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Royall Tyler papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8540

Content Description

This addition to MSS 8540 Papers of Royall Tyler contains a autographed signed letter written in 1808 from Vermont Chief Justice Royall Tyler to New York publisher Isaac Riley discussing Tyler's preparation on the manuscript for publications of Tyler's "Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Judicature of the State of Vermont." Riley would subsequently publish the work in two volumes, 1809-1810.

The original collection contains four letters, 1810-1824, from Tyler regarding various legal matters: the divorce case and alimony of Rebecah Perry vs. Daniel Perry; the economic advantage of transporting more than one prisoner at a time; the New Hampshire elections, particularly [Jeremiah?] Smith; the re-election of James Madison; and the qualifications of John Johnson, Clerk of County Court, for appointment as Master of Chancery for the County of Burlington, Vermont.

There is also correspondence about the first volume of Tyler's reports, published as "Reports of cases argued and determined in the Supreme Court of Judicature of Vermont 1800 to 1803"; and instructions, on behalf of Mrs. Tyler for Griffith to fill out forms for a bond and mortgage. They also contain a letter, 1787 March 6, to Tyler from James Bowdoin instructing Tyler to go to New York City to seek help from Gov. George Clinton and the State of New York in apprehending members of Shays' Rebellion.


  • Creation: 1808 - 1824


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Royall Tyler (1757-1826) became an assistant judge of the Vermont Supreme Court in 1801 and from 1801 through 1813 served as chief justice, presiding over a number of important trials. Cases include Stephen Jacob in 1802 involving enslavement, and the Black Snake crew in 1808 about smuggling on Lake Champlain. He became a professor of jurisprudence at the University of Vermont (1811-1814). He also published two volumes (1809-1810) of Reports of the Vermont Supreme Court.

He was also known for his flourishing literary career. In 1787 his comedy "The Contrast" came to be considered the first play written by an American to be professionaly produced.


0.018 Cubic Feet : one additional letter and four original letters and 2 documents. (6 items)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection contains one letter purchased from Ian Brabner Rare Americana by the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia Library on 2021, March 12 and four letters purchased on 1976 February 24 and 1973 March 8.

Royall Tyler papers
Ellen Welch
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States