Woolsey family.

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William Walton Woolsey was born in 1766, the son of Benjamin Woolsey, a prominent New York merchant, and Anne (Muirison) Woolsey. He, like his brother George Muirison Woolsey, became a merchant in New York City engaged in foreign and domestic trade and sugar refining. In addition, he was an important landholder both in New York and in the Ohio Territory.

In 1792 Woolsey entered into a partnership with his brother-in-law, Moses Rogers, a hardware merchant. Rogers was also engaged in sugar refining, a business Woolsey later developed into a considerable fortune. They were in fact among the very first to refine sugar on a large scale in America. In addition, Woolsey became in 1807 the second president of the Eagle Fire Insurance Company, one of the oldest companies in the city of New York. He was also named as one of the directors of the Merchants' Bank and helped to obtain for it a charter which saved the bank from an "Act to restrain unincorporated Banking Associations" that had been passed in the previous state legislature. It appears that Woolsey, a brother-in-law of Timothy Dwight, was also a secret partner in the firm of Dwight, Palmer and Company.

When Woolsey and Rogers dissolved their partnership in 1804, the latter apparently paid Woolsey a "very handson sum" not to engage in the iron and hardware trade in New York for ten years. Woolsey therefore moved to New Haven in order to continue his hardware business. He remained in New Haven, where he was also president of the Eagle Bank, until 1815, when he returned to New York and resumed his old business activities.

Woolsey was closely associated in business with his brother, George Muirison Woolsey (1772-1851), a merchant whose ships successfully evaded the blockade during the embargo and carried cotton abroad. He was, of course, under heavy bond to the government for each ship that left to go to another domestic port, but, apparently through an understanding with the Collector of the Port of Perth Amboy, he was able to send his ships to sea. He was compelled, however, to go to Europe in order to save his property from confiscation and himself from prosecution for violation of the embargo. For several years he resided in Liverpool "until the Custom house at Perth Amboy was burned and the bonds with it." It is not clear whether William Walton Woolsey was a partner to these events, there are, however, a number of letters to him from his brother while the latter was exiled abroad.

Woolsey was prominent in the social and political life of New York. He was a member of the politically powerful Chamber of Commerce of New York City, an organization important to the economic development of the city. In 1796 he was elected secretary, a position he held for many years, and from 1825 until his death in 1839, he served as vice-president. He also served for many years as president of the Merchants' Exchange Company. In 1817 he was appointed by the Supreme Court of New York as one of the appraisers of the property which became the Erie Canal and in fact he had hosted many of the early meetings organized to further the canal project. In addition, Woolsey was vice-president of the Manufacturing Society of New York, a member of the Board of Governors of the New York Hospital, treasurer of the American Bible Society, and a very active member in the Manumission Society. He was too a member of the Friendly Club, which flourished in New York for many years before and a few years after the death of Washington, until it was disrupted by political differences. The club, which included among its members Chancellor Kent, Gilbert Aspinwall, Charles Brockden Brown, Anthony Bleeker, and the historian, playwright, and painter, William Dunlap (Woolsey's brother-in-law), met every Tuesday evening in the home of one of the members for literary discussion.

Woolsey married twice, first to Elizabeth Dwight, sister of President Dwight of Yale College and the granddaughter of Jonathan Edwards, and, after her death in 1813, to Sarah Chauncey. He died in New Haven in 1839.

(For additional information see Old Merchants of New York by Walter Barrett (N.Y.: Carleton, 1863).)

THEODORE DWIGHT WOOLSEY

Theodore Dwight Woolsey, born in New York on October 31, 1801, was the son of William Walton Woolsey, a prosperous hardware merchant, and Elizabeth Dwight Woolsey. He was a nephew of Timothy Dwight and a grand-son of Jonathan Edwards. He moved with his family to New Haven in 1806, where he attended Hopkins Grammar School and graduated from Yale College in 1820, valedictorian of his class. After studying law with Charles Chauncey in Philadelphia, he studied at the Princeton Theological Seminary until 1823. He returned to Yale as a tutor in 1823 where he also completed his theological studies. He went to Europe in 1826 for four years where he traveled and studied Greek language and literature.

