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Collection Overview

Randolph, John, 1773-1833
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Randolph Family of Virginia Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1


Consists of selected correspondence and documents of the Randolph family of Virginia--one of the great extended dynastic families of late colonial Virginia.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists of selected correspondence and documents of several members of the Randolph family of Virginia. John Randolph's correspondence Includes a letter (1798) to James Brown regarding the purchase of property, one letter (1814) to Charles Fenton Mercer, one letter (1827) to his cousin John Randolph, and one letter (1828) concerning the political conditions in Virginia. There are copies of letters John sent to his cousin Anne Cary Randolph (or Nancy, and later Mrs. Gouverneur Morris), dated 31 October 1814, regarding the scandal of the affair between her and his brother Richard, and Nancy's reply, dated 16 January 1815. Also included are partial transcripts of the Randolph-Morris correspondence written in the hand of John W. Hancock, dated 1840(?), preceded by an account of the events that caused the scandal. There is one letter (1796) from Edmund Randolph to William Watts regarding a court case. William Randolph's material includes a list of accounts dated 1824, one letter (1835) from his daughter Elizabeth, and two letters (1812, 1813) from Richard Adams and his brother regarding money for an annuity. A letter from "Th. M. Randolph" to Messrs. Le Roy and Bayard, written at "Monticello" and dated 22 April 1795, regards the purchase of wine and other merchandise; a letter (1839) by T. M. Randolph to T. S. Pleasants concerns the settling of accounts between them; and a letter by Thomas M. Randolph to Thomas Jefferson, dated 10 May 1771, relates a financial matter. There is a document (1791) signed by Beverly Randolph, who was governor of Virginia (1788-1791), regarding the "Tobacco Law," and a "Five Pounds" currency note dated 1773, signed by Peyton Randolph and endorsed by Treasurer Robert Carter Nicholas and by John Ewing.


Folders are arranged by accession number.

Collection Creator Biography:

Randolph, John, 1773-1833

In the mid-seventeenth century William Randolph founded what was to become one of the great extended dynastic families of late colonial Virginia, holders of great estates, wealth, and many slaves. He established each of his seven sons on their own estates, including William of "Turkey Island," Sir John Randolph of "Tazewell Hall," and Richard of "Curles." His sons and two daughters were allied by marriage to outstanding families of Virginia, and among their line of descendants are Thomas Jefferson, Robert Marshall, and Robert E. Lee. William Randolph was among the founders and first trustees of the College of William and Mary, later sending six sons to study there. Represented in this collection are letters and documents of descendants of William Randolph including Beverly Randolph, Edmund Jenings Randolph, John Randolph of Roanoke, Peyton Randolph, Thomas Mann Randolph, and William B. Randolph.

Collection History


Autograph letter to James Brown was a gift originally in the Pyne-Henry Collection.

Letter of John Randolph dated Dec. 15, 1817, about his retirement and letter to John Fenton Mercer were gifts of Princeton professor H. C. Cameron on November 27, 1918 .

Letters and documents of William B. Randolph were purchased in June 1942 .

Two letters of John Randolph dated Washington, Jan. 29, 1827, and March 10, 1828, and letters and documents of Beverly Randolph, Edmund Jenings Randolph, Peyton Randolph, and Thomas Mann Randolph were gifts of Cyrus H. McCormick in March 1947 .

Copy of the letter to Nancy Randolph and her response were a gift of Dr. D. H. Phillips in August 1947 .

Partial transcription in the hand of John W. Hancock was a gift of Miss Roberta Downs on January 4, 1968 .

Custodial History

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Folder inventory added by Nicholas Williams '2015 in 2012.

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:

Randolph Family of Virginia Collection; 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 (mss): Box 1