Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Sidney Brooks Letterbook, 1863-1867

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, July 1996

Summary Information
Title: Sidney Brooks letterbook
Creator: Brooks, Sidney
Inclusive dates: 1863-1867
Extent: 80 pages
This letterbook kept by Sidney Brooks contains the correspondence of a New York businessman and financier through the Civil War and in the late 1860s.
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:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1985. M-2215.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


No copyright restrictions.

Preferred Citation:

Sidney Brooks Letterbook, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


From the little that is known about Sidney Brooks, it appears that he made his money as a financier of business enterprises, principally in New York. Although he rented an apartment in New York in 1867, he maintained a home in Newport, R.I., which he expanded in the 1860s by acquiring his neighbor's land property and removing all the buildings. He and his wife were personal friends Major General George B. McClellan, and carried on an active correspondence during the Civil War with expatriate Confederate sympathizers in France. He had a friendship with America's most famous sculptor, Hiram Powers, while Powers was living in Florence, Italy. Brooks attempted not only to run Powers' financial interests in the states, but to act as an agent offering Powers' marble statues to the government for purchase. Sidney Brooks

Collection Scope and Content Note

The letterbook kept by Sidney Brooks represents a portion of the correspondence of a businessman and financier through the Civil War and in the late 1860s. The letterbook consists entirely of outgoing correspondence written to various associates.

There is a vague topical coherence to the letters retained by Brooks. Most are of a personal nature, and many concern Brooks' business and personal relationship with the great sculptor, Hiram Powers. Even the few letters that strictly concern business matter have a personal cast to them, suggesting that this was a private copybook used for private matters.

