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Paltsits Collection--Ulster County, New York

Call Number

MS 477


1643-1829, inclusive



0.75 Linear feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials

The documents in the collection are in English.


A collection of 114 items relating to the history of Ulster County, New York, in particular land transactions, legal papers and church records. All were collected by Dr. V.H. Paltsits.

Historical Note

Ulster County, in southeastern New York State, is bordered by the Hudson River to the east and the Catskill Mountains to the northwest. Its early inhabitants were Algonquian-speaking Indians, such as the Delaware.

Missing Title

1614 Early adventurers came into Ulster County area to trade with the Indians for corn and pelts.
1615 Fur-trading post established on the future site of Kingston.
1652 Handful of settlers from Holland moved down from near Albany.
1653 Land purchased from the Esopus, a tribe of the Delaware Nation, for farming. Built village called Esopus, later Wiltwyck (Dutch for "wild woods"). After skirmishes with Indians, Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of the Dutch colony, brought soldiers up and built a stockade.
1669 Wiltwyck, now part of the English colony, was renamed Kingston.
1677 French Huguenots, under the leadership of Louis Dubois, founded settlement of New Paltz on 36,000 acres of land purchased from the Indians and patented to them by Governor Edmund Andros.
1683 Ulster, one of the original New York counties, was chartered to "contain the towns of Kingston, Hurley, and Marbletown, Foxhall and New Paltz, and all the villages, neighborhoods, and Christian inhabitations on the west side of the Hudson River, from the Murderers Creek, near the Highlands, to the Sawyers' Creek." Named for the traditional Irish province of Ulster, then under the control of James, Duke of York and Albany (later King James II).
1777 Kingston, the county seat, was the first capital of New York State. The state's first legislature, senate and supreme court convened in Kingston and George Clinton was inaugurated there as New York's first governor. In late 1777, British troops entered and burned Kingston, destroying much of the town.
1805 The community survived and Kingston incorporated as a village.
1828 Delaware and Hudson Canal completed. Kingston was the eastern terminus.

Source of Information: French, J.H. The Historical and Statistical Gazetteer of New York State. Syracuse, N.Y.: R.P. Smith, 1860.


Materials are arranged following the sequence of an item-level inventory created by Dr. Paltsits. For the most part, the items are in a chronological sequence. Copies of Dr. Paltsits' handwritten notes, included within the folders, provide supplemental information and estimated time frames for many of the undated items.

Scope and Content Note

The Paltsits Ulster County Collection is made up of a wide variety of materials related to the history of Ulster County, New York. All items were collected by Dr. Victor Hugo Paltsits (1867-1952), an archivist and librarian who was, at one time, head of the Manuscripts Division of the New York Public Library.

Materials within the collection date from the mid-seventeenth through the early nineteenth century. Examples include deeds and other land papers, surveys, court documents, notes, accounts, meeting and court minutes, petitions, reports, maps, receipts, letters, church pledges, marriage records, election tallies and genealogical notes. A large portion of the collection relates to property transactions. Activities of the Dutch Reformed Church are also prominent. In addition to church financing and construction papers, there are also items that relate to the split within the Church (1754-1771) between the Coetus Party (mostly American-born members who favored independence from Amsterdam) and the Conferentie Party (mostly immigrants from the Netherlands who sought to maintain the status quo).

Many of the documents are written in Dutch. The condition of materials in this collection is mixed. Quite a number of items are fragile, while others are in fair to good condition. There are several oversized items in Box 2.

Access Restrictions

Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit

Use Restrictions

Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit:

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the Paltsits Ulster County Collection, MS 477, the New-York Historical Society.

Location of Materials

Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit


Gift, 1948.

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

The New-York Historical Society has a significant amount of material related to the early history of Ulster County. Within the Manuscript Department, for example, is another collection of various property records, court documents, correspondence and financial papers - the Ulster County Collection (Call Phrase: Ulster County). There are also individual manuscript items such as the following:

Missing Title

  1. Land Surveys, 1767-[176?] Call Phrase: BV Gale, Samuel
  2. Patent, 1719/20, March 17, Ulster County (N.Y.) Call Phrase: Y1720

The Library contains a number of related volumes such as the following:

Missing Title

  1. Clearwater, Alphonso T., ed., The History of Ulster County, New York. Kingston, NY: W.J. Van Deusen, 1907. (Call Number: F127.U4 C6)
  2. DeWitt, Deweese W. Ulster County's Reformed Church Legacy: a Record of All Dutch Reformed Churches Whose Origin Came from Ulster County, New York. Kingston, N.Y.: Old Dutch Men's Club, Old Dutch Church, 1977. (Call Number: F127.U4D52)
  3. Fried, Marc B., The Early History of Kingston and Ulster County, N.Y. Marbletown, NY: Ulster County Historical Society [1975]. (Call Number: F129.K5 F82)
  4. Sylvester, Nathaniel Bartlett, History of Ulster County, New York: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, 1880 (Philadelphia: Press of J.B. Lippincott & Co.). (Call Number: F127.U4 S95)
  5. Ulster County Historical Society, Kingston, N.Y., Collections of the Ulster Historical Society, Volume I. Kingston, Hommel & Lounsbery, printers [etc.] 1860-62. (Call Number: F127.U4 U4)
  6. Van Buren, Augustus H., A History of Ulster County Under the Dominion of the Dutch. Kingston, NY: [s.n.], 1923.

Collection processed by

Jan Hilley

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 15:49:27 -0400.
Language: Description is in English.

Edition of this Guide

This version was derivedfrom paltsitsulster.xml


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