In 1831 he was appointed Professor of Greek language and literature at Yale College. In 1833, he married Elizabeth Martha Salisbury, by whom he had nine children. He devoted himself to the classics until 1846 when he was appointed to the presidency of Yale College. He declined it at first, doubtful of his religious fitness. Finally persuaded to accept, he was inducted into the presidency and ordained as a minister on October 21, 1846. At the start of his administration, he relinquished the teaching of Greek and began to teach History, Political Science and International Law. During the twenty-five years of his presidency Yale made greater progress than during any other previous administration.

Elizabeth Martha Salisbury died in 1852. Woolsey was remarried in 1854 to Sarah Sears Prichard, by whom he had four children. He retired from the presidency in 1871 at the age of seventy. After his resignation, he continued to instruct at Yale and was a member of the corporation until 1885. He died in 1889 at the age of eighty-eight.

Theodore Dwight Woolsey was the author of the following college text books: The Alcestis of Euripides, The Prometheus of Aeschylus, The Antigone of Aeschylus, and The Gorgias of Plato . He was also the author of three legal works: Introduction to the Study of International Law, Essays on Divorce, and Divorce and Divorce Legislation . He is also the author of A Volume of Sermons .

THEODORE SALISBURY WOOLSEY

Theodore Salisbury Woolsey was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on October 22, 1852, the son of Theodore Dwight Woolsey, then president of Yale College, and Elizabeth Martha (Salisbury) Woolsey. He entered Yale College at the age of fifteen. Upon graduation in 1872, he immediately entered the Yale Law School, where he remained, with the exception of a tour of Europe (1873-1875), until he received the degree of LL.B. in 1876.

In 1877 he was appointed instructor in public law in Yale College, and in 1878, he was appointed professor of international law in the Yale Law School, a position he occupied, with the exception of four years (1886-1890) of residence in California in order to improve his wife's health, until 1911.

Woolsey made his most notable contribution in the field of international law. In addition to the publication of J.N. Pomeroy's Lectures on International Law in Time of Peace (1886) and an enlarged edition of his father's Introduction to the Study of International Law (1891), Woolsey published many articles on specific international problems in professional journals, seventeen of which were published in 1898 under the title, America's Foreign Policy. Most of his time, however, was devoted to giving addresses and writing articles for popular journals in the attempt to persuade the American public of the significance of international law.

Woolsey was married on December 22, 1877, to Annie Gardiner Salisbury of Boston, by whom he had two sons. He died in New Haven on April 24, 1929.

