the departments of history and literary criticism. His loyalty and devotion to the College were unbounded, and were notably seen in his editorship of the two sumptuous volumes on the history of the College, published in 1879. A fitting and well deserved recognition of his work was shown in the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters conferred on him in 1891.

His health was broken by an attack of paralysis early in 1892. After several years of invalidism, his condition became worse in the fall of 1895, and he died at his home in New Haven on February 14, 1896, in his 72nd year.

He married on October 5, 1857, Miss H. Louise, youngest daughter of Colonel Timothy Upham, of Charlestown, Mass who died on July 18, 1884. He next married, on April 30, 1890, Miss Jeannie Taylor, of New York city, daughter of James Taylor, who survives him. By his first marriage he had a son who died in infancy, and two daughters who are both living. The elder daughter is the wife of Professor Henry W. Farnam (Y. C. 1874).

From: Yale Obituary Record, 1890-1900, pp. 373-374.

Guide to the Kingsley Memorial Collection
Under Revision
compiled by Diane E. Kaplan and William E. Brown, Jr.
September 1986
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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