Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Dudley Woodbridge Papers, 1773-1789

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, January 2012

Summary Information
Title: Dudley Woodbridge papers
Creator: Woodbridge, Dudley, 1747-1823
Inclusive dates: 1773-1789
Bulk dates: 1778-1789
Extent: 28 items
The Dudley Woodbridge papers contain incoming correspondence related to the Connecticut merchant's business affairs in the late 18th century.
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:

1991. M-2662a25.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Dudley Woodbridge Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Dudley Woodbridge was born in Stonington, Connecticut, in 1747, and graduated from Yale in 1766. Following his graduation, he worked as a lawyer in Norwich, Connecticut, and by 1778 had become a merchant, along with his brother Samuel, dealing primarily in rum and other foodstuffs. He served as the city's first postmaster from 1782-1789, and then moved to Marietta, Ohio, where he again became an attorney. He died in 1823. Woodbridge and his wife, Lucy Backus, married in 1774; their son William (1780-1861) was a governor of the state of Michigan (1840-1841) and a United States Senator from Michigan (1841-1847).

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Dudley Woodbridge papers contain incoming correspondence related to the Connecticut merchant's business affairs in the late 18th century. Though the collection contains two items written by Dudley and Samuel Woodbridge, the majority of the material originated from the brothers' business partners, and reflects the many financial aspects of their business. Many of the letters refer to bills owed by or to the firm and to the transfer of money and one early letter provides a list of prices for various foodstuffs, including sugar, chocolate, and brandy, and notes that prices for "all the above Articles are rising" (December 12, 1778). Rum is mentioned most frequently, though sugar and flaxseed also recur often. Dudley undertook a voyage to the West Indies in the summer of 1788, during which time he continued to receive business-related letters. One writer nominated his son for a trial job with Woodbridge's firm (September 19, 1788). The correspondence from a network of traders throughout New England and New York reflects trade during and just after the Revolutionary War.

Subject Terms

    • Connecticut--History.
    • Norwich (Conn.)
    • Rum industry.
    • United States--Commerce--History.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   9, Small Collections Folders   24-26
    Dudley Woodbridge papers,  1773-1789 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Single Items collection contains two letters addressed to Dudley Woodbridge.


    Perkins, Mary E. Old Houses of the Antient Town of Norwich 1660-1800, with Maps, Illustrations, Portraits, and Genealogies. Norwich, Connecticut: 1895.