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Daniel B. Fayerweather Will Papers

Identifier: MA.00080

Scope and Contents

The papers consist mainly of court statements, orders and records involving the court cases brought by Fayerweather's legatees against his executors over the settlement of his estate. There is also some correspondence and a folder of newspaper clippings relating to the dispute.


  • Creation: 1890-1948


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Fayerweather Will Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Fayerweather Will Papers 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 / Historical

Daniel Burton Fayerweather was born on March 12, 1822 in Stepney, Connecticut. His father (a shoemaker) died when he was still very young, leaving his family with insufficient means for support. Daniel Fayerweather was "bound out" by court order to a Connecticut farmer, to serve as a farm hand until he was capable of supporting himself. After he finished his term, he went to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and learned shoemaking. His career as a shoemaker was interrupted by his conducting the "shoemaker's colic," an occupational disease; he turned to peddling tin products and traveling across the country until his health improved, and then returned to Bridgeport where he set up a shoemaker's shop. In 1854, he was offered a clerkship by the New York leather-trading firm of Hoyt Brothers. At the end of his first year, Fayerweather was offered a share in the company. It was this share that made him wealthy, as the firm expanded to become the biggest leather trader in the country. On the resignation of Joseph Hoyt, the chief shareholder, Fayerweather became the senior partner in the firm, which was renamed Fayerweather & Ladew. By the time of his death on November 6, 1890, Fayerweather was a millionaire. Encouraged by his friend Dr. Roswell Hitchcock of Union Theological Seminary, Fayerweather bequeathed a significant portion of his wealth to colleges and universities, including Amherst, Williams, Dartmouth, Yale, Columbia and several others. The settlement of his estate encountered legal problems, which extended over several years; however, the courts ultimately sustained the bequest of the residue of his estate to the colleges.

At Amherst, the Fayerweather bequest was used to construct a chemistry and physics building, which opened in 1894; it later became the Fayerweather Laboratory of Physics. In 2002 Fayerweather Hall was renovated to house the Fine Arts departments.


0.5 Linear feet (1 archives box)

Language of Materials



New York merchant. Court statements, orders and records; and correspondence involving the court cases brought by Fayerweather's legatees against his executors over the settlement of his estate.


The papers are arranged by type, and chronologically within each type.

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Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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