Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Solomon G. Haven Family Papers, 1839-1895

Finding aid created by
Manuscripts Division Staff, 1990; Rob S. Cox, 1994; Philip Heslip, November 2009

Summary Information
Title: Solomon G. Haven family papers
Creator: Haven, Solomon G. (Solomon George), 1810-1861
Inclusive dates: 1839-1895
Extent: 0.5 linear feet
Abstract:
The Solomon G. Haven family papers contain the business and personal letters of Solomon Haven, a Buffalo, New York, lawyer and politician, as well as many letters concerning his wife, Harriet Newell Scott, and daughters Mary and Ida Haven.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1983-2003. M-2103, M-2834, M-4304.3.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

Solomon G. Haven Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

This collection is organized into two series:

  • Series I: Solomon Haven correspondence
  • Series II: Mary and Ida Haven correspondence.

Biography

Solomon George Haven (1810-1861) was a lawyer and politician from western New York during the antebellum period. Born in Guilford, New York, in 1810, Haven was well educated and initially intended to pursue a medical career. He chose law instead, and in 1835, after completing his law studies in Buffalo, he was admitted to the New York bar and became a partner in Fillmore, Hall, and Haven, a prosperous firm headed by Millard Fillmore. Ambitious and politically active, Haven held several elective offices including commissioner of deeds, district attorney of Erie County (1844-46), and mayor of Buffalo (1846-47), before being elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1851. Because of his close association with Fillmore, Haven was reputed to wield considerable influence in Washington and was popular socially during his years in Congress. He was well-liked by his constituents as well, and was returned to office in three consecutive terms before his eventual defeat in 1856.

Although Haven, like Fillmore, had been elected as a Whig, his true political inclinations were more conservative; near the end of his political career, he became openly associated with the nativist Know Nothings, and supported Fillmore's failed run for the presidency in 1856 on the American Party ticket. Out of office, Haven returned to his law practice in Buffalo and joined a new partner, James Smith. They argued at least three cases before the Supreme Court during the late 1850s. Following Fillmore's electoral defeat and the dissolution of the American Party, Haven grew increasingly embittered toward politics. However, he made one last, unsuccessful bid for congress in 1860. Haven died on Christmas Eve of the following year and is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Haven married Harriet Newell Scott (1817-1899) in 1838; they had at least three daughters: Mary Upton (b. 1840), Antoinette (1846-1890), and Ida (1848-c.1920). They were an affluent family and their social circles included politicians and members of Buffalo's high society. Ida and Antoinette lived with their mother in Buffalo after their father's death, but Mary Haven married Charles Day and left her home town. The young couple spent the late 1870s traveling around Europe, and in 1880 resided in New York City before returning to Paris in 1884. Mary's sister Ida also spent time in Europe in the early 1880s.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Solomon G. Haven family papers contain the business and personal letters of Solomon Haven, as well as many letters of his wife and daughters. The collection holds 185 letters.

The Solomon Haven Correspondence series consists of 103 letters written from Haven to James Smith, his law partner in Buffalo, New York; 33 letters to his wife; and several letters addressed to various political acquaintances. Most of the letters were written during the period of Haven's congressional career, with the heaviest concentration being from 1853 to 1856.

The letters to Smith contain scattered commentary on the Supreme Court, before which Haven argued three times, on Erie County politics, and on their legal practice in Buffalo. These also offer extensive commentary on New York state politics, including discussions of most of the major figures in the state at the time; references to the various intraparty factions; and discussion of the role of political newspapers during this period of political volatility. Of particular note is the detailed commentary on congressional politics surrounding the struggle over the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, the election of the Speaker of the House (1855-56), and a description of various party conventions in 1856, especially the Know Nothing convention in Philadelphia. By this time, Haven had become a fierce American Party supporter, a fiscal conservative, and an ardent critic of the political games being played by most of the Democratic, Whig, and Republican schemers in Washington and Albany. In a letter to his friend James Osborne Putnam (1818-1903), Haven wrote: "You ask for the Whig party. You would as yet ask in vain for any party here -- there is but little doing effective here for the future -- Cass and Douglass are playing high at the game of Weasel" (December 20, 1851).

