Correspondence of Jeremias Van Rensselaer, 1651-1674

Correspondence of Jeremias Van Rensselaer, 1651-1674

Correspondence of Jeremias Van Rensselaer, 1651-1674

Correspondence of Jeremias Van Rensselaer, 1651-1674

Excerpt

The correspondence of Jeremias van Rensselaer forms part of the Van Rensselaer Papers which from time to time have been deposited in the New York State Library and which by an agreement made on November 26, 1910, between the Regents of The University of the State of New York and the Van Rensselaer Land Company acting through its vice president, Howard Townsend, and Eugene Van Rensselaer, sole surviving executor of the will of General Stephen Van Rensselaer, were turned over to the State, on condition that they should be made available for purposes of historical research and that those which were found to be of sufficient interest should be published as a supplement to the volume of Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts, issued by the State Library in 1908.

The correspondence consists partly of original letters, ranging in date from 1651 to 1671, which for the greater part were received by Jeremias van Rensselaer from his relatives in Holland after he came to the colony of Rensselaerswyck, and partly of copies, some on loose sheets and others in the form of a Letter Book, of letters written by him from 1656 until his death in 1674, during the last 16 years of which period he was director of the colony.

The value of these letters as a historical source was duly appreciated by Dr. E. B. O'Callaghan, who in his History of New Netherland refers to them as "still in good preservation" and as affording "a valuable and interesting commentary on private and public affairs." Unfortunately, the first statement is no longer true, for, after having been carefully preserved in the hands of the family for more than 250 years, they were shortly after their transfer to the State Library severely damaged by the Capitol fire of March 29, 1911, which destroyed a large part of the state archives as well as many of the Van Rensselaer papers, so that at . . .

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