Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection contains family papers of the King, Hale, and Douglass families, including family correspondence. It also includes professional papers of Cyrus King, a United States legislator from Massachusetts, and Benjamin Hale and Malcolm Douglass, both ministers and educators, as well as records of Norwich University.

Biographical Sketches

Cyrus King (b. Scarboro, Maine, 6 Sept. 1772, d. Saco, Maine, 25 Apr. 1817) was the half-brother of Rufus King and brother of William King. Cyrus King served as private secretary to Rufus King when he was United States minister to England in 1796, practiced law in Saco, Maine, served as major general of the Sixth Division, Massachusetts Militia, and was elected as a Federalist to the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Congresses (1813-1817). In addition to Rufus and William, Cyrus had at least one sister, Eliza King Porter. He married Hannah Storer, and fathered six known children: Mary Caroline King Hale (m. Benjamin Hale), William Rufus King, Ann Frasier King Bridge, Elizabeth King, Olive S. King, and Hannah S. King.

Rufus King (b. Scarboro, Maine, 24 Mar. 1755, d. Jamaica, N.Y., 29 Apr. 1827) was the older half-brother of Cyrus and William King. Rufus King served as a member of the Continental Congress from Massachusetts, 1784-1787, delegate to the Federal Constitutional convention at Philadelphia in 1787, and delegate to the state convention in 1788 which ratified the same. In 1788 he moved to New York City and served in United States Senate for New York, 1789-1796 and 1813-1825. Rufus King also served as U.S. minister to Great Britain, 1796-1803.

William King (b. Scarboro, Maine, 1768, d. 1852) was half-brother of Rufus King and brother of Cyrus King. A wealthy ship-owner, William King became a leader in the Maine statehood movement, and eventually the state's first governor, 1820-1821.

Benjamin Hale (b. Newburyport, 1797, d. Newburyport, 1863) was a Congregational and Episcopal clergyman. Hale served as principal of the Gardiner Lyceum, 1823-1827, and as the third president of Geneva College, N.Y. (which later became Hobart), 1836-1858. He was the son of Thomas and Mary Little Hale and had seven known siblings: Sarah (Sally) Hale, Moses Hale, Josiah Hale, Mary Hale, Alice Hale March (m. John C. March), Thomas Hale, and Ebenezer Hale. He married Mary Caroline King Hale, daughter of Cyrus King, and fathered five known children: Sarah Elizabeth Hale Douglass (m. Malcolm Douglass), Josiah L. Hale, Thomas Hale, and Benjamin Hale, Jr.

Gardiner, R.H. (Robert Hallowell) (b. Bristol, England, 1782, d. 1864) was an agriculturalist who fostered agricultural societies and founded the Gardiner Lyceum, 1821, a forerunner of American agricultural and technical schools. He also served as an overseer of Bowdoin College, 1811-1841, member of the Maine House of Representatives in 1822, and was involved in the educational work of the Episcopal Church.

Malcolm Douglass (b. 1825, d. [Sept.] 1887) was an Episcopal clergyman and served as the president of Norwich University (Vt.), 1871-1875. Douglass was the son of Ann E. Douglass, and had six known siblings: Andrew, Henry, Charles, Emily (m. Sidney Wilbur), Ellen (m. W.O. Jarvis), and Mary. He married Sarah Elizabeth Hale Douglass, daughter of Benjamin Hale, with whom he had three known children: Elliott Douglass, Benjamin Douglass, and Malcolm Douglass, Jr.

Collection Description

The King-Hale-Douglass papers, 1789-1941, contain the family and professional papers of three generations of public servants linked by marriage. The basic organization in bundles by correspondent and topic in which the collection arrived has been preserved as much as possible.

Cyrus King, along with his brothers Rufus and William, was an active figure in the politics of the early Republic. Benjamin Hale, a Congregational and Episcopal minister as well as president of Geneva College, married the daughter of Cyrus King. Malcolm Douglass, Episcopal minister and president of Norwich University, married the daughter of Benjamin Hale.