Solomon’s letters to his wife Harriett (Hatty) were written between 1839 and 1858, and have an affectionate tone; their focus is largely on the many Washington, D.C., social events, such as parties, celebrations, balls, dinners, and other social/political gatherings, which he typically found tiresome. He was a regular guest for dinner at the White House. His letters relay information about who attended the parties, such as the wives of generals, congressmen, and the President, what the ladies’ were wearing and how they interacted with the men. An 1856 letter mentions the reaction of Elizabeth Spencer Cass (wife of lawyer and politician Lewis Cass) to the caning of Charles Sumner (1856).

The Mary and Ida Haven Correspondence series (39 items) documents two trips taken by Mary Haven to Europe. The first commenced sometime before December 1877 and ended in 1879. Mary spent her time primarily in Paris, leaving only for short excursions to Cannes, France, and Geneva, Switzerland. Her second trip began in June 1884, and lasted until sometime after August of the same year. This trip started with short visits to several cities in Germany and Switzerland, and, by August 29, 1884 (the last letter of her correspondence), she had returned to Paris.

Mary, also known as Ninnie, wrote her letters to her sisters, Ida and Antoinette, and to her mother, all of whom lived at the same address in Buffalo, New York. She traveled with other Americans including a traveler named “Puss,” who, as internal evidence suggests, is her husband, Charles Day. She often discussed her activities in Paris and the differences between life at home and life in Paris, her membership in an Art club, other social engagements, and her trips to other European countries. Her letters show, however, that she spent much of her time socializing with other Americans and British friends. While in Europe, she attended “English church.” As a member of an Art Club, Mary spent some of her time painting and taking art classes.

In two letters from Paris (April 29 and May 16, 1878), Mary wrote about attending the opening of the Exposition Universelle: she waited amidst hordes of other people and saw celebrities who passed near her, such as Queen Isabella and her daughter; the Prince of Wales; the Prince of Denmark; foreign ambassadors and generals of the French Army; and many others. Mary wrote a particularly interesting anecdote about a dressmaker, Madame Connelly from New York, who, in a state of drunkenness, told her that she purchased dresses and belts in France very cheaply and re-sold them in New York for an enormous profit (March 26, 1878). A letter from May 16, 1878, mentions the divorce of a woman whose husband cannot support her, possibly because he was an alcoholic. When traveling to Europe in 1884, Mary noted that writer Mariana Griswold Schuyler Van Rensselaer was on the same ship.

Seven incoming letters to Mary and a single miscellaneous item complete the series. Her sister Ida wrote two letters while she traveled abroad in Germany in the summer of 1880. At this time, Mary was living in New York. Alice Craven Jones, a family friend in Hampstead, London, wrote five letters in the 1890s. Alice offered hopes that her family would come to visit them overseas, offered condolences for the death of a loved one in 1890 (likely Mary’s sister, Antoinette), and related the news of Minnie Jones’ marriage to a lawyer by the name of Perks (1895). Finally, an 8-page unsigned letter to Ida Haven describes visits to small villages in Italy; the writer worked with the Red Cross and commented extensively on the manner, dress, and religion (Catholic) of the citizens.

