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Riggs Family papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS2239

Collection Scope and Content

This collection contains family photographs (including daguerreotypes and tintypes), travel photographs, books, artwork, personal accessories, draft manuscripts, newspaper clippings, and correspondence. The materials date from 1672-2006, with the bulk of the collection ranging from 1870-1939. The records are related to the Riggs family, including Thomas Riggs, territorial governor of Alaska (1918-1921), and family members connected to the Riggs National Bank of Washington, D.C. However, there are no materials that discuss the business affairs of the Riggs Bank (Please see the PNC-Riggs Bank Collection for business records).

The Thomas Riggs material contains family photographs in Alaska from 1914-1925, newspaper clippings relating to his governorship, and some business correspondence from 1922-1947.

Photographs include portraits of Riggs family members, particularly E. Francis Riggs Sr. and his children, and are prevalent in both framed and unframed formats. Travel photographs represent the late nineteenth century Middle East and Asia, early twentieth century Europe, a U.S. cross-country trip, and World War II in North Africa.

The draft manuscripts consist of multiple drafts of “The Riggs Family of Maryland: a Genealogical and Historical Record” by John Beverley Riggs and a single draft of “Remarks on Some of the Oldest Maps in America” by Frederic Kunstmann.

Riggs genealogy is recorded in the seventeenth century “Baxter’s Christian Directory” and in John Beverley Riggs’ draft manuscripts of “The Riggs Family of Maryland.”

Dates

  • 1672-1987
  • Majority of material found within 1870 - 1939

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Historical or Biographical Note

John Beverley Riggs (1918-2006), author, curator, archivist, and historian, gathered the materials in this collection. He graduated from The George Washington University in 1939, and later attended Yale, writing his doctoral dissertation on “The Acquisition of Foreign Archival Sources for American History to the Year 1949” in 1955. His published works include The Riggs Family of Maryland: A Genealogical and Historical Record (1939), Documentary Sources for Historic Preservation: Manuscripts (1964), A Guide to the Manuscripts in the Eleutherian Mills Historical Library (1978), as well as studies of early Maryland landowners and society.

The members of the Riggs family represented in this collection include three of the sons of businessman and banker Elisha Riggs, Sr. (1779-1853): George Washington Riggs, Jr. (1813-1881), partner in Corcoran and Riggs; Lawrason Riggs (1814-1884); and Elisha Riggs, Jr. (1826-1881), another partner in Corcoran and Riggs (which became Riggs & Co. in 1854).

George Washington Riggs, Jr.’s son Elisha Francis Riggs, Sr. (1851-1910) became a partner of Riggs & Co. in 1876 and remained involved until 1896, when the bank incorporated to become the public Riggs National Bank; he married Medora Thayer Riggs (1852-1915) and had three sons: George Washington Riggs, Jr. (1880-1883), who died in infancy; Elisha Francis Riggs, Jr. (1887-1936), who served in the U.S. Army; and Thomas Lawrason Riggs (1888-1943), who served as a medic in World War I and was later ordained a priest.

Also represented in the collection are Thomas Riggs, Jr. (1873-1945), another Riggs family member and governor of Alaska from 1918-1921, his wife Renee Coudert Riggs (1892-?), and their son Thomas (Tommy) Riggs Jr. (1915-1953).

Extent

36.5 Linear Feet

Language

English

Abstract

This collection contains family photographs (including daguerreotypes and tintypes), travel photographs, books, artwork, personal accessories, draft manuscripts, newspaper clippings, and correspondence. The materials date from 1672-2006, with the bulk of the collection ranging from 1870-1939. The records are related to the Riggs family, including Thomas Riggs, territorial governor of Alaska (1918-1921), and family members involved with the Riggs National Bank of Washington, D.C. Family historian John Beverley Riggs amassed these materials and gave them to his niece Miriam Ely Riggs.

Series

Organized into 3 series: Photographs and prints, Personal artifacts, and Paper documents.

Physical Location

Materials may be stored off-site, and may require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Other Finding Aids

Please see the PNC-Riggs Bank Collection for business records. http://www.gwu.edu/gelman/spec/ead/ms2239.xml

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Miriam Ely Riggs 2007 (Accession 2007.60). Gift of Miriam Ely Riggs 2007 (Accession 2007.75) (Accession 2007.76).

Source

Creator

Title
Guide to the Riggs Family papers, 1672-2006
Status
Completed
Author
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Date
2007 and 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

Contact:
2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America