Israel Keech Tefft papers
New Search | Return to Search Results | View/Save/Print PDF

Israel Keech Tefft papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Tefft, I. K., (Israel Keech), 1794-1862.
Title: Israel Keech Tefft papers
Dates: 1815-1861
Extent: 0.3 cubic feet (2 folders, 1 volume)
Identification: MS 0789

Biographical/Historical Note

Israel Keech Tefft (1794-1862) was born in Rhode Island and came to Savannah in 1816. He and James William Finn, noted actor and playwright, became joint editors and proprietors of the Savannah Georgian. He was associated with the Bank of the State of Georgia from 1822 until his death. He was one of the founders of the Georgia Historical Society in 1839 and was its Corresponding Secretary until his death. His interest in history and literature led him to establish a library in his home which became a cosmopolitan gathering place for the literati. He also amassed one of the largest collections of autographs in the world; this collection was sold at auction in New York in 1866.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of Israel Keech Tefft's personal papers and correspondence. Included are business receipts, letters responding to Tefft's autograph requests, and correspondence on the social life of Savannah. The collection also contains a letter book comprised of letters to Tefft, mostly pertaining to business.

Index Terms

Georgia--Social life and customs.
Letter books.
Letters (correspondence)
Marriage--United States.
Tefft family.
Tefft, I. K., (Israel Keech), 1794-1862.

Administrative Information

Custodial History


Preferred Citation

[item identification], Israel Keech Tefft papers, MS 789, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Baker Library, Harvard University, 1975 (Items 6-19)


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.


Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List



1Miscellaneous papers, 1817-1861 ( 5.0 items. )
Receipt of I.K. Tefft to A. Telpny (?) for 1 doz. Carolina hoes, February 4, 1817; I.K. Tefft to Gov. Herschel V. Johnson, November 13, 1854, re sale of bonds; James M. Wayne to Tefft, December 24, 1857, re a discredited bank coupon, sale of a house and Tefft's wish to purchase a document of a signer of the Declaration of Independence; Mary Howard Schoolcraft to Tefft saying her husband is paralyzed and unable to send autograph, comments on politics, her sympathies are with the South; "Information requested of Mr. Tefft," signed by Thaddeus Mason Harris.


2Letters of members of the Tefft family, 1826-1846 ( 13.0 items. )
Tefft to his parents, November 2, 1826, telling of the loss of his home by fire; Henry D. Tefft to his mother, 1836, commenting on business; William P.B. Tefft to Darius S. Skinner, 1835; Charles E. Tefft to D.S. Skinner, 1839; Henry D. Tefft to D.S. Skinner, 1840, 1842, 1844; W.P. Tefft to D.S. Skinner, 1844, 1845, 1846; Darius Sessions to D.S. Skinner, 1846; H.D. Tefft to D.S. Skinner, 1846. The letters comment on social life in Savannah, education, business, family news.


19Letter book, 1815-1825
Incoming letters to Tefft at Savannah. Most of them pertain to business; a few have copies of Tefft's replies. There are some interesting and amusing letters from A.C. McIntyre of Macon, especially the two which give details of his courtship and marriage, September 24, 1827, April 7, 1828.