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Collection Summary
Administrative Information
Publication Rights:
Scope and Content
Acquisition Information
Container List
General Materials
Lucius E. Chittenden Correspondence and Dated Documents
Writings by L.E. Chittenden and Misc. Book Lists
Bound Volumes
Unboxed Volumes
Lucius E. Chittenden Additions

Lucius E. Chittenden Papers

Collection Summary

University of Vermont Libraries Special Collections Burlington, Vermont 05405-3596
Chittenden, L. E. (Lucius Eugene), 1824-1900.
Lucius E. Chittenden Papers
10 boxes, 11 volumes, one reel microfilm
Shelf location
Library Research Annex.
The Lucius E. Chittenden papers include correspondence, letter books, account books, court dockets, transcriptions of testimony, lists of books, notebooks recording a trip to England (1871) which includes impression of bookseller Henry Stevens and various libraries, notes on rare books, notes on formation of the Republican Party in 1848, translations by Chittenden of descriptions of early French explorations of North America.

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item] Lucius E. Chittenden Papers Collection, Special Collections, University of Vermont Library.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections © 1998 


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights:

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. Lucius E. Chittenden, 1898 and subsequent purchases

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Lucius Eugene Chittenden, great-grand-son of Vermont's first governor, Thomas Chittenden, was born in Williston, Vermont on May 24, 1824. He received his early education in the district schools of Williston and the academies of Williston, Hinesburg and Cambridge. He studied law at first in the office of his uncle, Norman L. Whittmore, at Swanton, and later attended the legal lectures of Judge Turner at St. Albans. He also studied with John G. Saxe, the poet, and Corydon Beckwith, a prominent corporation lawyer, and was admitted to the bar in Franklin County in 1844. In 1845, Chittenden opened a law office in Burlington in partnership, successively, with Wyllys Lyman, Edward J. Phelps and Daniel Roberts. As early as 1846, he became interested in politics and public affairs. He was prominent in anti-slavery and "free soil" movements, edited the Free Soil Courier, helped to organize and chaired the Free Soil state committee prior to the party's official birth in Buffalo in 1848, and led the successful campaign of John S. Robinson for governor in 1852. After the "Free Soilers" dissolved in the early 1850s, he became active in the newly formed Republican Party.

Chittenden was elected a senator from Chittenden County (1856-1860), and elected president of the Commercial Bank in Burlington in 1857. In February 1861 he was appointed as a delegate to the Washington Peace Conference, a group formed to avert the coming Civil War. In March of that year he became Register of the U.S. Treasury, and served in that office for the remainder of Lincoln's first administration. In August 1864 he retired from Washington because of poor health, and established himself in a New York City law firm.

During his long and successful public career, Chittenden found time to write extensively of the history of Vermont and of the people and events about him. "Although his history is at times inaccurate and perhaps overly influenced by a fondness for the dramatic as well as a bias for Vermont, it is still of value" (John Buechler, "Lucius E. Chittenden: Green Mountain Bibliophile," Vermont History, vol. 37, 1969, pp. 40). Some of his books include: The Capture of Ticonderoga (1872), Lincoln and the Sleeping Sentinel (1909), Recollections of President Lincoln and His Administration (1891), Personal Reminiscences Including Lincoln and Others 1840-1890 (1893), An Unknown Heroine; An Historical Episode of the War Between the States (1893), and A Report of the Debates and Proceedings in the Secret Sessions of the Conference Convention, for Proposing Amendments to the Constitutioon of the United States (1864). His various articles and addresses covered topics like the American reindeer, Ethan Allen, medical jurisprudence, early settlers in Vermont and American railroads (Buechler, pp. 41).

Chittenden collected a library which was especially rich in rare volumes relating to the early history of Vermont, and to the history of engraving and printing. A good portion of his library was purchased, largely by subscription, for the University of Vermont. One of the more fascinating books in the collection is his own translation of Les Singularitez de la France Antarctique by Thevet (Paris, 1558). "The volume is Chittenden's work completely except for the fine morocco binding. Done on 100 leaves of vellum in Chittenden's distinctive hand printing, with multi-colored initials, full page line drawings in ink, and marginal figures of soldiers, birds, and animals. . . (Buechler, pp. 45).

Lucius Chittenden was married to Mary Hatch in 1856, fathered three children, and died in Burlington, Vermont on July 22, 1900.

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Scope and Content

The Lucius E. Chittenden Papers, 1838-1926, include correspondence, letter books, account books, court dockets, transcripts of testimony, lists of books, notebooks recording a trip (1871) to England including impressions of bookseller Henry Stevens and various libraries, notes on rare books, notes on the formation of the Republican Party in 1848, and translations by Chittenden of descriptions of early French explorations of North America. The correspondence relates to the Civil War, book collecting, political appointments, legal business, and charges made against the Treasury Department in its handlling of banknote contracts. Many of the letter books as well as the account books, testimony books, and court dockets books relate to Chittenden's law firm and his partners, Lyman, Phelps and Roberts. There are also folders of correspondence, accounts, subscription books and miscellaneous belonging to Daniel and Robert Roberts. Correspondents include Spencer F. Baird, William P. Fessenden, Solomon Foote, George Perkins Marsh and Henry Stevens.

The papers are arranged chronologically with all of the loose material in the first box. This is followed by groups of boxed bound volumes. Oversize volumes such as the ledgers and court docket books were placed at the end of the collection. One Chittenden ledger is on microfilm.

Notes on Location


The document boxes originally used to house this collection were incorporated into cartons. As a result the following changes have been made to the Lucius E. Chittenden shelf list:

  • Box 1 Folder 1 through Box 3 Folder 1: Carton 1
  • Box 3 Folder 2 through Box 5: Carton 2
  • Box 6 through Box 8: Carton 3
  • Box 9 through 10: Carton 4
  • Volumes 1, 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14: Carton 5

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Commercial Bank (Burlington, Vt.)
  • United States. Department of the Treasury
  • Free Soil Courier (Burlington, Vt.)
  • Burlington Courier (Burlington, Vt.)
  • Republican Party (Vt.)


  • Correspondence
  • Transcripts Testimony
  • Accounts
  • Notes Travel England
  • Dockets
  • Notes

Geographic Name(s)

  • Williston (Vt.)
  • Burlington (Vt.)
  • United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Finance
  • Vermont Politics and government
  • United States Politics and government
  • Vermont History
  • Great Britain Description and travel


  • Lawyers

Personal Name(s)

  • Chittenden, L. E. (Lucius Eugene), 1824-1900.
  • Lyman, Wyllys
  • Phelps, Edward John 1822-1900
  • Roberts, Daniel 1811-1899
  • Stevens, Henry 1819-1886
  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton 1823-1887
  • Fessenden, William Pitt 1806-1869
  • Foote, Solomon
  • Marsh, George Perkins 1801-1882


  • Book collecting
  • Free-Soil Party
  • Book collectors Vermont

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