Patterson Family papers: 1825-1931
Summary Information
Title: Patterson Family papers
Creator: Patterson family.
Inclusive dates: 1825-1931
Extent: 3 linear feet (in 4 boxes)
New York State and Ann Arbor, Michigan family; family correspondence, business papers, student notebooks, photograph albums.
Call number: 852119 Aa 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
Home Page:
Finding aid created by Michigan Historical Collections staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was the gift of Mrs. G. W. Patterson III (donor no. 328) and came to the library in 1937.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see:


Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Patterson Family papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


George W. Patterson, I, was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire on November 11, 1799. He moved to New York State in 1818 where he became engaged in a variety of manufacturing and agricultural pursuits. Politically active, Patterson was a member of the state assembly, 1832-1833 and 1835-1840. In 1841, he moved to Westfield, New York to take charge of the Chautauqua land office. He was elected lieutenant governor of New York in 1848. He also served one term in Congress, 1877 to 1879. He died October 15, 1879.

George W. Patterson, II, was a Westfield, New York businessman. He died in 1904.

George W. Patterson, III, was born in Corning, New York on February 1, 1864. He received his B.A. degree from Yale in 1884, his B.S. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1887, and his Ph.D. from the University of Munich in 1899. Patterson had come to Ann Arbor in 1889 as instructor in electrical engineering; in 1890, he was appointed instructor in physics; he was made assistant professor in 1891, junior professor in 1897. From 1901 to 1905, he was junior professor of electrical engineering; from 1905 to 1915 he was full professor. In 1915, he was made head of the department of engineering mechanics. In 1922 he was appointed assistant dean of the Colleges of Engineering and Architecture. He was made associate dean in 1928. He died May 22, 1930.

George W. Patterson, IV, was a graduate of Yale University, class of 1914, and a decorated soldier during World War I.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Patterson family papers have been arranged as much as possible by family member name. To avoid confusion and because the name George Washington Patterson was passed down from father to son, the series names have been given a Roman numeral to distinguish one family member from another.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Europe -- Description and travel.
  • Marshall (Mich.)
  • New York (State) -- Politics and government.
  • Voyages and travels.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1845-1861.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1861-1865.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1865-1900.
  • Washington (D.C.)
  • World War, 1914-1918.
  • France.
  • Interiors.
  • Medical aspects of war.
  • Military facilities -- France.
  • Troop movements.
  • War damage.
  • World War, 1914-1918.
  • Aerial photographs.
  • Drawings.
  • Photographs.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Patterson family.
  • United States. Congress. House.
  • University of Michigan. College of Engineering.
  • University of Michigan -- Faculty.
  • Whig Party (U.S.)
  • Yale University -- Students.
  • Patterson, George W. (George Washington), 1864-1930.
  • Yale University.
  • Angell, James Burrill, 1829-1916.
  • Conkling, Roscoe, 1829-1888.
  • Dix, John Alden, 1860-1928.
  • Patterson, George Washington, 1799-1879.
  • Patterson, George W. (George Washington), 1864-1930.
  • Thompson, Richard W.
  • Weed, Thurlow, 1797-1882.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
George W. Patterson, I [series]

The papers of George W. Patterson I relates to family matters, his work with the Chautauqua land office, New York and national politics (including Whig Party affairs), and to his life in Washington, D.C. as a member of Congress.

Correspondence 1839-1879
Box   1  
Box   1  
January-July 1847
Box   1  
August-December, 1847
Box   1  
Box   1  
January-March 1950
Box   1  
April-June, 1850
Box   1  
July-December, 1850
Box   1  
Box   1  
January-June, 1854
Box   1  
July-December, 1854
Box   1  
January-April, 1855
Box   1  
May-December, 1855
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
January 1878
Box   1  
February-March 19, 1878
Box   1  
Box   1  
Miscellaneous deeds, notes, etc.
Box   1  
Will 1879
George W. Patterson, II [series]

The George W. Patterson II papers relate to his business but are also of interest for the letters written to family and friends from various trips to Europe in the 1880s. There is some overlap with papers of his father.

Correspondence 1877-1889
Box   2  
Box   2  
May-November, 1878
Box   2  
December 1878
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
George W. Patterson, III [series]

George W. Patterson III also wrote letters home while at school. Of note are those letters written from Germany while attending the University of Munich. This Patterson's papers also include his student notebooks from MIT and the University of Munich. There is some overlap with papers of his father.

Correspondence 1890-1931
Box   2  
Box   2  
Box   2  
Student notebooks from the University of Munich and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (14 volumes)
Box   3  
Manuscript of "Photometry"
Box   3  
Article, "The Torque between the Two Coils of an absolute Electrodynamometer"
Box   3  
Biographical sketch signed by Joseph A. Bursley, Arthur L. Cross and Herbert C. Sadler
Box   3  
Miscellaneous: essays, reports, and memorabilia
Box   3  
Photographic portrait
George Washington Patterson IV [series]

The George W. Patterson IV papers consist of a student scrapbook containing photographs and memorabilia accumulated while at Yale University. Another album relates to his service with the French during World War I.

Box   4  
Scrapbook/Album of postcard photographs and other memorabilia relating to his World War I service
Box   4  
Scrapbook/Album of photographs and memorabilia relating to student life at Yale University.
Other papers [series]

The Other papers series includes genealogical material, scattered business papers, and mid-nineteenth century poems and essays.

Box   3  
Papers relating to Patterson family genealogy (2 folders)
Box   3  
Papers relating to the Westfield Cemetery Association
Box   3  
William Patterson Business papers 1825-1838
Box   3  
Hannah W. Patterson business papers and correspondence 1882-1884
Box   3  
Essays and poetry (author unknown; mid-19th century)
Additional Descriptive Data
Related Material

The River Campus Libraries of the University of Rochester has an extensive collection of the papers of George W. Patterson I.