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George P. Tyler letters

Identifier: C-75
This collection of letters includes correspondence primarily relating to G.P. Tyler and colleagues mostly in the states of Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, and New York during G.P’s time as Minister at the Centre Congregational Church in Brattleboro, Vermont. Much of the correspondence is to G.P. Tyler from colleagues, and it can be assumed that G.P. collected this correspondence. The content of much of the correspondence pertains to social and religious matters. Also of significance are two (2) letters of correspondence from Abby Maria Hemenway (1828-1890) regarding the Vermont Gazetteer. Particularly well represented in the correspondence are N. Bishop, Franklin Butler, Ezra Hoyt Byington, George H. Hovey, James T. Hyde, Benjamin Labaree Jr., Alfred Stevens, Chr. Walker, and W. Warren. Of importance to Middlebury and Middlebury College are Reverend James T. Hyde, who began his work as Minister of the Congregational Church in 1857, William Henry Parker, A.M. was a graduate of Middlebury College (1830) and a Middlebury College Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy (1848-1881), and Benjamin Labaree, D.D. was a Professor of Moral Philosophy and most importantly President of Middlebury College (1840-1866). Reverend E.H. Byington of Windsor, Vermont was the author of History of the First Congregational Church of Windsor, Vermont. Reverend Alfred Stevens (1810-1893) of Westminster, Vermont was a graduate of Dartmouth College (1839) and Andover Seminary (1842). He was the Minister at the Congregational Church in the West Parish for 50 years and Superintendent of schools for 25 years. George H. Hovey, of Greenfield, Massachusetts (1817-1891), was an apothecary for that area.

In 1862 Abraham Lincoln signed The Morrill Land-Grant College Act. This provided Vermont $125,000 to be used for the founding and operation of state agricultural and mechanical colleges. Some Vermonters supported the idea that Middlebury, UVM, and Norwich should merge into a new agricultural college, establishing one state university. The Middlebury College Board refused. President Labaree opposed the consolidation. Trustees had decided that Middlebury should remain a small, religious, independent, and traditional liberal arts college. Numerous correspondences from Labaree about the College’s uncertainty are in this collection.


  • 1861 - 1875


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Open for research without restrictions.

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1 Box


George Palmer Tyler is referred to as: Rev. George P. Tyler, Rev. G.P. Tyler, George Tyler, Rev. Geo. P. Tyler, Rev. Mr. Tyler, and G.P. Tyler. For clarity, he will be referred to as G.P. Tyler in this finding aid. G.P. Tyler was born in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1809. The son of lawyer/playwright Royall Tyler who wrote the first performed American comedy, The Contrast (1787), as well as The Algerine Captive (1797) and Mary who also authored The Maternal Physician (1811). He was a native to Brattleboro, Vermont and a graduate of Yale University and Union Theological Seminary, New York. G.P. Tyler married Elizabeth A. Trowbridge in 1841. Tyler was a pastor in Lowville, New York in the 1840s and then began serving as minister for the Centre Congregational Church in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1853 until his dismissal in 1867. He later moved with wife Elizabeth to Lansingburgh, New York and died in 1896.

