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Richard Henry Green papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 2005

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the papers of Richard Henry Green and family, graduate of Yale College, Class of 1857, and possibly its first African American graduate. The papers include correspondence and financial records of Richard Henry Green, as well as correspondence and account books of his wife, Charlotte A. Green; correspondence of his daughter, Charlotte M. Whiteley; correspondence and business records of his brother-in-law, John Caldwell; and memorabilia. Richard Henry Green's correspondence includes letters written to and from friends and Yale classmates, as well as letters written to his wife and mother during his service in the navy during the U.S. Civil War.

Dates

  • 1855-1948

Creator

Language of Materials

The materials are in English.

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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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 William Reese, 2014; purchased from Nate D. Sanders Auctions, 2014.

Arrangement

The papers are arranged according to creator and document type.

Extent

0.4 Linear Feet (1 box)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.2005

Overview

The collection consists of the papers of Richard Henry Green and family, graduate of Yale College, Class of 1857, and possibly its first African American graduate. The papers include correspondence and financial records of Richard Henry Green, as well as correspondence and account books of his wife, Charlotte A. Green; correspondence of his daughter, Charlotte M. Whiteley; correspondence and business records of his brother-in-law, John Caldwell; and memorabilia. Richard Henry Green's correspondence includes letters written to and from friends and Yale classmates, as well as letters written to his wife and mother during his service in the navy during the U.S. Civil War.

Biographical / Historical

Richard Henry Green was born in New Haven in 1833, the son of Richard Green, a local bootmaker and one of the founders of St. Luke's Episcopal Church. In 1853, the younger Green was admitted to Yale College, where he was active in campus life, becoming a member of the literary society Brothers in Unity as well as the fraternity Delta Sigma. Green was awarded a bachelor of arts degree in 1857.

Following his graduation from Yale, Green was a teacher in Milford, Connecticut. He subsequently moved to Bennington, Vermont to teach at the Bennington Seminary, and later studied medicine at Dartmouth College, where he received an MD in 1864. In 1863, Green enlisted in the United States Navy and served as an acting assistant surgeon aboard the U.S. Steamer State of Georgia, and the Steamer Seneca during the U.S. Civil War. During his service in the Navy, he married Charlotte Caldwell of Bennington.

After the war, Green and his wife settled in Hoosick, New York, where they had a daughter, Charlotte. He lived and practiced medicine in Hoosick until his death in 1877. In a letter written to Yale's secretary following his death, the elder Green described the cause of his son's death as a "disease of the heart."

Very little is known about how Richard Henry Green identified or presented himself racially, but in official documentation his and his family's racial identification varied. Green grew up in a neighborhood of New Haven known at the time as "Negro Lane," and in the New Haven City Directory, his father was regularly listed as "col'd (colored)." However, the 1850 federal census listed the younger Green as mulatto, as black in the 1860 census, and in 1870, the census listed him, his wife, and his daughter as white. Though Yale holds no records mentioning Green's race, the discovery of his papers in 2014 and subsequent research into his background indicate that he may have been the first African American graduate of Yale College, a distinction previously attributed to Edward Bouchet of the Class of 1874.
Title
Guide to the Richard Henry Green Papers
Author
compiled by Matthew Gorham
Date
August 2014
Language of description
English.

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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