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Jeffrey family papers, Bulk, 1818-1893

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Finding aid prepared by Katie L.B. Henningsen


Jeffrey family papers


Bulk, 1818-1893


University of Kentucky Special Collections


Collection is arranged chronologically.

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to researchers by appointment.

Preferred Citation Note

46M137 : [identification of item], Jeffrey family papers, 1818-1903, Bulk 1818-1893, University of Kentucky Special Collections.


1.35 Cubic feet

ca. 700 items


The Jeffrey family came to the United States from Scotland and built and operated gas companies in many U.S. cities, including Lexington, Louisville, and Frankfort in Kentucky; Evansville, Indiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; Nashville and Memphis in Tennessee; and Vicksburg, Mississippi. Three of the Jeffrey brothers figure prominently in the letters: John, who directed the family's business activities from their headquarters in Cincinnati, Alexander, who headed the Lexington Gas Company, and William, who lived in Rochester, New York. Rosa Vertner Jeffrey, the writer, married Alexander after her first husband's death in 1861. She had been adopted by an aunt in infancy upon her mother's death, and married Claude M. Johnson, a wealthy Southern planter, at seventeen. She and Alexander lived in Rochester, New York during the Civil War, but later returned to Lexington. She published two novels and three volumes of poetry.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of papers of the Jeffrey family and of Rosa Vertner Jeffrey, the author. The Jeffrey family papers include family and business correspondence, reports from many of their gas companies, stock transactions, sketches of mechanical operations of the plants, printed regulations, etc. Two ledgers and a receipt book, dated 1852-1853, from the Lexington Gas Company, are also included. Among the correspondents are Kentucky politician Leslie Combs and Thomas Lewinski, Lexington architect and secretary of the Lexington Gas Company, who remained in Lexington during the Civil War and reported on company business and the impact of the war on Lexington in monthly letters to Alexander Jeffrey.

Rosa Vertner Jeffrey's papers consist largely of family letters and correspondence with friends and publishers about her writing. Among her correspondents are Charles S. Morehead, governor of Kentucky; Elizabeth Fries Ellet, David Bates, George Bancroft, W.H. Prescott and John G. Saxe, literary figures of the day; Edward Everett, governor of Massachusetts; and John J. Crittenden, Kentucky statesman. There are also some communications from Ainsworth Spofford, the Librarian of Congress.


  • Lexington Gas Company. (Ky.)
  • Ticknor and Fields.
  • Architectural drawings (visual works)
  • Bancroft, George, 1800-1891
  • Bates, David, 1809-1870
  • Combs, Leslie, 1793-1881
  • Crittenden, John J., (John Jordan), 1787-1863
  • Ellet, E.F., (Elizabeth Fries), 1818-1877
  • Everett, Edward, 1794-1865
  • Griffith, John T.
  • Harrison, Carter H., (Carter Henry), 1825-1893
  • Jeffrey, Alexander, 1815-1899
  • Jeffrey, John, 1818-1881
  • Jeffrey, Rosa Vertner, 1828-1894
  • Jeffrey, William, 1812-1867
  • Johnson, Claude M., d. 1861
  • Keene, James R., (James Robert), 1838-1913
  • Lewinski, Thomas
  • Morehead, C.S., (Charles Slaughter), 1802-1868
  • Prescott, William Hickling, 1796-1859
  • Saxe, John Godfrey, 1816-1887
  • Shipman, Paul Robert
  • Spofford, Ainsworth Rand, 1825-1908
  • Gas companies--Kentucky--History--19th century.
  • Gas companies--United States--History--19th century.
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.

User Restrictions

The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections.

Related Material

Jeffrey family photographs may be found in PA46M137.

Collection Inventory

I. Jeffrey family personal & business papers, 1818-1903
Account Book, 1839-1847
[Box: 2, Folder: 4] browse
Account Book, 1852-1854
[Box: 2, Folder: 5] browse
Account Book, 1854-1859
[Box: 2, Folder: 6] browse
Alexander Jeffrey Bank Books, 1871-1878, 1884-1890
[Box: 2, Folder: 7] browse
John Jeffrey Account Book, Design Book, and Receipt Book, 1852-1853
[Box: 3, Folder: 2] browse
John Jeffrey diary, 1871 April-October
[Box: 3, Folder: 3] browse
Scope and Content Note:

An account of John Jeffrey's travels through Great Britain.

John Jeffrey Logbook, 1834-1939
[Box: 3, Folder: 1] browse
John Jeffrey Timebook, 1852
[Box: 3, Folder: 4] browse
Notebooks, 1836-1873
[Box: 3, Folder: 5] browse
Scope and Content Note:

Notebooks include: L. Putnam's Daily Pocket Remembrances, 1847; Notebook of unidentified, contains a poem by Byron and a reading list, 1836; Grimstead and Bradley Account Book, 1872-1873; Notebook of unidentified, 1839.

Thomas Lewinski, 1860-1866
[Box: 2, Folder: 3] browse
John H. Morgan diary, 1897 June-July
[Box: 3, Folder: 6] browse
Scope and Content Note:

An account of John H. Morgan's travels through England, Scotland, and France.

[Box: 1, Folder: 1] browse
[Box: 1, Folder: 2] browse
[Box: 1, Folder: 3] browse
[Box: 1, Folder: 4] browse
[Box: 1, Folder: 5] browse
[Box: 1, Folder: 6] browse
[Box: 2, Folder: 1] browse
1890-1903, undated
[Box: 2, Folder: 2] browse
II. Rosa Vertner Jeffrey papers, 1847-1889
Bible, printed 1847
[Box: 4, Folder: 2] browse
Correspondence, 1848-1857
[Box: 3, Folder: 7] browse
Correspondence, 1858-1889
[Box: 4, Folder: 1] browse