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Low, Fleming, and King family papers

Call Number

MS 3091


1794-1945, inclusive



0.42 Linear feet in 1 document box and 1 oversize folder.

Language of Materials

English .


Correspondence, documents, and ephemera stemming from the related Low, Fleming, and King families. Includes a 1794 letter to New York merchant and developer Nicholas Low (1739-1826) from Alexander Hamilton, and letters to the firm Low & Wallace from American and European importers and exporters, such as the Widow John Lang, Son & Co. of Bremen. Also present are a number of 19th century United States revenue stamps that were torn or soaked from documents by a collector.

Biographical / Historical

Late in life, New York merchant and developer Nicholas Low (1739-1826) married Alice (Haliburton) Fleming, a widow who brought two sons to the marriage, one of whom was Augustus Fleming (1785-1865). Low's children with Alice included a daughter, Henrietta Liston Low (1799-1882), who married (as his second wife) Charles King (1789-1867), son of diplomat Rufus King (1755-1827). Among the children of Charles and Henrietta (Low) King was Cornelius Low King (1829–1893). By his first marriage Charles King had a son, Rufus King (1814-1876), who, in turn, had a son named Rufus King Jr. (1838-1900). (All names underlined are represented by documents in the present collection.)


The collection is organized in five series, with material sorted chronologically within each series:

Series I
Nicholas Low and Low & Wallace, 1794-1814
Series II
Augustus Fleming, 1828-1865
Series III
King family, 1861-1934
Series IV
Miscellaneous documents, 1868-1908, undated
Series V
Philately, postal history, numismatics, circa 1862-1945, undated

Scope and Contents

Merchant Nicholas Low (1739–1826), in partnership with his brothers-in-law Hugh and Alexander Wallace, and nephew, William Wallace, imported Irish linens, salt, gunpowder, dry goods, and wine, while exporting corn, wheat, tobacco, rice, cotton, potash, and flaxseed. The collection includes letters from a number of his business contacts such as Magrath & Higgins (Madeira), Post & Russell (New York), Widow John Lang, Son & Co. (Bremen), James Waring & Co. (London), Richard H. Wilcocks & Co. (Philadelphia), and Ramsey, Gatchell and Bancroft (Waterford, Ireland). Also present is a 1794 letter from Alexander Hamilton, the postscript to which congratulates Low on his recent marriage, and a letter from Low's daughter, Henrietta, showing concern for the fate of Baltimore in the days following the British attack on Fort McHenry of September 13–14, 1814. (See Series I.)

Augustus Fleming, stepson of Nicholas Low, is represented by a few items: one letter (1828), a receipt (1865), and canceled checks (1845, 1863–1864). (See Series II.)

Nicholas Low's daughter, Henrietta Liston Low (1799-1882), married Charles King (1789-1867), son of diplomat Rufus King (1755-1827), so the collection includes some material (largely correspondence and receipts) from their descendants, such as the commission of son Cornelius Low King (1829–1893) as First Lieutenant in the 14th Regiment of Infantry during the Civil War. (See Series III.)

A group of miscellaneous documents—some possibly originating with the King family, but not identified as such—includes letters, receipts, two printed items to the Veterans of the Seventh Regiment, and a photoreproduction of a bas relief portrait of Abraham Lincoln. (See Series IV).

The collection includes an assemblage probably made by a numismatist and/or a philatelist, as it contains examples of foreign paper currency, and postage and revenue stamps torn or soaked from documents (in many cases the stamps remain attached to fragments of documents). In August 1862, the United States (Union) government began taxing various goods, services, and legal transactions. Taxes were paid by purchasing a revenue stamp of the appropriate denomination and affixing it to the taxable item. (See Series V.)

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Use Restrictions

This collection is owned by the New-York Historical Society. The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder. Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to 20 exposures of stable, unbound material per day.

Preferred Citation

The collection should be cited as: "Low, Fleming, and King Family Papers, MS 3091, The New-York Historical Society."

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection, the gift of Noëlle King and the King family, was received in two parts: the bulk in 2018 (accession no. MS.2018.049), and the oversized commission in Series III in 2019 (accession no. MS-2019-001).

Related Archival Materials

The New-York Historical Society also holds the Nicholas Low Papers (1 box), the Nicholas Low Papers supplement (167 items), and a further cache of Nicholas Low papers supplementary to the Elizabeth M. Smith Collection (30 items).

Collection processed by

Joseph Ditta

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 15:48:31 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: English

Processing Information

Archivist Joseph Ditta arranged and described this collection in June 2019.


New-York Historical Society
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024