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Samuel Fisher collection


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Samuel Andrew Law Collection

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Samuel Fisher collection, 1929-1961 | Litchfield Historical Society

By Leith Johnson

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Collection Overview

Title: Samuel Fisher collection, 1929-1961Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Primary Creator: Fisher, Samuel H. (Samuel Herbert) (1867-1957)

Extent: 5.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Fisher's collection of primary sources is arranged alphabetically by creator.

Date Acquired: 05/31/1961. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Hubbard, Elijah, 1777-1846, Litchfield (Conn.), Litchfield Law School, Litchfield Players, Osborn, Selleck, 1783-1826, Phelps Tavern, Tracy, Uriah, 1755-1807

Forms of Material: Correspondence, Notebooks, Photographs

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Research files and other materials related to Samuel Fisher's 1946 book, Litchfield Law School, 1774-1833: Biographical Catalogue, containing information about its students. There are also papers related to other aspects of Litchfield's history.

Starting in the 1930s, Fisher undertook a project to assemble data on every student who attended the Litchfield Law School from 1774-1833. He conducted research and corresponded with colleges and universities, state libraries, historical societies, and other institutions across the country. He also employed genealogists to track down information. The results of his investigations were published in a book by the Yale Law School Library in conjunction with Yale University Press in 1946.

The Litchfield Law School research records fill 4 document boxes and are filed in the following categories: Litchfield Law student research by states; individual student files; lists of students by college attended, occupation, and other criteria; copies of correspondence written by students; general correspondence; photographs of students; information about lectures and notebooks; and books and pamphlets relating to the Law School. There is much information not included in the 1946 book.

An additional document box contains other materials that relates to Fisher's interest in Litchfield history. Among the topics covered: files related to Selleck Osborn and the Litchfield Witness, Uriah Tracy, and Elijah Hubbard; documentation on restoration of Phelps Tavern in the 1930s; and photographs and scripts relating to the Litchfield Players.

A half size document box contains papers Fisher collected during his research on the Litchfield Law School.  The bulk of these documents pertain to the career of Samuel Andrew Law, a graduate of the Law School and were at one time removed from the collection and titled "Samuel Andrew Law Collection."

Notebooks on Litchfield history, Thomas Collier, digests from Litchfield newspapers, i.e. The Monitor, The Witness, and American Mercury, etc. are housed in 3A Box 20.

Photographs of Mrs. Richard Draper, aunt of Thomas & Margaret Collier; and Margaret Draper Collier (Mrs.James Hamilton of England), sister of Thomas Collier.

Biographical Note

Col. Samuel H. Fisher was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1867, graduating from Yale University in 1889 and Yale Law School 1892. He practiced law in Washington, D.C., and New Haven. In 1916, he became the personal counsel for Mrs. Stephen V. Harkness and her son Edward S. Harkness, a position he held until Fisher retired in 1931. He was a member of the Yale Corporation from 1910-1925 and a member of boards of corporate and charitable institutions. After he retired, he helped organize the Connecticut Highway Safety Commission in 1936, was the Connecticut Defense Administrator from 1940-1943, and performed other public service for the state and federal government. He married Margaret Sargent Fisher of New Haven in 1895. They moved to Litchfield in 1920. He died in 1957.

Subject/Index Terms

Hubbard, Elijah, 1777-1846
Litchfield (Conn.)
Litchfield Law School
Litchfield Players
Osborn, Selleck, 1783-1826
Phelps Tavern
Tracy, Uriah, 1755-1807

Administrative Information

Repository: Litchfield Historical Society

Accruals: Most of the collection was given on May 31, 1961. A smaller gift was made on Oct. 31, 1961. in 2014, gift of Martha Babbitt (2014-52-0)

Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.

Acquisition Source: Robert F. Fisher, Margaret S. Babbitt

Acquisition Method: Gift

Related Publications: Fisher, Samuel H. Litchfield Law School, 1774-1833: Biographical Catalogue (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1946).

