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Matthew L. Davis Memoirs of Aaron Burr Research Files


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


Matthew L. Davis was an author, journalist, and politician from New York City who edited multiple Democratic-Republican newspapers including the New York Evening Post. Davis was a close confidant of Aaron Burr and one of Burr's political lieutenants in the state election campaigns. He published Memoirs of Aaron Burr in 1837. Many of Burr's private papers were left to Davis.

The collection includes material Matthew L. Davis (1773-1850) kept while researching his Memoirs of Aaron Burr (New York: Harpers & Bros., 1837), including 22 manuscript pages of notes, 7 letters, 1 legal agreement, and a scrapbook of newspaper and magazine clippings, some with annotations and comments, and a few hand-written notes and ephemera.

The notes are dated 1832 Feb 17 at the beginning and describe personal meetings and conversations with Burr including mentions of Hamilton and an anecdotal account of Burr on his deathbed; the notebook has, pasted in at the front, a review and excerpts from Davis's "Memoirs of Aaron Burr, with Miscellaneous Selections from His Correspondence" which was published by Harper & Brothers in 1837, the following page states "This volume belongs to H. W. Eastman of Rosyln, Long Island, Presented to him by H. M. Weiterio[?]", followed by clippings, some pasted, some loose, dating from Burr's death through the early 1900s, with about 6 pages of handwritten notes, loose clippings and a few handwritten pages of notes, one marked "notes from Burr's Trial"; also includes a 19 July 1800 legal agreement between Burr and Roger Strong turning over occupancy of some New York offices to Strong, but signed only by Strong; letter 2 Nov 17[?]83 addressed to Burr in Albany but begins "Dr.Brothers" signed "S. Delism"[?] with references to a Captain Thomas Barrow and Mr. Van Rensellaer; letter addressed "The honble. Aron Burr Esquire Vice President of the United States Washington" 23 Feb 1802, from John Sanders asking for Burr to speak to the President on behalf of a Mr. Anderson in regard to an appointment to a new military post; letter addressed to "Aaron Burr Vice President, Washington" 10 Dec 1803 from Charles Staudinger and George Rhoda looking to purchase additional plots of land adjacent to a recent purchase; letter addressed to Burr in New York, 3 Mar 1821, signed "Lewis" referencing travel, poor food and waiting for Congress; letter 1814 addressed to Wm Van Vechten Esq. with return address including "A.B." but possibly written on behalf of Burr, as it begins "Mr. Burr is very desirous of disposing ... "; undated note addressed "To Col Burr Reed Street" and signed "Ogden Edwards" referencing attending church; undated note, possibly a child's, addressed "Merss Burr" and starting "Dear Cousin", signed "LB" and referencing "Uncle Burr has moved."

Materials are arranged in the order in which they were received.

Gift of Bruce Willsie, Princeton Class of 1986, in 2022 (AM 2023-009).

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.

This collection was processed by Faith Charlton in 2022. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in 2022 using description that came with the collection.

No materials were removed from the collection during 2022 processing beyond routine appraisal practices.

Manuscripts Division
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The collection is open for research.

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Collection Inventory

Notes, Correspondence, and Legal Agreement, circa 1930. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Scrapbook, circa 1830. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

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