Guide to the Halsey Family Papers,

Collection Number: 2966

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library

Contact Information:
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
2B Carl A. Kroch Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-3530
Fax: (607) 255-9524
Compiled by:
M. Warren
Date completed:
August 1984
EAD encoding:
Martin Heggestad, June 2003
Date modified:
Margaret Nichols, June 2016

© 2002 Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library


Halsey family papers, 1870-1975.
Collection Number:
Halsey family.
3.2 cubic ft.
Forms of Material:
Scrapbooks, notebooks, stock certificates, blueprints, articles, books, correspondence, photographs, pamphlets, manuscripts, a genealogy, and a painted portrait.
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
Personal and professional papers of Francis W. Halsey (Cornell University Class of 1873), a newspaper editor and writer, and of his brother, Frederick A. Halsey (Cornell University M.E. 1878), an engineer and author of a number of articles and books about engineering. Also, letters to Frederick Halsey's daughters Olga and Marion from Fred H. Colvin.
Collection material in English


Francis Whiting Halsey (Cornell University Class of 1873) was born in Unadilla, New York on October 15, 1851, and was the son of Dr. Gaius L. Halsey, a prominent Civil War physician and surgeon. Francis Halsey held editorial positions with the Binghamton Times, the New York Tribune, and, from 1880-1922, the New York Times, where he established the Times Review of Books in 1896. He wrote or edited a number of books, including The Old New York Frontier, The Pioneers of Unadilla Village, The World's Famous Orations (with William Jennings Bryan), and The Best of the World's Classics (with Senator Henry Cabot Lodge). He was a trustee of the New York State Historical Association and the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, and a member of the American Historical Association, New York State Library Association, and Cornell University Club, of which he was president in 1882. In 1883 he married Virginia Isabel Forbes, who died in 1900.
Francis' brother, Frederick Arthur Halsey (Cornell University M.E. 1878), was an engineer and author of a number of articles and books about engineering, particularly concerning the metric system. He was for a time the editor of the American Machinist. Marion S. Halsey and Olga S. Halsey were Frederick A. Halsey's daughters.
Fred H. Colvin was a machinist, technical journalist, author, and editor. He authored or coauthored dozens of monographs, textbooks, and reference books on machining, and served as chief editor of the journal Machinery and co-editor of the journal American Machinist. He also published a book of poetry, Safety Valve, in 1952.


Scrapbooks of letters, clippings, pamphlets, and photographs relating to personal and professional activities of Francis W. Halsey; awards won by Francis W. and Frederick A. Halsey; Frederick A. Halsey's student notebooks, stock certificates, blueprints, published articles and books, typescript articles, and letters; and photographs, letters, and pamphlets concerning Olga Halsey, Marion S. Halsey, and Dr. Gaius Leonard Halsey. Also, a scrapbook compiled by Stella Spencer Halsey (Mrs. Frederick A.) and a Spencer family genealogy, as well as a volume evidently presented to Frederick A. Halsey in 1906 in appreciation of his work repairing clocks. Laid in the volume are notes and clippings relating to clock repairs.
Also, typewritten drafts and published versions of articles by Frederick A. Halsey, opposing the adoption of the metric system, including his article "The metric fallacy" in the Sibley Journal of Engineering (1931); a watercolor portrait of Frederick Halsey, dated 1935; portrait photographs of him, 1923 and circa 1935; poems written to him by his friends, circa 1909; and correspondence between Olga and Marion Halsey and Fred H. Colvin (1954-1965).


Halsey family.
Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925.
Halsey, Francis Whiting, 1851-1919.
Halsey, Frederick A. (Frederick Arthur), 1856-1935.
Halsey, Gaius Leonard, 1819-1891.
Halsey, Marion S.
Halsey, Olga S., d. 1970.
Halsey, Stella Spencer.
Halsey, Virginia Isabel Forbes, d. 1900.
Colvin, Fred H. (Fred Herbert), 1867-1965.
American Historical Association.
American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society.
Cornell University Club.
New York State Historical Association.
New York State Library Association.

American machinist.
Binghamton times.
New York tribune.
Times review of books.
New York times.

Metric system.

United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Medical care.
Unadilla (N.Y.).

Form and Genre Terms:
Watercolors (paintings)


Cite As:
Halsey family papers, #2966. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.


