With grant money from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a division within the National Archives, we recently started a project to digitize manuscript collections that have already been captured on microfilm. The digitized images are going to be available on Connecticut History Online, and there will be links from our online finding aids to the digital images. The first collection we are working on is the Oliver Wolcott Jr. Papers. Wolcott, a native of Litchfield, was first appointed in 1789 as auditor at the new Treasury Department then appointed to comptroller and finally, in 1795, when Alexander Hamilton retired, Wolcott became Secretary of the Treasury. In 1810-1811 Wolcott was elected to the main board of directors of the Bank of the United States, and after the charter lapsed (March 4, 1811) he played a prominent role in the launching of the Bank of America, serving as its president from 1812-1814. He also served as Governor of Connecticut from 1817 to 1827.
Wolcott’s correspondence reads like a who’s who, with letters to and from John Adams, Rufus King, Alexander Hamilton, John Trumbull, Oliver Ellsworth, Joel Barlow, Henry Knox, Jeremiah Wadsworth, Elbridge Gerry, James Hillhouse and Benjamin Tallmadge, to name a few. There are also a set of instructions to Wolcott when he served as envoy to France, plans for establishing the Bank of the United States, drafts of Wolcott’s speeches, essays and editorials, and material related to the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania in 1793. All of these facets of his life are documented in his papers.
Oliver Wolcott’s papers are among the most heavily used in the Waterman Research Center, so we are pleased to make them more readily available to researchers online. And we need to thank NHPRC for providing the funding for this worthy project.