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Benjamin Tallmadge collection


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description


Legal papers

Financial papers


Frederick A. Tallmadge papers

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Benjamin Tallmadge collection, 1777-1864 | Litchfield Historical Society

By Anna Chen

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Collection Overview

Title: Benjamin Tallmadge collection, 1777-1864Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Predominant Dates:1778-1833

Primary Creator: Tallmadge, Benjamin (1754-1835)

Other Creators: Cushman, John P. (John Paine) (1784-1848), Tallmadge, Frederick A. (Frederick Augustus) (1792-1869)

Extent: 2.08 Linear Feet


The collection is arranged in 5 series:

I. Correspondence

II. Legal papers

III. Financial papers

IV. Miscellany

V. Frederick A. Tallmadge papers

Date Acquired: 01/01/1933. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: 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, Slavery, 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)

Forms of Material: Account books, Correspondence, Receipts

Languages: English, German

Scope and Contents of the Materials

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.

Subject/Index Terms

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)

Administrative Information

Repository: Litchfield Historical Society

Accruals: 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).

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

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 Note: A few originals are not available due to fragility.  Use photocopy.

Acquisition Source: Mary Floyd Williams

Acquisition Method: Donated

Separated Materials: Account books, diplomas, certificates, and military commissions are housed in oversize boxes.

Original/Copies Note: 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).

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

Processing Information: The bulk of this material was formerly arranged, in chronological order grouped by type of material, in scrapbooks.  This finding aid retains the chronological arrangement by type of material.

Other Note:

Material objects at the Litchfield Historical Society relating to the Benjamin Tallmadge Collection include:

-2 portraits of Benjamin Tallmadge and Mary Floyd Tallmadge by Ralph Earl (1917-04-01, 1917-04-02)

-silver teaspoon (1907-02-14)

-silver tablespoons (1907-02-13, 1907-02-12, 1958-09-8)

-Chinese export porcelain coffee cup (1908-07-01)

-portrait miniature of Benjamin Tallmadge by John Ramage, 1783 (1986-17-1)

-silver tea service (1992-13-1 a-d)

-Benjamin Tallmadge & Co. trade sign (1971-06-0)

-oil painting of Benjamin Tallmadge by Ezra Ames, ca. 1825 (1974-09-1)

-oil painting of Maria (Hallett) Tallmadge by Ezra Ames, ca. 1825 (1974-09-2)

-hair cutting of Benjamin Tallmadge (1949-25-1)

-mourning pin with cutting of Benjamin Tallmadge's hair (ca 1910-01-19)

-silver salt spoon (1907-02-16)

-silver sugar tongs (1912-14-3)

-2 silver salt spoons (1912-14-4)

-silver mustard spoon (1907-02-15)

-large silver urn (1972-05-8)

Contact museum curator for further information at curator@litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org

This collection was processed with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1776-1856],
[Series 2: Legal papers, 1782-1844],
[Series 3: Financial papers, 1778-1835],
[Series 4: Miscellany, 1783-1834],
[Series 5: Frederick A. Tallmadge papers, 1811-1864],

Series 4: Miscellany, 1783-1834Add to your cart.
Series 4, arranged chronologically, consists of Tallmadge's miscellaneous papers, which include numerous original poems; diplomas and certificates; and documents concerning Tallmadge's interest in pensions for army officers after the war.
Folder 1: Address to army, 1783Add to your cart.
Copy of George Washington's Newburgh Address.
Folder 2: Order passed by Congress, 1783Add to your cart.
Concerns payments to the army.
Folder 3: Mary Floyd Tallmadge CookbookAdd to your cart.View associated digital content.
The Mary Floyd Tallmadge Cookbook collection (1940-39-0) is a cookbook and typed transcription. There are various everyday recipes in the book, but one of note is a recipe for "General Washington's Black Ball;" a recipe for the blacking or George Washington’s boots. The cookbook was created by Mary Floyd Tallmadge the husband of Benjamin Tallmadge.
Folder 4: Resolutions, 1792Add to your cart.
Printed list of resolutions of a meeting of the Connecticut Proprietors in the Ohio Company's purchase.
Folder 5: Proceedings, 1795Add to your cart.
Pamphlet documenting proceedings of the state committee in the sale of the Western Reserve.
Folder 6: Land surveys, 1791, 1814Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Memo, 1800Add to your cart.
Concerning Benjamin Tallmadge's share in the Ohio Company.
Folder 8: Eulogy, 1805Add to your cart.
For Mary (Hallett) Tallmadge.
Folder 9: Poetry by Benjamin Tallmadge, 1808Add to your cart.
Contains "The Sick Saint's Meditation," with reference to Mrs. Hallett; and "A Hymn."
Folder 10: Church seating plan (oversize), 1813Add to your cart.
Seating chart of Litchfield Meeting-House.  See largest oversize box.
Folder 11: Certificates, 1811, 1816Add to your cart.
John Paine Cushman's certificate to practice as attorney, and as solicitor in the Court of Chancery in New York.
Folder 12: Poetry by Benjamin Tallmadge, 1809-1822Add to your cart.
Contains "An Ode Written on New Years Morning"; Reflections for the 25th of Feby. 1811," on his sixtieth birthday; and "Lines Written Subsequent to the Funeral of Miss Helen Peck."
Folder 13: Circular, 1822Add to your cart.
Printed circular addressed to former students of Tapping Reeve, asking for donations.
Folder 14: Certificates (oversize), 1807-1825Add to your cart.
Contains Benjamin Tallmadge's naval commission signed by James Monroe; and John Paine Cushman's Yale University diploma and certificate to practice as counsellor in New York.  See oversize box 18B Box 13.
Folder 15: Revolutionary claims, 1828Add to your cart.
Printed letter, with Benjamin Tallmadge's reply, concerning an act for the relief of surviving officers and soldiers of the army of the Revolutionary War.
Folder 16: Lines written on the death..., 1831Add to your cart.
Anonymous poem on the death of Lieut. Benjamin Tallmadge, Jr.
Folder 17: Marche des Marseillois, n. d.Add to your cart.
Anonymous poem.
Item 1: Elssler Quadrilles, 1840Add to your cart.

"Elssler Quadries; selected from her favorite dances and arranged for the piano forte by Ferdinand C. Unger".  A bound book of music published in New York by Ferdinand C. Unger with "Mary F. Tallmadge" inscribed in leather on the front cover.

Currently housed in 3A Box 19.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1776-1856],
[Series 2: Legal papers, 1782-1844],
[Series 3: Financial papers, 1778-1835],
[Series 4: Miscellany, 1783-1834],
[Series 5: Frederick A. Tallmadge papers, 1811-1864],

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