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American Fur Company collection

Identifier: L184

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a listing and description of items regarding the American Fur Company papers held at the New York Historical Society. Each item is listed chronologically and contains a brief description. Invoices and other non-correspondence are listed separately. Also included in the collection is an index and photo static copies of correspondence and letter book entries. Subjects discussed in the correspondence include Indian policies, travel, politics, education, religion, settlement of the West, etc.


  • 1831-1849


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

John Jacob Astor founded the American Fur Company in 1808. In 1816, he won a court battle that made it illegal for non-U.S. citizens to receive a trading license. This ruling devastated British dominance of the fur trade in America. As the company grew, it set up trading posts all over the country. It expanded its operation be beginning to trade in other commodities, such as sugar, lead, and flour. In 1834, Astor quit his position as head of the company. The American Fur Company was incorporated in New York, where Ramsay Crooks was installed as the CEO. The year 1847, a time of increasing competition and decreasing demand, marked the eventual downfall of the company. The New York Historical Society purchased the papers of the American Fur Company on February 16, 1863.


0.6 Cubic Feet (2 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2005 March by Jennifer Duplaga. EAD finding aid created 2005 March by Jennifer Duplaga.


American Fur Company collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.