Inventory of the Baldwin Family Papers, 1779-1886, bulk 1803-1865

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Manuscripts Department
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2203
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© 2000
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the Baldwin Family Papers, 1779-1886, bulk 1803-1865

The Huntington Library

San Marino, California

Contact Information

  • Manuscripts Department
  • The Huntington Library
  • 1151 Oxford Road
  • San Marino, California 91108
  • Phone: (626) 405-2203
  • Fax: (626) 449-5720
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
The Huntington Library staff
Date Completed:
Jan. 1958
© 2000 The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Baldwin Family Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1779-1886,
Date (bulk): bulk 1803-1865
Creator: Baldwin Family
Extent: 475 pieces in 8 boxes in chronological order
Repository: The Huntington Library
San Marino, California 91108
Language: English.

Administrative Information


For an account of these papers, see the Introduction to Four New Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft and Helen M. Williams, ed. Benjamin P. [UNK] and Carrie C. Autrey (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1937), pp. 8-10. Gift to the Library of Rear Admiral M. H. Simons, Mrs. Frank O. Branch, and Mrs. R. K. Van Mater, 1956.


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

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], Baldwin Family Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


Family correspondence and a few miscellaneous papers of the children of Michael Baldwin (1719-1787) of New Haven, including Abraham Baldwin (1754-1807), American statesman and founder of the University of Georgia; Henry Baldwin (1780-1844), justice of the United States Supreme Court; Ruth (Baldwin) Barlow (1756-1818) and her husband, Joel Barlow (1754-1812), American poet and statesman; Clara (Baldwin) Bomford (1782-1856), wife of George Bomford (1782-1848), chief of ordnance of the army; and the descendants of George and Clara Bomford. About one-sixth of the letters are addressed to Joel and/or Ruth Barlow, 1779-1816; about one-half to Ruth's sister, Clara (Baldwin) Bomford, 1803-1855; about one-sixth to Clara's daughter, Ruth (Bomford) Paine, 1856-1891; and the remainder to others. Perhaps the collection as a whole is best described as the remnant of a family archive which has passed through a number of generations.

Scope and Content

Of particular interest are the letters of Elizabeth Whitman to Joel Barlow; the letters of Ruth Barlow; and the extensive series of letters from George William Erving (1769-1850), American diplomat, to Clara Bomford. Erving's letters are perhaps the most substantial part of the collection and the earlier ones are particularly interesting. He never married, occupied several diplomatic posts in Europe, travelled about a good deal, and lived for many years in Paris. The letters contain nothing about his diplomatic work as such, but are full of reflections and observations on a number of subjects and some of them run to a considerable length--there is one of twenty-nine pages.
In the earlier part of the collection there are references to Joel Barlow and a number of letters addressed to him, but only one document and several postscripts in his handwriting, and copies of his will and one poem. There are occasional references to political affairs, but the primary importance of the collection is for the picture it presents of the social and day-to-day life of the time, and for the information it contains about the individuals noted below.

Subject Matter

  • I. Biographical material for:
    • A. Abraham Baldwin
    • B. Ruth (Baldwin) Barlow and Joel Barlow
    • C. Clara (Baldwin) Bomford and George Bomford
    • D. George William Erving
    • E. Robert and Harriet Fulton
    • F. Other members of the Baldwin family and descendants of George & Clara Bomford
  • II. Kalorama, purchased by the Barlows in 1807; sold to the Bomfords in 1818 and subsequently sold by them in 1846
  • III. Society, Washington, D. C., 1803-1815
  • IV. Social life in Paris of the Barlows, 1811-1812
  • V. Europe--Description and Travel: letters of George W. Erving descriptive of Switzerland, Italy, and France

Interesting or Important Items

Baldwin, Abraham.
To Ruth Barlow. 1789, July 3. "These Politicians Keep Such A Talking Round My Ears, That I Cannot Write You Any More At Present."
Baldwin, Abraham.
To Joel Barlow. 1791, Mar. 13. "Many Of The Atlantic Settlers Wish The Western Country Not To Be Settled, And Take All Opportunities To Throw Blocks In The Way...."
Baldwin, Abraham.
Will. 1807, Mar. 1.
Barlow, Joel.
Will. 1797, Apr. 15. Certified Copy, Dated 1813.
Barlow, Ruth (Baldwin).
To Clara Bomford. 1810, Mar. 10 & 14. Re: Clara'S Change Of Name; Mrs. Madison; Mme. Bonaparte; Napoleon'S Divorce; Etc.
Barlow, Ruth (Baldwin).
To Clara Bomford. 1812, Sep. Letters Describing Her Visit To Mme. De Villette.
Barlow, Ruth (Baldwin).
Will. 1813, Aug. 24.
Barlow, Ruth (Baldwin).
To Clara Bomford. 1814, Mar. 13. "...Yet The World Suppose Him [Robert Fulton] Swimming In Wealth, Whilst In Reality He Is Oppressed With Debts Which He Can Hardly Find The Means Of Meeting. How Little My Dear Clara, We Know Of Peoples Real Situations & Feelings."
Bomford, Clara (Baldwin).
To Anna Maria (Brodeau) Thornton. 1811, Nov. 13. Re: Paris Opera, Joel Barlow'S Presentation To The Emperor, Etc.
Bomford, Clara (Baldwin).
To Anna Thornton. 1814, Dec. 11. Our [Connecticut] neighbors are mostly people of fortune or independant farmers, all delighted to see their friends & acquaintance, they call a visit from 2 in the afternoon till 9 in the evening--about 4 they have a table groaning with the weight of all the good things they can muster--chickens sausages, apple sauce, sweet meats, bread & butter cakes & pies & in the evening cider apples & nuts.
Erving, George William.
To Joseph Gales. 1814, Oct. 22. Re: the misinterpretation by the British press of American news.
Erving, George William.
To Clara Bomford. 1819, Oct. 6-20. Re: his life in Paris; Mrs. Decatur (she is a charming woman; she was not absolutely a flame, but a little flamelet of mine many years ago, but all calculations duly made, I thought it most prudent to withdraw.); Lafayette (he is one of those in whom hope will never die, who will always see 'couleur de rose' tho affairs be as black as ink,--he thinks that good principles & a good heart is every thing,--tho a soldier he does not calculate well the power of bayonets...)
Erving, George William.
To the same. 1825, Nov. 20. I am glad that you like Mr Vaughan, but I neither presume or desire that you see much of him;--tho' he is a very estimable man, perhaps more respectable (morally speaking) than ministers are in general, yet I shoud not have given him a letter to you (for this is against my rules) but that he almost compelled me to do so:-- with all Vaughans apparent simplicity & frankness, put this well into your head, that he is as thourough an Englishman as any of them; nor coud they find in all England a more fit man to send to Washington; for his modesty, his want of all pretension,--his 'bonhommie' & his moderate calm manner, are the very qualities suited to our gullibility;...
Erving, George William.
To the same. 1826, June 8. Monroe... demands great 'swads' of our money without even the shadow of any right at all; thinking no doubt that as the mouth of the publick purse has opened for poor Lafayette, he may as well thrust his big fist into it; before the delicate paw of Madam Decatur shall have quite exhausted it, for the sake of her future husband....

