Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Butler, William Allen, 1825-1902
Butler Family Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1815-1948 (mostly 1820-1920)
48 boxes and 15.65 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 1-47; 4A


The Butler Family Papers consists of works, notes, correspondence, journals, photographs, and other materials of Benjamin Franklin Butler (1795-1858), William Allen Butler (1825-1902), Mary Russell Marshall Butler (1827-1919), Charles Henry Butler (1859-1940), Harriet Allen Butler (1861-1914), and other members of the Butler family.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection contains the papers of three generations of Butlers: Benjamin Franklin Butler (1795-1858); William Allen Butler (1825-1902); William Allen Butler (1853-1923) and Howard Russell Butler (1856-1934), both members of the Class of 1876; Charles Henry Butler (1859-1940); Mary Russell Marshall Butler (l827-1919); Harriet Allen Butler (1861-1914); and Mary Marshall Butler (1857- ). The papers reflect the many legal, political, and educational interests of the family, as well as the members' busy domestic lives.

The papers of William Allen Butler include his satirical poetry, stories, essays, speeches, plays, and the manuscript of Letters to my Grandchildren: A Retrospect of Three-Quarters of a Century, later edited by his daughter, Harriet Allen Butler, and published in 1911 as A Retrospect of Forty Years, 1825-1865. (The manuscript for this later edition is also included.) Among William Allen Butler's papers are correspondence, journals, scrapbooks, diplomas, photographs, memorials, and a genealogy of the Butler family.

The collection also includes an extensive correspondence between Benjamin Franklin Butler and Martin Van Buren, as well as correspondence between Benjamin Franklin Butler, John Duer, and J. C. Spencer during the years when they worked together on the revision of the New York State statutes. Others represented in the correspondence include Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Salmon P. Chase, and Roger B. Taney.

Collection Creator Biography:

Butler, William Allen, 1825-1902

William Allen Butler (1825-1902) was an American lawyer and satirical poet.

Biography of Benjamin Franklin Butler

Benjamin Franklin Butler was a lawyer and politician in New York. Born in Columbia County, New York, in 1795, Butler was admitted to the Albany bar in 1817 and became district attorney of Albany County in 1821. He was a member of the New York state legislature from 1827 to 1833 before becoming involved in politics on the federal level. He was U.S. attorney general from 1833 to 1838 and U.S. secretary of war from 1836 to 1837. Butler died in 1858 after a distinguished career.

Collection History


Gift of Henry N. Paul.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 1998. Finding aid written in 1998.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Credit this material:

Butler Family Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 1-47; 4A