Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Boardman Papers, 1785-1942

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, September 2009

Summary Information
Title: Boardman papers
Creator: Boardman, Elijah, 1760-1823, Boardman, William Whiting, 1794-1871, and Drogue, Walter Gerald, 1910-1990
Inclusive dates: 1785-1942
Extent: 2 linear feet
The Boardman papers are made up of correspondence and business documents of the Connecticut merchant and senator, Elijah Boardman. The collection also holds the research notes and draft of a biography of Boardman written by Walter G. Drogue, and an 1849 memoir of Boardman's wife, Mary Anna Boardman.
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:

1995. M-3185.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

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

Preferred Citation:

Boardman papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The Boardman papers are arranged into six series (each organized chronologically):

  • Correspondence
  • Documents
  • Business and Financial Papers
  • Miscellaneous: Political and Other
  • Boardman History Drafts, Research, and Notes
  • Books


Elijah Boardman (1760-1823) was the third son of deacon Sherman Boardman and Sarah Bostwick, of New Milford, Connecticut. At age 16, he enlisted in the Continental regiment of Colonel Charles Webb. In March 1776, he was stationed in Long Island but his regiment left in October when the British took over the city. Boardman suffered from poor health and spent much of the war bed-ridden with a fever. After the war he became a merchant; he first trained as a clerk in New Haven, Connecticut, then set up his own mercantile business in his home town of New Milford. In 1795, he became a member of the Connecticut Land Company, which purchased and managed a large tract of land in Ohio.

Boardman married Mary Anna Whiting on September 25, 1792. Together they had three daughters and three sons.

In addition to his business pursuits, Boardman was active in local and state politics. He became a member of the State Lower House of Representatives and served there from 1803 to 1805 and again in 1816. He was elected to the State Upper House where he served from 1817 to 1819. In 1819, he ended his merchant activities and devoted his energies to the Connecticut State Senate. He was elected to the United States Senate as a Democratic-Republican, where he served from March 4, 1821, until his death in 1823, while on a visit to Boardman, Ohio. He is buried in New Milford, Connecticut.

William Whiting Boardman (1794-1871) was the eldest son of Elijah and Mary Boardman. He graduated from Yale College, was a probate judge in New Haven, Connecticut, and was elected to the Connecticut State Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Walter Gerald Drogue wrote a biography of Elijah Boardman. His research notes and a draft of the biography are in this collection. Drogue was born in New Britain, Connecticut, in December of 1910. He graduated from Yale in 1932, and died in Boston, Massachusetts, in February 1990.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Correspondence series consists of 167 personal and business letters of Elijah Boardman and his family. Many of the letters are copies sent to Eli Baldwin, who managed Boardman's property in Ohio. Oliver Wolcott, from the Connecticut Council Chamber, sent multiple letters (1818, 1820) informing Boardman of his elections to state office. The collection also contains letters between friends and family members, including a number of items between Elijah and his son William, who was studying at Harvard College in Massachusetts, and letters to and from William's brother George and his mother Mary ("Mama"). In addition to the Boardman material is a small set of fifteen 20th century letters pertaining to Walter G. Drogue, comprising.

The Documents series contains 10 items, mostly inventories of Boardman's estate and property, along with his last will and testament.

The Business and Financial Papers series of 163 items consists of promissory notes, tuition receipts from Harvard and Yale, correspondence on orders and shipments from Villee and Burrail, and miscellaneous receipts and financial accounts.

The Miscellaneous: Political and Other series holds 30 items, both related to Boardman's public work as well as some truly miscellaneous items, such as a poem titled Oh Unfortunate, and a printed list of prices for produce in New York. Two items of note are a booklet with a list of names of "Freemen Republicans" and "Freemen Federal," and Boardman's Political Notebook from 1803.

The Drafts, Research, and Notes and series contains an undated manuscript draft of Walter Gerald Drogue biography of Elijah Boardman and the the materials he used to write the history. This series is comprised of 1,848 dated and undated items such as letters from libraries and special collections detailing their related holdings, and note cards with citations from primary and secondary sources.

