Archives & Collections

Inside the Silver vault safeWhat’s inside the Silver Vault safe? It’s TWINS!! Actually, this camera scope indicates it probably holds at least some silver service, although not, in all likelihood, gold bars or a family fortune!

What's inside the Silver Vault safe? It's TWINS!! Actually, this camera scope indicates it probably holds at least some silver service, although not, in all likelihood, gold bars or a family fortune!

The Shelburne Farms Archives, located in the lower level of the Inn at Shelburne Farms, is a repository for materials related to the history and evolution of Shelburne Farms and members of the Webb family associated with the estate.  The collections span the period from Shelburne Farms’ inception as a private country estate in the late 1880s through its evolution to a nonprofit organization. The Archives contains over 700 cubic feet of manuscripts, photographs, printed materials, and other items.

Open to the public by appointment, year-round.  Contact Julie Eldridge Edwards, Curator of Collections, 802-985-0410.

Major collections include:

  • Architectural Blueprints, Drawings & Maps
    A comprehensive collection of 1,047 plans and maps, 1880s-1960s.  Most significant is the large group of blueprints and drawings for Shelburne House and other farm buildings rendered by the office of Robert Henderson Robertson, the architect for Shelburne Farms, 1885-1910.
  • Books
    Printed volumes collected by members of the Webb family, including Lila Osgood (Vanderbilt) Webb, William Seward Webb, James Watson Webb, Sr., and Derick Webb for their libraries, 1750-1990.
  • Family Papers
    Correspondence, journals, guestbooks, schoolbooks, scrapbooks and other personal papers created by members of the Webb family, 1870-1960.  Highlights include diaries kept by estate founder Lila Osgood (Vanderbilt) Webb, 1877-1936; her eldest son James Watson Webb, Sr., 1904-1960; and eldest and only daughter Frederica Webb Pulitzer Jones, 1897-1935.
  • Farm Managers’ Papers
    Correspondence, financial records, some employee records and trade catalogues from the offices of the estate Farm Managers, 1888-1940.
  • Photograph Collection
    Over 10,000 images of the estate and family members in prints, albums and negatives, 1886 to present.
  • Scrapbooks
    Twenty folio volumes of newspaper clippings about the estate and the Webb family’s social activities, business ventures, and other residences collected by a press-clipping agency, 1878-1906.
  • Shelburne Farms Reference Collection
    Secondary sources related to the history of Shelburne Farms and the Webb family in manuscript and printed form.
  • James Watson Webb, Jr. Collection
    Photographs, framed works of art, and objects related to the early history of the estate collected by James Watson Webb, Jr., a grandson of estate founders William Seward Webb and Lila Osgood (Vanderbilt) Webb.
  • William Seward Webb Business Papers
    Manuscripts pertaining to the St. Lawrence and Adirondack Railroad, the Herkimer, Newport, & Poland Extension Railroad, the Mohawk & Adirondack Railroad, the Mohawk Valley & Northern Railway Company, the Raquette Lake Railroad, the Railway Construction & Equipment Company, and the Rutland Railroad and a small collection of correspondence (mostly dating to 1902).