Skip to main content

Boardman Family Papers

Identifier: MSN/EA 10077

Scope and Contents

Collection consists of the professional correspondence and business papers of Elijah Boardman, a prominent Connecticut merchant, land owner, and United States Senator. Also present is personal correspondence and papers from several generations of the Boardman family.

Boardman’s correspondence is comprised of retained copies of letters written by Boardman, as well as incoming letters to him. The letters document Boardman’s extensive real estate holdings and his investment in the Connecticut Land Company, as well as his various mercantile related activities. Many of the letters are addressed to and from attorneys, agents, employees, and individuals working on behalf of Boardman in Connecticut, Ohio, New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts.

Elijah Boardman’s business papers consists of various financial records including, statements of account, bills, receipts, various contracts and agreements, promissory notes, land surveys, copies of wills, and other legal agreements. Much of the material relates directly to his business correspondence and documents various business transactions in which he was involved.

The remaining correspondence and papers primarily written to and from the family of Elijah Boardman, including his wife and children’s families. Much of this correspondence is personal in nature, centering on aspects of family life and the experiences of women, including how they managed and conversed about the health of various family members, and how they assessed the skills (or lack thereof) of hired help. But the letters also address more serious topics like financial struggles and death. The most frequently encountered members of the extended Boardman family correspondents are: Caroline Maria Boardman, Rev. John Frederick Schroeder (1800-1857), who married Caroline Boardman in 1825, Cornelia Elizabeth Boardman, Lucy Hall Boardman, Mabel Thorp Boardman, and Mary Anna Whiting Boardman. The three remaining folders contain envelopes and enclosures, undated manuscript fragments, and a newspaper clipping.

Materials include manuscripts and clippings.


  • Creation: 1762 - 1906


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Elijah Boardman (1760-1823) was born in New Milford, Connecticut, the third son of Sherman Boardman and Sarah Bostwick. At age 16, Boardman enlisted as a soldier in the Continental Army under the command of Colonel Charles Webb. In March 1776, he took part in the Battle of Long Island, but he suffered from poor health throughout much of the war. Boardman obtained the ultimate rank of sergeant and after his discharge from the army became a clerk and trained as a shopkeeper in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1781, he returned to New Milford, Connecticut setting up a dry-goods store with his brother Daniel. He would eventually open a second shop in Litchfield, Connecticut in 1791. Boardman’s businesses provided a diverse assortment of wares to his customers in Connecticut and through a network of trade offered goods from Europe, India, China, and Spanish West Indies. Throughout this period he also increased his landholdings in New Milford and surrounding towns, as well as in Massachusetts and Vermont. In 1795, Boardman purchased land in the Ohio Western Reserve--now part of Northern Ohio--as a member of the Connecticut Land Company where he established the towns of Boardman, Palmyra, and Medina. Through this transaction he became one of the largest landowners and taxpayers in New Milford, Connecticut.

In addition to his business endeavors, after 1800 Boardman became prominent in local and state politics. He became a member of the State House of Representatives and served from 1803 to 1805 and again in 1816. He was elected to the State Upper House in 1817 and continued to serve until 1819 when he was elected to the Connecticut State Senate. In 1821, Elijah Boardman was elected to the United States Senate where he served until his death on August 18, 1823, while on a visit to Boardman, Ohio.

Boardman married Mary Anna Whiting (1767-1848) on September 25, 1792. They had six children. William Whiting Boardman (1794-1871), Henry Mason Boardman (1797-1846), George Sherman Boardman (1799-1825), Caroline Maria Boardman Schroeder (1802-1853),Mary Anna Boardman (1805-1822), Cornelia Elizabeth Boardman (1808-1880).


1 Cubic foot

Language of Materials




Related Materials

Related materials in other repositories include the Boardman Papers at the William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan; the Boardman Family Papers, Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; and the Elijah Boardman Papers, 1782-1853, Litchfield Historical Society Litchfield, Connecticut. For further information, see also John Frederick Schroeder, Memoir of the life and character of Mrs. Mary Anna Boardman, with a historical account of her forefathers, and biographical and genealogical notices of many of her kindred and relatives (New Haven: Printed for private distribution, 1849.) The American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York, is home to a Ralph Earl painting of Elijah Boardman.

Elijah Boardman Family Papers
Debra Dochuk
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556