DuBois-Ogden-McIlvaine family papers (1786-1983, bulk 1801-1877)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Philip Heslip, October 2009
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: DuBois-Ogden-McIlvaine family papers
Creator: DuBois family, Ogden family, and McIlvaine family
Inclusive dates: 1786-1983
Bulk dates: 1801-1877
Extent: 3 linear feet
The DuBois-Ogden-McIlvaine papers contain the 19th-century letters, letter books, diaries, account books, and other miscellaneous material relating to the DuBois, Ogden, and McIlvaine families. The collection pulls together items from family members in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, and Louisiana.
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: www.clements.umich.edu

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

1985, 1992, 1999. M-2252, M-2828.3, M-4040.

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. This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation

DuBois-Ogden-McIlvaine Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is organized into seven series:
  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Letter books
  • Series III: Diaries, Account Books, and Ships’ Logs
  • Series IV: Documents
  • Series V: Genealogy
  • Series VI: Photographs and Engravings
  • Series VII: Miscellaneous and Ephemera

Each series is organized chronologically with undated items at the end.


This collection documents the DuBois, Ogden, and McIlvaine families. Below are brief biographies of the prominent contributors to this collection.

Sarah Platt Ogden DuBois (1782-1836) was the fifth child of Sarah Platt and Robert Ogden (1746-1826), a lawyer who worked in New Jersey and New York, and served as quartermaster during the Revolutionary War. She had four siblings: Robert (1775-1857), Mary (1778-1852), Elizabeth, and Jeremiah. In 1803, Sarah married a prominent merchant and philanthropist named Cornelius DuBois (1771-1846). They had five children: Mary Elizabeth (b. 1805), Henry Augustus (1808-1884), Cornelius (1810-1882), Sarah Platt (1813-1897), and George Washington (1822-1910).

Robert Ogden (1775-1857), Sarah's brother, was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, and practiced law in Charleston and New Orleans. In 1803, he married Eliza Spaight Nash, daughter of Abner Nash, governor of North Carolina.

Cornelius DuBois, Jr. (1810-1882), was born in New York City and graduated from Colombia in 1828. He studied law but worked for Cornelius DuBois and Company, a mercantile firm owned by his father. He married Mary Ann Delafield DuBois (1813-1888) in 1832, and they had 10 children.

George Washington DuBois (1821-1910), youngest son of Cornelius DuBois (1771-1846), attended Princeton and graduated from New York University in 1843. He attended the Episcopal Theological Seminary at Gambier, Ohio, and in 1846 became a deacon. In 1847, he was ordained a priest of the Episcopal Church, and later that year traveled extensively, ministering to parishes in Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York. During the Civil War, DuBois served as chaplain to the 11th Ohio Infantry Regiment. DuBois married Maria “Mamy” Coxe McIlvaine; they had eight children, including daughter Mary Cornelia DuBois (1864-1920). In 1885, Reverend DuBois built a small chapel named Felsenheim in Keene, New York.

Charles Pettit McIlvaine (1799-1883) was born in Burlington, New Jersey, to Joseph McIlvaine, senator from New Jersey, and Maria Reed. He graduated from Princeton in 1816 and attended Princeton Theological Seminary a year later. The Episcopal Church ordained him deacon in 1820. That same year he moved to Washington D.C. to minister at Christ Church in Georgetown, and from 1822 to 1824, he served as chaplain to the United States Senate. McIlvaine was ordained a priest in Baltimore in 1824, and accepted an appointment as professor of ethics and as chaplain at West Point, where he taught many prominent future Civil War officers. Following a pastorate in Brooklyn (1827-1831), he was appointed the second bishop of Ohio, president of Kenyon College, and head of the theological seminary at Gambier. McIlvaine married Emily Coxe (1801-1877) in 1822; they had four children, including daughter Mamy, who married George W. DuBois. McIlvaine died in Florence, Italy, in 1873.

Frederick Nash Ogden (1807-1838) was born in Hillsboro, North Carolina. He studied medicine at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and after graduation, set up a practice in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He married Carmelite Lopez in 1831. They had two children, Alice E. Ogden and Confederate General Frederick Nash Ogden, Jr.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The DuBois-Ogden-McIlvaine papers (851 items) center on the writings and affairs of Sarah Platt Ogden DuBois, George Washington DuBois, Charles Pettit McIlvaine, and their extended families. The collection is comprised of 656 letters, six letter books, five diaries, four account books, one logbook, 29 genealogical records, and 46 poems, prayers, drawings, cards, and other miscellaneous items. The collection conists of items from family members in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, and Louisiana.