Biographical / Historical

G.P. Tyler was born on Meetinghouse Hill between the “East Village” and the “West Village” of Brattleborough on December 10,1809. He was named after his mother’s brother—George Palmer. He was the son of Royall and Mary Putnam Tyler. Royall was a successful lawyer/playwright who held profound positions, such as Justice on Vermont’s Supreme Court and Chief Justice of the State’s highest court. He also wrote the first performed American comedy, The Contrast (1787), a satire about fashion-conscious New Yorkers. He also wrote other plays and a fictitious memoir, The Algerine Captive (1797). Mary was the granddaughter of General Palmer, who distinguished himself in the battle of Lexington. G.P. Tyler was a native of Brattleboro, Vermont and was brother to ten siblings: Royall (1794-1813), John Steele (1796-1876), Mary Whitwell (1798-1874), Edward Royall (1800-1848), William Clark (1802-1882), Joseph Dennie (1804-1852), Amelia Sophia (1807-1878), Charles Royall (1812-1896), Thomas Pickman (1815-1892), and Abiel Winship (1818-1832). G.P. graduated with honor from Yale University and studied for the ministry at Union Theological Seminary, New York. He married Elizabeth Atwater Trowbridge of New Haven, Connecticut on May 12, 1841 and they had two children, a son—Trowbridge, and a daughter—Frances Bradford. Trowbridge was born January 1, 1846 and died March 15, 1859—13 years. Together, G.P. and Elizabeth were known as: “Uncle George” and “Aunt Lizzie.” G.P. resided and preached at the Presbyterian Church in Lowville, Lewis County, New York between 1840-1853. He became the pastor for the Centre Congregational Church in Brattleboro, Vermont on November 16, 1853. G.P.’s pastorate continued until January 28, 1867, when mutual council dismissed him. During his service the church had added 197 members to its congregation. In the book, Tyler-Browns of Brattleboro, he was listed as a Presbyterian, Edward was a Congregationalist, and Joseph and Pickman were Episcopalians, as were their parents. G.P. was a trustee of Middlebury College, which had conferred his Doctor of Divinity degree upon him. His only child, Frances (Fannie) married John Gaston Mairs. They had two children: George Tyler Mairs (no children) and Elizabeth Atwater Mairs. Elizabeth married Charles Merritt and they had one daughter, Frances Ann Merritt. G.P. later moved with wife Elizabeth to Lansingburgh, New York where he became pastor at the Olivet Presbyterian Church. He held this position at the Second avenue building to 1873 until he resigned. From this time to 1883 he preached at the Oakwood Avenue Presbyterian Church and the Memorial Presbyterian Church of Troy. He was again designated pastor of the Olivet Presbyterian Church in Lansingburgh until his retirement from active service in 1891 after the death of his wife that same year. He died on January 17, 1896 at the age of eighty-six years. G.P. Tyler was also connected to relatives of noteworthy historical significance, such as cousins Mrs. Elizabeth Peabody, the initiator and promoter of kindergarten work in America; Mrs. Horace Mann, whose husband was a renowned educator; Mrs. George B. Loring, George P. Putnam, and Mrs. Nathanial Hawthorne. He was a life member of the State Colonization Society and also a life member of the American Tract Society of New York.


Bain, Howard David. (1999). The College On The Hill. Middlebury College Press.

Meville, Dorothy Sutherland. (1973). Tyler-Browns of Brattleboro. Exposition Press. New York.

Stameshkin, David. (1985). The Town’s College: Middlebury College, 1800-1915. Middlebury College Press.

Tyler, Mrs. Royall. (1925).Grandmother Tyler’s Book. The Recollections of Mary Palmer Tyler 1775-1866. The Knickerbocker Press.

Vermont Historical Society Library, Royall Tyler (1757-1826) Collection, 1753-1935, Doc. 45.

Year Book, Centre Congregational Church Brattleboro, Vermont, Centennial Edition, 1917.


Correspondence arranged according to original provenance.

Other Finding Aids

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased on eBay for approximately $300 by Andrew Wentink, Special Collections Librarian, Middlebury College. The seller purchased the G.P. Tyler correspondence from an estate sale in the Brattleboro, Vermont area.

Related Materials

Melville, Dorothy Sutherland. (1973). Tyler-Browns of Brattleboro. Exposition Press. New York. CS71.T983

Minard, M. Elizabeth. (1941). History of Westminster. Vermont Sesquicentennial Souvenir of Westminster. Town of Westminster.

Warner, Henry Steele. (1927). The Birthplace of Vermont. A History of Windsor To 1781. Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Stameshkin, David. (1985). The Town’s College: Middlebury College, 1800-1915. Middlebury College Press.

Bain, Howard David. (1999). The College On The Hill. Middlebury College Press.

Tyler, Mary Palmer (Edited by Brown, Helen Tyler and Tupper, Frederick). (1925). Grandmother Tyler’s Book—The Recollections of Mary Palmer Tyler 1775-1866. G. Putnam’s Sons. New York & London. The Knickerbocker Press.
Related Materials Related materials may also be found in C-43 Tyler Family letters, 1819-1888. This collection primarily consists of letters to G. P. Tyler from his wife, siblings, parents, and colleagues, and pertains to family news as well as to the Tylers' religious and literary work.

Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States