John James Speed was born in Mecklenburg County, VA in 1803. He married Anne Sophia Morrell in 1829, and they had eight children. Speed was appointed to the New York State Legislature in 1832 and moved to Albany. He died in Brooklyn, New York, in 1867.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of 305 letters, indentures, announcements, and receipts. There are also 19 pieces of ephemera and 39 albumen, tintype, and daguerreotype photographs. The majority of the correspondence was sent to John James Speed from business associates and family members. One associate, George James Pumpelly, wrote 99 letters to Speed between 1853-1863. Pumpelly's letters discuss finances, the possible purchase of coal mines, and various ventures Speed was involved in at the time. Speed received several letters from supporters after his appointment to the Legislature in 1832. There is an unsigned speech given by Speed at the Republican National Convention held in Baltimore, MD, in June 1864. Several subjects touched upon in the speech include President Lincoln, Vice-Presidential nominee Andrew Johnson, and the Civil War. The photographs include portraits of Ezra Cornell and his wife along with a few images of some of the Speed family including John James Speed and his son and daughter, Frederic and Cornelia Speed.