William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Charles and William R. Humphrey Correspondence, 1811-1847
Meg Hixon, June 2012
Charles and William R. Humphrey correspondence
Humphrey, Charles, 1792-1850 and Humphrey, William Ross, 1820-1901
This collection is made up of letters addressed to Charles Humphrey, a New York lawyer and politician (39 items), and to his son William (7 items). Charles Humphrey's incoming correspondence concerns his legal career, his financial and business affairs, and state or national political issues. William Humphrey's incoming letters primarily concern his finances relating to his law practice in Ithaca, New York.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
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.
Charles and William R. Humphrey Correspondence, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.
Charles Humphrey was born in Little Britain, New York, on February 14, 1792, and was raised in Newburgh, New York. During the War of 1812, he interrupted his legal studies to serve as a first sergeant in Newburgh Company No. 5 and as a captain in the United States Army's 41st Infantry Regiment. He was admitted to the bar in January 1816, and began practicing law in Ithaca, New York, in 1818. He held several public offices: member, United States House of Representatives (1825-1827); president, village of Ithaca (1828-1829); surrogate, Tompkins County (1831-1834); member, New York State Assembly (1834-1836, 1842); speaker, New York State Assembly (1835-1836); and clerk, New York Supreme Court (1843-1847). Humphrey and his wife, Ann Eliza Belknap, had three children: William Ross (1820-1901), Charles (1832-1870), and Sarah (1835-1904). Charles Humphrey died on April 17, 1850.
William Ross Humphrey was born in Ithaca, New York, on April 10, 1820. In 1838, he worked for the Harlem Railroad survey. After his admission to the bar in January 1842, Humphrey practiced law in Ithaca for several years, leaving in 1849 to become superintendent for the Ithaca and Owego Railroad (later the Cayuga and Susquehanna Railroad). He married Mary H. Wheeler in 1848, and they had 4 children. William R. Humphrey died in 1901.
Collection Scope and Content Note
This collection is made up of letters addressed to Charles Humphrey, a New York lawyer and politician (39 items), and to his son William (7 items). Charles Humphrey's incoming correspondence concerns his legal career, his financial and business affairs, and political issues. William Humphrey's incoming letters primarily concern his finances relating to his law practice in Ithaca, New York.
Charles Humphrey received 39 letters between April 14, 1811, and June 3, 1843, most of which date from his terms in the United States House of Representatives and the New York State Assembly. His correspondents, many of whom were lawyers and politically active persons, discussed state and national issues, such as the Missouri Compromise (March 9, 1820), the Locofocos (August 9, 1837), a fire in New York City (January 21, 1836), the New York salt industry (February 25, 1834), and Humphrey's speeches and political actions. They also wrote about office-seekers and nominations for various public positions. Some letters relate to specific legal cases around the state of New York; for example, Alvin Bradley wrote a lengthy letter about Catharine, who had been seduced and impregnated while working as a family's domestic employee (January 14, 1835). Charles Humphrey also received a personal letter co-written by Charles H. Cooke, his nephew, and "S. Cooke," his sibling (January 10, 1842).
William Ross Humphrey received 7 letters between January 11, 1845, and October 11, 1847, of which his father, Charles Humphrey, wrote 5. These letters pertain to Will's financial and business affairs while he worked as a lawyer in Ithaca, New York.
- Lawyers--New York (State)
- New York (State) Legislature. Assembly.
- New York (State)--Politics and government--1775-1865.
- Practice of law--New York (State)
- United States. Congress. House.
- United States--Politics and government--1815-1861.
Additional Descriptive Data
Herttell, Thomas, and Charles Humphrey. Rights of Conscience Defended: In a Speech of Thomas Herttell, Esq., in the Assembly of the State of New-York (on Thursday, the 7th of May, 1835) on the Bill Relative to the Rights and Competency of Witnesses: Also, His Reply to Mr. (Speaker) Humphrey's Remarks Against the Bill and in Support of the Religious Test Act. New-York: G.W. & A.J. Matsell, 1835.
"Humphrey, Charles." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Online edition. 2012.
Selkreg, John H. Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York. Syracuse: D. Mason & co., 1894.