New York State Library
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Grover Cleveland
Manuscripts, 1867-1908

Quantity: 2 boxes (55 items)
Access: Stored in vault; special arrangements required for viewing.
Acquisition: Collation of single items and collections formerly cataloged separately
Processed By: Fred Bassett, Senior Librarian, Manuscripts and Special Collections,
September 1996

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Biographical Note

Grover Cleveland was born in Caldwell, New Jersey, March 18, 1837 the fifth child of Richard F. and Ann Neal Cleveland. A few years later, the family moved to Fayetteville, New York and afterward made their home in Clinton, New York. In 1855, Grover Cleveland moved to Buffalo, where he found work as copyist and clerk in a law firm. In his spare time he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1859. He began the practice of law as a partner of Issac K. Vanderpool, and in 1869 a member of the firm Lansing, Cleveland, and Folsom. Elected sheriff of Erie County, in 1870, he held the office for three years. Afterwards, he resumed practicing law in the firm Bass, Cleveland, and Bissell.

In 1881 Cleveland was elected mayor of Buffalo and he administered the office in a manner that made him an attractive candidate for statewide office. The Democratic Party nominated him for governor in 1882; he won with a large plurality. His administration was noted for fiscal and political reforms that brought him to the attention of Democratic Party leaders, who bestowed upon him the party's nomination for president. Cleveland defeated James G. Blaine after a hard-fought campaign noted for virulence and bitterness. As president, he showed he was adamant against graft, extravagance, and excessive tariff protection. Renominated in 1888, he lost the electoral vote to Benjamin Harrison. Settling in New York, he resumed private law practice.

Cleveland was again nominated by the Democrats for the presidency in 1892, and was subsequently elected. His second administration was dogged by economic depression and labor unrest as well as a party split. Upon completion of his term he retired to private life in Princeton, New Jersey, devoting much time to speaking engagements and writing books and articles. He died June 22, 1908.

Scope and Contents Note

The collection is comprised chiefly of handwritten letters of Grover Cleveland that relate to matters of his professional, political, and personal life from 1867 to 1908. Letterheads represented include the offices of Erie County Sheriff, Mayor of Buffalo, Governor of New York State, and President of the United States. This collection also includes texts of speeches delivered by Cleveland later in life such as memorial addresses in honor of Thomas Bayard, Abram Hewitt, and Carl Schurz; an address for Tamworth (New Hampshire) Old Home Week, and a speech written for the inauguration of John H. Finley as president of the City University of New York. Lastly, this collection includes a facsimile of Cleveland's last will and testament, February 21, 1906.

Box and Folder List

Box Folder Description
Letters written by Grover Cleveland

1 A.L.S. to C.H.W. Winfield, Buffalo, N.Y., February 21, 1867. Concerns legal matters (15796)

2 A.L.S. to A.P. Nichols, Buffalo, N.Y., February 28, 1871. Regards the cost entailed in the operation of the Erie County sheriff's office (1511)

3 A.L.S. to Judson B. Andrews, Buffalo, N.Y., May 20, 1881. Regards cost for legal services rendered. Also, includes receipt for $150.00 paid by J.D. Andrews (17762)

4 A.L.S. to D.A. Evans, Buffalo, N.Y., June 16, 1882. Concerns city business and mayoral office (15287)

5 A.L.S. to Thomas C.E. Ecclesine, Buffalo, N.Y., October 7, 1882. Letter to the chairman of the notification committee regarding Cleveland's acceptance of the Democratic nomination for governor of New York State (10016)

6 A.L.S. to [J.E. Farnsworth], Buffalo, N.Y., December 17, 1882. Regards household staff at the New York State governor's mansion (16183)

7 A.L.S. to [J.E. Farnsworth], Buffalo, N.Y., December 25, 1882. Regards moving into the governor's mansion (15422)

8 A.L.S. to J.E. Farnsworth, Buffalo, N.Y., December 27, 1882. Regards Cleveland's arrival at the governor's mansion (15423)

9 A.L.S. to S.S. Rogers, Albany, N.Y., September 13, 1883. Regards declining an invitation to a party (15924)

10 A.L.S. to Robert Townsend, Albany, N.Y., March 27, 1884. Regards the receipt of oysters and other matters (6596)

11 A.L.S. to C.R. Agnew, Albany, N.Y., July 17, 1884. A note of thanks for personal and political support (15742)

12 A.L.S. to [William P. Vilas], Albany, N.Y., August 30, 1884. Concerns published reports about Cleveland's character during the presidential campaign (11825)

13 A.L.S. to Robert Townsend, Albany, N.Y., October 4, 1884. Contains comments on the election campaign (6595)

14 A.L.S. to P. Lacey Goddard, Albany, N.Y., October 21, 1884. Comments on the prospect of the Democratic Party ticket in Pennsylvania (15421)

15 A.L.S. to Francis W. Tracy, Albany, N.Y., January 5, 1885. Regards Cleveland's lodging plans in an upcoming visit at Buffalo (14574)