Preferred Citation: Samuel Fisher collection (1961-25-0), Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759

Finding Aid Revision History: The initial collection record was completed by Leith Johnson with funding from NHPRC..  Fisher's collection of period Litchfield Law School student papers was at one time removed from the collection and titled the Samuel Andrew Law Collection.   This was returned to the collection in November, 2010 and described by Linda Hocking with funding from CLIR.

Other Note: This collection was processed with support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Samuel Andrew Law Collection],

Series 1: Samuel Andrew Law CollectionAdd to your cart.
This series of papers was at one time removed from the Samuel Fisher collection and catalogued under the title "Samuel Andrew Law Collection."  The series is divided into two sub-series, Samuel Andrew Law papers and other papers.
Sub-Series 1: Samuel Andrew Law papers, 1775-1867Add to your cart.
Business correspondence of Samuel Andrew Law pertaining to his land speculation with Ephraim Kirby, the wool business, and his legal carreer.
Sub-Series 1: Correspondence, 1796-1830Add to your cart.
Correspondence pertaining to Law's land speculation and his legal carreer.
Folder 1: Catlin, Abel to Kirby, Ephraim and Law, Samuel, 1796 Jan 30Add to your cart.
Letter requesting that Kirby & Law procure shares in the Connecticut Western Reserve for him. Lays out the terms of payment for shares.
Folder 2: Cheever, Samuel to Law, Samuel Andrew, 1818 Sep 17Add to your cart.
Cheever sends notice to Law that Tapping Reeve has requested five copies of his book, Domestic Relations, be delivered to Mr. Elliot's bookstore in Catskill and requests Law send a receipt once he has retrieved them.  Law's return note dated 1818 Oct 19 is on the same page, stating that when he receives word that the books have arrived he will send soemone to retrieve them and notify the subscribers.  Notes that he will only sonsent to take trouble on the business out of obligation to Judge Reeve.
Folder 3: Dowell, Major to Kirby, Ephraim and Law, Samuel Andrew, 1796 Aug 2Add to your cart.
Dowell describes land in Rusell County, Virginia which Kirby & Law are attempting to sell. Item is in extremely poor condition.
Folder 4: Goodwin & Galpin to Law, Samuel Andrew, 1830 Aug 25Add to your cart.
Letter informing Law of the state of the wool market; requests information about whether they may purchase any wool from Law.
Folder 5: Hurlbut, S & L to Law, Samuel Andrew, 1824 Oct 8Add to your cart.
Notes having seen Leonard Goodwin of Goodwin & Galpin who are purchasing wool for a factory in Boston.  They have purchased all the wool in the area and would like to procure additional Merino wool at 40 cents per pound and will probably also pay for sacks.  A postscript metnions receipt of a letter from Law.
Folder 6: Law, Samuel Andrew to Reeve, Tapping, 1818, 1820Add to your cart.
Two letters to Tapping Reeve regarding Reeve's book, Domestic Relations.
Item 1: Law, Samuel Andrew to Reeve, Tapping, 1818, 1820Add to your cart.
Law's copies of two letters sent to Tapping Reeve.  The first, dated 1818 Jun 15, notifies Reeve that while he does not attend the courts, his friend took a subscription paper for Reeve's book to the courthouse and has procured five subscriptions, including his own.  Names the subscribers and gives instructions for delivery.  The second, dated 1820 Sep 20 notes that he delivered the books to the subscribers with the exception of one, who refused his volume.
Item 2: Law, Samuel Andrew to Reeve, Tapping, 1816, 1820Add to your cart.
Copy of a letter sent to Tapping Reeve on 1820 Nov 16 providing details and payment for the copies of Domestic Relations which were furnished to Law.  It is written on the back of the original subscription paper, which was printed in 1816. Below the letter, it is noted that the original along with $13 was committed to the mail and signed A[aron] Burr.
Folder 7: Preston, Francis to Tracy, Uriah, 1799 Jan 14Add to your cart.
