Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > New York City History > 42. DeWitt Clinton

42.  DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828).  Letterbooks. Bound manuscript on paper, Vol. 17, 1808-1816, of 24, 1785-1828. RBML, DeWitt Clinton Papers

Congress established the First Bank of the United States, headquartered in Philadelphia, in 1791. By 1816, Congress chartered the Second Bank of the United States. In the manuscript from DeWitt Clinton's own letterbooks shown here, Clinton argues passionately that New York City deserves to be the home of the national bank, writing: "New York is the commercial capital of the union. In her center is one third of our commerce and from here is derived one third of our revenue. There are ten times more goods purchased here." Clinton's wish prevailed, marking the commercial and political ascendancy of New York over its rival Philadelphia. The library's DeWitt Clinton holdings contain 15 volumes of letters received by Clinton (1785-1828), 8 volumes of letterbooks of his own letters and writings (1793-1828), and one volume of miscellaneous papers in various hands.

Gift of William Schermerhorn, 1902

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