Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America

Archives related to: Lenox, James, 1800-1880

titleJames Lenox papers, 1823-1936, bulk (1840-1880) (MssCol 1732)
repositoryNew York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division
descriptionCollection consists of correspondence, Henry Stevens papers, Presbyterian Church materials, subject files, and personal papers.

General corespondence, 1825-1880, relates to Lenox's collecting and philanthropic work, as well as other aspects of his life. Papers concerning Henry Stevens include correspondence, invoices, booklists, and a handwritten reminiscence of Lenox. Presbyterian Church materials concern its Board of Missions and Board of Publication and include correspondence, minutes and account books. Lenox's subject files primarily cover gifts he made to various religious and civic groups. Personal papers relate to the Lenox ancestral home in Scotland, book collecting, publishing, and personal matters.

Biographical and Historical Note
James Lenox (1800-1880) was an American philanthropist and book collector. In collaboration with Henry Stevens (1819-1886), an American book purchasing agent based in London, Lenox developed a fine collection of rare books, particularly Americana and early Bibles. His collection served as the basis of the Lenox Library which was organized in 1870 and later became part of the New York Public Library. His philanthropic work was primarily on behalf of the Presbyterian Church.
extent3.7 linear feet (12 boxes)
formatsCorrespondence Financial Papers Personal Papers Ephemera Microfilm
accessApply in Special Collections Office.
record link
record source
finding aidFinding aid available in repository
updated03/16/2023 10:29:47

titleRich provenance collection, ca. 1845-1848 (MssCol 2568).
repositoryNew York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division
descriptionCollection consists of negative photostats of letters and accounts, original printed catalogs, and a photostat of an annotated catalog. Letters (from Obadiah Rich to Henry Stevens) and accounts concern the sale of rare books and manuscripts to James Lenox, John Carter Brown, the British Museum and others. Catalogs are of the Rich collection of manuscripts as offered for sale. Photostat is of catalog with Lenox's manuscript annotations (transferred from original by library employee).


Obadiah Rich (1783?-1850) was an American book dealer who dealt extensively in Americana. In 1844 he bought Henri Ternaux de Compans's collection of American early printed books and manuscripts, then sold it through Henry Stevens to James Lenox in 1848.
extent.5 linear foot (1 box, 2 v.)
formatsCorrespondence Account Books Catalogs
accessApply in Special Collections Office for admission to the Manuscripts and Archives Division.
record link
record source
finding aidCollection guide available in repository and on internet:,1,1,B/l856~b3490136&FF=trich+provenance+collection&1,1,,1,0/startreferer//search/tRich+provenance+collection/trich+provenance+collection/1,1,1,B/frameset&FF=trich+provenance+collection&1,1,/endreferer/
acquisition informationUnknown
updated11/12/2014 11:29:52

titleLenox Library Records, 1866-1915
repositoryNew York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division
descriptionThe records of the Lenox Library span the years 1866-1915, with the bulk dating from 1870-1895.

They document the founding and operation of the Library, including rare book purchases from Europe and America, reader's statistics, and general library administration. The records consist of handwritten, typed and printed documents, loose and in volumes.

A small number of items date from after the 1895 consolidation of the Lenox Library with the Astor Library and Tilden Trust to form The New York Public Library.

After consolidation, NYPL Director John Shaw Billings established his office in the Astor Library building. The Lenox Library was administered, by Wilberforce Eames, as a self-contained research branch of the NYPL up to the move into the new Central Building in 1911.

At that time part of the Lenox collection was kept intact to form the American History Division with Eames as its first chief.

Arrangement Note
The records are arranged in six series: I. Board of Trustees - General Administration; II. Board of Trustees - President; III. Board of Trustees - Secretary; IV. Board of Trustees - Treasurer; V. Superintendent; VI. Librarian.The arrangement of the records of the Lenox Library was made problematic by the fact that various administrative functions shifted from office to office over time.

For example, reader's use statistics were first kept by the Superintendent's office under Moore, but then shifted to the Librarian's office under Eames. Financial records also shifted between the Superintendent, Treasurer and Librarian at different periods. Researchers should keep this in mind when using these records.

Preferred Citation
Lenox Library Records, The New York Public Library Archives, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.
extent35 linear feet
formatsAdministrative Records Financial Records Correspondence Printed Materials Ephemera
accessAccess to the collection is restricted to qualified scholars and researchers through the Office of Special Collections, Room 316.
record link
record source
finding aid
updated11/12/2014 11:30:14

titleLetters from James Lenox to Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan, September, 1852 to December, 1860, concerning the purchase and reprinting of many volumes of Jesuit relations [microform]
repositoryNew York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division
Schwarzman Building - Periodicals and Microforms Reference
Call Number
extent1 v.
formatsMicrofilm Correspondence
accessContact Library for further details.
record source
acquisition informationReproduction Microfilm. New York, N.Y.: New York Public Library, 19--.
updated11/12/2014 11:30:14

title[Newspaper clippings from the Evening Post and other New York City papers, and similar ephemera, concerning James Lenox, his family, and the Lenox library]
repositoryThe New-York Historical Society
description[Newspaper clippings from the Evening Post and other New York City papers, and similar ephemera, concerning James Lenox, his family, and the Lenox library].