The Correspondence series (656 items) contains letters written by the extended DuBois-Ogden-McIlvaine families. The earliest letters concern Cornelius DuBois, Sr. (1786-1794), and Sarah "Sally" Ogden, and are from friends and family (1799-1807). Of interest are the letters that discuss the birth and death of Sarah’s son Robert (March 14, 1804, and September 6, 1804).

The series contains 25 letters between Sarah P. O. DuBois on Long Island and her husband Cornelius DuBois in New York City (1812 and 1813). In these, the couple discussed domestic matters such as childbirth, child rearing, and Sarah's poor health. The bulk of the letters between 1813 and 1836 are addressed to Sarah from friends and family members. These provide a glimpse into the family members’ personal lives as well as their views on religious matters, manners, and child rearing.

Many of the letters from 1835 to1845 concern Reverend Charles P. McIlvaine and his siblings Henry, George, and Mary Ann DuBois. Also throughout the 1840s are letters relating to George W. DuBois, including 16 letters from his father, 33 from his wife, and 71 letters written by DuBois to various family members. Of interest are several letters written by Dubois during a European sojourn in 1847-1848 in which he discussed the political turmoil afflicting the Continent. From 1846 through September 1848, many of the letters are between Dubois and his love interest Mamey McIlvaine, in Gambier, Ohio, as well as a few to Mamey from her father, Bishop Charles McIlvaine.

Of special interest are five letters written by George W. Dubois during his time as the chaplain of the 11th Ohio Regiment Volunteers in 1862. The collection also contains several Civil War era letters from the family members on the home front.

Between 1891 and 1892, the series contains 10 letters from George W. Dubois living in Redwood, Colorado, to his mother, father, and siblings. These relate to family health, crops, a new camera, the exercise of bicycling for health reasons (Victor Safety Bicycle model C.), and religious matters. Several items concern DuBois' management of the Marble Cemetery, and describe logistics on moving bodies and selling portions of the cemetery.

Many of the 20th-century items are personal and business letters from Cornelius DuBois, Jr., and Mary S. DuBois. The items from 1960 to 1983 relate to family genealogy collected by the ancestors of the DuBois, McIlvaine, and Ogden families. These also provide provenance information for items in this collection.

The Letter books series (6 items) contains copy books of letters written by Sarah P. O. DuBois, Charles P. McIlvaine, and George W. DuBois. The Sarah P. O. DuBois letter book (92 pages) is comprised of letters to family members spanning 1782 to 1819. McIlvaine’s letter book (125 pages) contains autographs and letters from various prominent religious, government, military, and academic leaders from 1830 to1873. Also present is a binder of typed copies of letters to and from McIlvaine. Many of the original incoming letters are in the correspondence series.

Notable items include:
  • July 21, 1829: Leonidas Polk, a personal letter discussing religion and indicating the role religion played at West Point
  • May 17, 1848: John C. Calhoun, a letter of recommendation for the letter bearer
  • September 16, 1850: Jefferson Davis, concerning reminiscences on instruction at West Point
  • January 8, 1861: Senator John Sherman, concerning the coming war
  • February 7, 1861: John McLean, a personal letter discussing the likely formation of a southern Confederacy within the month
  • August 21, 1862: William H. Seward, a private letter discussing European opinions about the Civil War
  • November 18, 1862: George McClellan, defending his actions in the war and remembering McIlvaine's visit to the front
  • May 29, 1863: Ambrose Burnside, a Civil War travel pass
  • February 15, 1864: James A. Garfield, concerning his views on treason
  • June 19, 1865: Edwin M. Stanton, regarding the military’s use of seminary buildings in Alexandria, Virginia
  • June 19, 1867: Rutherford B. Hayes, concerning the recovery of articles taken by Union troops during the Civil War
  • February 7, 1870: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a personal letter
  • February 9, 1871: Samuel P. Chase, a request for McIlvaine to perform the marriage of his daughter
  • July 10, 1873: Henry Ward Beecher, personal letter

The "Commercial Manifold" copybook (4 pages) contains a fragment of a letter by an anonymous author (October 1879). The final two letter books are both from George W. DuBois. The first (165 pages) spans January 1883 to April 1885, and includes letters, poems, prayers, music, and drawings. The second (99 pages) spans November 1886 to January 1887, and contains letters, a recipient index, and one poem written by DuBois' daughter Mary Cornelia DuBois.

