Clay family papers, 1780-1959
This branch of the famous Clay family of Kentucky (cousins to the statesman Henry Clay) was founded by Green Clay, who emigrated from Virginia to Kentucky in 1777. Clay was a surveyor, and through his position as Deputy Surveyor of Kentucky, he accumulated a vast estate. He also started a tradition of public service which his descendants maintained, retaining a role in Kentucky and national political and cultural affairs up through the twentieth century.
These are the personal and business papers of the Clays, a prominent Bluegrass family. Included are materials relating to General Green Clay, his sister, Martha Clay Lewis, his sons Brutus and Cassius Marcellus, Brutus' son Cassius M. Clay, Jr. and his wife Mary Harris Clay, and their children, Junius Brutus, Samuel Henry, and Cassius M. Clay III. Also included are papers of Ezekiel Field, who was Brutus Clay's father-in-law, a collection of papers relating to a levee fund in Louisiana administered by Brutus's brother-in-law C. I. Field, and a collection of letters to Francis Preston Blair, editor of the Washington GLOBE during the administrations of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.
As the family's main business was agriculture, the collection contains many letters dealing with farming, livestock and slavery. There are also several large subgroups of miscellaneous volumes relating to the various family members. These include bank books, livestock books, daybooks for the family's mills, ferries, lumberyards, stock farms, mineral springs, etc., school notebooks, and memoranda books. Included as well are the two-volume manuscript draft of Cassius Clay's revised MEMOIRS, some Bourbon County Court records dating from 1816-1839, and family photographs.