Box 1 Folder 1
Box 1 Folder 2
1924-1925, 1934
Unpublished articles
Box 1 Folder 3
American Machinist
Box 1 Folder 4
Box 1 Folder 5
"Premium Plan of Paying for Labor"
Box 1 Folder 6
Francis W. Halsey photos
Box 1 Folder 7
Letter to A. Halsey to Mr. Coon of Rand Drill Co.
Box 1 Folder 8
Lectures on History by Andrew D. White, Vol. I, notes of Francis W. Halsey
Box 2 Volume 1
Lectures on History by Andrew D. White, Vol. II, notes of Francis W. Halsey
Box 2 Volume 2
Lectures on History by Andrew D. White, Vol. III, notes of Francis W. Halsey
Box 2 Volume 3
Lectures on Ancient Roman History by W.C. Russell, notes of Francis W. Halsey
Box 2 Volume 4
Notebook kept by Frederick A. Halsey: Notes on Physics, taken during the spring term of 1874, from the lectures of Prof. Anthony, Accoustics and Optics
Box 2 Volume 5
Notebook kept by Frederick A. Halsey: "Continuation of notes on Electricity and Magnetism, taken during the Winter and Spring terms of 1875, from the lectures of Pro. Anthony
Box 2 Volume 6
Volume (mimeo): A Course in Water Wheels, 1878 . Published for the Senior Class in Civil Engineering at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (Note by IL P, Church that he is indebted to Prof. E.A. Fuertes for the translation from Vol. II of J. Wrisback's Lehrbuch der Ingenieur Maschinemachanik.)
Box 2 Volume 7
Halsey, Frederick A. The Locomotive Link Motion. New York: Press of Locomotive Engineering
Box 2 Volume 8
Halsey, Frederick A. Methods of Machine Shop Work. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co.
Box 2 Volume 9
Halsey, Frederick A. The Metric Fallacy. 2nd ed. New York
Box 2 Volume 10
Halsey, Frederick A. Slide Valve Gears. New York: D. Van Nostrand Co. (autographed)
Box 2 Volume 11
Halsey, Frederick A. Slide Valve Gears. Rev. New York: D. Van Nostrand Co.
Box 2 Volume 12
Halsey, Frederick A. The Use of the Slide Rule . Van Nostrand Science Series, No. 114. 3rd ed. New York
Box 2 Volume 13
Worm and Spiral Greating. Van Nostrand Science Series, No. 116. New York
Box 2 Volume 14
Smith, Charles F., Frederick A. Halsey and others. The Design and Construction of Cams. New York: Hill Publishing Co.
Box 2 Volume 15
News clippings re: the "reform movement" led by John DeWitt Warner and F.W.H. and to the "attacts" on the administration of Pres. White
Box 2 Volume 16
Scrapbook of F.A.H.: photos, letters, memos; Cornell, family, homes rooms
Box 2 Volume 17
Tennyson's 1832 Volume
Box 3 Folder 1
Faerie Queen
Box 3 Folder 2
Old French
Box 3 Folder 3
Rev. History 53
Box 3 Folder 4
Apollonius of Tyre
Box 3 Folder 5
Medieval French Literature
Box 3 Folder 6
Student Notes
Box 3 Folder 7
Drama in England II
Box 3 Folder 8
English Drama I
Box 3 Folder 9
Student Papers
Box 3 Folder 10
Students and Paper
Box 3 Folder 11
Coronement Loois
Box 3 Folder 12
Morte d'Arthur
Box 3 Folder 13
Newsclippings and articles on Metre System
Box 3 Folder 14
F.W.H.'s scrapbooks
Lectures, speeches, "Pioneers of Unadilla"
Box 3 Folder 15
"The Old New York Frontier"
Box 3 Folder 16
New York Times - Change to Appleton's
Box 3 Folder 17
American Authors and Their Homes and Women Authors of Our Day in Their Homes
Box 3 Folder 18
The Old New York Frontier
Box 3 Folder 19
Our Literary Deluge
Box 3 Folder 20
Loose pages from scrapbook
Box 4 Folder 1
Box 4 Folder 2
Book Review items
Box 4 Folder 3
Correspondence - Francis W. Halsey to Olga Halsey
Box 4 Folder 4
Olga Halsey Incentive Award
Box 4 Folder 5
Olga Halsey Bureau of Employment Security
Box 4 Folder 6
Reno Marine Salvage System
Box 4 Folder 7
Correspondence Dr. Gaius Leonard Halsey to F.W.H.
Box 4 Folder 8
Frederick Halsey biography, etc.
Box 4 Folder 9
Methods of Machine Shop Work, Halsey, McGraw-Hill Co.
Box 4 Folder 10
"Life of Francis W. Halsey" c 1972, c 1975
Box 4 Folder 11
Correspondence - photocopies
Box 4 Folder 12
Spencer family (Ithamer, b. 1733)
Box 4 Folder 13
Box 4 Folder 14
Cornell Students' Handbook
Box 5
Volume evidently presented to Frederick A. Halsey in appreciation of his work repairing clocks
Box 5
Leather watch-fob with medallion showing Ezra Cornell and date [MU-2042]
Box 5
2 3/4" gold medal in case: "The American Society of Mechanical Engineers" [MU-2043]
Box 5
Fraternity key on gold chain with three ivory balls (watch fob) [MU-2044]
Box 5
Letters from Fred H. Colvin to Olga and Marion Halsey
Box 6
1909-circa 1935
Typewritten manuscripts and letters by Frederick A. Halsey, and poems written to him by his friends
Box 6
Printed article "The Metric Fallacy," Sibley Journal of Engineering
Box 6
2 portrait photographs and 1 watercolor portrait of Frederick Halsey
Box 6