George S. Riley Papers

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George S. Riley papers
Creator: Riley, George S., 1822-1919
Call Number: D.235
Dates: 1827-1917
Physical Description: 4 boxes
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Subject(s)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Access
Use
Citation
Content List
Collection Overview
Title: George S. Riley papers
Creator: Riley, George S., 1822-1919
Call Number: D.235
Dates: 1827-1917
Physical Description: 4 boxes
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
George S. Riley (1822-1919) was born in Rochester, New York. He was the eldest son of Ashbel Wells Riley who came to Rochester in 1816, the year Rochester was incorporated as Rochesterville. According to his obituary, George S. Riley was considered a "Beau Brummel" in Rochester during his prime. He always dressed in the latest styles and he was recognized prominently within the best social circles of his day. Riley was a member of the Genesee Valley Club and member of the board of directors for the Industrial School of Rochester. Riley never married and lived in seclusion during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. After living in the Osburn House, he moved to Geneseo to spend his remaining days there. He died in 1919 at the age of ninety-seven.

George S. Riley was best known for his once extensive real estate holdings within the city of Rochester. His massive real estate holdings began upon the death of his father, who owned 240 acres with Josiah Bissell on the east side of the Genesee River. Riley acquired most of this property and bought much more property along with it. By 1875, Riley was considered to be the most extensive real estate holder in Rochester. Taxes levied by the city of Rochester began to accumulate on the hundreds of lots of land he owned. He refused to sell the property because he believed in a short time the land would become valuable and he would make a fortune. The unpaid taxes continued to rise and the city of Rochester acquired his land to pay for the unpaid taxes.

Scope and Content
The George S. Riley Papers contains approximately 700 letters. The collection mostly contains correspondence along with a few financial documents and invitations. The letters and documents detail George S. Riley's life for the most part although there are a few documents about his father, A. W. Riley. The letters and documents are arranged in one chronological order. The collection begins with a document dated 1827. The document contains A. W. Riley's tax receipt from the city of Rochester and describes the boundaries of A. W. Riley and Josiah Bissell's property. The collection mostly deals with correspondence of family and friends to George S. Riley. A significant portion of the correspondence was written by Mrs. Robert Hart, who was a close friend of Riley's for many years. Mrs. Hart writes to Riley in New York City from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel four separate intervals, November 1-20, 1900, March 14 - May 10, 1901, February 16,24, 1903, and May 14 - June 5, 1903. The remaining letters written by Mrs. Hart are mostly written from the Powers Hotel in Rochester, New York. Correspondence between Riley and Hart are of a personal nature. Hart sometimes begins her letters with "My Darling" and signs her letters "Aunt Belle". The correspondence between them relates primarily to their health, mutual friends, the weather, things they do during the day, and "old times". Another interesting section deals not with correspondence but with temperance notes. Temperance according to Riley is the "total abstinence from things injurious, and a moderate use of things beneficial". The temperance notes contain two booklets and one of the "things injurious" is alcohol. Riley considers alcohol to be just as deadly as any other poison.

Subject(s):
New York (State)--Rochester
Correspondence
Riley, George S., 1822-1919
Hart, Robert, Mrs.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The letters, and documents for the Riley collection come from two sources. Approximately 550 of the letters were a gift from Mr. Robert J. Gorall of Newark, New York on April 12,1993 and August 2, 1993. The remaining 150 letters and documents were purchased at the Gansz auction on November 17, 1991.Access
The George S. Riley papers is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], George S. Riley papers, D.235, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Administrative Information
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rare Books and Special Collections staff
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL:


Content List
Box 1, Folder 1-17Correspondence, 1827-1868
Box 2, Folder 1-17Correspondence, 1869-1888
Box 3, Folder 1-17Correspondence, 1889-1903
Box 4, Folder 1-18Correspondence, 1904-1917
Box 4, Folder 19Financial and legal material
Box 4, Folder 20Invitations
Box 4, Folder 21Temperance notes


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