From the guide to the Woolsey family papers, 1750-1969, 1811-1921, (Manuscripts and Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Woolsey family papers, 1750-1969, 1811-1921 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
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Direct Relationships
Relation Name
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associatedWith Atwood, Charles B., 1849-1895 person
associatedWith Bache, A. D. (Alexander Dallas), 1806-1867 person
associatedWith Bacon, Leonard, 1802-1881 person
associatedWith Bacon, Leonard Woolsey, 1830-1907 person
associatedWith Baird, Henry Carey, 1825-1912 person
associatedWith Baldwin, Simeon Eben, 1840-1927 person
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associatedWith Bayard, Nicholas, 1644? -1707 person
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associatedWith Bidwell, W. H. (Walter Hilliard), 1798-1881 person
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associatedWith Buckingham, William A. (William Alfred), 1804-1875 person
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associatedWith Chamberlain, Daniel Henry, 1835-1907 person
associatedWith Chase, Thomas, 1827-1892 person
associatedWith Chauncey, Charles, 1777-1849 person
associatedWith Chauncey, Elihu, 1840-1916 person
associatedWith Chauncey, Nathaniel, 1789-1865 person
associatedWith Clifford, John Henry, 1809-1876 person
associatedWith Colden, Cadwallader D. (Cadwallader David), 1769-1834 person
associatedWith Cooper, Jacob, 1830-1904 person
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associatedWith Dana, James Dwight, 1813-1895 person
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associatedWith Dodge, William E. (William Earl), 1805-1883 person
associatedWith Dwight, Benjamin Woodbridge, 1816-1889 person
associatedWith Dwight, Sereno Edwards, 1786-1850 person
associatedWith Dwight, Theodore William, 1822-1892 person
associatedWith Dwight, Timothy, 1828-1916 person
associatedWith Edwards, Pierpont, 1750-1826 person
associatedWith Eliot, John, 1604-1690 person
associatedWith Elliot, Charles William, 1834-1926 person
associatedWith Evarts, William Maxwell, 1818-1901 person
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associatedWith Farrand, Max, 1869-1945 person
associatedWith Felton, Cornelius Conway, 1807-1862 person
associatedWith Field, Cyrus West, 1819-1892 person
associatedWith Field, David Dudley, 1805-1894 person
associatedWith Field, Henry Martyn, 1822-1907 person
associatedWith Fisher, George Park, 1827-1909 person
associatedWith Garrison, William Lloyd, 1838-1909 person
associatedWith Godkin, Edwin Lawrence, 1831-1902 person
associatedWith Goodrich, Chauncey, 1759-1815 person
associatedWith Gurney, Ephraim Whitman, 1829-1886 person
associatedWith Hackett, Horatio Balch, 1808-1875 person
associatedWith Harrison, William Henry, 1773-1841 person
associatedWith Haven, Henry Philemon, 1815-1876 person
associatedWith Hayes, Rutherford Birchard, 1822-1893 person
associatedWith Heermance, Edgar Laing, 1833-1888 person
associatedWith Henry, Caleb Sprague, 1804-1884 person
associatedWith Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878 person
associatedWith Herrick, Edward Claudius, 1811-1862 person
associatedWith Hitchcock, Henry, 1829-1902 person
associatedWith Hoadly, George, 1826-1902 person
associatedWith Holt, Henry, 1840-1926 person
associatedWith Hopkins, Samuel, 1807-1887 person
associatedWith Howard, O. O. (Oliver Otis), 1830-1909 person
associatedWith James, William, 1842-1910 person
associatedWith Jay, John, 1745-1829 person
associatedWith Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826 person
associatedWith Jessup, Henry Harris, 1832-1910 person
associatedWith Johnson, Charles Frederick, 1807- person
associatedWith Johnson, William Samuel, 1795-1839 person
associatedWith Johnson, William Woolsey, 1841-1927 person
associatedWith Keep, Robert Porter, 1844-1904 person
associatedWith Leavitt, Joshua, 1794-1873 person
associatedWith Lee, Alfred, 1807-1887 person
associatedWith Lieber, Francis, 1800-1872 person
associatedWith Linn, William Alexander, 1846-1917 person
associatedWith Lippincott, Joshua Ballinger, 1813-1886 person
associatedWith Lloyd, Henry Demarest, 1847-1903 person
associatedWith Lord, Daniel, 1795-1868 person
associatedWith Madison, James, 1751-1836 person