Extract of a letter from Frederick Preston to Uriah Tracy regarden business he is conducting on behalf of Samuel Andrew Law. Requests Tracy convey papers to Law as early as is convenient.  Requests that Tracy inform Law that his land is not, in his opinion, in danger of state taxation and that he will attempt to secure it from the U.S. tax by submitting it for assessment.  Provides instruction for payment of his expenses.
Folder 8: Reeve, Tapping to Law, Samuel Andrew, 1817-1820Add to your cart.
Four letters regarding the sale of Reeve's book Domestic Relations.
Item 1: Reeve, Tapping to Law, Samuel Andrew, 1817 Mar 4Add to your cart.
Reeve notes his gratitude for the care Law took of his son, and requests a favor.  He describes his new publication, Domestic Relations and notes that his school and the books he publishes are his only sources of income. He requests that, if possible, Law procure subscribers for the publication from his area in New York, as well as adjoining communities in Pennsylvania. Fragile, use transcription.
Item 2: Reeve, Tapping to Law, Samuel Andrew, 1820 Oct 2Add to your cart.
Reeve thanks Law for attending to the sale of several volumes of his book; requests payment be transmitted via mail.
Item 3: Reeve, Tapping to Law, Samuel Andrew, 1820 Nov 9Add to your cart.
Tapping Reeve writes a second time with instruction for remitting payment for volumes of his book sold by Law.  Signed "T. Reeve" but appears to be in another hand.
Item 4: Reeve, Tapping to Law, Samuel Andrew, 1820 Dec 4Add to your cart.
Notes receipt of Law's letter containing the payment for his books; thanks him for his attention and states taht the book is a considerable source of his livlihood.  Requests notice of any other areas Law thinks he may sell some volumes, and mentions Judge Tilghman's recommendation of it to the Bar in Pennsylvania. Does not appear to be written in Reeve's hand.
Sub-Series 2: Business papers, 1795-1822Add to your cart.
Business papers of Samuel Andrew Law including recommendations; appointments; receipts; and land transactions.
Folder 1: Connecticut. Court of Common Pleas, 1795 Mar 31Add to your cart.
Certificate of Samuel Andrew Law's qualification to practice as an attorney and counsellor at law and swearing in as such signed by Frederick Wolcott, clerk of the Court of Common Pleas and chief judge Porter. Oversized item see 18 B Box 1.
Folder 2: Edwards, Pierpont and David Daggett reference, 1797 Jan 24Add to your cart.
Character reference for Samuel Andrew Law notarized by Lewis Burr Sturges. Oversized, see 18B box 1.
Folder 3: Fitch, Ebenezer reference, 1796-1797Add to your cart.
Character references for Samuel Andrew Law provided by Ebenezer Fitch and Barnabas Bidwell of Williams College and Calvin Chapin, James Gould, Noah Linsly, and Timothy Dwight of Yale College. Oversized, see 18B box 1.
Folder 4: Kirby, Ephraim certificate, 1796 Nov 21Add to your cart.
Ephraim Kirby certifies that he is a business associate of Samuel Andrew Law and that he finds him to be, "a gentleman of strict honor and integrity."  Kirby goes on to explain that Law has a respectible property and that he would not hesitate personally to "receive his obligations for ten or fifteen thousand dollars."
Folder 5: Kirby, Ephraim reference, 1796 Dec 31Add to your cart.
Character reference for Samuel Andrew Law signed Ephraim Kirby; John Welch; John Allen; and Moses Seymour notarized by Frederick Wolcott and certified by Oliver Wolcott. Oversized, see 18B box 1
Folder 6: Law, Samuel Andrew receipts, 1796-1802Add to your cart.
Four receipts for cancelled promissory notes to Abel Catlin; Major Dowell; Dr. Seth Bird; and John R. Landon.
Folder 7: Reeve, Tapping certification, 1794 Feb 24Add to your cart.
Certification that Samuel Andrew Law is a student in Reeve's office and that he is a "young gentleman of genius who by an assiduous attention to study has acquired no inconsiderable share of legal knowledge he sustains an irreproachable moral character."
Folder 8: Riley, John C. to Postmaster, Delaware County, New York, 1822 Sep 16Add to your cart.