Two items contain decorated letterheads: the letter from August, 24, 1879, has scenic pictures of famous locations on stationary from a hotel in Zurich, and an undated item (marked only July 15) features printed pictures of the buildings Sprudel-Colonnade and Muhlbrunn-Colonnade.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Art--Study and teaching--France.
    • Berlin (Germany)
    • Buffalo (N.Y.)
    • Cannes (France)
    • Dresden (Germany)
    • Europe--Description and travel.
    • Exposition universelle de 1867 a Paris.
    • Fillmore, Millard, 1800-1874.
    • Haven, Antoinette, 1845-1890.
    • Italy--Description and travel.
    • Jones, Alice Craven.
    • Lawyers--New York (State)--Buffalo.
    • London (England)
    • New York (State)--Politics and government.
    • Paris (France)
    • Perks, Minnie Jones.
    • Political parties--New York (State)
    • Political parties--United States--History--19th century.
    • Stephens, Ann Sophia, 1813-1886.
    • United States. Congress.
    • United States. Kansas-Nebraska Act.
    • Washington (D.C.)--Social life and customs.
    • Zurich (Switzerland)
    Contributors:
    • Day, Mary Haven, b. 1840.
    • Haven, Harriett Newell Scott, 1817-1899.
    • Haven, Ida, b. 1847.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
     
    Solomon Haven correspondence [series]
    Box   1 Folder   1
     February 14, 1839-January 22, 1853
    Box   1 Folder   2
     February 3-December 12, 1853
    Box   1 Folder   3
     December 12, 1853-March 1, 1854
    Box   1 Folder   4
     March 2, 1854-June 14, 1854
    Box   1 Folder   5
     June 24, 1854-January 21, 1855
    Box   1 Folder   6
     January 29, 1855-December 23, 1855
    Box   1 Folder   7
     December 25, 1855-January 29, 1856
    Box   1 Folder   8
      January 29, 1856-March 15, 1856
    Box   1 Folder   9
     March 16, 1856-May 8, 1856
    Box   1 Folder   10
     May 10, 1856-June 26, 1856
    Box   1 Folder   11
     June 29, 1856-August 25, 1858
     
    Mary and Ida Haven correspondence [series]
    Box   1 Folder   12
     December 31, 1877-February 27, 1878
    Box   1 Folder   13
     March 26, 1878-August 21, 1879
    Box   1 Folder   14
     August 21, 1879-June 7, 1884
    Box   1 Folder   15
     June 11, 1884-August 29, 1884
    Box   1 Folder   16
    Alice Craven Jones letters,  January 1, 1890-December 9, 1895
    Box   1 Folders   17-18
     Undated (11 items)
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Schoff Civil War Letters & Documents: Solomon G. Haven to George Barr, December 8 and December 12, 1855

