Archival Collections
Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Duer family papers, 1784-1937 

Duer family,
Phys. Desc: 
2.515 linear feet (2.515 linear feet 7 boxes)
Call Number: 
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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Biographical Note

The Duer Family was one of the founding families of New York City. Prior to moving to New York from England, the Duer Family had purchased tracts of land on the Hudson River near Albany. The area, known as Fort Miller, served as their first residence and as the site of their early financial ventures. By 1776 the Duer family had built a successful mercantile business based primarily on lumber production. The Duer family patriarch, William Duer (March 18, 1743-May 7, 1799), was an American lawyer, developer, and speculator who lived in New York City. A Federalist, he had served in the Continental Congress and the convention that framed the New York Constitution. In 1778, he signed the United States Articles of Confederation. Duer was married to Katherine "Kitty" Alexander, the daughter of the Revolutionary War General William Alexander (Lord Stirling), and together they had three sons: William, Alexander and John. William Alexander Duer (1780-1858) grandson of William Duer through his son John, was an American lawyer, jurist, educator, member of the New York State Assembly (1816), and one of the first eight New York State Circuit Courts judges appointed (1823). He served as the President of Columbia College (now Columbia University) from 1829 to 1842. William Alexander and Hannah Denning Duer (1782-1862) had four children: Henrietta Amlie, Frances Maria, Catherine Theodora, and William Denning. The writings and correspondence of William Alexander, Hannah Maria Denning Duer, and their daughter Frances Maria Duer Hoyt are featured throughout this collection.

Scope and Contents

The Duer Family papers include correspondence, diaries, genealogical manuscripts and notes, miscellaneous poetry, and early photographs, daguerreotypes, tintypes, engravings, and illustrations (the Duer coat of arms). The collection depicts aspects of social customs in Old New York, patriotism, and life abroad. The Duer Family Papers consists primarily of correspondence, documents, and books pertaining to the Duer Family as well as tintypes, daguerreotypes, photographs and illustrations. Also included in the collection are the diaries of Frances Maria Duer Hoyt's travels in Europe from 1864 to 1894, and the diaries of Hannah Maria Denning Duers from 1838 to 1862.