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Egbert Benson Collection

An inventory of his collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Benson, Egbert, 1746-1833.
Title: Egbert Benson Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1786-1819
Quantity: 10 items (SC)
Abstract: Papers of the Congressman, jurist, and New York State Attorney General; includes outgoing letters to Samuel Bayard, Samuel M. Hopkins, Nicholas Low, William S. Shaw, and a single incoming item from John Jay.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

1746 Born in New York City on June 21, 1746
1765 Graduated from King’s College (Columbia University)
1777 Appointed first Attorney General of New York
Served as a member of the State Assembly
1784 Appointed Associate Judge of the Supreme Court of New York
1784 Selected as a member of the Continental Congress
1787 Selected as a member of the Continental Congress
1788 Selected as a member of the State Constitutional Convention (ratified Federal Constitution)
Selected as a member of the Continental Congress
1789 Elected to the First United States Congress
1791 Elected to the Second United States Congress
1801 Appointed Judge of the United States Circuit Court, second circuit
1804 Appointed First President of the New-York Historical Society
1813 Elected to the Thirteenth Congress (resigned August 2, 1813)
1833 Died in Jamaica, New York on August 2, 1813

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Egbert Benson Collection consists of 9 items of Correspondence and a single item of Miscellany, all of which were generated between 1786 and 1819, although a number of the letters are undated. The outgoing Correspondence of the first Attorney General of New York State, delegate to the Annapolis Convention, and Congressman is mainly concerned with legal business (Samuel Bayard, Samuel M. Hopkins, William S. Shaw), although a few of the letters discuss politics or personal (John R. Madison) and financial matters. The single item of incoming correspondence, a letter from John Jay, is not the strident appeal of one Revolutionary leader to another, but the plea of a concerned son for news about the welfare of his ailing parent and his family:

There seems to be a spell on the Penns of my Friends of New York. Except Livingston, I have not had a line from other of them since I left America - not even from other of my Brothers - nor from you who are several Letters in my Debt.
I have a Favor to ask of you - it is that you would make a visit to my Father, and send me a minute account of his Health and that of the Family - make half a dozen Copies of your Letter, and send them and other to some Friend at Boston, or to Mr. Robt. Morris at Philadelphia to be forwarded in different vessels - do not neglect to do me this friendly office. You can easily conceive how painful it is to be so long in Ignorance and Suspence [sic] about the Situation and Welfare of Persons, so near and dear to one as many of those to whom I alluded, are to me.

In addition to the correspondence is an item of Miscellany, a receipt signed by Benson for payment of his salary.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection contains two series: Correspondence, which is arranged alphabetically, and Miscellany.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Bayard, Samuel, 1767-1840.
Benson, Egbert, 1746-1833.
Hopkins, Samuel M. (Samuel Miles), 1772-1837.
Jay, John, 1745-1829.
Low, Nicholas, 1739-1826.
Shaw, William Smith, 1778-1826.


Attorneys general -- New York (State)
Justice, Administration of -- New York (State)

Genres and Forms




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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Egbert Benson Collection
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: KM
Date: Apr 1989
Revision history: 20 Nov 2008 - added arrangement to finding aid (LDC); 09 Sep 2008 - converted to EAD (LDC)

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SC 98 Bayard, Samuel undated (1 outgoing letter)
SC 98 Hopkins, Samuel Miles 2 Jul 1811 (1 outgoing letter)
SC 98 Jay, John undated (1 incoming letter)
SC 98 Low, Nicholas 25 Aug 1799 (1 outgoing letter)
SC 98 Madison, John 10 Dec 1819 (1 outgoing letter)
SC 98 Shaw, William Smith 13 Oct 1808 (1 outgoing letter)
SC 98 Unidentified 18 Feb 1786 (1 outgoing letter)
SC 98 Unidentified undated (2 outgoing letters)
SC 98 Receipt for Benson's salary 22 Jul 1789

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