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William Henry Anderson correspondence regarding the Crocodile Club

 Collection
Call Number: MS 2018

Scope and Contents

This collection comprises eleven letters from 1856 to 1858 sent by Yale College student William Henry Anderson to his parents, Francis D. and Jane Anderson. Much of the correspondence is concerned with the events of February 9, 1858, when Anderson and fellow members of the Yale student organization, the Crocodile Club, got into an argument with a group of New Haven firemen outside their firehouse. The argument escalated and an unknown person among the Yale students fired two bullets. One of them struck fireman William Miles and he died from the injury the next day. Anderson and the other members of the Crocodile Club were brought to trial, where all of them invoked their Fifth Amendment right. Because the prosecution was unable to learn who actually committed the murder, none of the students were charged. However, Yale faculty asked the Crocodile Club to disband and the students agreed.

Dates

  • 1856-1858

Creator

Language of Materials

The material is 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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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 David Alan Richards, 2015.

Arrangement

The materials are arranged chronologically.

Extent

0.02 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.2018

Overview

This collection comprises eleven letters from 1856 to 1858 sent by Yale College student William Henry Anderson to his parents, Francis D. and Jane Anderson. Much of the correspondence is concerned with the events of February 9, 1858, when Anderson and fellow members of the Yale student organization, the Crocodile Club, got into an argument with a group of New Haven firemen outside their firehouse. The argument escalated and an unknown person among the Yale students fired two bullets. One of them struck fireman William Miles and he died from the injury the next day. Anderson and the other members of the Crocodile Club were brought to trial, where all of them invoked their Fifth Amendment right. Because the prosecution was unable to learn who actually committed the murder, none of the students were charged. However, Yale faculty asked the Crocodile Club to disband and the students agreed.

Biographical / Historical

William Henry Anderson was born on January 12, 1836 in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He was part of Yale College's Class of 1859. While a student, he helped start and became the steward of the Yale student organization called the Crocodile Club in 1858. However, the club was short lived due to an altercation with a group of New Haven, Connecticut firemen that resulted in the death of fireman William Miles. The members of the Crocodile Club were put on trial, but none of them were convicted. Anderson continued as a student of Yale after the club disbanded. After graduation in 1859, he became a private teacher for two families. In 1860, he moved to Lowell, Massachusetts and began working in the law office of Morse and Stevens. Anderson was admitted to the bar in 1862 and started a partnership called Stevens and Anderson with lawyer George Stevens. The partnership lasted until 1875 and then Anderson practiced alone for the rest of his career. Besides practicing law, Anderson served on the school committee of Lowell, Massachusetts, served on the Common Council in 1868 and 1869, served as director of the Merchant’s National Bank of Lowell from 1870 until his death, and served on the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1871 and 1872. Anderson married on October 1, 1868 and had one daughter. He died on April 14, 1902 in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Title
Guide to the William Henry Anderson Correspondence Regarding the Crocodile Club
Status
Under Revision
Author
compiled by Christy Tomecek
Date
March 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
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