Benjamin Tallmadge collection, 1777-1864
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Brief Description:

The Benjamin Tallmadge Collection documents the personal life and professional career of Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge through his correspondence as well as his legal, financial, and personal papers.  An army officer, chief intelligence officer, and organizer of the Culper spy ring during the Revolutionary War, Tallmadge became a businessman and U.S. Representative from Connecticut in Congress after the war.

The collection contains Tallmadge's duplicate original letters to George Washington concerning military operations and Tallmadge's operations of the secret service during the Revolutionary War.  These letters record  not only detailed summaries of battles, movements of troops, and requests for provisions, but also the activities of spies and communications of their intelligence.  Many of the letters are written in cipher.  Also included are two original letters from Washington to Tallmadge concerning military administration. 

The letters also record Tallmadge's business activities after the war, especially in his correspondence with his son-in-law, John Paine Cushman, a lawyer in New York and, from 1817-1819, U. S. Representative of New York in Congress, whose advice and assistance Tallmadge frequently sought for his financial transactions.

In addition, legal documents, accounts, and bills and receipts illuminate Tallmadge's business ventures, especially his purchases and sales of land in Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio, with references to the Ohio Company and Western Reserve.  Other items include accounts for Tallmadge's store in Litchfield, Connecticut; receipts documenting his investment in privateering ships; and bills of sale for the purchase of slaves. 

Moreover, his letters to Cushman reveal their opinions on national politics and government, especially during Cushman's own service in Congress.  Meanwhile, his letters to his daughter, Maria (Tallmadge) Cushman, document the religious revival movement in New England, in which Tallmadge took great interest, describing the activities of such revivalist preachers as Lyman Beecher, Asahel Nettleton, and Nathan Beman.  These letters also provide insight into the social and personal activities of the Tallmadge and Cushman families in Litchfield and elsewhere.  Occasionally, the letters are appended by notes to Maria from Tallmadge's second wife, Maria (Hallett) Tallmadge.

The collection also contains correspondence and business papers of Tallmadge's son, Frederick Augustus Tallmadge, which primarily concern Frederick Tallmadge's publication of his father's memoirs.

Held at:
Litchfield Historical Society
7 South Street, P.O. Box 385
Litchfield, CT 6759
Phone: 860-567-4501
Fax: 860-567-3565
Email: archivist [at]
Created by: Tallmadge, Benjamin (1754-1835), Cushman, John P. (John Paine) (1784-1848), Tallmadge, Frederick A. (Frederick Augustus) (1792-1869)
Volume: 2.08 Linear Feet
Acquired: 01/01/1933. Gifts from Emily Noyes Vanderpoel; Dorothy A. Johnson; Mary Floyd Tallmadge Seymour (1911); Elizabeth Delafield (1914); Morris W. Seymour (1917); L. J. Carrington (1923); Mary Floyd Williams (1942); White Memorial Foundation (1952); R. W. Belfit (1965); O. B. Swift (1971);  Lynne Brickley (2004, 2005); and Malcolm and Carol Bramley (2005).

The collection is arranged in 5 series:

I. Correspondence

II. Legal papers

III. Financial papers

IV. Miscellany

V. Frederick A. Tallmadge papers

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.
Subject Index
Cushman, John P. (John Paine), 1784-1848
Cushman, Maria Tallmadge, 1790-1878
Deming, Julius, 1755-1838
Destouches, Charles-René-Dominique Sochet, 1727-1794
Dwight, Timothy, 1752-1817
Hooker, Asahel, 1762-1813
Privateering--United States
Reeve, Tapping, 1744-1823
Revivals--United States
Second Great Awakening
Society of the Cincinnati
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Secret service
United States--Politics and government--1775-1783.
United States--Religious life and customs
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Western Reserve (Ohio)
Genres/Forms of Material
Account books
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
German [ger]
Rights/Use Restrictions: 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 of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Physical Access Notes: A few originals are not available due to fragility.  Use photocopy.
Acquisition Notes: Mary Floyd Williams  Donated
Other Formats: Transcriptions are available for some documents.
Related Materials:

Mary Floyd Tallmadge Recipe Book, Litchfield Historical Society collection.

Maria (Tallmadge) Cushman Recipe Book, Litchfield Historical Society collection.

Connecticut Historical Society

Hartford, CT

Connecticut State Library

Hartford, CT

New York Historical Society

New York, NY

New York Public Library

New York, NY

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery

San Marino, CA

Yale University Library

New Haven, CT

Related Publications:

Benjamin Tallmadge, Memoir of Benjamin Tallmadge, Prepared by Himself at the Request of his Children (New York: Thomas Holman, 1858).

Charles Swain Hall, Benjamin Tallmadge: Revolutionary Soldier and American Businessman (New York: Columbia University Press, 1943).

PreferredCitation: Benjamin Tallmadge collection, 1933-19-0, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759.