Guide to the Records of Elizabethtown Library Company 1792-1812 MG 838
TABLE OF CONTENTS
52 Park Place
Newark, New Jersey 07102
Contact: NJHS Library
(973) 596-8500 x249
© 2004 All rights reserved.
The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Inventory prepared by Bob Golon as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Finding aid encoded by Danielle Kovacs. February 2004. Production of the EAD 2002 version of this finding aid was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Finding aid written in English.
The Elizabethtown Library Company was established as a private subscription library in 1755. Shortly after the Revolution, an Elizabeth library was advertised “for the circulation of useful books and the elevation of the tastes of the people.” (Vezin and Dannefelser, 1972) It is unclear as to whether this is the same library as the Elizabeth Library Company, but the names of Isaac H. Williamson, future Governor of New Jersey, and Dr. Abraham Clark, son of one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence, were librarians at this library, and their names appear prominently in the logs of the Elizabethtown Library Company as well.
Elias Bailey Dayton and his brother, Jonathan Dayton, were extremely involved with the Elizabethtown Library Company, and were two of the most revered citizens of early Elizabethtown. They were sons of Elias Dayton, a Revolutionary War hero who rose to the rank of brigadier-general and major-general of the militia after the war. Elias served the Continental Congress, the New Jersey Legislature, and was the first president of the New Jersey Society of the Cincinnati, an organization whose membership was limited to those who served as officers of the Continental Army and Navy during the Revolution. Elias B. engaged in numerous mercantile pursuits in Elizabethtown, and was the treasurer of the Elizabethtown Library Company. Elias B. also served as first cashier of the State Bank. His brother Jonathan was a distinguished soldier and statesman, he was a representative to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, a member of the New Jersey Legislature, and eventually Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and U.S. Senator from New Jersey. Like his father, he was also a member of the Society of the Cincinnati.
This collection consists of invoices and receipts for the acquisition of books, lists of book acquisitions and missing book, an autograph collection of members, and record sheets of member’s subscription payment history. Most of the invoices and receipts were signed by Elias B. Dayton, treasurer, and Jonathan Dayton. Later receipts were signed by W. R. Williamson, treasurer. Book titles purchased include Life of Catherine, Empress of Russia, The History of the World, The Political and Philosophical History of the East of West Indies, Shakespeare’s Plays, and The Persian Letters by Lord Littleton.
This collection is arranged by type of record.
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.
Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.
The New Jersey Historical Society complies with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code), which governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials.
For materials related to people and topics documented in the collection, see:
This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 838, Elizabethtown Library Company Records, The New Jersey Historical Society.
Gift of Florence Kathryn Woodruff Dodge and Edith C. Woodruff, 1974.