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Henry Stevens Papers

Identifier: mss-031

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists primarily of the correspondence of the Stevens Family of Barnet, Vermont. While the overall chronological span is from 1757 to 1870, the majority of the Henry Stevens Papers fall between the years 1830 and 1860. The central figure represented in the papers is Henry Stevens, Sr. (1791-1867), whose correspondence (mostly incoming), business papers and research materials from the period 1820-60 dominate the collection. Other Stevens family members whose papers are present in varying amounts in the collection include: Willard Stevens (1794-1870); Simon Stevens (1801-1826); Enos Stevens (1816-1877); Sophia Stevens (1827-1894); Henry Stevens, Jr. (1819-1886); Mary Newton K. Stevens; George Stevens (1821-1846); Simon Stevens (1825-1894) and Benjamin Stevens (1833-1902).

As the Stevens Family Papers do, the Henry Stevens Papers cover a wide range of subjects. In addition to family correspondence detailing the lives and the careers of the Stevenses, there is considerable material concerning the business interests of Henry Stevens, Sr.: projects for canals and railroads in northern Vermont; local Barnet and Calendonia County industries, turnpikes, stores and agriculture; representation of Revolutionary veterans' pension claims; and a variety of other projects in which Stevens considered investing. The antiquarian book-business careers of his sons, Henry Jr. and Benjamin Franklin, are also well-represented in the collection.

Another major aspect of the Henry Stevens Papers is that reflecting his lifelong study of Vermont history. There are dozens of research papers, copies of historical documents, nots on Vermont's past, and other materials concerning the state's heritage throughout the collection. Of related interest are the many letters to and from the period's most noted students of Vermont, many of whom turned to Henry Stevens, Sr. for help and advice: Abby Maria Hemenway; Daniel Chipman; Hiland Hall; Pliny H. White; Henry W. DePuy; George F. Houghton; Benjamin H. Hall; and Zadock Thompson.

Noteworthy correspondents represented in the Henry Stevens Papers are numerous. Henry, Sr. corresponded with many leading Vermonters in his lifetime, and letters to and from many of them are included in the collection: Heman Allen; William Czar Bradley; Jacob Collamer; Carlos Coolidge; Samuel C. Crafts; Paul Dillingham; Horace Eaton; Horace Everett; Erastus Fairbanks; Isaac Fletcher; George Perkins Marsh; John Mattocks; Justin Smith Morrill; Charles Paine; John S. Robinson; William Slade, Jr.; Daniel Pierce Thompson; Eliakim P. Walton; James Whitelaw; Charles K. Williams; and many more. While the majority of Henry, Sr.'s correspondence was Vermont-oriented, there are also numerous non-Vermont letters to him, among which an occasional famous name surfaces, such as John Quincy Adams, George Bancroft, John C. Calhoun, and Henry Hubbard of New Hampshire. The correspondence of Henry Stevens, jr., in the collection also represents some notables, particularly among American and European bookmen; John Carter Brown; George Brinley; A. Asher; James Lenox; Peter Force; George P. Putnam; Samuel G. Drake; and Antonio Panizzi. Other prominent American correspondents of Henry, Jr.'s whose letters appear in the Papers are Francis Parkman, C.C. Jewett of the Smithsonian Institution, Benjamin Silliman pere et fils, and Jared Sparks.

The collection has been arranged chronologically, with undated materials grouped at the end. An alphabetical name index has been prepared, broken down into four parts; the first and largest, of incoming letters to members of the Stevens family (primarily Henry, Sr.), by name of writer; letters sent by Henry Stevens, sr., by name of recipient; letters sent by Henry, Jr., by name of recipient; and letters sent by other members of the Stevens family (again primarily addressed to Henry, Sr.), by name of writer. This index has been put in 3 x 5 form and placed in Drawer 115 of the reading room card catalogue.

Note: Other collections of the Stevens family papers exist at the Vermont Historical Society, the New York State Library at Albany, the Clements Library at the University of Michigan, the Reserve Collection of the New York Public Library, the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, in the Force Papers at the Library of Congress, and at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Note: The collection was originally in fifteen boxes. Boxes 1-14 are now in Cartons 1-6, and Box 15 is now Box 7.


  • 1757-1870



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.

Biographical Note

For an account of the genealogy and history of the Stevens family, see Philip Elwert's "A Guide to the Stevens Family Papers at the Guy W. Bailey Memorial Library, University of Vermont," in this binder immediately following this inventory of the Henry Stevens Papers. Researchers should consult both of the Stevens Collections, since they often overlap in chronolgy and subject matter.


6 Linear Feet (6 cartons, 1 box)

Language of Materials


Henry Stevens Papers

Collection includes family correspondence and business papers (mostly 1832-1863) including letters from Stevens’ sons, Benjamin Franklin Stevens (1833-1902), bookman and antiquarian who established the firm of Stevens and Brown in London; and Henry Stevens Jr. (1819-1866), London bookseller and collector who was instrumental in building the libraries of John Carter Brown, James Lenox and Peter Force. Includes letters to Henry Stevens Jr., from Peter Force (1790-1868), Charles C. Jewett (1816-1868), Francis Parkman (1823-1893), Jared Sparks (1789-1866), and other collectors and librarians.


Library Research Annex; contact for access.

Guide to the Henry Stevens Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

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