The Abeel & Byvanck firm was founded in 1765 by Garret Abeel, Sr. (d. 1799) and Evart Byvanck (Garret's brother-in-law), iron merchants. In 1784, Abeel's son, Garret Byvanck Abeel, took over the business and by 1802, he set up shop on Water Street in New York City. In 1804, Garret's brother, John Abeel, joined the firm and they changed the company name to G. B. & J. Abeel. Edward Dunscomb entered into the business in 1816 and they became Abeel & Dunscomb. Other Abeel family members continued to run the business following Garret's death in 1829.
The Garret Abeel papers are made up of the correspondence and business papers of New York City iron merchant Garret Byvanck Abeel and the firms G. B. & J. Abeel and Abeel & Dunscomb.
The correspondence exclusively pertains to business matters, such as prices and price comparisons, plans for picking up or shipping merchandise, settling of accounts, and other issues regarding sales and purchases. The business papers consist of orders, invoices, shipment notifications, receipts, accounts, and other commercial documents. The Abeel papers mention many items handled by the company, including bars, bands, hoops, rods, anchor parts, nails and spikes, knives, wagon tires, and many other iron goods.