The Diaries, Account Books, and Ships' Logs series (10 items) is comprised of bound volumes that contain personal and financial information on family members:

These include:
  • 1827-1836: Sarah P. O. DuBois' account book, containing itemized monthly expenses for doctor and apothecary visits; sewing; carriage hires and traveling; charity; and mortgage accounts from 1907-1910
  • September 1842-August 1848: George W. DuBois' "Journal No. 1" covering his time at the Theological Seminary at Gambier, Ohio, at age 19, through his European travels in 1848
  • 1847-c.1949: Typescripts of George W. DuBois' journals from 1847-1848 (2 pages) and 1861 (9 pages), and Harry O. DuBois' recollections recorded sometime before his death in 1949 (21 pages)
  • April 21-May 22, 1848: George W. DuBois' logbook for his voyage on the ship Victoria from London to New York. Enclosed is a small photograph of George W. DuBois
  • 1852-May 1893: Two journals kept by George W. DuBois, the first spanning February 1852-May 1878, and the second spanning from February 1853-July 1893. Book one contains business accounts for 1852-1853 (p.2-107), 1853-1857 (p.198-261), and 1873-1875 (271-278), along with George W. DuBois’ and Eugene DuBois' personal accounts from 1872-1874 (p.398-405). Pages 282-299 contain a list of signatures for the Post Office of Crosswicks Creek, New Jersey. Book two consists of a "Farm Day Book," comprised of the accounts and activities of George W. DuBois' farm. Beginning at the back of the volume are 160 pages of meteorological and astronomical records noting latitude and longitude calculations.
  • April 1853-July 1854: Typescript from Kenyon College of Emily Coxe McIlvaine's European trip
  • July 1861-February 1862: A typescript of the Journal of Reverend George W. DuBois while chaplain of the 11th Ohio Regiment during the Civil War
  • 1882-1905: An account book containing records on mortgages, inventories, securities, interest payments, and accounts for various people and companies, kept by George W. DuBois and his son Cornelius M. DuBois
  • 1892-1895: An unsigned journal and poetry book, including 13 pages of verse (some likely original) and a seven-page diary of a trip in upstate New York

The Documents series (42 items) contains of 33 legal documents, George W. DuBois' commission in the Ohio Army as a chaplin in 1861, Cornelius DuBois’ war deeds, and the will of Charles P. McIlvaine. Twentieth-century items include wills and executor documents for Mary Cornelia DuBois, Henrietta DuBois Burnham (draft), Mary Constance DuBois, Peter DuBois, and a copy of Cornelius DuBois ' (father to George W. DuBois) will.

The Genealogy series (29 items) consists of several manuscript books and loose notes, documenting the genealogy of the families represented in the collection. Of interest are notes for the McIlvaine, Reed, and Coxe families beginning in the 14th century and following the line to the early 1700s (9 pages); a comb bound booklet containing "genealogical charts prepared for the decedents of Floyd Reading DuBois and Rosilla Marshall" with annotations; and a DuBois Family Album, which contains copied letters, biographies, and genealogical notes, including copies of letters between siblings Robert and Sarah Ogden and from Sarah to her son Henry Augustus Dubois.

Of note in the volume:
  • Pages 59-83: Record of descendents of John Ogden "The Pioneer" as early as 1460 and continuing through the 19th Century
  • Pages 86-89: Detailed biography of Henry Augustus Ogden
  • Pages 90-93: Biography of brother Cornelius DuBois, Jr.
  • Pages 100-106: Epenetus Platt's family line (George Washington DuBois' great-great-great maternal grandfather)
  • Pages 111-113: Indexes to journals and letters in the collection
  • Pages 114-248: Blank
  • Pages 249-269: Three copied letters between family members in the 1820-1830s and a short biography for George W. DuBois

The Photographs and Engravings series (9 items) contains an engraving of Charles P. McIlvaine and Robert J. Chichester, photographs of C.E. McIlvaine and George Washington DuBois, and five photographs depicting rustic life on a lake.

The Miscellaneous and Ephemera series (46 items) is comprised of 12 poems, prayers, manuscript music, and drawings (undated); 23 printed holiday cards and calling cards (1904 and undated); 18 newspaper clippings, including family death and marriage announcements (February 4, 1910-July 1983 and undated); 14 religious announcements and pamphlets (1873-[1925]); and 10 writing fragments and ephemeral items, such as dried flowers and lace handmade coasters.

Items of note include:
  • Undated: Sketch of the McIlvaine homestead, and music for a chorus entitled "There is a Lord of Pure Delight" by Harry O. DuBois.
  • Undated: Typed copy of Daniel Coxe's A Description of the English Province of Carolina By the Spanish Called Florida and by the French Louiseane..., written in 1727 and published in London.

