Stephen Van Rensselaer III collection, 1752-1851
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Brief Description: The collection (MC 27) contains correspondence and financial records documenting Stephen Van Rensselaer’s political, military, social, and business activities, including the probate of his estate in 1839. Correspondents of note include Henry Dearborn, Philip Schuyler, Dewitt Clinton, and Eliphalet Nott. Also included are a pastel portrait and copper engraving plate of Stephen Van Rensselaer, a small Psalm book, and miscellaneous items.
Held at:
Institute Archives and Special Collections
Phone: 518 276 8340
Email: lib-archives [at]
Created by: Van Rensselaer, Stephen (1764-1839)
Volume: 1.3 Linear Feet
Arrangement: This collection is organized in two series.  Series I. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically according to letter recipient. Series II. Financial, Legal and Miscellaneous Records is also arranged alphabetically.
Biographical Note for Van Rensselaer, Stephen (1764-1839) :

Fifth in direct descent from Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, the first Patroon, Stephen Van Rensselaer inherited a vast landed estate in Rensselaer and Albany counties at the age of five. He graduated from Harvard in 1782 and spent time in New York state government and as a member of the U.S. Congress (1822-29). His chief services to New York, however, were economic and educational. He was a member of the Erie Canal commissions and president of the state's first board of agriculture. He was the landlord for 3,000 tenants on Rensselaerswyck, his nearly 1,200 square mile estate and the founder and supporter of a wide variety of social, educational, business, and governmental institutions.

In 1783 Van Rensselaer married Margarita Schuyler, the daughter of General Philip Schuyler. Following her death in 1801 he married Cornelia Paterson, daughter of former New Jersey Governor William Paterson

In 1824 it was Van Rensselaer’s vision and support that enabled Amos Eaton to establish the Rensselaer School “for the purpose of instructing persons, who may choose to apply themselves, in the application of science to the common purposes of life.”

Languages of Materials
English [eng]
PreferredCitation: Stephen Van Rensselaer collection, #MC 27.  Institute Archives and Special Collections, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.