The collection features family correspondence and papers from the King, Hale, and Douglass families as well as professional correspondence and papers of Cyrus King, Benjamin Hale, and Malcolm Douglass and records of Norwich University.

King family correspondence includes Rufus King's discussion of Cyrus King's education and the Jay Treaty, William King's discussion of his nephew, William Rufus King's, education, Hannah King's detailed accounts of her husband's sickness, treatment, and death, and letters regarding the settlement of his estate. King family papers contain accounts and recipes for cupcakes, lemonade, etc.

The majority of Hale family correspondence is between Benjamin Hale and his siblings, especially Moses, Josiah, and Thomas. It includes letters from 1836 that document Benjamin Hale's trip to St. Croix. Douglass family correspondence contains Malcolm Douglass's correspondence with his wife Sarah Hale Douglass, as well as extensive letters from his siblings and brothers-in-law, including letters in 1887 concerning his trip to England.

Cyrus King's professional correspondence and papers span his employment as personal secretary to his brother Rufus, then U.S. minister to Great Britain, his career as an attorney in Maine, and his two terms as a member of Congress. Benjamin Hale's professional correspondence and papers contain discussion of education, especially the Gardiner Lyceum, and church business, as well as lectures and sermons.

Malcolm Douglass' professional correspondence and papers relate to his work as a pastor in the Episcopal Dioceses of Western New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont and his tenure as president of Norwich University. Douglass' Norwich University correspondence includes several letters from Tiffany & Co., 1872 (Apr.- July), regarding school medals, two sketches of which are included with a letter of 18 Apr. 1872.

Norwich University records include a variety of manuscript and printed materials, many of which relate to the school's appeal for financial help from the state and a suit brought by instructor James Batchelder for unpaid wages.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Richard Rickard, October 2001.

Camp "Mac El-Mo" sign in book, gift of Anonymous donor, July 2008.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. King family papers, 1789-1853

A. Family papers, 1789-1853

Arranged chronologically

King family papers contain letters from Rufus King, letters from William King, letters from Mary Black King to her son Cyrus King, Cyrus King family correspondence, and Cyrus King family papers.

Rufus King letters include several letters to Cyrus King discussing his education and relaying developments in the negotiation and passage of Jay's Treaty. The majority of William King's letters are to Cyrus King, but recipients also include Hannah S. King, William Rufus King (Cyrus' son), and Reuben H. Green. William's letters to Cyrus King primarily discuss mutual business matters. His letters to Hannah and William Rufus King after Cyrus King's death in 1817 discuss W.R. King's education. Mary Black King's letters to her son Cyrus date from when he was in school, as well as when he was in England with Rufus King, and contain family news and maternal advice.

Cyrus King family correspondence, 1791-1853, covers a variety of family matters. Cyrus King's correspondents include wife Hannah S. King, son William Rufus King, sister Eliza King Porter, and brother-in-law Seth Storer. Several copies of letters from Cyrus to Rufus and William King are also included. Hannah S. King's correspondents include brother Seth Storer, William King, and all of her children. Correspondence after Cyrus King's death in 1817 includes discussion of the settlement of his estate, two descriptions of his sickness, treatment, and death by his wife, and general family correspondence between his wife and children. One folder of family papers contains accounts, recipes for cupcakes, lemonade, etc., notes, and miscellaneous.

Box 1Folder 1
Letters from Rufus King, 1789-1818
Box 1Folder 2-5
Letters from William King, 1793-1822
Box 1Folder 6-7
Mary Black King to Cyrus King, 1791-1798
Box 1Folder 8-13
Cyrus King family correspondence, 1791-1853
Box 1Folder 14
Cyrus King family papers, 1792-1853

B. Cyrus King papers, 1791-1816

Arranged chronologically

Cyrus King papers include professional papers and correspondence, speeches, and essays/compositions. Professional papers and correspondence, 1796-1816, span Cyrus King's employment as private secretary by his brother Rufus when he served as minister to England, his career as an attorney in Saco, Maine, and his two terms in Congress. One folder of speeches, 1797-1816, includes orations on subjects such as the invasion of Canada, party politics, and the conscription of minors. Five folders of school compositions and essays, 1791-1793 (mostly undated), touch on many subjects including human nature, education, philosophy and political science.