[In Washington] You live precisely in the centre, the best position for observation--look about you,--probably you will not find one man excepting your good husband, who is devoid of this mania; look at their gray or bald foreheads--laden with care; see all the younger ones--rushing--& jostling & fighting & worrying each other, their hearts full of bitterness & envy; their nights sleepless; see what a proportion leave their families, neglect their business, impair their fortunes & ruin their constitutions, for the gratification of empty vanity--called 'ambition':--for do not mistake, not one in an hundred is there to 'serve his country' as a duty. Poor Rufus King!--he has been minister & Senator, & not being able to arrive at the Presidency for which he has been struggling all his life, must needs be minister again; well he dies in the effort! Poor Monroe! he arrived by dint of perseverance, he retires, health & fortune ruined, reputation in not much better condition,--he is to be consumed by mortification! Poor Crawford! the best years of his life sacrificed, his estate & profession neglected;--all his prospects defeated,--he vegitates!--so of the rest.
Erving, George William.
To the same. 1835, Mar. 18. You & I who knew so well must sympathize in the loss of that most excellent friend Mr Crawford; I have never seen in publick life anyone of such perfect & disinterested patriotism, or in private of more pure integrity.
Fulton, Robert.
To Joel Barlow. 1809, Mar. 1. Re: Explanation of his moving away from Kalorama; Barlow's interest in the steamboat (you had little faith in the success or profits of the boat); Barlow's financial affairs; and getting The Columbiad reviewed in London.
Gaines, Edmund Pendleton.
To Clara Bomford. 1812, Jan. 20. Re: death of his wife, Frances.
Lafayette, Marquis de.
Dinner invitation to Joel Barlow. 1789, Feb. 9.
Thornton, Anna Maria (Brodeau).
To Clara Bomford. 1812, Mar. 15. Re: Count Crillon.
Whitman, Elizabeth.
To Joel Barlow, 14 letters, 1779-1780; and one letter to Ruth Barlow, 1782.

The tragic life of Elizabeth Whitman served as the basis for the popular early American novel by Hannah Webster Foster, The Coquette, or, the history of Eliza Wharton, 1797. These letters were published (inaccurately) by Mrs. Caroline Dall in The Romance of the Association..., Cambridge, 1875.

Persons Represented by Three or More Pieces


Baldwin, Abraham


24 pieces, 1789-1807 (2)


Baldwin, Henry


8 pieces, 1813-1816


Baldwin, William D.


4 pieces, 1882


Barlow, Anica (Preble)


4 pieces, 1812-1855


Barlow, Joel


3 pieces, 1797-1812 (38)


Barlow, Ruth (Baldwin)


67 pieces, 1795-1816 (41)


Bishop, Victor


7 pieces, 1845-1852


Bomford, Clara (Baldwin)


21 pieces, 1811-1827 (236)


Bomford, George


7 pieces, 1844-1848 (10)


Bomford, James V.


6 pieces, 1883-1887


Bomford, Mattie


4 pieces, 1856-1883


Dall, Caroline Wells (Healey)


7 pieces, 1884-1892


Derby, Richard C.


5 pieces, 1882-1886


Erving, George William


116 pieces, 1812-1850 (1)


Eyre, Wilson


4 pieces, 1882


Gaines, Edmund Pendleton


10 pieces, 1812-1814


Lafayette, Marquis De


4 pieces, 1789-1827


Linwood, Mary


3 pieces, 1805-1812


Madison, Dolly (Payne) Todd


4 pieces, 1811-1842


Maguire, Bernard


3 pieces, 1844-1848


Marbois, Comte De


6 pieces, 1812-1814


Maulsby, A. M.


5 pieces, 1882


Moore, Margaret Jane (King), Countess Mountcashell


4 pieces, 1812


Olmstead, Lemuel G.


11 pieces, 1854-1855


Riddle, John S.


4 pieces, 844


Seymour, Louisa


5 pieces, 1886-1891


Smith, J. B. H.


5 pieces, 1851-1856


Thornton, Anna Maria (Brodeau)


17 pieces, 1812-1855 (18)


Whitman, Elizabeth


15 pieces, 1779-1782


Williams, Helen Maria


6 pieces, 1812-1815