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George A. Plimpton (AC 1876) Collection of French and Indian War Items

Identifier: MA.00195

Scope and Contents

The Plimpton Collection of French and Indian War Items consists of a wide variety of manuscript and printed items which span the years 1670 to 1926. It constitutes a resource for research into both the military and social history of the war. The bulk of the collection focuses on the war efforts of British forces during the second half of the eighteenth century, with emphasis on the campaigns directed by General Jeffery Amherst, Commander-in-chief of the troops in North America (1758-1763) - campaigns which culminated with the capture of French Canada in 1763. There are a few items going back to the early 1700s as well as more recent documentation such as photographs of battlegrounds and records of celebrative events.

The Plimpton Collection includes maps, portraits, drawings, autograph letters, original broadsides of the declarations of war, newspaper clippings, medical care bills, muster rolls, receipts of the purchase of weapons and supplies, bills for the victualling and billeting of soldiers in New England, lottery tickets, and official correspondence between army officials and British authorities. Most items are still mounted onto boards or have photographic reproductions as a result of their being in exhibition at the Lord Jeffery Inn.


  • Creation: 1670-1934
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1730-1815


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Plimpton Collection of French and Indian War Items for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Plimpton Collection of French and Indian War Items should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical Note - George Arthur Plimpton

The assembler of this collection, George Arthur Plimpton, 1855-1936 (AC 1876) was a publisher, author and collector of books and manuscripts. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy, Amherst College, and Harvard Law School. He served as a Trustee at Amherst College (1890-95, 1900-36; president of the Board, 1907-36). His collection of manuscripts and books on the history of education was donated to Columbia University in 1936.

The French and Indian War

The French and Indian War was the American phase of a worldwide, nine-year war fought between France and Great Britain, 1754-1763. It determined the control of the vast colonial territory of North America. The war began over the specific issue of whether the upper Ohio River valley was a part of the British Empire, and therefore open for trade and settlement by Virginians and Pennsylvanians, or part of the French Empire. Behind this issue, however, was the much larger question of which national culture was to dominate the heart of North America.

Despite a series of military defeats in the first four years of the war, the British and colonial American forces won important victories in 1758 and 1759 against the royal French forces and the various Native Americans allied with them. These victories include battles at Louisbourg, Fort Frontenac, Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga), Crown Point, Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh) and Fort Niagara. The culmination came with the British victory in Quebec at the Plains of Abraham (September 13, 1759), where the French were forced to surrender. A year later, Montreal and the whole of New France had fallen, and most French and British military conflict on the North American continent had ceased. By the Treaty of Paris (February 10, 1763), France ceded its territory on mainland North America east of the Mississippi River (including Canada) to Great Britain; Spain ceded Florida to Britain but in return received the Louisiana Territory (i.e., the western half of the Mississippi River basin) and New Orleans from the French.

[Source used: "French and Indian War." Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, 2010. Web. 4 Jan. 2010.]

Biographical Note - Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst

Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst (1717-1797), gained fame as an officer in the British Army during the French and Indian War. As commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, he led the British to victories at Louisbourg, Quebec City, and Montreal. From 1760 to 1763 Amherst was also the first British Governor General in the territories that eventually became Canada.


20 Linear feet (10 archives boxes, 1 small flat box, 3 flat file drawers)

Language of Materials




Original and reproduction maps, portraits, drawings, autograph letters, broadsides, newspaper clippings, muster rolls, receipts and a variety of other documents documenting the history of the French and Indian War. The collection particularly focusses on British forces and the campaigns directed by General Jeffery Amherst, Commander-in-Chief of the troops in North America (1758-1763), which culminated with the capture of French Canada in 1763.


This collection is organized into sixteen series:

  1. Series 1: Lord Jeffrey Amherst, 1758-1934
  2. Series 2: Arms and Equipment, 1703-1768
  3. Series 3: Battlegrounds and Forts, 1835-1900
  4. Series 4: British Prints, 1760-1848
  5. Series 5: Colonial Prints, 1721-1913
  6. Series 6: Victualling and Billeting of Troops, 1724-1799
  7. Series 7: Miscellaneous Manuscripts, 1670s-1823
  8. Series 8: French Prints, 1847-1903
  9. Series 9: Indian Prints
  10. Series 10: Journals and Periodicals, 1728-1913
  11. Series 11: Medical Care, 1709-1879
  12. Series 12: Mustering, 1743-1762
  13. Series 13: Acts and Proclamations, 1703-1806
  14. Series 14: Maps, 1670-1926
  15. Series 15: Card Indexes
  16. Series 16: Oversize Maps, Portraits, and Printed Matter, 1705-1901

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Plimpton Collection of French and Indian War Items was presented to Amherst College in 1927 by George Arthur Plimpton (AC 1876). According to his wishes, a considerable amount of the collection was made readily available to the public on a permanent exhibition held at the Lord Jeffery Inn (Amherst, Mass). Approximately 185 items remained on display at the Inn for decades but, when losses began to occur in the early 1970s, the collection was transferred back to the Amherst College Archives.

Related Materials

  1. Long, J. C. (John Cuthbert). The Plimpton Collection of French and Indian War Items presented to Amherst College and exhibited at the Lord Jeffery Inn, Amherst, Massachusetts, described by J. C. Long. Amherst, Mass.: Amherst College, 1934.
  2. Jeffery Amherst Collection
  3. Town of Amherst Collection
  4. Plimpton Collection of Dramas

Processing Information

Although a printed guide to the exhibition was compiled by J.C. Long and published by the college in 1934, it no longer represents the collection in its entirety. The collection grew substantially over the years through contributions made by Plimpton's son, Francis T. P. Plimpton (AC 1922), and amounts today to over 700 items. When given to the college, the papers were accompanied by a handwritten card index with full descriptions of its items. However, in order to accommodate new acquisitions and manuscripts not described before, the collection was reorganized in 2009 into 16 series which expand on the original 13 subject classifications. For preservation purposes, every item was individually foldered and relabeled accordingly.

Original Catalog Numbers

A number of items are indicated by an original catalog number at the folder level. This refers to the 1934 published catalog "Plimpton Collection of French and Indian War Items Presented to Amherst College and Exhibited at the Lord Jeffery Inn, Amherst, Massachusetts" by John Cuthbert Long. Copies are available in the open stacks and in special collections at Frost Library.

In this collection, the original catalog number is indicated in the Processing Information field at the folder level record.

Isadora Mota
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299