For Cyrus King family correspondence, which contains several letters to him regarding professional and political matters including the Jay Treaty, see King family correspondence.

Box 2Folder 1-5
Cyrus King professional papers and correspondence, 1796-1816
Box 2Folder 6
Cyrus King speeches, 1797-1816
Box 2Folder 7-11
Cyrus King compositions, 1791-1793

II. Benjamin Hale papers, 1817-1907

A. Hale family correspondence, 1817-1907

Arranged chronologically

Hale family correspondence contains general Hale family correspondence, Benjamin Hale family correspondence, Benjamin and Mary Caroline Hale correspondence with Malcolm and Sarah Hale Douglass, and Sarah E. Hale (Douglass) correspondence.

General Hale family correspondence contains letters between family members other than Benjamin Hale, the majority of which are from Sarah (Sally) Hale (sister of Benjamin Hale) to her brother Moses, as well as siblings Josiah, Alice, and Moses' wife Mary. Also included are letters to Moses from his grandfather Josiah Little, his father Thomas Hale, his brother Josiah, and brother-in-law John C. March; and from Olive Ward to Hannah Heywood.

Benjamin Hale family correspondence primarily consists of letters to his brothers Moses, Josiah, Thomas, and Ebenezer, as well as his father Thomas, and his mother Mary L. Hale. Benjamin Hale's letters from 1836 document his trip to St. Croix.

There is one folder of correspondence between Benjamin Hale, his wife Mary Caroline Hale, their daughter Sarah Elizabeth Hale Douglass, and her husband Malcolm Douglass.

One folder of Sarah Elizabeth Hale (Douglass) correspondence includes letters from her aunts Hannah Heywood, Mary Hale, and Elizabeth King, uncle Thomas Hale, cousins Olive King Ward and Octavia and Anne Bridge, and her brothers Josiah and Benjamin Hale, Jr. For additional Sarah Hale Douglass correspondence, see Douglass family correspondence.

Box 3Folder 1-3
Hale family correspondence, 1817-1840;1864
Box 3Folder 4-15
Benjamin Hale family correspondence, 1820-1857
Box 3Folder 16
Benjamin Hale correspondence with Mary Caroline Hale and Malcolm and Sarah Elizabeth Hale Douglass, 1845-1863
Box 3Folder 17
Sarah Elizabeth Hale (Douglass) correspondence, 1849-1876;1907

B. Benjamin Hale professional correspondence, 1821-1863

Arranged chronologically

Benjamin Hale correspondence includes letters from R.H. Gardiner, letters to the Rev. Kendrick Metcalf, and letters to the Rev. W.H.A. Bissell. The letters from R.H. Gardner frequently discuss the Gardiner Lyceum. Benjamin Hale's letters to the Rev. Kendrick Metcalf and the Rev. W.H.A. Bissell discuss family matters, contemporary events, and church business. For additional W.H. Bissell correspondence, see Malcolm Douglass pastoral correspondence.

Box 4Folder 1-5
R.H. Gardiner to Benjamin Hale, 1821-1836
Box 4Folder 6-7
Benjamin Hale to the Rev. Kendrick Metcalf, 1837-1863
Box 4Folder 8-9
Benjamin Hale to the Rev. W.H.A. Bissell, 1860-1863

C. Benjamin Hale papers, 1819-1853

Arranged chronologically

Benjamin Hale papers include a list of Benjamin Hale letters, including notes on subject matter, lecture and sermon notes, a catalog of math and natural science books, and a folder of printed memorials.

See also Douglass family correspondence for letters concerning the publication of Benjamin Hale's sermons.

