Manuscript Group 248, N. Norris Halsted (1816-1884) and Nancy Marsh Halsted (1817-1891) Papers, 1817-1891


Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Manuscript Group 248, N. Norris Halsted (1816-1884) and Nancy Marsh Halsted (1817-1891)

Papers, 1817-1891, 2.75 linear ft.

Call Number: MG 248 + Box and folder number


Correspondence, diaries, and financial records of N. Norris Halsted (1816-1884) and his wife, Nancy Marsh Halsted (1817-1891); account book, 1866-1872, of the building committee of Halsted Observatory, Princeton University; commonplace books, poetry, and genealogical notes of Nancy Halsted; notes, 1869-1872, kept by Mrs. Halsted on sermons preached by Reverend Elijah R. Craven, pastor of the Third Presbyterian Church, Newark; minute book, 1876, of the New Jersey Washington Aid Society retained by Mrs. Halsted; return of the absentees of the 1st Battalion, 4th Regiment, Essex Brigade, September 24, 1794; plan of the Newark India-Rubber Manufacturing Company works, Newark; correspondence and legal records of relatives of Mrs. Halsted.  Included are letters pertaining to land speculation in Florida, Louisiana, and California and records retained by Albert C. Janin and Edwin Janin concerning claims against the Mexican government under the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.  N. Norris Halsted was a partner in the wholesale dry-goods firm of Halsted, Brokaw and Company in New York and a major stockholder in the New Jersey Rubber Company.  During the Civil War, he was commander of camps Olden and Perrine at Trenton, New Jersey.  Nancy Halsted was active in church and hospital work and in the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

Gift of Mrs. James E. Howell, 1903.

Biographical Note:

Nancy Ward Marsh Halsted (1817-1891) was the daughter of John Terrill Marsh, a descendent of John Marsh, who sailed from Scotland on the ship Caledonia in 1635.  Her mother, Margaret Dayton Morse Marsh, had eight other children.  Nancy W. Marsh was raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was considered well read and an excellent writer.  She married General N. Norris Halsted (1816-1884) on June 12, 1837.  They left no children.

The Halsteds resided in Kearny, New Jersey (Hudson County) on a 33-acre estate named “Hillside,” which had a summer retreat on the same property.  The main house was staffed with servants and the estate had beautiful gardens, a result of Nancy Halsted’s fondness for flowers.

Mrs. Halsted was actively involved with two charitable organizations, in the founding of the Knox Presbyterian Church in Kearny and as a leader in the Mt. Vernon Ladies Association of New Jersey (MVLANJ).  The Knox Presbyterian Church started in the Kearny homes of several families, including “Hillside.”  In 1870, Mrs. Halsted donated property for a church site.  By 1877, Mrs. Halsted was instrumental in establishing a fund-raising program for the Church.  In November 1879, the first official service was held for the laying of the cornerstone.  On January 25th, 1882, the Knox Presbyterian Church was dedicated at the corner of Kearny and Woodland Avenues.

Nancy Halsted also established a substantial fund-raising campaign for Mt. Vernon, in her belief that George Washington’s home should be restored for the centennial year of the nation.

Her husband was killed in a train accident in 1884.  She stayed at Hillside until her death in 1891.

This collection also includes correspondence, legal documents, account books and miscellaneous material of Louis Janin and Sons, a law firm in Washington, DC.  Louis Janin’s son, Edward, was married to Helen Morse, a relative from Nancy Halsted’s mother’s family, who lived at “Hillside” as a widow and remained there after Nancy Halsted’s death.  Helen Morse Janin is named in Nancy Halsted’s will.

The Janin legal firm was involved in land claims, especially in cases against Mexico, stemming from the treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo which ended the war with Mexico.  The major portion of this collection is from Edward Janin.  He and his wife, Helen, lived in Washington, DC and Louisiana. (See Box 6, folder 10, for a brief description of the law firm’s history)

Provenance Note:

The collection was presented to The New Jersey Historical Society by Mrs. James E. Howell in 1903.


Series Notes:

This collection is arranged in three series.  Series I: Nancy Halsted – Boxes 1, 2, 3,4;  Series II: Gen. N. Norris Halsted – Box 5; and Series III: Janin & Sons, law firm, and the Janin Family – Boxes 5 and 6.

Container List:

Box Folder Title Dates
Series I: Nancy Halsted
1 1 Inventory n. d.
1 2 Correspondence sent:Daily activities; includes drafts of letters sent. Special interest: letter, March 20, 1849, from New Orleans, describing slavery, a cholera epidemic and overflowing of the Mississippi River. Letter, April 11, 1885, describing Mr. Benjamin Scudder’s mother’s (Nancy’s sister-in-law married to her brother Dr. Stewart C. Marsh) accusations of Nancy’s brother’s infidelity. Letters by Nancy, 1889 about the anticipated sale of “Hillside.” 1846-ca. 1891
1 3 Correspondence received:Routine family matters; includes letters on meetings, her charities, sympathy and thank you notes. Special interest: letter, March 25, 1885, from Governor Leon Abbett of New Jersey, thanking Nancy for “the large collection of photographs of the gallant officers of New Jersey troops.” 1848-1887
1 4 Receipts, bills, invoices and letters:From Mt. Vernon Ladies Association of New Jersey (MVLANJ). Money-related matters, mostly receipts from Mt. Vernon and bills for work in process or completed. 1865- 1874
1 5 Receipts, bills, newspaper clippings and one account book:From MVLANJ, with a few newspaper clippings and invitations. 1875-1885
1 6 Letter, invoices and printed matter:regarding Knox Presbyterian Church. Contains list of patrons and their donations. ca. 1870-1889
1 7 Sermon notes, later transcribed in journal, (approx. 60 items).
1 8 Bills, invoices, receipts and business cards, (approx. 50 items). Related to Halsted household.
1 9 Marsh, Dr. Stewart C., correspondence received and sent (approx. 25 items).Also by N. Halsted’s relatives. Special interest: Letter, May 20, 1850, from Dr. Marsh to son, Albert, describing how he should “conduct himself in his studies” and what to avoid. Letter, Sept. 5, addressed to “Dear little daughter” from “Your loving Mother” (C.C. Morse) describing dental problems, a trip to New York City and daily activities. Letter, Dec. 7th, addressed to and from same as above, describing clothes and articles daughter will need before going to convent.
1 10 Will ca. 1891
1 11 Halsted genealogy
1 12 Diary:Describes daily weather, visitors and whom she visited. Also , describes her tenants and a list of rental receipts. Included is a separate list of letters she wrote in 1890. Special interest; entry, May 23, 1890, notes she met the President’s wife and Secretary Blaine in Washington, DC, 1890 1890
2 1 Diary, describes daily weather and activities, her readings, feelings, etc. 1859
2 1 Diary, 5/2/1863-7/29/1863.Describes a trip to Europe by steamer. Visited England, France, Germany, & Italy. Describes cities and places, and feelings in detail. Several references to the Civil War. Special interest: Entry, July 1, 1863, notes “Walked to shooting gallery and took 21 shots, hit the target every time, save one.” Entry, July 25, 1863, notes “Vicksburg surrendered and Jefferson Davis sends proposals of peace to President Lincoln.” 1863
2 2 Diary, with entries, mostly addresses, several poems and proverbs 1870
2 2 Journal, containing poems, expense accounts, accounts receivable notes and copy of registrar from the Columbia Hotel June 13, 1825
2 3 Diary, containing addresses and entries about donations re: MVLANJ 1869
2 3 N.W. Halsted’s commonplace book, contains historical notes, poems & proverbs. 1839
2 4 Book of Sermons, Sermons of Rev. Dr. Elijah R. Cravan. May 23, 1864 -Nov. 12, 1865
2 4 N. J. Washington Aid Society – Minutes 1876
2 5 Language Books – 2 items n. d., 1864
2 6 Diary, receipt books and commonplace book of N.W. Halsted 1889
2 7 Two unidentified photos, one by Matthew Brady. n. d.
2 8 Ink blotters
2 9 List of the first Battalion of the fourth Regiment, Essex Brigade Sept. 1794
2 10 Hair swatches from different family members, including N.W. Halsted’s. n. d.
3 1 Stationary book.
3 2 Printed articles, newspaper clippings and matter.
3 3 Miscellaneous, correspondence, invoices, poems and proverbs.Special interest: copy of letter from Dr. Benjamin Franklin to Miss Hubbard, Feb. 12, 1756, a condolence note. Temperance pledges, March 1889.
3 4 Legal document written in Spanish June 16, 1784
3 5 Miscellaneous , blank pages, some with notes. n. d.
3 6 Marsh family 1795
3 6 Deeds 1805
4 1 Book 1. Commonplace Book (1 volume).Contains poems, proverbs and Biblical verses. Also sermons form various ministers and churches, January 25, 1863-June 27, 1869 1860s
4 2 Book 2. Docket, containing case agenda, prayers, poems, and notes on sermons. July 2, 1869 – March 3, 1872
4 3 Diary:Describes daily weather, activities, visitors, who she visited, her purchases and receipts. Also poems, proverbs and cardboard list of names and addresses of people with whom she corresponded, January 1- May 9, 1891 1891
Series II: General N. Norris Halsted
5 1 Account book, in account with Curtis Beech 1852-1854
5 1 Account book re: Halsted Observatory in Princeton at Princeton University and other accounts. 1866-1872
5 2 Checkbook 1860-1868
5 3 Checkbook 1868-1872
5 4 Checkbook 1878-1884
5 5 Receipt book 1837-1847
5 5 Receipt book 1852-1856
5 6 Diary, containing addresses, personal accounts & few daily entries 1869-1870
5 6 Diary, containing addresses, personal accounts & few daily entries 1871-1872
5 7 Correspondence, drawings/plans of Princeton Observatory and the India-Rubber Mfg. Company & Mason Certificate. n. d.?
5 8 Papers re: Gen. N. Norris Halsted’s genealogy n. d.
Series III: Janin & Sons, law firm, and the Janin Family
5 9 Letter sent to Louis Janin, Esq. May 1, 1863
5 10 Correspondence:Janin legal matters; also, printed matter on the American & Mexican Joint Commission, Jan.7, 1870 1870-1871
6 1 Janin Legal matters; also printed matter on the American & Mexican Joint Commission, 1873 1873
6 2 Correspondence:Legal matters; also printed opinion of Supreme Court, “US vs. Watkins,” Oct. 1877 1874-1877
6 3 Correspondence, legal matters and documents 1878
6 4 Correspondence, legal matters and documents 1879
6 5 Correspondence, legal matters and documents 1880-1883
6 6 Janin, Helen, correspondence:Written while she resided at Hillside. Special interest: letter, March 8, 1892, contains information that this collection of papers was sent to her at Hillside. 1888-1892
6 7 Janin, Edward, account book 1890
6 7 Janin, Mrs. Edward, private account book and checks 1890-1891
6 8 Janin & Sons, law firm, legal documents
6 9 Janin & Sons, law firm, legal documents
6 10 Miscellaneous correspondence, Janin wills, legal documents:Special interest: a legal brief re: Mexico and U.S., 1868; and a brief history of Janin & Sons law firm, written by son Edward, 1882.
6 11 Miscellaneous correspondence, printed matter and legal documents.

 Processed by Gail Lieberman, Caldwell College, 1985.  Updated in 1999.


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