    Weld-Grimke papers: G. Haven to T. Weld, July 5, 1871

    Partial Subject Index (Solomon G. Haven correspondence only)
    Accidents.
    • 1845 May 17
    American Party.
    • see also Philadelphia Convention
    • 1855 December 3, 11, 20
    • 1856 February 27
    • 1856 March 12
    • 1856 May 17
    Lawyers.
    • 1854 December 23
    Banks, Nathaniel P., 1816-1894.
    • See also Speaker of the House
    • 1855 December 3, 11
    • 1856 January 9
    Brooks, Preston S. (Preston Smith), 1819-1857.
    • 1856 May 24, 28
    • 1856 June 10
    Buchanan, James, 1791-1868.
    • 1856 March 12
    • 1856 June 10
    • 1856 June 18
    Buffalo (N.Y.)--Politics and government.
    • 1854 March 30
    • 1854 April 11
    • 1854 July 4
    Cass, Lewis, 1782-1866.
    • 1854 January 12
    • 1854 March 2
    Christmas .
    • 1853 December 21
    • 1854 December 23
    Cinderella.
    • 1856 May 24
    Clayton-Bulwer Treaty.
    • 1850 Apr. 19
    • 1854 January 12
    Corruption, political.
    • 1856 February 13
    • 1856 March 8
    Cuba .
    • 1854 May 16
    Democratic Party (U.S.)
    • 1851 December 20
    • 1856 April 22
    • 1856 May 3, 26, 28
    Douglas, Stephen Arnold, 1813-1861.
    • 1853 January 1
    • 1856 March 12
    Fillmore, Millard, 1800-1874.
    • 1851 December 20
    • 1853 February 19, 26
    • 1855 December 11
    • 1856 January 2
    • 1856 February 27
    • 1856 March 12, 19
    • 1856 April 16, 30
    • 1856 May 21, 28
    • 1856 June 10, 18, 26, 29
    • 1856 July 2, 5, 29
    Fishing.
    • 1839 August 14
    Fourth of July celebrations.
    • 1845 July 5
    Fremont, John Charles, 1813-1890.
    • 1856 June 18
    Giddings, J. R. (Joshua Reed), 1795-1864.
    • 1855 December 20
    • 1856 January 9
    • 1856 May 8
    Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872.
    • 1855 December 3
    • 1855 December 11
    Harvesting machinery.
    • 1854 October 21
    Homestead law--United States--History.
    • 1854 February 22
    Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845 Statues.
    • 1853 January 8
    Jefferson, Joseph, 1829-1905.
    • 1856 May 24
    Kansas .
    • 1856 March 8
    • 1856 May 21
    Know-Nothing Party.
    • See American Party
    Kossuth, Louis, 1802-1894.
    • 1851 December 20
    Legislators--New York (State)
    • passim
    Marcy, William Learned, 1786-1857.
    • 1856 May 21
    McLean, John, 1785-1861.
    • 1856 January 24
    Missouri Compromise .
    • 1854 May 16
    New Year.
    • 1853 January 1
    New York (State)--Politics and government--1783-1865.
    • 1854 January 17
    • 1855 December 3, 11
    • 1856 February 27
    • 1856 March 8
    Newspapers.
    • 1853 December 12
    • 1854 May 16
    • 1856 January 2
    • 1856 February 9
    • 1856 March 19, 28
    • 1856 April 4, 9, 16
    • 1856 May 21
    Nicaragua .
    • 1856 May 21
    Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869.
    • 1853 February 12
    • 1853 February 26
    • 1856 March 12
    • 1856 May 21
    Presidents--United States--Election--1852.
    • 1851 December 20
    • 1853 February 9
    • 1853 February 26
    Presidents--United States--Election--1856.
    • see also American Party
    • 1855 December 11, 20, 26
    • 1856 January 2
    • 1856 February 8, 27
    • 1856 March 8
    • 1856 June 26
    • 1856 July 2
    Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )
    • 1855 December 11, 13
    • 1856 February 27
    • 1856 March 12, 26
    • 1856 April 22
    Seneca Indians--New York (State)
    • 1852 July 15
    Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872.
    • 1854 December 25
    • 1855 December 20
    • 1856 January 21
    • 1856 March 12, 26
    Smallpox.
    • 1853 January 16
    Southern States .
    • 1855 December 20
    • 1856 June 10
    • 1856 July 5
    Spiritualism.
    • 1853 January 11
    Stephens, Ann Sophia, 1813-1886.
    • 1855 January 21
    Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874.
    • 1856 May 24, 28
    • 1856 June 10
    United States Military Academy .
    • 1854 May 8
    United States--Economic policy.
    • 1854 July 21
    United States. Kansas-Nebraska Act.
    • 1854 February 7, 22
    • 1854 March 2, 14
    • 1854 April 11
    • 1854 May 7, 16
    United States--Politics and government--1849-1853.
    • 1851 December 20
    United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs.
    • 1852 July 15
    United States. Congress. House.
    • 1851 December 20
    • 1853 February 9
    • and passim
    United States. Congress. House--Speakers.
    • 1855 December 3, 13, 26
    • 1856 January 2, 4, 9, 15, 17, 21
    • 1856 February 8
    United States. Supreme Court .
    • 1856 January 9, 15, 21, 24, 29
    • 1856 February 8
    • 1856 May 8
    • 1856 May 17
    Upham, William, 1792-1853.
    • 1853 January 14
    Walker, William, 1824-1860.
    • 1856 May 21
    Washington (D.C.)--Social life and customs.
    • 1853 February 5
    Weed, Thurlow, 1797-1882.
    • 1854 March 14
    • 1855 December 3, 11
    • 1856 March 19
    Whig Party (U.S.)
    • 1851 December 20
    Willard Hotel (Washington, D.C.)
    • 1853 December 5