John C. Riley writes from Litchfield to inquire as to his father's health. Law held the position of postmaster in Meredith, NY.
Folder 9: Rindge, John P. to Kirby, Ephraim and Law, Samuel Andrew, 1796 FebAdd to your cart.
Several letters written continuously and labeled "John Ringe's power of attorney" on the verso.  He provides them rights to land in Shelburne, New Hampshire and permission to sell in shares. Provides terms for payment of purchasers and for Kirby and Law's commission. The last paragraph of the letter is a certification by Richard Cutts Shannon as to information he has received about the condition of the lands.
Folder 10: Snake Creek land divisions, 1796 Mar 21Add to your cart.
Draft of lots of the snake creek lands including lists of lots, divisions, and assignee names.  On the back is a copy of a subscription noting that the subscribers agree to the divisions of land along Snake Creek.  It states that a map is preserved to accompany the statement, but the map does not appear within this collection. The subscribers are Kirby and Law; John Clark for David Tallman; John Clark; Benjamin Doolittle Junior; J. L. Doolittle; Rufus Lines and John Welch for David Welch. The Snake Creek lands were located in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.
Sub-Series 2: Other papers, 1775-1867Add to your cart.
This series contains materials formerly housed with the "Samuel Andrew Law collection" which had been removed from the Samuel Fisher collection.  It is unclear why they had been housed with Law's papers, as they have no obvious connection to Samuel Andrew Law.
Folder 1: Davenport, John to Winthrop, John, 1667 May 10Add to your cart.
Hand written copy of a letter in the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Folder 2: Hubbard, John H., 1865, 1866Add to your cart.
Two letters written by Hubbard during his tenure as a United States Congressman from Connecticut.  Both address issues of reconstruction.
Folder 3: Fisher, Samuel to White, Henry, 1834 Mar 8Add to your cart.
Note expressing that his son's bills were settled with Stephen Twining upon his graduation.
Folder 4: Kirby, Ephraim to Lyman, Joseph, 1802 Jan 6Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Lengthy letter regarding various political and personal controversies. Accuses Lyman of slander, dishonesty and destroying reputations. Reproaches Lyman for not being a Christian "in deed and truth." Later published in a pamphlet, Church and State: A Political Union Formed by the Enemies of Both In Correspondences Between the Rev. Stanley Griswold, and the Rev. Dan Huntington, and between Col. Ephraim Kirby, and the Rev. Joseph Lyman, 1802.  Letter is in fragile condition, use transcription.
Folder 5: Reeve, Tapping, 1795, 1816Add to your cart.
Cancelled promissory note dated March 24, 1795 to Tapping Reeve from an unknown party; Note to an unknown party from Tapping Reeve regarding money owed to Mr. Hillhouse dated 1816 Dec 12.
Folder 6: Shaw, John to Tilghman, William, 1820 Mar 2Add to your cart.
Writes regarding the condition of debt of a Mr. Richard Lloyd, a man of character, who is struggling to pay his debts despite endeavors to keep employed.  Notes having given Lloyd an advance, and hopes Lloyd's friends will think as he does on the subject.
Folder 7: Tallmadge, Benjamin, 1808 Dec 2Add to your cart.
Benjamin Tallmadge writes from the House of Representatives to an unnknown party regarding sending flour to Connecticut with General Lee for the use of the representatives families.
Folder 8: Wolcott, Frederick, 1798 Mar 26Add to your cart.
Brigade orders for the 6th brigade of militia regarding men being inlisted into the Cavalry from Infantry companies. Notes that in the "critical situation of our country the Genl calls upon the Officers and Soldiers of the Brigade to be attentive to their military duties, and vigilant in their respective capacities."
Folder 9: Unknown commisary account, 1775 Nov 21, 23Add to your cart.
Commisary account, New York, unsigned, primarily for barrels of salt. Written on the back of The Constitutional Gazette, 1775 Aug 12.

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