Collection Facts

926 items
Dates of Original: 
c. 1870
NYH Topic Area(s):

Historical Context

Jonathan Pearson was born in New Hampshire in 1813, the son of Caleb Pearson and Hetty Libby. Pearson moved to Schenectady in 1831 and began attending Union College early in 1832. He graduated in 1835. After leaving Schenectady briefly to teach in Pennsylvania, Pearson returned to Union College in the fall of 1836 to teach; he would remain at Union for nearly fifty years. Pearson also served as Union College's Librarian from around 1839 until 1886, and as Acting Treasurer (1851-1854) and Treasurer (1854-1883). Pearson developed a keen interest in the history of his adopted city and became a prominent historian in the area. He wrote a number of published works about the history of Schenectady and Albany. Pearson married Mary Lord Hosford, of Albany, in 1841. The couple had three sons, Henry, John, and William. Pearson died in 1887 and is buried in Schenectady's Vale Cemetery, in the Union College Plot.

Scope of Collection

The Pearson Street Books consist of four scrapbook volumes of notes and sketched maps regarding property ownership in Schenectady, New York, created and compiled by nineteenth-century Schenectady historian Jonathan Pearson. The collection contains information about property ownership in Schenectady from the early settlement in the 1660s through the mid-nineteenth century. The Pearson Street Books focus primarily on Schenectady’s original settlement area, now defined as the Stockade Historic District. To a lesser extent, the Street Books also cover the areas east and south of the original settlement. Source records referenced in Pearson’s handwritten notes include deeds, mortgages, wills, and other documents. Occasionally, Pearson includes full transcribed copies of documents in addition to his notes.