The Erie Canal was developed in the early nineteenth century and bridged the port of New York City to the interior of the state of New York and the Midwest. The canal officially opened on October 26, 1825 and was significant in its time because it drastically reduced the cost and time of shipping goods inland compared to traditional overland shipping. The waterway contributed to the economic development of New York State by streamlining trade throughout the region. By connecting the interior of the nation to the port of New York City, the canal promoted economic development along its route and between the eastern and western markets. At the time, the waterway was a hallmark of advancements in transportation and civil planning. Significant state expense and planning went towards the construction and maintenance of the canal, including several canal enlargements. Governor DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828) was especially active in facilitating the canal’s development as one of several government figures within the Erie Canal Commission that oversaw its construction.
Scope of Collection
The Erie Canal Collection comprises a set of financial documents and cultural materials relevant to the Erie Canal digitized by the American Museum of Finance. The digital collection includes financial documents, including certificates of loans, bank checks, certificates of stock, cargo inventories, and financial reports. The collection also includes materials of artistic and cultural significance, including various commemorative postcards, an LP record of children’s folk songs, photographs of the canal at various locations, portraits and artwork depicting Dewitt Clinton, engraved paintings, prints, pictorial essays, advertising materials, a stereograph, a survey of the Great Lakes, and a letter of correspondence from former canal commissioner David Hudson (1782-1860).