Guide to the Augustus Garrett (1801-1848) Letterbooks

Collection Title: Augustus Garrett (1801-1848) Letterbooks
Dates: 1843-1845
Identification: 55/12
Creator: Garrett, Augustus, 1801-1848
Extent: 1 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The Augustus Garrett Letterbooks consist of two bound volumes of copies of outgoing (and occasional incoming) letters of Augustus Garrett. The first volume (280 pp.) spans the period from October 29, 1843, through January 2, 1845; the second (214 pp.) from January 3 through August 19, 1845. The correspondence is concerned almost entirely with financial and other business matters. The largest single portion (perhaps a quarter of the letters) is addressed to John F. Seaman, and deals with insurance and financial transactions. The correspondence with Seaman also includes letters of introduction on behalf of Garrett's Illinois business associates.
Acquisition Information: These volumes were transferred from Special Collections on September 14, 1978, as Accession #78-56. Their original provenance is unknown.
Processing Information: James G. Carson, November 14, 1984.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

Augustus Garrett, born in New York City in 1801, became involved in various business enterprises as a young man. After a series of financial failures, he settled in Chicago in 1834, where he began investing in commercial real estate; served as an agent for the National Fire Insurance Company of New York; and in concert with his New York business partner, John F. Seaman, as a wholesaler to Chicago merchants. He served one term as Mayor of Chicago in 1843-44. His commercial property holdings were larger than those of any other Chicago landlord at the time of his death in December, 1848.

Garrett's widow, Eliza Clark Garrett, inherited the bulk of his fortune; and at her own death in 1855, bequeathed the greater portion of it to endow the Garrett Biblical Institute (now Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary).

Scope and Content

The Augustus Garrett Letterbooks consist of two bound volumes of copies of outgoing (and occasional incoming) letters of Augustus Garrett. The first volume (280 pp.) spans the period from October 29, 1843, through January 2, 1845; the second (214 pp.) from January 3 through August 19, 1845. The correspondence is concerned almost entirely with financial and other business matters. The largest single portion (perhaps a quarter of the letters) is addressed to John F. Seaman, and deals with insurance and financial transactions. The correspondence with Seaman also includes letters of introduction on behalf of Garrett's Illinois business associates.

The volumes also include correspondence with John Brower, President, and J. W. Savage, Vice President, of the National Fire Insurance Company of New York, dealing with policies written by Garrett for the Company; the firm of Garrett, Seaman, and Stearns, of Dixon, Illinois, concerning merchandise orders and shipments; J. R. Malony, of New York City, dealing with merchandise orders, insurance, and Garrett's observations on Chicago politics; Illinois Governor Thomas Ford and Congressman John Wentworth, concerning political appointments and pardons; and J. A. Noonan, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, concerning Noonan's prospects as an agent for the National Fire Insurance Company, and the coverage of Garrett's affairs in a Milwaukee newspaper apparently edited by Noonan.

Other occasional correspondents include Garrett's insurance clients, and suppliers of goods and services with whom he corresponded in his capacity as Mayor of Chicago.

Arrangement of Materials

Arrangement of letters within each volume is mainly chronological, although there are a number of exceptions, primarily in the first volume.

Subjects

Personal Name

Garrett, Augustus, 1801-1848

Subjects

Business enterprises--Finance

Business enterprises--Illinois

Businessmen--Illinois--Chicago