Skip to main content

Charles H. Van Wyck and Ross Brodhead papers

Call Number: RH MS 98


The collection consists of correspondence (business, political and personal), legal documents, and personal financial records of Charles Van Wyck from 1857 until his death in 1895. The rest of the collection is correspondence and business records of Ross Brodhead, dealing with the Van Wyck estate. There are also some personal records of Ross Brodhead in the collection.


  • Creation: 1857 - 1905


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biographies of Charles Van Wyck and Ross Brodhead

Charles Henry Van Wyck (1824-1895) was born at Poughkeepsie, New York and spent his youth at Bloomingburg, Sullivan County, New York. He graduated from Rutgers College in 1843. After his graduation he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1847.

He began politics as a member of the Barnburner wing of the Democratic party but joined the new Republican movement and was elected to Congress in 1858. He served until 1863. During the Civil War he was in command of the New York Volunteers in the Peninsular and North Carolina campaigns. After the war he was again elected to Congress from New York.

In 1857 he acquired lands in the new western territories, near Nebraska City, Nebraska and in western Kansas. He moved to Nebraska in 1874. He was an active member of the Nebraska constitutional convention (1875) and was elected to the State Senate for three consecutive terms and the United States Senate from 1881 to 1887. He was active as a leader of the Farmers' Alliance and of the Populists in Nebraska, but was never a successful candidate for office on the Populist ticket. He died in Washington in 1895 and was buried in Milford, Pennsylvania.

Little biographical information is known about Ross Brodhead. He was the nephew of Kate Van Wyck, Charles' wife. He managed the Van Wyck estate after Charles' death for Kate Van Wyck and her daughter, Happy Theodora Van Wyck. He lived in Lawrence, Kansas, and was employed by the Watkins National Bank.


6.25 Linear Feet (12 boxes)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 98

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was separated from the J. B. Watkins papers (RH MS 1) after the Watkins papers were received in the Kansas Collection. Ross Brodhead was an employee of J. B. Watkins' National Bank in Lawrence, Kansas.

Guide to the Van Wyck-Brodhead Collection
Charles H. Van Wyck and Ross Brodhead papers
Finding aid prepared by pg, August 1976. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2004. Finding aid revised by sfw, July 1983; lmw, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Van Wyck-Brodhead Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS 98, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States