associatedWith Magoun, George Frederic, 1821-1896 person
associatedWith Merrill, Selah, 1837-1909 person
associatedWith Morse, Jedidiah, 1761-1826 person
associatedWith Morse, Samuel F. B. (Samuel Finley Breese), 1791-1872 person
associatedWith Packard, Lewis Richard, 1836-1884 person
associatedWith Palfrey, John Gorham, 1796-1881 person
associatedWith Park, Edwards Amasa, 1808-1900 person
associatedWith Peabody, Andrew Preston, 1811-1893 person
associatedWith Perry, Arthur Latham, 1830-1905 person
associatedWith Pierrepont, Edwards, 1817-1892 person
associatedWith Pomeroy, John Norton, 1828-1885 person
associatedWith Porter, Noah, 1811-1892 person
associatedWith Quincy, Josiah, 1772-1864 person
associatedWith Robinson, Edward, 1858-1931 person
associatedWith Rosenthal, Albert, 1863-1939 person
associatedWith Ruggles, Samuel Bulkley, 1800-1881 person
associatedWith Salisbury, Edward Elbridge, 1814-1901 person
associatedWith Sanborn, F. B., (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917 person
associatedWith Sands, Comfort, 1748-1834 person
associatedWith Scarborough, William Woolsey, 1819- person
associatedWith Schaff, Philip, 1819-1893 person
associatedWith Schurz, Carl, 1829-1906 person
associatedWith Scribner, Charles, 1821-1871 person
associatedWith Sears, Barnas, 1802-1880 person
associatedWith Seymour, Edward, 1835-1877 person
associatedWith Shelton, Frederick William, 1814-1881 person
associatedWith Silliman, Benjamin, 1816-1885 person
associatedWith Sophocles, Evangeline Apostolides, 1805-1883 person
associatedWith Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 person
associatedWith Sprague, William Buell, 1795-1876 person
associatedWith Stearns, William Augustus, 1805-1876 person
associatedWith St. Gaudens, Augustus, 1848-1907 person
associatedWith Storrs, Richard Salter, 1821-1900 person
associatedWith Strong, Selah Brewster, 1792-1872 person
associatedWith Stuart, Moses, 1780-1852 person
associatedWith Taft, Alphonso, 1810-1891 person
associatedWith Tallmadge, Benjamin, 1754-1835 person
associatedWith Tappan, John, 1781- person
associatedWith Tarbox, Increase Niles, 1815-1888 person
associatedWith Taylor, Nathaniel W. (Nathaniel William), 1786-1858 person
associatedWith Thacher, Thomas Anthony, 1815-1886 person
associatedWith Thayer, Joseph Henry, 1828-1901 person
associatedWith Thompson, Joseph Parrish, 1819-1879 person
associatedWith Trumbull, Henry Clay, 1830-1903 person
associatedWith Trumbull, Lyman, 1813-1896 person
associatedWith Twining, Alexander C. (Alexander Catlin), 1801-1884 person
associatedWith Villiard, Henry, 1835-1900 person
associatedWith Ward, Henry Dana, 1797-1884 person
associatedWith Ward, William Hayes, 1835-1916 person
associatedWith Warren, William Fairfield, 1833-1929 person
associatedWith Washington, George, 1732-1799 person
associatedWith Watson, William, 1834-1915 person
associatedWith Wayland, Francis, 1796-1865 person
associatedWith Webster, Noah, 1758-1843 person
associatedWith Weir, John Ferguson, 1841-1926 person
associatedWith Wharton, Francis, 1820-1889 person
associatedWith Whitaker, Epher, 1820-1916 person
associatedWith Whitney, Eli, 1765-1825 person
associatedWith Winthrop, Elizabeth Woolsey, 1794-1863 person
associatedWith Winthrop, William Woolsey, 1831-1899 person
associatedWith Wolcott, Oliver, 1760-1833 person
associatedWith Woolsey, Elizabeth Martha Salisbury, 1812-1852 person
associatedWith Woolsey, John Edward, 1803-1873 person
associatedWith Woolsey, John Mumford, 1796-1870 person
associatedWith Woolsey, Sarah Chauncey, 1835-1905 person
associatedWith Woolsey, Sarah Sears Prichard, 1824- person
associatedWith Woolsey, Theodore Dwight, 1801-1889 person
associatedWith Woolsey, Theodore Salisbury, 1852-1929 person
associatedWith Woolsey, William Walton, 1766-1834 person
associatedWith Woolsey, William Walton, 1831-1857 person
associatedWith Yale University. Curricula. corporateBody
associatedWith Yale University. Faculty. corporateBody
associatedWith Yale University. Officials and employees. corporateBody
associatedWith Yale University. Presidents. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
New York (State)
New Haven (Conn.)
Europe
Subject
Armed Forces
Occupation
Clergy
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Family

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