Library Holdings: New-York Historical Society / Main Collection CT Box .L5726 N5 / Non-circulating
extent1 v. ; 24 cm
formatsClippings Ephemera
accessopen to qualified researchers at The New-York Historical Society
record source
updated11/12/2014 11:30:14

titleMinute book, 1863-1866. Home for Disabled Soldiers (New York, N.Y.)
repositoryThe New-York Historical Society
descriptionMinutes of the Board of Trustees and copies of a few other documents concerning the beginnings of the Home for Disabled Soldiers in New York City (1863-1866).

Trustees included Theodore Roosevelt, James Lenox, Benjamin H. Field, Frederic De Peyster, Andrew Warner, Frank Moore, Gen. Daniel Butterfield, and others.

The final minutes in this volume report that a committee was being formed to look further into the feasability of the home after trustees heard discouraging news about similar projects.

Inserted are several loose sheets with address and attendance information for the trustees.

Historical Note: Incorporated 1865.

Mss Collection
BV Home for Disabled Soldiers

extent1 v. (40 p)
formatsAdministrative Records Ephemera
accessopen to qualified researchers at The New-York Historical Society
record source
updated11/12/2014 11:30:14

titleDaniel Huntington Study Portrait Collection, ca. 1870-1890
repositoryThe New-York Historical Society
descriptionTwo years after Daniel Huntington's death, his son Charles Richards Huntington (1847-1915) presented the New-York Historical Society with a collection of 141 portrait photographs used by his father "for his study of the subjects painted by him."

Each of the men (and the single woman, Mary McCrea Stuart) in the collection is represented by one or more portrait photographs which had been blown-up to life-size dimensions, sometimes made from a previously existing negative or one made of an earlier photograph. In the case of sitters who died before the advent of paper photography, images were taken from daguerreotypes. The enlargements were mounted on a stiff paperboard and roughly trimmed almost to the shape of the subject's head.

Each of the portraits has the sitter's surname in pencil on the verso; some have a shorthand clue to an occupation, profession, title, or institutional affiliation. These annotations, if contemporary to Huntington or his son, have been transcribed in the box and folder list that follows.

Many of the photographs have a puncture at their top, most likely from the nail Huntington used to tack them up in view of his easel.

The sitters are familiar to students of nineteenth-century New York: they include prominent bankers, merchants, industrialists, educators, financiers, generals, lawyers, judges, politicians, government officials, and men of the cloth.

The photographs are generally not dated. Several note that they were made from daguerreotypes and a few mention particular photographers, or are mounted on the backs of printed boards from photographers' studios.

The images that are dated range from the 1870s (Henry Potter) to the 1890s (Kelly, Gracie, Schurz, and Sheldon). Photographers mentioned are Bogardus (Adams, Arthur) and Sarony (Tilden), with one annotated by Huntington as having been taken in his studio (Sherman). Eight of the portraits are mounted on the verso of stamped boards from the Rockwood Studio (Brown, Gracie, Johnston, Henry Potter, Taft, and Weir) or Kurtz (Dodge Sr. and Hostetter) in New York.

In addition, the portrait of Henry Codman Potter is mounted on the verso of a large photograph of Calvary Baptist Church, on West Twenty-third Street.

Oil portraits of these sitters are now in the New York Chamber of Commerce Collection at the New York State Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, New York Public Library, Harvard University, Vassar College, and West Point Museum, among other institutions.

The New-York Historical Society owns more than twenty portraits painted by Huntington. Other portraits remain in private collections, including those of social clubs, hospitals, corporations, and the families who commissioned them from the artist.

Biographical Note
Daniel Huntington (1814-1906) was educated at Hamilton College. He studied panting with Samuel Morse and Henry Inman in New York City. He primarily painted portraits and landscapes. Huntington was president of the National Academy of Design, and Vice-President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Preferred Citation
This collection should be cited as: Daniel Huntington Study Portrait Photographs, PR 256, Department of Prints, Photogaphs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.

Call Phrase: PR 256
extent0.42 Linear feet (141 photographs, 12 folders)
accessOpen to qualified researchers
record source
acquisition informationGift of Charles R. Huntington, April 9, 1908.
updated11/12/2014 11:30:14