Box 4Folder 10
List of Benjamin Hale letters, 1822-1853

(Includes notes on subject matter)

Vol. 1
Lecture and sermon notes, 1819-1850
Box 4Folder 11
Sermon notes, ca. 1825-1833
Box 4Folder 12
Catalog of math and natural science books, ca. 1831
Box 4Folder 13
Printed Benjamin Hale memorials, 1858,1866

III. Malcolm Douglass papers, 1841-1913

A. Douglass family correspondence, 1841-1913

Arranged chronologically

Douglass family correspondence contains Malcolm Douglass-Sarah Douglass correspondence, letters concerning the publication of Benjamin Hale's sermons, and letters regarding the sale of the Douglass house in Northfield, Vermont. The letters between Malcolm and Sarah Douglass document family matters, their moves between New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and their travels, and contain several poems written to Sarah by Malcolm. The majority of family correspondence is letters to and from Malcolm Douglass, but also includes correspondence among other family members. Correspondents include Douglass' mother Ann, his siblings Andrew, Henry, Charles, Emily, Ellen, and Mary, and brothers-in-law Sidney Wilbur, W.O. Jarvis, Josiah L. Hale, Thomas Hale, and Benjamin Hale, Jr. Letters from June 1887 document Malcolm Douglass' trip to England.

For additional Sarah Hale Douglass correspondence, see Hale family correspondence.

Box 5
Malcolm Douglass and Sarah Douglass correspondence, 1855-1886

Family correspondence

Box 6
Box 7Folder 1-6
Box 7Folder 7
Letters concerning the publication of Benjamin Hale's sermons, 1869-1871
Box 7Folder 8
Letters concerning the Douglass house in Northfield, Vermont, 1853,1872,1913

B. Malcolm Douglass professional correspondence, 1846-1881

Arranged chronologically

Malcolm Douglass' professional correspondence includes calls to various parishes, pastoral correspondence, correspondence with Bishops Carleton Chase and W.H. de Lancey, and Norwich University correspondence.

Douglass received many letters from parishes calling for his pastoral services on permanent or temporary bases. His pastoral correspondence contains letters to and from members of his congregations at Trinity Church, Seneca Falls, N.Y., Christ Church, Albion, N.Y. and St. Paul's Church, Waterloo, N.Y., requesting advice, giving thanks, and discussing matters of faith, as well as church business.

From 1853-1854, Douglass corresponded with Mrs. H.M. Ellsworth and members of her family regarding her surprise decision to leave the Episcopal Church and be baptized in the Baptist faith. He exchanged letters with Hannah Peck, 1863-1834, a woman who had taken an interest in William Barnes, a man executed in 1864 for the murder of his wife. Douglass and Peck discuss legal options and Barnes' spiritual preparations.

Pastoral correspondence for the first half of 1868 concerns the election of W.H.A. Bissell as the Bishop of Vermont. Douglass' correspondence with the Bishops de Lancey and Chase contains discussion of church business in the diocese of Western New York and New Hampshire, respectively. The Bishop Chase correspondence specifically relates to the parish at Cornish, N.H. Douglass' Norwich University correspondence contains official and unofficial letters concerning his appointment and resignation, the financial situation of the school, and other administrative concerns. Norwich University correspondence also includes several letters from Tiffany & Co., 1872 (Apr.- July), regarding school medals. Two pencil sketches of medals, one gold and one silver, are contained in the correspondence with a letter of 18 Apr. 1872.

Box 7Folder 9-13
Calls to parishes, 1846-1881
Box 8Folder 1-8
Pastoral correspondence, 1850-1873
Box 8Folder 9
Bishop W.H. de Lancey correspondence, 1851-1858
Box 8Folder 10
Bishop Carleton Chase correspondence, 1860-1870
Box 8Folder 11-17
Norwich University correspondence, 1861-1878

C. Malcolm Douglass papers, 1847-1880

Arranged chronologically

Malcolm Douglass' papers include two Decoration Day addresses, and records from Douglass' tenures as the superintendent of the Sunday school of the Church of the Epiphany, New York, and the St. Paul's Parish school, Waterloo, N.Y.