The Books series contains two volumes: William Boardman's "Commonplace Book," which mentions topics such as philosophy, astronomy, and poetry; and the published Memoir of the Life and Character of Mrs. Mary Anna Boardman, with a Historical Account of Her Forefathers, and Biographical and Genealogical Notices of Many of Her Kindred and Relatives, by John Frederick Schroeder, published in New Haven, in 1849.

Subject Terms

    • Boardman (Ohio)--History.
    • Connecticut--History--1775-1865.
    • New Milford (Conn. : Town)
    • Ohio--History.
    • Senator of the United States.
    • Boardman, Mary Anna, 1767-1848.
    Genre Terms:
    • Books.
    • Business records.
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Deeds.
    • Legal records.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Maps.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Correspondence [series]:
    Box   1 Folder   1-21
    Letters primarily either to or from Elijah and William Boardman, with a small set of 20th-century letters pertaining to Walter G. Drogue,   January 9, 1803-March 13, 1942
    Documents [series]:
    Box   1 Folder   22-23
    Elijah Boardman estate distribution,  1825-1850
    Business and Financial Papers [series]:
    Box   1 Folder   24
    Elijah Boardman promissory notes,   January 11, 1806-May 25, 1818
    Box   1 Folder   25-28
    Villee and Burrail,   August 1783-June 2, 1800
    Box   1 Folder   29-31
    William Boardman Yale and Harvard receipts,   December 14, 1808-June 30, 1818
    Box   1 Folder   32-34
    Miscellaneous,   March 17, 1785-August 14, 1824
    Box   1 Folder   35
    An Estimation of the Salisbury Hanaan Turnpike,  undated
    Folder   Oversize  
    Account statement, [S]almon Bradley and Benjamin Banks with Elijah Boardman,   October 1785
    Land Indenture, Regarding the sale of land in New Milford Connecticut to Elijah Boardman, New Milford, Connecticut,   February 7, 1801
    Miscellaneous: Political and Other [series]:
    Box   2 Folder   1
    Political manuscripts bound,   May 12, 1803-May 16, 1803,  undated
    Box   2 Folder   2-3
    Political and other,   April 17, 1790-May 22, 1880
    Folder   Oversize  
    Newspaper clipping, includes "Roll of the House of Representatives," and contains manuscript notes made by Boardman,   October 1803
    "List of articles put on to the Gilbert Farm" s.l.,  1810 and  1811
    Newspaper clipping, Connecticut Mirror, Includes "Roll of Representatives" [Hartford, Connecticut],  May 13, [1815?]
    Newspaper Clipping, Mercury, Includes "Public Acts, October Session 1818" [Hartford, Connecticut],   November 10, 1818
    Surveyor’s map of plot of land, George S. Boardman and Turner Bartwick, [Litchfield County, Connecticut],  undated
    Boardman History Drafts, Research, and Notes [series]:
    Box   2 Folder   4-5
    Draft for [Elijah] Boardman History,  undated
    Box   2 Folder   6-15
    Research notes for the writing of the Boardman History,  undated
    Box   3 Folder   1-7
    Research notes for the writing of the Boardman History,  undated
    Box   4 Folder   1-4
    Research notes for the writing of the Boardman History,  undated
    Books [series]:
    Box   4  
    William Boardman Commonplace book,  1810-1811
    Schroeder, John Frederick. Memoir of the Life and Character of Mrs. Mary Anna Boardman, with a Historical Account of Her Forefathers, and Biographical and Genealogical Notices of Many of Her Kindred and Relatives (T.J. Stafford, New Haven,  1849)
    Yale College "Class Day" publication, (Walter Drogue is listed as a member of this class.),   June 1932
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Additional Elijah Boardman may be found at other institutions:

    The New Haven Colony Historical Society in the Whitney Library, New Haven, Connecticut, holds a collection of Boardman family papers, 1803-1862.

    The Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio, holds related items in the Ephraim Root papers, 1762-1825, and in the Wadsworth family papers, 1792-1868.

    The Yale University Libraries, Manuscripts and Archives, New Haven, Connecticut, has a collection of Boardman family papers, 1770-1917.