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Elias G. Drake Letter

Identifier: Ms-1990-012

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a letter from Elias G. Drake of New York City to Virginia Senator William Segar Archer. Writing on June 28, 1844, Drake comments on their shared interest in the success of the fledgling American Republican Party (later to become the Native American Party, or "Know Nothings"). Drake expresses concern that "some aspiring individuals who pretend to belong to the American Party" favor the candidacies of separate tickets for Congress and state legislatures in the upcoming election, which Drake believes will harm the candidacy of Henry Clay and the American Republican Party; he asks for Archer's views on the matter. Written on the reverse of Drake's letter is a letter from a writer who appears to have signed "Git Mould" (undoubtedly a pseudonym), requesting Archer to persuade others in his party to abstain from making nominations, to prevent a Democratic victory in the upcoming elections.


  • 1844


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

Elias Guion Drake, son of John and Magdalen Guion Drake, was born in New York on December 7, 1799. According to his obituary, Drake was a successful New York City merchant; he was also associated with several insurance companies and served as president of the city's fire department. In 1823, Drake married Katherine Maria Baker (1805-1888); the couple would have nine children. Politically, Drake was an early member of the Whig Party and served as a presidential elector for John Quincy Adams in 1824. When the Whig Party dissolved, Drake followed the newly formed Native American Party (later the American Party or "Know Nothings"). He served on New York City's board of aldermen in 1844/1845, representing the fifth ward. In 1847, he ran unsuccessfully as the American Party's candidate for mayor. Around 1854, Drake moved to Scarsdale, New York, where he cofounded the East Side Savings Bank, of which he served as a trustee until his death. He also cofounded the Chatham National Bank and served as its president. Elias G. Drake died April 18, 1889, and was buried in St. Paul's Church Cemetery, Mount Vernon (Westchester County), New York.

William Segar Archer, son of John and Elizabeth Segar Archer, was born in Amelia County, Virginia on March 5, 1789. After graduating from William and Mary College in 1806, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1810, practicing in Amelia and Powhatan counties. He served four terms in the Virginia House of Delegates (1812-1819) and in 1820, was elected to a single term in the U. S. House of Representatives, representing Virginia's 17th District. The following year, he was elected to represent Virginia's 3rd District and remained in office until his defeat in the 1834 election. In 1840, Archer was elected to the U. S. Senate from Virginia. Following defeat in his candidacy for re-election in 1846, William S. Archer died at Amelia Court House (Amelia County) on March 28, 1855, and was buried in Archer (Red Lodge) Cemetery.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)


Letter from Elias G. Drake of New York City, writing to Virginia Senator William Segar Archer on June 28, 1844, regarding the American Republican Party (later the American Native Party, or "Know Nothings"), the Whig Party, and the presidential candidacy of Henry Clay.

Source of Acquisition

The Elias G. Drake Letter was purchased by Special Collections and University Archives in 1990.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Elias G. Drake Letter by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing and description of the Elias G. Drake Letter commenced and was completed in August, 2022.

Elias G. Drake Letter, 1844
John M. Jackson
2022 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020-09-08: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags
  • 2021-03-11: LM Rozema added missing notes for an unprocessed collection, added FA title and filing titles, added FA date from EAD, and added component with instances previously attached to collection level.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US