Malcolm Douglass papers also include one folder of printed materials, containing clippings and diocese circulars, and one folder of printed Sunday school materials from Malcolm Douglass' brother, the Rev. Charles E. Douglass, who was a minister in England.

Box 8Folder 18
Decoration Day addresses, 1873,1876
Box 8Folder 19-20
Church school papers, 1847-1859
Box 8Folder 21
Printed materials, 1861-1880
Box 8Folder 22
Charles E. Douglass printed Sunday school materials, 1856-1876

D. Norwich University papers, 1867-1876

Arranged chronologically

Norwich University records include various manuscript and printed materials, most of which relate to Malcolm Douglass' tenure as president. The records include student records, appeals for degrees from former students, curriculum materials, correspondence and other papers concerning the University's appeal for financial help from the state of Vermont in 1872, records of a suit brought against the school by James Batchelder for unpaid wages, diplomas, newspaper clippings, printed circulars and pamphlets, commencement materials, copies of The University Reveille (the school newspaper), and miscellaneous printed materials.

Box 9Folder 1-3
Records, 1870-1876
Box 9Folder 4
State financial appeal records, 1872
Box 9Folder 5
Batchelder suit records, 1872-1874
Box 9Folder 6
Diplomas, 1872
Box 9Folder 7
Newspaper Clippings, 1872-1876
Box 9Folder 8
Printed Circulars, 1866-1875
Box 9Folder 9
Printed Commencement materials, 1871-1875
Box 9Folder 10
Norwich University Pamphlets, 1874-1875
Box 9Folder 11
Miscellaneous Pamphlets, 1870-1874
Box 9Folder 12
The University Reveille, 1867-1874
Box 9Folder 13
Miscellaneous Printed Materials, 1871-1874

IV. Camp "Mac El-Mo" sign-in book, 1890-1941

Sign-in book for Camp "Mac El-Mo", a Douglass family-owned lodge in East Wareham, Mass. The volume contains signatures and home cities and towns of visitors to the lodge from 1890-1941. In the later years, guests to the camp gave more detailed accounts of their journey to the camp (including by automobile beginning in the early 20th century) and of their stay.

Vol. 2

Preferred Citation

King-Hale-Douglass family papers, Massachusetts Historical Society

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.


Bissell, W.H.A., Bishop.
Chase, Carleton, Bishop.
De Lancey, William Heathcote, 1797-1865.
Douglass, Malcolm, 1825-1887.
Douglass, Sarah Elizabeth Hale.
Gardiner, Robert Hallowell, 1782-1864.
Hale, Benjamin, 1797-1863.
Hale, Josiah, 1803-1875.
Hale, Moses Little, 1799-1874.
Hale, Thomas, 1800-1854.
King, Cyrus, 1772-1817.
King, Hannah Storer.
King, Mary Black.
King, Rufus, 1755-1827.
King, William, 1768-1852.
Metcalf, Kendrick.


Episcopal Church. Diocese of New Hampshire.
Episcopal Church. Diocese of Vermont.
Episcopal Church. Diocese of Western New York.
Gardiner Lyceum (Gardiner, Me.).
Tiffany and Company.
Norwich University.


Clergy--New Hampshire.
Clergy--New York (State).
Estates (Law)--Maine.
Family history--1750-1799.
Family history--1800-1849.
Family history--1850-1899.
Jay's treaty, 1794.
Legislators--United States.
Speeches, addresses, etc.
England--Description and travel--1801-1900.
Maine--Politics and government--1775-1865.
Saint Croix (V.I.)--Description and travel.
United States--Politics and government--19th century.

Materials Removed from the Collection

Photograph Removed

The following photograph was removed from the collection and placed with the MHS Photo Collection for storage and cataloging.

Photo of Anne Bridge (daughter of Ann Frasier King Bridge).

Printed Material Removed

For a list of printed materials removed from this collection, see Curator of Manuscripts.

Fiscal Paper Removed

The following item was removed from the collection for placement and cataloging with the MHS Fiscal Papers collection.

One sheet of 3 USA $12 interest coupons, 1780, each endorsed by Moses Little.