Subject Terms

    • Business enterprises.
    • Newport (R.I.)--Description and travel.
    • Powers, Hiram, 1805-1873.
    • Rent--New York (State)--New York.
    • Sculptors--United States.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letter books.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   60, Small Collections  
    Sidney Brooks letterbook,  1863 November 7-1867 January 25 [series]    [Note: Items are listed by recipient, date, subjects.]
    Page   2  
    To: Salmon P. Chase,  1863 November 7
    Sculptor Hiram Powers (1805-1873)
    Pages   3-4  
    To: Salmon P. Chase,  1863 November 24
    Government debts to Powers for statues of Franklin & Jefferson
    Page   5  
    To: Salmon P. Chase,  1863 December 3
    Government debts to Hiram Powers
    Page   6  
    To: Salmon P. Chase,  1863 December 19
    Government debts to Hiram Powers
    Pages   7-9  
    To: Salmon P. Chase,  1864 March 21
    Description of Powers' statue "America," new en route to the U.S. Suitability for purchase by the government
    Page   10  
    To: Salmon P. Chase,  1864 May 5
    Potential purchase of "America"
    Page   11  
    To: Geo. B. McClellan,  1864 May 19
    Inviting McClellans to visit; mentions McClellan's photograph
    Pages   12-13  
    To: Edward Blake,  1864 October 14
    Commander Henry A. Wise (d. 1869) refused Navy appointment for Blake's son. Opposition to Lincoln's election and his politics
    Pages   14-15  
    To: Edward Blake,  1864 October 25
    Bitter comments about Wise; disgust at both political parties. Vote for Democrats in 1864 is a vote for the Constitution
    Pages   16-18  
    To: George Lunt,  1864 November 27
    Boston Courier business (Lunt is editor; Brooks a financier). Reasons for Lincoln's victory. Encl. verse on the "Nigger"
    Page   19  
    To: George Lunt,  1864 December 8
    Assigning financial interests in newspaper to Lunt
    Page   20  
    To: Dehon, Clark & Bridges,  1864 December 8
    Personal bank loans ($20,000)
    Page   21  
    To: George Lunt,  1864 December 16
    Financial arrangements with Courier
    Pages   22-23  
    To: Mrs. Stanton Parker,  1865 January 7
    Personal banking (loan) business
    Pages   24-27  
    To: Mrs. Sarah P. Ludlam,  1865 March 20
    Mr. Ludlum's steamship line can't get govt. business because he's a secessionist. His taking this stand meant financial ruin. Brooks blames South for War
    Page   28  
    To: Hottenguer & Co.,  1865 October 6
    Page   29  
    To: William Dehon,  1865 October 25
    Pages   30-31  
    To: William W. Rose,  1865 October 26
    Recommending Longworth Powers, son of Hiram, for position
    Page   32  
    To: Edward Blake,  1865 October 27
    Personal business
    Page   33  
    To: Francis Bacon,  1865 October 28
    Personal business
    Page   34  
    To: William Dehon,  1865 October 30
    Sale of an oil painting
    Page   35  
    To: Baring, Brothers & Co.,  1865 October 31
    Personal business
    Pages   36-37  
    To: Mssrs. Dehon,  1865 November 1
    Trust from estate of Theod. Dehon
    Pages   38-39  
    To: William C. Cozzens,  1866 January 17
    Purchase of neighbor's land, Newport, Rhode Island
    Pages   40-41  
    To: William C. Cozzens,  1866 January 20
    Purchase of neighbor's land
    Pages   42-43  
    To: William C. Cozzens,  1866 January 29
    Purchase of neighbor's land
    Pages   44-45  
    To: William C. Cozzens,  1866 April 30
    Purchase of neighbor's land
    Pages   46-47  
    To: Paran Stevens,  1866 April 30
    Irritation at neighbor for adding a window to his house overlooking Brooks'
    Pages   48-49  
    To: William C. Cozzens,  1866 May 8
    Purchase of neighbor's land
    Page   50  
    To: C. W. Colburn,  1866 May 19
    Income tax
    Page   51  
    To: John H. Wheaton,  1866 June 19
    Fire insurance on wooden house
    Page   52  
    To: E.H. Ludlow & Co.,  1866 July 30
    Renting house in New York, $7,000/year
    Page   53  
    To: John Irving,  1866 July 30
    Rent of house in New York, $7,000/yr
    Page   54  
    To: D. Kingsland,  1866 September 6
    Rebuilding of New York Opera House--undertaken without consent of stockholders?
    Page   55  
    To: Dehon, Clark & Bridges,  1866 September 17
    Personal business
    Page   56  
    To: Dehon, Clark & Bridges,  1866 September 21
    Mention of Hiram Powers' money
    Pages   57-58  
    To: D. Kingsland,  1866 September 13
    Construction of Opera House in New York City
    Page   59  
    To: Dehon, Clark & Bridges,  1866 September 24
    Personal business
    Pages   60-61  
    To: Dehon, Clark & Bridges,  1866 October 3
    Hiram Powers' money
    Pages   62-63  
    To: Dehon, Clark & Bridges,  1866 October 6
    Hiram Powers' money; paternal advice warning of financial ruin ahead
    Page   64  
    To: John Irving,  1866 October 19
    Rent on NYC house
    Page   65  
    To: Dehon, Clark & Bridges,  1866 November 1
    Personal business
    Pages   66-67  
    To: J. S. Watson,  1866 November 13
    Personal business
    Page   68-70  
    To: Thomas M.H. Dehon,  1866 November 22
    Will Dehon, Clark & Bridges continue? Finances delicate
    Pages   71-72  
    To: Wm. Paine Sheffield,  1866 November 25
    Personal business
    Page   73  
    To: William C. Cozzens,  1866 December 1
    Relandscaping neighbor's land at Newport
    Page   74  
    To: Samuel A. Parker,  1866 December 3
    American flag which Brooks gave mayor of Newport in 1863 was to the city, not mayor personally
    Page   75  
    To: William C. Cozzens,  1866 December 6
    Relandscaping in Newport
    Page   76  
    To: Wm. Paine Sheffield,  1866 December 8
    Personal business
    Pages   77-78  
    To: Thomas B. Frothingham,  1866 December 10
    Renting of property
    Page   79  
    To: Preston Powers,  1867 January 17
    Finances of Preston's father, Hiram Powers
    Page   80  
    To: Baring Brothers and Co.,  1867 January 25
    Personal business
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Partial Subject Index
    • 2-10, 34
    Boston Courier
    • 16-19, 21
    Business enterprises
    • 59-63, 65, 68-70
    Democratic Party
    • 14-15
    • 54
    Flags--United States
    • 74
    Income tax
    • 50
    Insurance, Fire
    • 51
    Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
    • 12-18
    Newport (R.I.)--Description and travel
    • 38-49, 73-75
    Opera--New York (N.Y.)
    • 54, 57-58
    Powers, Hiram, 1805-1873
    • 2-10, 30-31, 56, 60-61, 79
    Presidents--United States--Election--1864
    • 12-18
    Rent--New York (N.Y.)
    • 52-53, 64, 77-78
    Republican Party
    • 14-15
    Sculptors--United States
    • 2-10, 30-31, 56, 60-61, 79
    Theaters--New York (N.Y.)
    • 54, 57-58
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African Americans
    • 16-18
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Causes
    • 24-27
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Economic aspects
    • 24-27
    Wise, Henry A., d. 1869
    • 12-15