Wednesday, October 27, 2010

William Greene Papers Finding Aid

The Swain Report, Number 17

The William Greene Papers 

by David Swain


William Greene (1743-1826) was a member of the large and prominent Greene family of Rhode Island—and only a distant relative to General Nathanael Greene (1742-1786) of Revolutionary War fame. Still, William’s father was named Nathaniel Greene (1707-1768), and William signed his name “William Greene, son of Nathaniel.”

He had reason to do so because both he and another almost contemporaneous Colonel William Greene (1764-1829) were both merchants in East Greenwich, RI. This other William served during the Revolutionary War as commander of the Kentish Guards, an independent company of volunteer militia in East Greenwich. From the sparse information available, it appears that Colonel William did not see direct action during the Revolution, nor did his military career cross paths with that of General Nathanael—or that of yet another Greene, Colonel Christopher Greene (1737-1781), who did play an active military role with the First Rhode Island Regiment.

The original papers of all four of these Greenes reside at the Rhode Island Historical Society library. The David Library has microfilmed copies of three of these—the papers of Nathanael Greene, Christopher Greene, and the William Greene who did not serve in the military at all, whose papers are the subject of this report.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The James Grant of Ballindalloch Papers Finding Aid

The Swain Report, Number 16

Library Volunteer and Research Assistant David Swain spent most of August and September carefully sifting through the James Grant Papers, creating one of the most detailed finding aids to date for this important series of documents. James Grant was one of the foremost British professional soldiers of the second half of the eighteenth century, having served in America during the French and Indian War and again during the Revolution. His papers contain a wealth of material for a variety of research interests, ranging from the institutional operations of the British Army to civil government during the era of the Imperial Crisis, when Grant was governor of Florida. David's report is attached below in .pdf format due to its size. Please contact me if you have any problems accessing the document, and our thanks, as always, to David for his essential and invaluable work in improving access to our collections.

Will Tatum

James Grant of Ballindalloch Papers

by David Swain


James Grant was born into relative wealth and high class in the family’s Ballindalloch Castle in Banffshire, Scotland in 1720. He died there 86 years later in 1806. Grant never married and had no children. After both his brother Alexander and Alexander’s son William (James’ nephew) had died by 1770, James became laird of the family castle. Grant always remained a Scotsman and a Britisher. Although he spent considerable time in North America and in the West Indies, as a part of a long, illustrious military career, he never contemplated becoming an American resident or, God forbid, citizen.

The microfilmed James Grant of Ballindalloch papers contain selected items from the Grant Family Papers still owned by members of the family. The selected documents, which pertain to Grant’s life in America, and which are contained on 49 reels, were microfilmed in 2001, with only four sets made, one kept at Ballindalloch Castle, one at the National Archives of Scotland, one in the US Library of Congress, and one held by a private foundation. Recently, the David Library negotiated successfully to purchase a fifth set of the microfilmed Grant’s papers pertaining to America. Researchers are indebted indeed to Grant’s habit of corresponding extensively over many years, and to the care he and his descendents took to retain, preserve, and organize the voluminous papers of Grant’s career and personal life.

The Grant Papers Finding Aid in PDF format

Have something you want to share, such as a question, research find, or a personal story about the Library? Email Will Tatum at