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William Nisbet papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1292

Scope and Contents

The bulk of this collection consists of about sixty letters written by William Nisbet to his mother and sister during his travels abroad in the 1860s. He traveled to countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The places he wrote from include: Paris, France; Cairo, Egypt; Thebes, Upper Egypt; Alexandria; Jerusalem; Damascus; Constantinople; Pesth, Alugary [?]; London, England; Amsterdam, Holland; Copenhagen, Denmark; Kristiansund, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia; Venice, Rome, and Naples, Italy; Malaga and Cadiz, Spain; Zurich and Luzern, Switzerland; Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland; Bombay, Nagpur Central, Delhi, and Lahor, India; Srinagar and Islamabad, Vale of Kashmir; Calcutta, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Peking (Beijing), Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande d’ Sul, Buenos Aires, and while on a boat in transit. In addition to these letters, there are also some about travels in South America and some about his inquiries into the genealogy of his family. There are also certificates and legal documents pertaining to William Nisbet and other family members. There are documents inside the folder "Correspondence from Travel to South America" from Michael Brown Rare Books that give additional information about the collection and provide a selected amount of transcription from the correspondence.


  • 1772-1881


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)

Biographical / Historical

William F. Nisbet was a retired businessman and travelor from a wealthy New York family. In 1865, at the age of 30, he retired to travel. In 1858 he traveled to South America, and from 1865 to 1868 he traveled around the globe. During his travels he wrote letters and sent artifacts and artwork back home to his family in New York. His obituary reads:

"William F. Nisbet of 400 West End Avenue, a well-known resident of this city, died yesterday of apoplexy, aged 71 years. On his mother's side he was of old Dutch stock. His father was a Presbyterian clergyman of Scotch descent. In early life he was interested in the Architectural Iron Works, but in 1865, retired from business and became an extensive traveler and art collector. He resided in Yonkers for many years, where for a long time he was President of the Board of Education. Mr. Nisbet was of striking and magnetic personality, and a gentleman of the old school. He leaves a wife and two sons." (Information from his obituary in the New York Times, February 6, 1906)


.2 Linear Feet (1 boxes)




This small collection is arranged into six folders. They are arranged into: Certificates & Legal Documents, Genealogical Correspondence, Correspondence from Travel to South America, Correspondence from Travel Around the World, and Correspondence and Financial Documents.

Processing Information

Processed by Madison Arnold-Scerbo, completed May 2018.
William Nisbet papers
Madison Arnold-Scerbo
May, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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