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Ives Family papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS72

Collection-level scope and contents note

The Ives family papers comprise correspondence by relatives of Rev. Levi Silliman Ives. In addition, the collection includes correspondence by Joseph Moss Ives, the brother of the renowned composer, Charles Edward Ives, and by the former's son, Walter Bigelow Ives.

Levi Silliman Ives and Joseph Moss Ives were both descendants of William Ives who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts, from London in 1635, and was one of the original settlers of Quinnipiac (New Haven), Connecticut, in 1638. There does not seem to be a tie between the former two and I.M. Ives or Ella Gilbert Ives.

Regarding provenance: the collection was part of the Old Archives of Georgetown University. It is likely that some of the papers were placed together based simply on the similarity of the surnames. The history of the acquisition cannot now be traced. Much of the collection consists of correspondence written to Georgetown College presidents of the times (including Patrick Healy, S.J.; Coleman Nevils, S.J.; and John B. Creeden, S.J.). It may be surmised that descendents of Levi Silliman Ives wished to deposit their family papers at Georgetown.

The collection is arranged chronologically beginning with the earliest material relating to Rev. Levi Silliman Ives.


  • 1874-1953

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical notes

Levi Silliman Ives (September 16, 1797-October 13, 1867) was born in Meriden,Connecticut, son of Levi and Fanny Silliman Ives. Early education was at the Lowville Academy, New York, where his family had moved. After serving in the War of 1812, Ives enrolled at Hamilton College in 1816, but did not graduate because of illness . In 1819 he affiliated with the Protestant Episcopal Church and studied under Bishop J.H. Hobart whose daughter, Rebecca, he married in 1822. That year he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Hobart; in 1823, a priest; and finally consecrated bishop of North Carolina in 1831. Ives was attracted to the Oxford Movement while studying about the Protestant revolt in England. Subsequently, he founded the brotherhood of the Holy Cross at Valle Crucis, North Carolina; and in 1848, was arraigned before the Episcopalian Church for heterodox practices, but was pardoned after dissolving the brotherhood. On December 22, 1852, while visiting Rome, he resigned his see, and was accepted into the Catholic church together with his wife. In 1853, he wrote a “defense” of his conversion, “'Trials of a Mind in its Progress to Catholicism.” After some years abroad, Ives returned to New York as an English instructor at St. John's College and St. Joseph's Seminary. His remains are buried at the Catholic Male Protectory, New York, of which he was founder and first president.

Joseph Christmas Ives (1828-November 12, 1868) was born in New York City and was a graduate of the United States Military Academy (1852). From 1853 to 1854 he was appointed by the U.S. Army to the Topographical Engineers as assistant to Lt. A.W. Whipple in the Pacific Railroad survey along the 35th parallel. From 1857 to 1858 he commanded an expedition to explore the Colorado River and subsequently wrote many invaluable reports on his findings. He served as engineer and architect for the Washington Monument (1859-1860). During the Civil War he served in several engineering capacities, and was finally appointed aide-de-camp to President Jefferson Davis (1863-1865). After the war he settled in New York City where he resided until his death. He is probably the Joseph C. Ives mentioned (along with his sons Edward,Eugene and Frank) in the will of Levi Silliman Ives, who may have been an uncle or older brother. Cora Semmes Ives was presumably Joseph Christmas Ives' wife. Her sister is the Clara Semmes Fitzgerald mentioned in Levi Silliman's will,and the same “Aunt Clara” referred to in the letters of Edward, Eugene, and Frank Ives.

Edward Bernard Ives was the son of Joseph Christmas and Cora Semmes Ives. He entered Georgetown College in September 16, 1868, but withdrew in 1874; and shortly thereafter enrolled at West Point Academy, graduating in 1878. He died in Washington D.C., December 31, 1903, and is buried in Arlington Cemetery, Virginia.

Eugene Semmes Ives, brother of Edward Bernard Ives, was born on November 11,1859, in Washington D.C. He entered Georgetown University in November 1870, graduating with a B.A. in 1878, with an M.A. in 1888, and with a Ph.D. in 1889. He held a degree in law from Columbia College, practicing in New York, as well as serving as state senator, until 1895, when he resettled in Tucson, Arizona. In 1910 he was a Democratic candidate for the Constitutional Convention in Pima County, but was defeated. He was also a candidate for Democratic nomination for U.S. senator after Arizona became a state, but was defeated in the primary. He did not run again for public office. His marriage to Ann M. Waggaman, in 1889, produced seven children: Annette, Cora, Helen, Marian, Eleanor, Thomas Ennals, and Eugene. Ives died on August 25, 1917, while visiting his daughters Annette and Cora. He was buried there in Alhambra County, California.

Frank J. Ives, brother of Eugene Semmes Ives, entered Georgetown University in September 1871. In 1874 he withdrew to accompany his mother on a religious pilgrimage in Europe. He continued his schooling at Stella Matutina's College, Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, Austria. From a clipping of his obituary that appeared in the “Washington Times” (see Georgetown University Archives, Alumni Card files) it is known that he served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He saw service in the Geronimo campaign of 1886 and was stationed in the Philippines for two years retiring due to physical disability in 1906. He lived in Toronto until his death on November 30, 1908, and was buried in Arlington Cemetery, Virginia.

Joseph Moss Ives (February 5, 1876-April 8, 1939) was born in Danbury Connecticut, the son of George Edward and Mary Parmelee Ives. He received his LL.B. from Yale Law School in 1899; and LL .D. from Loyola College, Baltimore, Maryland, in 1934. He was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1899 also serving in various other capacities including the Connecticut General Assembly, director of Danbury national and savings banks, vice-president and trustee of Danbury Public Library, Child Welfare Commission, and secretary of the National Conference on Uniform State Laws. In later years he devoted his time to research and writing about the settlement of Maryland and its Catholic founders resulting in his book “The Ark and the Dove” (1936). He also contributed articles on constitutional law to “Thought” magazine and “The Catholic Historical Review”; publishing an article in the latter entitled “The Catholic Contribution to Religious Liberty in Colonial America” (1935). In December 1900 he married Minnie Louisa Goodman of Worcester, Massachusetts. The union produced six children: Richard Goodman, Lyman Brewster, Moss White, Walter Bigelow, Chester Brown , and Sarane Wilcox. Ives died in Danbury Connecticut.

For I.M. Ives whose lectures on the Spanish Inquisition were originally included in this collection (reason unknown), there is no obtainable biographical information.

Ella Gilbert Ives was an author and poet (1847-1913). A clipping of her article on Alice Stone Blackwell was also originally included in this collection, although it is unclear what her connection is with either the Levi Silliman Ives family or the Joseph Moss Ives family.


0.21 Linear Feet (1 Hollinger Slim Document Case)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition


Ives Family papers
Lisette Matano, Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057