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Lucius E. Chittenden Papers

 Collection
Identifier: mss-965

Scope and Content

The Lucius E. Chittenden Papers, 1838-1926, include correspondence, letter books, account books, court dockets, transcripts of testimony, lists of books, notebooks recording a trip (1871) to England including impressions of bookseller Henry Stevens and various libraries, notes on rare books, notes on the formation of the Republican Party in 1848, and translations by Chittenden of descriptions of early French explorations of North America. The correspondence relates to the Civil War, book collecting, political appointments, legal business, and charges made against the Treasury Department in its handlling of banknote contracts. Many of the letter books as well as the account books, testimony books, and court dockets books relate to Chittenden's law firm and his partners, Lyman, Phelps and Roberts. There are also folders of correspondence, accounts, subscription books and miscellaneous belonging to Daniel and Robert Roberts. Correspondents include Spencer F. Baird, William P. Fessenden, Solomon Foote, George Perkins Marsh and Henry Stevens.

The papers are arranged chronologically with all of the loose material in the first box. This is followed by groups of boxed bound volumes. Oversize volumes such as the ledgers and court docket books were placed at the end of the collection. One Chittenden ledger is on microfilm.

Notes on Location The document boxes originally used to house this collection were incorporated into cartons. As a result the following changes have been made to the Lucius E. Chittenden shelf list:
  • Box 1 Folder 1 through Box 3 Folder 1: Carton 1
  • Box 3 Folder 2 through Box 5: Carton 2
  • Box 6 through Box 8: Carton 3
  • Box 9 through 10: Carton 4
  • Volumes 1, 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14: Carton 5


Dates

  • 1838-1930

Access:

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights:

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Biography

Lucius Eugene Chittenden, great-grand-son of Vermont's first governor, Thomas Chittenden, was born in Williston, Vermont on May 24, 1824. He received his early education in the district schools of Williston and the academies of Williston, Hinesburg and Cambridge. He studied law at first in the office of his uncle, Norman L. Whittmore, at Swanton, and later attended the legal lectures of Judge Turner at St. Albans. He also studied with John G. Saxe, the poet, and Corydon Beckwith, a prominent corporation lawyer, and was admitted to the bar in Franklin County in 1844. In 1845, Chittenden opened a law office in Burlington in partnership, successively, with Wyllys Lyman, Edward J. Phelps and Daniel Roberts. As early as 1846, he became interested in politics and public affairs. He was prominent in anti-slavery and "free soil" movements, edited the Free Soil Courier, helped to organize and chaired the Free Soil state committee prior to the party's official birth in Buffalo in 1848, and led the successful campaign of John S. Robinson for governor in 1852. After the "Free Soilers" dissolved in the early 1850s, he became active in the newly formed Republican Party.

Chittenden was elected a senator from Chittenden County (1856-1860), and elected president of the Commercial Bank in Burlington in 1857. In February 1861 he was appointed as a delegate to the Washington Peace Conference, a group formed to avert the coming Civil War. In March of that year he became Register of the U.S. Treasury, and served in that office for the remainder of Lincoln's first administration. In August 1864 he retired from Washington because of poor health, and established himself in a New York City law firm.

During his long and successful public career, Chittenden found time to write extensively of the history of Vermont and of the people and events about him. "Although his history is at times inaccurate and perhaps overly influenced by a fondness for the dramatic as well as a bias for Vermont, it is still of value" (John Buechler, "Lucius E. Chittenden: Green Mountain Bibliophile," Vermont History, vol. 37, 1969, pp. 40). Some of his books include: The Capture of Ticonderoga (1872), Lincoln and the Sleeping Sentinel (1909), Recollections of President Lincoln and His Administration (1891), Personal Reminiscences Including Lincoln and Others 1840-1890 (1893), An Unknown Heroine; An Historical Episode of the War Between the States (1893), and A Report of the Debates and Proceedings in the Secret Sessions of the Conference Convention, for Proposing Amendments to the Constitutioon of the United States (1864). His various articles and addresses covered topics like the American reindeer, Ethan Allen, medical jurisprudence, early settlers in Vermont and American railroads (Buechler, pp. 41).

Chittenden collected a library which was especially rich in rare volumes relating to the early history of Vermont, and to the history of engraving and printing. A good portion of his library was purchased, largely by subscription, for the University of Vermont. One of the more fascinating books in the collection is his own translation of Les Singularitez de la France Antarctique by Thevet (Paris, 1558). "The volume is Chittenden's work completely except for the fine morocco binding. Done on 100 leaves of vellum in Chittenden's distinctive hand printing, with multi-colored initials, full page line drawings in ink, and marginal figures of soldiers, birds, and animals. . . (Buechler, pp. 45).

Lucius Chittenden was married to Mary Hatch in 1856, fathered three children, and died in Burlington, Vermont on July 22, 1900.

Extent

10 Linear Feet (10 boxes, 11 volumes, 1 reel of microfilm)

Overview

The Lucius E. Chittenden papers include correspondence, letter books, account books, court dockets, transcriptions of testimony, lists of books, notebooks recording a trip to England (1871) which includes impression of bookseller Henry Stevens and various libraries, notes on rare books, notes on formation of the Republican Party in 1848, translations by Chittenden of descriptions of early French explorations of North America.

Notes on Location

The document boxes originally used to house this collection were incorporated into cartons. As a result the following changes have been made to the Lucius E. Chittenden shelf list:
  • Box 1 Folder 1 through Box 3 Folder 1: Carton 1
  • Box 3 Folder 2 through Box 5: Carton 2
  • Box 6 through Box 8: Carton 3
  • Box 9 through 10: Carton 4
  • Volumes 1, 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14: Carton 5


Physical Location

Library Research Annex; contact uvmsc@uvm.edu for access.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. Lucius E. Chittenden, 1898 and subsequent purchases

General

The document boxes originally used to house this collection were incorporated into cartons. As a result the following changes have been made to the Lucius E. Chittenden shelf list:
  1. Box 1 Folder 1 through Box 3 Folder 1: Carton 1
  2. Box 3 Folder 2 through Box 5: Carton 2
  3. Box 6 through Box 8: Carton 3
  4. Box 9 through 10: Carton 4
  5. Volumes 1, 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14: Carton 5
Title
Guide to the Lucius E. Chittenden Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Processor: JPC.
Date
1998
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)