Benjamin Tallmadge collection
Scope and Contents
The Benjamin Tallmadge Collection documents the personal life and professional career of Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge through his correspondence as well as his legal, financial, and personal papers. An army officer, chief intelligence officer, and organizer of the Culper spy ring during the Revolutionary War, Tallmadge became a businessman and U.S. Representative from Connecticut in Congress after the war.
The collection contains Tallmadge's duplicate original letters to George Washington concerning military operations and Tallmadge's operations of the secret service during the Revolutionary War. These letters record not only detailed summaries of battles, movements of troops, and requests for provisions, but also the activities of spies and communications of their intelligence. Many of the letters are written in cipher. Also included are two original letters from Washington to Tallmadge concerning military administration.
The letters also record Tallmadge's business activities after the war, especially in his correspondence with his son-in-law, John Paine Cushman, a lawyer in New York and, from 1817-1819, U. S. Representative of New York in Congress, whose advice and assistance Tallmadge frequently sought for his financial transactions.
In addition, legal documents, accounts, and bills and receipts illuminate Tallmadge's business ventures, especially his purchases and sales of land in Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio, with references to the Ohio Company and Western Reserve. Other items include accounts for Tallmadge's store in Litchfield, Connecticut; receipts documenting his investment in privateering ships; and indentures of African Americans and bills of sale of enslaved people.
Moreover, his letters to Cushman reveal their opinions on national politics and government, especially during Cushman's own service in Congress. Meanwhile, his letters to his daughter, Maria (Tallmadge) Cushman, document the religious revival movement in New England, in which Tallmadge took great interest, describing the activities of such revivalist preachers as Lyman Beecher, Asahel Nettleton, and Nathan Beman. These letters also provide insight into the social and personal activities of the Tallmadge and Cushman families in Litchfield and elsewhere. Occasionally, the letters are appended by notes to Maria from Tallmadge's second wife, Maria (Hallett) Tallmadge.
The collection also contains correspondence and business papers of Tallmadge's son, Frederick Augustus Tallmadge, which primarily concern Frederick Tallmadge's publication of his father's memoirs.
- Created: 1777-1864
- Other: Majority of material found in 1778-1833
- Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1933
- Tallmadge, Benjamin, 1754-1835 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
2.08 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The collection is arranged in 5 series:
II. Legal papers
III. Financial papers
V. Frederick A. Tallmadge papers
Physical Access Requirements
A few originals are not available due to fragility. Use photocopy.
Descended in the family prior to donation to LHS.
Source of Acquisition
Mary Floyd Williams
Method of Acquisition
Accruals and Additions
Gifts from Emily Noyes Vanderpoel; Dorothy A. Johnson; Mary Floyd Tallmadge Seymour (1911); Elizabeth Delafield (1914); Morris W. Seymour (1917); L. J. Carrington (1923); Mary Floyd Williams (1942); White Memorial Foundation (1952); R. W. Belfit (1965); O. B. Swift (1971); Lynne Brickley (2004, 2005); and Malcolm and Carol Bramley (2005).
Existence and Location of Originals
Transcriptions are available for some documents.
Account books, diplomas, certificates, and military commissions are housed in oversize boxes.
The bulk of this material was formerly arranged, in chronological order grouped by type of material, in scrapbooks. This finding aid retains the chronological arrangement by type of material.
- Account books
- African Americans
- African Americans -- Connecticut -- Litchfield
- Cushman, John P. (John Paine), 1784-1848
- Cushman, Maria Tallmadge, 1790-1878
- Deming, Julius, 1755-1838
- Destouches, Charles-René-Dominique Sochet, 1727-1794
- Dwight, Timothy, 1752-1817
- Hooker, Asahel, 1762-1813
- Privateering--United States
- Reeve, Tapping, 1744-1823
- Revivals--United States
- Second Great Awakening
- Society of the Cincinnati
- United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Secret service
- United States--Politics and government--1775-1783.
- United States--Religious life and customs
- Washington, George, 1732-1799
- Western Reserve (Ohio)
- Benjamin Tallmadge collection
- Anna Chen
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description