Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
William B. Kinney Letters, 1867-1880

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, July 2012

Summary Information
Title: William B. Kinney letters
Creator: Kinney, Thomas T. (Thomas Talmadge), 1821-1900
Inclusive dates: 1867-1880
Extent: 8 items
This collection is made up of 8 letters related to journalist and U.S. Ambassador to Sardinia William B. Kinney. William B. Kinney wrote 6 of these letters to his son Thomas T. Kinney between 1867 and 1876. In them, he discussed his post-retirement financial affairs and a vacation at Lake George, New York.
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:

2002. M-4245.5.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

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.

Preferred Citation:

William B. Kinney Letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically.


William Burnet Kinney was born in Speedwell, New Jersey, on September 4, 1799, the son of Abraham Kinney and Hannah Burnet. During the War of 1812, he accompanied his father, a military officer, to the battlefield, where he delivered dispatches. He briefly attended the United States Military Academy after the war. Although he studied law and was admitted to the bar, Kinney pursued a career in journalism. He edited the New Jersey Eagle from 1820-1825, and worked for the New York Mercantile Library and the Harper & Brothers publishing company. Kinney later returned to New Jersey, where he managed Newark's Daily Advertiser. Between 1850 and 1856, he served as United States minister to Sardinia. He remained in Europe until 1865, when he retired to Newark.

Kinney married Mary Chandler on September 16, 1820, and they had one surviving son, Thomas Talmadge Kinney (1821-1900). Following Mary's death in 1841, Kinney married Elizabeth Clementine Dodge, with whom he had two daughters, Elizabeth Clementine and Mary Burnet. William Burnet Kinney died on October 21, 1880.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 6 letters that journalist and U.S. Ambassador to Sardinia William B. Kinney wrote to his son, Thomas T. Kinney, between 1867 and 1876; one letter that Kinney wrote to an unknown recipient; and one that Thomas T. Kinney wrote to William M. Olliffe.

William B. Kinney wrote 6 letters to his son Thomas between January 13, 1867, and October 9, 1876, mostly from Morristown, New Jersey. In them, Kinney discussed his financial affairs, requested his son's assistance, denied making negative comments about Senator George Thomas Cobb, described a vacation at Lake George, New York (August 17, 1867), and mentioned a theatrical performance (which included a French monologue). Kinney's undated letter concerns a cholera epidemic in Newark, New Jersey.

Thomas T. Kinney wrote 1 letter to William M. Olliffe, a neighbor, in which he explained his decision not to accept a recent land offer, and shared his wife's feelings about the proposal.

Subject Terms

    • Cholera.
    • Cobb, George Thomas, 1813-1870.
    • Finance, Personal--United States.
    • Lake George (N.Y.)--Description and travel.
    • Morristown (N.J.)
    • Neighbors.
    • Newark (N.J.)
    • Real property--New Jersey.
    • Kinney, William B. (William Burnet), 1799-1880.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   15, Small Collections  
    William B. Kinney letters [series]
    Folder   20  
     January 13, 1867-January 4, 1880, and  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data

    "Kinney, William Burnet." The National Cyclopædia of American Biography. Volume XIII. New York: James T. White & Company, 1906.

    Lee, Francis Bazley. Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey. Volume I. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910.