Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Delafield family
Delafield Family Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1393-1985 (mostly 1800-1950)
164 boxes, 1 oversize folder, and 70 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 1-117; 119-120; 123-129; 131-137; 139-161; P-000040; P-000041; P-000039; B-001091; P-000036; P-000037; P-000038; P-000042


The Delafields were avid collectors of family history and family-related memorabilia in the Hudson River Valley region of New York state. This collection consists of the papers of the Delafield family and related families, most prominently the Livingstons, containing both personal papers and papers collected for their genealogical and historical significance.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of the papers of the Delafield family and related families, most prominently the Livingstons, containing both personal papers and papers collected for their genealogical and historical significance. Central to the collection are the papers of John Ross Delafield (1875-1964), his grandfather, Joseph Delafield (1790-1875), and his father, Maturin Livingston Delafield (1836-1917). Also represented are John Delafield (1748-1824), Violetta White Delafield (1875-1949), Prosper Wetmore (1798-1876), Henry Delafield (1792-1875), Henry (1788-1856) and Susan Delafield Parish (1805-1861), and James Ross (1762-1847), among others. The Hudson River Valley region, including the Delafield estate in Annandale-on-Hudson, Montgomery Place, forms a natural background to much of the period covered by these personal papers.


The collection is arranged into series by family member.

Collection Creator Biography:

The Delafield family was a wealthy family from New York state. Several of its members were significantly involved in law, commerce, the army, medicine, and finance from the time of the early republic. The family's American patriarch, John Delafield (1748-1824), was a merchant and marine insurance underwriter who immigrated to the United States from London in 1783. In 1784, Delafield married Ann Hallett (1766-1839) with whom he had twelve children. His personal fortune was greatly diminished when he had to cover losses sustained during the War of 1812. His oldest son, John Delafield (1786-1853), helped restore the family fortune through his successful efforts in banking. Related families included the Livingston and Schuyler families, also of New York, among others.

Collection History


The Delafield Family Papers and the Edward Livingston Papers, originally housed at Montgomery Place, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., were given to the Princeton University Library in 1986 by Mr. J. Dennis Delafield (Class of 1957) and Professor Penelope D. Johnston.

At the time of their donation to Princeton University, the Edward Livingston papers and Delafield Family papers were known collectively as "The Delafield Family Papers" and remain such conceptually. But to avoid confusion and enhance access, the two halves of the papers have been described in separate finding aids. Delafield Family Papers, AM 86-103.


No materials were separated during 2016 processing.


The Delafield Family Papers (formerly comprising the Foundation Collection and the Mansion Corporation Collection housed at Montgomery Place, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y) were the gift of Mr. J. Dennis Delafield and Professor Penelope D. Johnson in 1986. Processing of this collection was sponsored by the Delafield Fund.

Processing Information

This processing of this collection was completed by Judith Golden in 1992, after initial work by Stacy Flora Roth in the late 1980s. Finding aid written by Judith Golden in 1992.

Folder inventory was completed by Kristine Gift (GS) in 2016.

Some reprocessing was completed by Faith Charlton in 2016-2017. Finding aid updated by Faith Charlton in 2016-2017.

Additional description indicating Violetta Susan Elizabeth White Delafield's contributions to the fields of mycology and horticulture were added by Kelly Bolding in 2020. During 2022, restrictions on original materials where researchers were required to use surrogates were lifted as part of a restrictions review project. At this time, separated materials were refiled into their original boxes.

The collection, particularly materials from Series 7, 9 and 11, was treated for mold during 2016 processing.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

This 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.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

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.

Glass plate negatives in Boxes 28-29 require special handling. Please consult with Public Services staff.

Credit this material:

Delafield 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 1-117; 119-120; 123-129; 131-137; 139-161; P-000040; P-000041; P-000039; B-001091; P-000036; P-000037; P-000038; P-000042

Find More

Related Materials

Edward Livingston Papers (C0280)

Princeton University Library Collection of General John Ross Delafield Family Materials (C1508)

Other repositories with Delafield Family holdings include Hudson Valley Restorations in Tarrytown, N.Y., the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Library in New York City, and the New York Historical Society.


Much of the biographical information for the Delafield Family Papers is from Delafield: The Family History by John Ross Delafield, privately printed, 2 volumes, 1945. Additional biographical information on Violetta Susan Elizabeth White Delafield was taken from David Rose, "Our Lady of the Gasteromycetes: The Mushrooms of Violetta White Delafield," FUNGI Volume 13:4 (Winter 2020).

Subject Terms:
African Americans -- Economic and social conditions -- 19th century -- Sources.
African Americans -- United States -- History -- Sources.
Bounties, Military -- United States -- 19th century.
Freed persons -- New York -- 19th century -- Sources.
Genealogy -- Societies, Etc.
Mycologists -- United States -- Correspondence -- 20th century.
Northern boundary of the United States -- 19th century.
Slave records -- New York (State).
Slavery -- United States -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
Women -- United States -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
Women -- United States -- Social conditions -- 19th century -- Sources.
Women scientists -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Reparations.
Genre Terms:
Yale University. Class of 1808
United States Boundary Commission
United States. Army. Armored Infantry Regiment, 46th
Trinity Church (New York, N.Y.)
Reserve Officers Association of the United States
Lyceum of Natural History (New York, N.Y.)
Military Order of the World Wars
New York academy of sciences
White, Violetta Susan Elizabeth, 1875-1949
Delafield, John, 1748-1824
Delafield, Joseph, 1790-1875
Delafield, Maturin Livingston, 1836-1917
Ross, James, 1762-1847
Wetmore, Prosper Montgomery, 1798-1876
Canada -- Boundaries -- United States -- 19th century.
Hudson River Valley (N.Y.) -- Genealogy.
United States -- Boundaries -- Canada -- 19th century.
United States -- History -- War of 1812 -- Sources.