16 A.L.S. to Mrs. J.G. Farnsworth, Albany, N.Y., March 20, 1885. A thank-you note for a birthday card and their personal friendship (15870)

17 A.L.S. to A.S. Flandrau, Washington, D.C., July 10, 1885. Concerns enclosed payment for purchase of cabinets (2239)

18 A.L.S. to F.O. Prince, Washington, D.C., May 10, 1887. Note regarding a meeting at the Interior Department about the Indian severalty legislation. (17762)

19 A.L.S. to George A. Jenks, Washington, D.C., August 30, 1887. Concerns an investigation of Judge Francis of Dakota Territory (1512)

20 A.L.S. (Photocopy) to James Shanahan, Washington, D.C., March 7, 1888. Concerns Democratic Party politics at both the state and federal level (11922)

21 A.L.S. to J.M. Fairlie, Washington, D.C., September 6, 1888. Concerns an epidemic of a disease in Jacksonville, Florida (4449)

22 A.L.S. to Lucius B. Nash, Washington, D.C., December 18, 1888. Regards the judicial qualifications of Thomas Banks (4448)

23 A.L.S. to J.G. Carlisle, New York, N.Y., December 23, 1889. Regards the importation of works of art (15324)

24 A.L.S. to Henry Watterson, New York, N.Y., April 19, 1890. Contains comments on editorials written by Charles A. Dana (15539)

25 A.L.S. to J.W. Doane, Marion, Mass., August 20, 1890. Regards Cleveland's inability to visit Doane (16187)

26 A.L.S. to E.S. Disnell, New York, N.Y., December 13, 1890. Discussion of tariff and trade policies (15923)

27 A.L.S. to James Grant Wilson, New York, N.Y., February 3, 1891. Eulogises Powers Fillmore, the son of Millard Fillmore (1095)

28 A.L.S. to A.K McClure, New York, N.Y., May 29, 1892. Concerns the Democratic National Convention in Chicago (4816)

29 T.L.S. to James H. Manning, Buzzards Bay, Mass., Sept. 16, 1892. Declines an invitation to visit Albany, N.Y. (9083)
2 30 A.L.S. to William Lubby, Buzzards Bay, Mass., August 4, 1900. Concerns the installation of a telephone in his home in Princeton, N.J. (15951)

31 A.L.S. to Duane Mowry, Princeton, N.J., October 29, 1901. Concerns Cleveland's reaction to various reports about his presidency (1094)

32 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, [?, Fla.], April 20, 1902. Letters discusses speaking engagements and other matters.

33 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, Buzzards Bay, Mass., July 10, 1902. Contains comments on politics and other personal matters.

34 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, Buzzards Bay, Mass., July 27, 1902. Contains comments on the inauguration of a new president at Princeton University.

35 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, Buzzards Bay, Mass., August 17, 1902. Regards writing his memoirs and other aspects of life at Buzzards Bay.

36 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, Buzzards Bay, Mass., September 17, 1902. Regards their friendship and interest in fishing.

37 A.L.S. to Fordham Morris, Princeton, N.J., November 5, 1902. Concerns J.H. Finley's future plans.

38 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, Tamworth, N.H., August 31, 1904. Regards fishing rods.

39 T.L.S. to Dewitt Miller, Princeton, N.J., October 13, 1904. Concerns the proper salutation in addressing an ex-president (12592)

40 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, Tamworth, N.H., September 16, 1905. Concerns land subdivision.

41 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, Princeton, N.J., June 25, 1906. Regards personal matters.

42 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, Tamworth, N.H., September 4, 1906. Regards speaking engagements.

43 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, Tamworth, N.H., October 6, 1906. Discusses a speaking engagement in Chicago and various activities in Tamworth.

44 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, Princeton, N.J., May 28, 1907. Concerns a letter and petition from John Boyston.

45 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, Princeton, N.J., October 29, 1907. Concerns the planting of a vegetable garden.

46 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, Princeton, N.J., December 30, 1907. Concerns financial investments.

47 A.L.S. to John H. Finley, Princeton, N.J., January 29, 1908. Regards photographs of their summer home.

48 Address delivered at the inauguration of John H. Finley as president of the City College of New York, A.D.S., September 17, 1903.

49 Address delivered in celebration of "Old Home Week," Tamworth, N.H. A.D.S. ca. 1903-ca. 1907.

50 Memorial address: Thomas F. Bayard. n.d.

51 Memorial address: Abram S. Hewett. n.d.

52 Memorial address: Carl Schurz. ca. 1906-1907.

53 Last Will and Testament of Grover Cleveland. A.D.S. (Facsimile), February 21, 1906 (14383)

54 a) Judgment, December 7, 1849, Royalton, N.Y. (Cleveland was the attorney for the plaintiff) (17211)
b) L.S. to New York State Legislature. April 24, 1883 (8399)
c) September 12, 1883, In the matter of nuisances at Long Island City - order of Governor (16743)

55 A.L.S. Francis Folsom Cleveland to Mrs. [?] Nelson, March 16, 1903 (493)
Last Updated: March 30, 2022