Subject Terms

  • Agriculture.
  • Cincinnati (Ohio)
  • Crosswicks Creek (N.J.)
  • East Hampton (N.Y.)
  • Elizabethtown (N.J.)
  • Episcopal Church--Clergy.
  • Episcopal Church. Diocese of Ohio.
  • Episcopal Theological Seminary.
  • Episcopalian theological seminaries.
  • Family--New Jersey.
  • Family--Ohio.
  • Gambia (Ohio)
  • Justification (Christian theology)
  • Kenyon College.
  • New York (N.Y.)--Description and travel.
  • Oxford Movement.
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)
  • Saratoga Springs (N.Y.)
  • Sermons, American.
  • United States. Army--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
  • United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 11th (1862-1865)
  • United States Military Academy.
  • United States--Social life and customs.
  • Victoria (Ship)
  • Beecher, Henry Ward, 1813-1887.
  • Burnside, Ambrose Everett, 1824-1881.
  • Calhoun, John C. (John Caldwell), 1782-1850.
  • Chase, Salmon P. (Salmon Portland), 1808-1873.
  • Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889.
  • DuBois, Cornelius, 1771-1846.
  • DuBois, George Washington, 1822-1910.
  • DuBois, Sarah Platt Ogden, 1782-1836.
  • Garfield, James A. (James Abram), 1831-1881.
  • Hayes, Rutherford Birchard, 1822-1893.
  • Longfellow, Henry W. (Henry Wadsworth), 1895-1986.
  • McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885.
  • McIlvaine, Charles Pettit, 1799-1872.
  • McLean, John, 1785-1861.
  • Ogden, Frederick Nash, 1807-1838.
  • Ogden, Robert, 1746-1826.
  • Ogden, Robert, 1775-1857.
  • Polk, Leonidas, 1806-1864.
  • Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872.
  • Stanton, Edwin McMasters, 1814-1869.
Genre Terms:
  • Account books.
  • Diaries.
  • Engravings (prints)
  • Ephemera.
  • Journals (accounts)
  • Letter books.
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Logs (records)
  • Photographs.
  • Poems.

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Correspondence [series]
Box   1 Folders   1-28
Box   2 Folders   1-21
 1844-1983 and  undated
Letter Books [series]
Box   3  
Sarah Platt Ogden DuBois letter book,  1782-1819
Reverend Charles McIlvaine and family autograph scrapbook,  1830-1927
Typescripts of a portion of the Charles McIlvaine autograph scrapbook
George W. DuBois letter book,  1879
George W. DuBois letter book,  1883-1885
George W. DuBois letter book,  1886-1887
Diaries, account books, and Ships' Logs [series]
Box   4  
Sarah Platt Ogden DuBois account book,  1827-1836
George W. DuBois "Journal No. 1" and account book,  1842-1848
George W. DuBois log of the ship Victoria and a cyanotype of George Washington DuBois,  1848
George W. DuBois journal and account book,  1852-1878
George W. DuBois journal and ledger,  1853-1893
Box   5  
George W. DuBois account book,  1882 December-1897 March
Folder   1  
Unsigned journal and poetry book,  1892-1895
Folder   2  
Typescripts of George W. DuBois journals,  [1847-1848], and  [1861]; and Harry Ogden DuBois recollections,  [before 1949]
Folder   3  
Typescript of Emily Coxe McIlvaine's journal,  1853
Documents [series]
Folders   4-8  
Folder   : Oversize Manuscripts  
Oversize Documents,  1805-1820
Genealogy [series]
Box   5 Folder   9
McIlvaine, Reed, and Cox families,  1917
Folder   10  
DuBois and Marshall families,  1961
Folder   11  
Miscellaneous,  undated
Photographs and Engravings [series]
Folder   12  
Folder   : Oversize Manuscripts  
Oversize Photographs of McIlvaine-Buois Cemetery Monuments,  Undated
Miscellaneous Writings and Ephemera [series]
Box   6 Folder   1
Poems, prayers, music, and drawings
Folder   2  
Personal and holiday cards
Folder   3  
Newspaper Clippings
Folder   : Oversize Manuscripts  
Oversize Newspaper Clippings,  1836-1881
Box   6 Folder   4
Printed Announcements and Pamphlets
Folder   5  
Fragments, flowers, and handmade coasters
Folder   6  
Typescript of Daniel Coxe's A Description of the English Province of Carolina..., original publication  1727
Genealogy (continued) [series]
Box   7  
George W. DuBois family album-genealogy and letter book

Additional Descriptive Data

Alternate Locations

The following books, written by Charles Pettit McIlvaine, are located in the Clements Library Book Division: The following two maps are located in the Clements Library Maps Division:

Related Materials

The Thomas Gage papers contain a letter from David Ogden, a relation of the Ogden family and lawyer from Burlington, New Jersey, (American Series: May 20, 1773)

The Kenyon College Archives has a collection of Charles Pettit McIlvaine papers.

Historic Huguenot Street Library and Archives holds a collection of DuBois family papers.


The following items contain biographical information on many of the family members represented in this collection: