Stephen Elliott papers

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The Stephen Elliott papers consist of manuscripts and research notes, some in Elliott's hand and some in other hands; subscription forms for his A sketch of the botany of South-Carolina and Georgia; and correspondence, mostly to Elliott from fellow botanists, dated from 1791 to 1829. Also includes some twentieth century material related to Elliott's botanical research.

There are almost 90 letters to Elliott from about 20 correspondents, dating from 1808 to 1828, mainly concerning the collection, identification, and exchange of botanical specimens. In this group, 31 letters are from Henry Muhlenberg (1753-1815) and about 25 are from James Macbride (1785-1817). The only other correspondents represented by more than one letter are François André Michaux (1770-1855), William Darlington (1782-1863), and Samuel Boykin (1786-1848). Eight of the correspondents are included in Joseph Ewan's list of collectors cited in A sketch of the botany of South-Carolina and Georgia.

The collection also includes an article on botany; broadsides related to the Literary and Philosophical Society of South Carolina; lists, invoices, and correspondence related to the purchase of books by Elliott for the Charleston Library Society; and slave records.

The bulk of the material is in English, with some correspondence in French and German.

Biographical Note:

Stephen Elliott was born on November 11, 1771, in Beaufort, South Carolina, the third son of William Elliott, a merchant. His father died when Stephen was a boy, and his older brother is said to have taken charge of his education. He was sent to New Haven, Connecticut, in December 1787 to be tutored by Judge Simeon Baldwin (1761-1851) and entered Yale College in February 1788. Elliot received his B.A. from Yale in 1791, with valedictorian honors. His English oration was on "The Supposed Degeneracy of Animated Nature in America" (Ewan xxvii). Elliott then returned to South Carolina and became a planter. He was elected to the South Carolina legislature in 1793 or 1796 (sources disagree) and served until about 1800. In 1796 he married Esther Habersham, with whom he had a large family. From 1800 to 1808 he seems to have devoted himself to his plantation and to the study of natural history. In 1808 he was re-elected to the legislature, where he was active in promoting the establishment of a state bank. When the bank was established in 1812, he ceased legislative work and was appointed President of the "Bank of the State," moving to Charleston. He remained president of the bank until his death.

In Charleston, Elliott was involved in a number of scientific and cultural concerns. He was active in the founding of the Literary and Philosophical Society of South Carolina and served as its president from 1814 to 1830; he was president of the Charleston Library Society; and he co-founded the Southern Review with Hugh Swinton Legaré (1797-1843) in 1828. In 1820 he was elected president of South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina); most accounts say he declined the post, but according to one version he served a short term. He was an early and active campaigner for the establishment of the Medical College of South Carolina, where he taught natural history and botany from 1824 until his death.

Elliott carried on an active correspondence with Henry Muhlenberg (1753-1815) and other people interested in botany and natural history. He published A sketch of the botany of South-Carolina and Georgia from 1816 to 1824 and thereby established himself as a major figure in the history of American botany. He received Honorary Doctor of Law degrees from Yale University (1819), Harvard University (1822) and Columbia University (1825) (Ewan xxx). Elliott has been memorialized in a number of ways. The Elliott College building on the University of South Carolina campus was named for him, and 1853 the Elliott Society of Charleston was founded. In 1933 a monument was erected over Elliott's unmarked grave in St. Paul's churchyard, Charleston (Ewan xxxi). Elliott is remembered also "in a genus of plants of the Heath family...established by Dr. Muhlenberg" (Sargent 202). Sargent is probably referring Ericaceae Elliottia racemosa (IPNI).

Elliott died "of Apoplexy" (most likely a stroke) in Charleston on March 28, 1830.

Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Plantation records. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Plantation records. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Notebook kept by Stephen Elliott recording the names of slaves owned by Elliott and his extended family who were given blankets; lists of tools given to carpenters, slaves, and overseers; slaves obtained at the settlement of the estate of Elliott's father, William Elliott, in 1792, and slaves...

80 pages: 99% transcribed
Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791-approximately 1947. Letters from James MacBride to Stephen Elliott, 1811-1812 September 3. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791-approximately 1947. Letters from James MacBride to Stephen Elliott, 1811-1812 September 3. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Correspondence from physician and botanist James MacBride (1784-1817), of Princeville and Charleston, South Carolina, to Elliott, dated 1811 to September 3, 1812. In a letter dated December 24, 1811, MacBride suggests Elliott expand his planned work on botany to include the medicinal uses of...

21 pages: 0% transcribed, 29% needs review
Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Plant lists. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Plant lists. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Contains undated lists of plants and trees “which would thrive in the mild climate of Charleston,” South Carolina, including cork trees, fig trees from Italy, and lemon and lime trees from Portugal; lists of genera and species under Linnaean classes of plants including Syngenesia, Dodecandria,...

94 pages: 0% transcribed, 3% needs review
Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Notes on plants and natural history. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Notes on plants and natural history. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Contains notes on Linnaean classes of plants, including Hexandria and Tetradynamia, and plant specimens; a manuscript, possibly by botanist James MacBride (1784-1817), describing plants local to swamps, pine barrens, sand hills, and other ecoregions; lists of Linnaean names of fishes and...

31 pages: 3% transcribed
Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Letter of Ambrose-Marie-François-Joseph Palisot de Beauvois, 1810 September 14. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Letter of Ambrose-Marie-François-Joseph Palisot de Beauvois, 1810 September 14. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Photostat of unaddressed correspondence of Ambrose-Marie-François-Joseph Palisot de Beauvois (1752-1820), thanking the recipient of the letter, probably Stephen Elliott, for his observations on his work, and requesting American plant specimens.

2 pages: 0% transcribed
Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Letter from Thomas Jarram Wray to Stephen Elliott, 1819 February 7. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Letter from Thomas Jarram Wray to Stephen Elliott, 1819 February 7. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Correspondence from Augusta, Georgia, botanist Thomas Jarram Wray (1781-1851) to Elliot, dated February 7, 1819, concerning transmittal of proceeds from Elliott’s A sketch of the botany of South-Carolina and Georgia, and obtaining additional copies of the work to sell in Augusta and...

3 pages: 67% transcribed, 33% needs review
Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Letter from André Thouin to Stephen Elliott, 1818 July 5. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Letter from André Thouin to Stephen Elliott, 1818 July 5. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Correspondence in French from botanist André Thouin (1746-1824), chair of horticulture at Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in Paris, to Elliott, dated July 5, 1818, regarding the exchange of plant specimens.

3 pages: 0% transcribed
Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Stephen Elliott botanical manuscript. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Stephen Elliott botanical manuscript. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Manuscript notes on 280 species of plants by Stephen Elliott, with observations dated from 1810 to 1814 that were included in his A sketch of the botany of South-Carolina and Georgia, published from 1816 to 1824. Includes a typed mid-twentieth century document by Arnold Arboretum Librarian...

261 pages: 0% transcribed
Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Typed list of plants named in Stephen Elliott botanical manuscript. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Typed list of plants named in Stephen Elliott botanical manuscript. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Typed list of plant names from Stephen Elliott botanical manuscript, 1810-1814, and the dates, page numbers, and sometimes his descriptions, probably created by Arnold Arboretum Librarian Lazella Schwarten in circa 1947.

20 pages: 30% corrected
Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Letter from John Abbot to Stephen Elliott, 1817 August 3. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Elliott, Stephen, 1771-1830. Stephen Elliott papers, 1791- approximately 1947. Letter from John Abbot to Stephen Elliott, 1817 August 3. gra00020. Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Botany Libraries, Harvard University.

Correspondence from Bulloch County, Georgia, scientific illustrator and entomologist John Abbot (1751-1840) to Elliott concerning drawings he offered to send to Elliott or the Charleston Library Society, dated August 3, 1817. Includes a twentieth century typescript.

3 pages: 0% transcribed, 67% needs review
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