Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
A graduate of Yale College in 1773, Benjamin Tallmadge was a classmate of American Revolutionary War patriot Nathan Hale. Tallmadge was a major in the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons, and he eventually became the chief intelligence officer for George Washington. After the war, he settled in Litchfield, Connecticut, and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1801 till 1817.
The collection consists mostly of Tallmadge's papers relating to the Revolutionary War, including correspondence with George Washington during his involvement in the secret service, a photostat of his code used then, letters to David Humphreys, Timothy Pickering, and William B. Sprague, and letters and newspaper extracts dealing with the Major Andre affair. Also present are family letters, a deed signed by William Floyd (a signer of the Declaration of Independence), documents signed by Alexander Hamilton, Tallmadge's will, a diary of his journey to Marietta in 1795, photographs of family portraits, and miscellaneous material.
The Tallmadge materials were part of a family album.
The collection was donated by Emily Blakiston Wilkins, a descendant of Tallmadge, in 1962, in memory of her friend, Edith Bolling Wilson (AM 17840).
For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.
Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.
In 2022, restrictions on George Washington letters where researchers were required to use surrogates were lifted as part of a restrictions review project.
No appraisal information is available.
- Cipher and telegraphic codes -- United States -- Secret service -- 18th century
- Presidents -- United States -- 18th century
- Manuscripts Division
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
Autograph manuscriptPhysical Description
Includes a signed document dated November 6, 1834, and a copy of Tallmadge's will dated August 27, 1831.Physical Description
A note indicates that the original plan exists at the Library of Congress. Also includes a pasted-down article from the "Oct. 1917 number of the National Geographical Magazine" and image regarding Tallmadge's Dragoons.Physical Description
Materials consist of photographic prints/copies of sketches, including a portrait of Tallmadge and a drawing of the flag.Physical Description
This is Washington's order to Tallmadge to make the raid on Col. Thompson on the night of December 5.Physical Description