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Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hudson River Valley and Dutchess County Manuscript Collection, 1540-1952 | Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum

Collection Overview

Title: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hudson River Valley and Dutchess County Manuscript Collection, 1540-1952Add to your cart.

Extent: 9.7 Cubic Feet

Arrangement: This collection is arranged into a single series of subject files arranged alphabetically. Oversized materials are filed separately and are represented by cross reference sheets.  Researches may request oversized items through the archivist on duty.


The Hudson River Valley and Dutchess County Manuscript Collection contains materials collected by Franklin D. Roosevelt and others that pertain to local history.  The documents showcase the professional pursuits, religious activities, and pastimes of area residents in the history of the Hudson Valley circa 1540-1952.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Franklin D. Roosevelt and his distant cousin, Margaret Suckley both had an appreciation for the rich cultural history of their Hudson Valley. When the FDR Presidential Library first opened in 1939, Suckley became an archivist and subject matter specialist in Dutchess County history.  Through a compilation of President Roosevelt’s private document collection and donations from local people, Suckley began the Hudson River Valley and Dutchess County Manuscript collection. Successive archivists have continued to add to this collection until the most recent accretion in 1975.

The collection is comprised of documents pertaining to local families and businesses of the region.  Subjects include Colonial life, the American Revolution and subsequent independent government, local business transactions, extensive genealogical studies, hobbies such as bird watching and ice yachting, church activities, school records, and forest management to name a few.  Types of materials include correspondence and letterbooks, diaries, genealogical notebooks, account ledgers, daybooks, indentures, receipts and other business papers, church records, scrapbooks and printed material. Documents date circa 1540 to 1952, the bulk primarily between 1750 and 1875.

Some of the more notable subjects within the Hudson River Valley and Dutchess County Manuscript Collection include the following:

Edward Braman kept notebooks about the genealogy of Hyde Park, Dutchess County and Ulster County.  His information was gathered from conversations with local individuals and church records.  Braman’s notes were made between 1873 and 1894. There are 14 notebooks in all and they may be found in boxes 1, 3, and 4 of this collection. Some of the notebooks are Braman’s originals and others are typewritten copies that include indexes.

This collection contains Maunsell Crosby’s records of bird watching in the Dutchess county from 1909-1931. This includes his “Scratch list of birds observed,” birdbanding records, and a six volume bird diary containing notes about his sightings. These materials are contained in boxes 6 and 7.

Alvah Frost is another Dutchess County genealogist whose notes are found within this collection.  Frost’s notes were compiled between 1935 and 1953.  His sources primarily included church and county records. Frost’s notebooks were microfilmed by the FDR Library and a paper copy may be found in boxes 8 and 9.

As a leading family in the Region, the Livingstons actively participated in government, church activities and local events.  The Livingston family papers are found within boxes 13 through 16 and are dated from as early as 1688 until 1863.  Their experiences in early colonial days, the American Revolution, American ingenuity, and the pivotal years leading up to the Civil War, and may be seen in these documents.  The papers are filed alphabetically by individuals.

Box 17 contains a folder of isolated items entitled, “Miscellaneous Hudson Valley Manuscripts.” The documents are from a wide array of dates, individuals, and localities in the Hudson Valley. Types of documents include correspondence, indentures, deeds, bills, receipts, public announcements and advertisements, warrants, and maps. The documents are dated from circa 1540-1930, but the majority of materials are from the 18th century.

The St. James Episcopal Church in Hyde Park was the Roosevelt family’s place of worship.  The Church records include lists of communicants, marriages, baptisms, and confirmations as well as documents pertaining to land grants, the purchase of cemetery lots, and monetary donations to the church.  The documents include deeds, correspondence, receipts, and last wills and testaments and from circa 1850-1940. The most significant item is the Bible that King George VI gave to the St. James congregation following his 1939 visit to Hyde Park.  There is additionally a blueprint and key to the Bible’s glass case, as well as correspondence to Reverend Frank Wilson from Buckingham Palace concerning the Bible. These materials are found in Boxes 22 and 23.

            The records of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Rhinebeck, New York are dated from 1725 through 1941. Materials pertain to the Church’s finances and include receipts for donations, fundraiser pledges, expense accounts, construction estimates, and check stubs.  Also included is a book of the Church’s meeting minutes.  The material is found in Boxes 23, 24, and 25.

            Peter Van Gaasbeek was a Kingston merchant, a Patriot Major in the American, and later a member of Congress from 1793-1795.  President Roosevelt had a great interest in Van Gaasbeek and avidly collected his papers. Boxes 29 and 30 contain correspondence written to and from Van Gaasbeek about the war for independence and politics of the emerging government.  His papers are dated between 1773 and 1802.

The collection also includes microfilm representing historical materials housed at other institutions:  Aldrich Family Papers 1770-1895 (1 roll), Bard Family Papers 1658-1899 (1 roll), DuBois Family Papers ca 1804-1860 (1 roll), Dutchess County Supervisors’ Records 1718-1779 (3 rolls), Fifth census of the United States 1830 (5 rolls), Albert Livingston Marshall 1742-1888 (1 roll), New Paltz Town Papers 1677 to ca 1913 (4 rolls), Gilbert T. Pearsall Papers 1846-1856 (1 roll), Records of the Reformed Dutch Church, Hyde Park, NY 1789-1919 (2 rolls), and finally Jacobus and Margaret Teller Stoutenburgh 1935 (1 roll)

Administrative Information

Repository: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum

Related Materials: Dutchess County Book Collection, Livingston Family Papers, Roosevelt Family Papers, Delano Family Papers, Hall Family Papers, Hardy Steeholm Papers, Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers, particularly the Papers Pertaining to Family, Business and Personal Affairs, and the President’s Personal File.

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