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John A. Nye Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John A. Nye Papers
    Dates: 1841-1854
    Collection Number: Consult repository
    Creator: Nye, John A.
    Extent: 52 items
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
    The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2203
    Fax: (626) 449-5720
    Email: manuscripts@huntington.org
    Abstract: Group of correspondence, business records, military records, and essays assembled by John A. Nye of Unadilla, New York.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.

    Administration Information


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to the following website .

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John A. Nye papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was a gift of S.G. Starr on September 20, 1973.


    John A. Nye was born in Unadilla, New York, in 1832. In 1856 he traveled west for Omaha, but ended up settling in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, where he owned a hardware store. By 1900 he had moved to Minnesela, South Dakota, where he continued the operation of his business. Nye was also an active Freemason, having joined the order while still in New York. He served as a lodge master from 1858-1859, possibly in Nebraska. Nye died on June 1, 1906.

    Scope and Content

    Collection of correspondence, business records, military records, and essays assembled by John A. Nye of Unadilla, New York. The personal correspondence includes that sent from Nye's friends Stephen W. Richardson, who had moved to Franklin, New York, to work as a clerk but disliked the town because "they are all such damn Christians" (1853); John H. Adams, who wrote from Pittsburgh that "I am here in the Smoky City among smoke and pretty women but I think I like the latter the best" (1854); and a letter from an acquaintance in Hainesville, Illinois, who wrote "every thing here is new and full of life...villages spring up in a year that make the natives eyes stick out...Chicago is the most enterprising place that I ever was in and is bound to be a mighty City" (c.1854). Other personal correspondents include Nye's sisters Mary Nye Case and Fanny Nye. Business correspondence and records include letters to Nye regarding his company Nye and Foster in Unadilla (1852-1853), a contract of property and interests sold to Nye's business partner Talcott M. Foster (1852); correspondence regarding receipts and invoices from Reeves Wilcox and Co. to McClair and McClaughy (1854); and miscellaneous receipts, invoices, and inventories. The military records of the 151st New York Infantry under Captain Caleb Palmer, dating from 1841-1844, include a company roll and instructions for alerting voters of forthcoming elections for military posts. One of the recipients was Thomas Nye, who was probably a relative of John Nye. Also included are the texts of various essays or addresses apparently made by Nye to the Freemasons, on topics such as procrastination, charity, beauty, and hope, as well as an essay explaining "Reasons Why Governor Seymour Should Not Be Elected" (referring to Governor Horatio Seymour of New York). There are also two handwritten copies, made at Unadilla, of proclamations from the United States Congress and House of Representatives creating "The Republic of the West" (west of the Rocky Mountains), "forever released from allegiance to the country east of said division" but "similar to the United States of America in its manner of government" (1855).


    The collection is arranged chronologically.
    A detailed container list is available through the Manuscripts Department.

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Nye, John A.
    Seymour, Horatio, 1810-1886.


    Merchants--New York (State).

    Geographic Areas

    Hainesville (Ill.).
    New York (State)--History--1775-1865.
    New York (State)--History, Military.
    Otsego County (N.Y.)--History.
    Pittsburgh (Pa.)--Description and travel.
    Pittsburgh (Pa.)--History--19th century.
    West (U.S.)--History--1848-1860.


    Essays--New York--19th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--Illinois--19th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--New York--19th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--Pennsylvania--19th century.
    Military records--New York--19th century.
    Receipts--New York--19th century.