Collection ID: 19thCent

Collection context


Includes many pamphlets, broadsides, and publications from the 19th century, concerned mainly with abolition and temperance. The majority of items were written by Gerrit Smith.
0.8 Linear feet and (2 boxes)
Preferred citation:

19th Century Pamphlet and Broadside Collection, 1837-1876. The College of Saint Rose Archives and Special Collections.


Biographical / Historical:

A resident of Peterboro, NY, Gerrit Smith was a social activist and philanthropist very involved in many of the 19th century’s reform movements. Although he wrote for and donated to various causes, his particular interests lay in the anti-slavery, temperance, and woman's suffrage movements. He acted for these causes both in his letters and through politics. He organized the Liberty Party in 1840, which nominated him for the Presidential elections of 1848 and 1851. He did not accept either nomination; nor did he accept the nominations of the Industrial Congress (also in 1848) and the Land Reform Party (in 1856.) The Anti-Slavery Convention nominated him for governor of New York State in 1840 and 1858. He ran in the latter case and was defeated. Smith did eventually hold elected office as a member of the House of Representatives in 1853 and 1854. The Anti-Dramshop Party (later the National Prohibition party) was also partly his creation.

Smith’s religious convictions, from which stemmed his political convictions, were quite strong. He published a number of pamphlets on his spiritual beliefs, which he named the Religion of Reason. In 1843 he helped to found the Church of Peterboro, a non-denominational community, and funded the building of its chapel in 1847.

He is connected with many important and even well-known names. He was cousin to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and father to Elizabeth Smith Miller (who invented the garment later known as bloomers.) His regular correspondents included Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, and John Brown. Although he shared the latter’s abolitionist viewpoints, their preferred methods differed greatly. Gerrit Smith helped to fund John Brown’s 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry, Virginia; the depth of his knowledge regarding the plot is still in debate. Upon learning of its failure, the loss of life involved, and the possibility of his indictment as a co-conspirator, Smith had a breakdown and was briefly committed to an asylum in Utica.

Following this incident, Smith’s attitudes changed in small ways. Although always opposed to violence, and despite eventually supporting the North’s pursuit of the Civil War, he advocated a strict ethic of nonviolence. He continued some work in the abolition movements, although not with his former fervor. After the Civil War he pushed both reconciliation with the South and suffrage for black men – the latter at the expense of gaining the vote for women. To the end of his life he remained an active voice in other causes, and a generous philanthropist to the people he saw in need.

SEE ALSO: The following facilities contain substantial collections of material related to Gerrit Smith, from his pamphlets and collected writings to his original letters and other personal papers. The New York State Archives New York Public Library Syracuse University (much material available in digital format) Wichita State University Hamilton College (Alumni Collection)

This Tracts for the Times series was published in Albany by the Ladies’ Religious Publications Society, part of the Division Street Unitarian Church. Many were written by Amory Dwight Mayo, contemporary pastor of the church.

SEE ALSO: Series 3, for the publication of a separate sermon by Rev. A.D. Mayo.

Amory Dwight Mayo (1823-1907): Mayo, a Unitarian preacher, was widely known for his published sermons. He worked in Massachusetts, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania. In Albany, he headed the Division Street Church from 1856-1863. In his later life he became more interested in education reform, and traveled the country (particularly the south) speaking on behalf of better school systems.

Samuel Longfellow (1819-1892): Samuel Longfellow was the brother of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and a Unitarian preacher in the New England and Middle Atlantic states. He was renowned for his poetry, a talent he often turned to writing hymns.

Moncure Daniel Conway (1832-1907): Born in Virginia and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Conway preached in various churches during his life, through out the northern United States and in England. He began as a Methodist and like many of his contemporaries became a Unitarian through the Transcendentalist writings of Emerson. Although he later split with the Unitarians over their conservative practices, he remained a prolific writer and lecturer.

James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888): Clarke, a Unitarian preacher, worked most prominently in the southern states for the abolition of slavery. He also wrote several widely-read books on comparative theology, studying the similarities between Unitarians and more traditionalist Christian churches.

Samuel Osgood (1812-1880): A graduate of Harvard and Cambridge Divinity School, Osgood was initially most interested in spreading Unitarianism through the southern and western United States. He eventually preached in New England, and later New York City, and was “the acknowledged leader in the Unitarian Church” by the time he was 37. He was renowned for his speeches, both in his delivery and in the scholarship behind them.

Emerson W. Keyes: no information currently available

Cyrus Augustus Bartol (1813-1900): A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Bartol was a transcendentalist who sought to free Unitarianism from unnecessary rituals. Although he was an admirer of Emerson, he was of a more conservative bent. He preached for the most part in New York City.

Orville Dewey (1794-1882): As a graduate of Andover Theological Seminary and Harvard Divinity, Dewey preached in both Massachusetts and New York. He was president of the American Unitarian Association from 1845 to 1847.

Samuel J. May (1797-1811): Samuel May was a leader in Unitarian efforts to end slavery, and often reviled by his own congregations for radical sermons and ideas. Among his concerns were the abolition of slavery, temperance, penal reform, better treatment for Native Americans, and pacifism. He eventually found a home at the Church of the Messiah in Syracuse, New York, where he preached for twenty years until his death. That community is now known as the May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society.

Reuben Dimond Mussey, M.D. (1780-1866): Dr. Reuben Mussey published a number of pamphlets on various health issues, particularly the ills of tobacco and alcohol use. He was a Professor of Surgery at Ohio Medical College and later the first president of the Academy of Medicine in Cincinnati.

L.S. Crandall (1844-19??): Lucien Stephen Crandall lived south of Syracuse variously in Cortland, where he was editor of the Courtland Democrat, and in Tully, where he was editor of the Southern Onondaga. He invented the Crandall Typewriter. Whether this is the same L.S. Crandall is uncertain.

Caleb Calkins (1814-????): Caleb Calkins was the personal secretary of Gerrit Smith. As a resident of Madison County he served as a trustee for the Peterboro Academy and later the Evans Academy. He was a justice of the peace for three terms, town supervisor of Smithfield in 1854, and served as representative to the State Assembly in 1866. As Caleb Calkins was a common name in the region, it is unclear whether the Caleb Calkins who signed this flyer is the same man or a relative.


The collection is organized into three series by topic. The folders within each series are organized chronologically.

The series are:

Gerrit Smith, 1837-1873

Tracts For The Times, 1858-1860

Other Pamphlets, 1837-1876

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard



There are no restrictions to this collection.


The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Permission to publish material must be obtained in writing prior to publication from the College Archivist, The College of Saint Rose, Neil Hellman Library, Archives and Special Collections, 432 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203.


19th Century Pamphlet and Broadside Collection, 1837-1876. The College of Saint Rose Archives and Special Collections.

432 Western Avenue
Albany, NY 12203, United States