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Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Downfall of Boss Tweed

By Anthony Ruggiero
Copyright ©2020 All rights reserved by the author

New York City’s history is rich with various instances of political triumphs and corruption. New York City’s history also has its share of political figures that have had a major influence in its continuous development. Some figures have helped changed New York for the better. Some, however, only had power to corrupt the city and get money for themselves. One of these figures is William “Boss” Tweed. Boss Tweed was the leader of New York’s Tammany Hall from 1868-1871. Tammany Hall was a major political force in New York City during the 1860’s and early 1870’s. However, in 1871, Boss Tweed’s reign came to an end when he was exposed for major fraud. After this exposure, Tweed’s life was never the same and he died penniless on April 12, 1878. In order to understand why Boss Tweed was ultimately exposed, it is important to learn about the man himself and the events that led to his downfall in 1871.

The life of Boss Tweed began on April 3, 1823, in the Lower East Side of New York City. In his early life, he was proficient in being a chair maker, saddler, clerk, and bookkeeper. He also opened a law office in 1860. However, he only had little knowledge of the law. According to Hirsch (1945), “he extorted large fees for political favors” (p.268). This would be a common action of Tweed later in his life when he led Tammany Hall. After stints as a volunteer fireman in 1848 and a Congressman from 1853 to 1855, Tweed was on his way to becoming a major political force in New York City.

Tweed’s major political rule began in 1863 when he was elected chief of Tammany Hall. During that year, the Draft Riots occurred. The United States was at the height of the Civil War. To fight the Confederate states, Congress passed a draft that stated that all men between the ages of 20 and 45 were liable to fight for the Union states. When the draft was enforced in New York City on July 13, 1863, disaster struck. Riots emerged, and over 100 deaths were the result. As a result of the riots, Manhattan was in a troubled state. Many people had moved away, especially African Americans, and property damage was immense. Tweed, however, was not going to let this get in his way. According to Munson (2005), “Through involved and astute political maneuvering, Tweed managed to have Tammany Hall designed as the main administrative apparatus of President Lincoln’s draft in the city” (p.83). Tweed found ways to solve the draft situation. According to Hamill (2005), “Tweed worked on managing the draft mess, creating a system of exemptions (cops, firemen, militia members) and case-by-case hardship exemptions for heads of impoverished families.” This was Tweed’s first big victory in New York City. This victory helped Tweed to escalate to the main leader of Tammany Hall in 1868 when his corruption would begin.

Tweed’s reign of corruption began in 1868 when he became both the chief of Tammany Hall and New York’s state senator. During this reign, he was assisted by four men: New York’s Governor John Hoffman, City Chamberlain Peter Barr Sweeney, Comptroller Daniel Connolly, and New York City’s mayor A. Oakey Hall. They would later be known as “Tweed’s ring”. Tweed, along with his ring, wanted to take control of all the city’s finances. To do this, he created a charter that would be passed in 1870. According to Hirsch (1945), “The charter turned over control of the municipal treasury to Tweed and his henchmen by creating a Board of Audit for the city” (p.269). Also, Tweed became the commissioner of the public works of New York in 1870. This position is what let Tweed perform his corrupt acts.

Tweed focused on public projects in New York City as a way to increase his profit. One way Tweed did so was overly inflating the prices of benches he paid at the store. According to Lynch (1927), “Tweed purchased three hundred benches at the rate of five dollars each, a total of $1,500.” The cashier of the Home Insurance Company was there to bid in some of them. Tweed told him he would let him have them at the price he paid, as the insurance man only wanted seventeen. Tweed turned the remaining benches over to the furniture house of Ingersoll and Company. The benches were sold for six hundred dollars each” (p.241). This made a huge profit for Tweed: $168,300, to be exact. Tweed would also set up contracts that included bills that were priced way higher than they should have been for the work performed. For example, a contract stated that a carpenter was to be paid $360,751 for a month’s worth of work. However, this carpenter hardly worked as there was barely any woodwork done. Another example of Tweed’s corruption was during the construction of City Hall Park. According to Simkin (1997), “Tweed also organized the building of City Hall Park. Originally estimated to cost $350,000, by the time it was finished, expenditure had reached $13,000,000”. One final way Tweed corrupted through the city was through the Brooklyn Bridge project. According to Greenspan (2013), “Tweed facilitated up to $65,000 in bribes to New York’s aldermen to win their backing for a $1.5 million bond issue. He then became a major holder of bridge stock and joined a committee charged with managing the project’s finances.” This was not his most successful endeavor as he was arrested before big money started to come in. Overall, it was estimated that Tweed stole up to 200 million dollars from the city. However, Tweed’s corruption could not last forever. In 1871, Tweed would go from a multi-millionaire and powerhouse to a broke, penniless man who was about to face trial. There were three factors that led to Tweed’s downfall: Thomas Nast and his drawings, the Orange Riots of 1971, and the Tweed Courthouse.

While many members of the city might have been outsmarted, one prominent figure was not. This figure was a German political cartoonist for Harper’s Weekly, Thomas Nast. Thomas Nast was a member of the Republican Party, so he was already opposed to Tweed’s political views. Tweed was a Democrat. However, Nast’s dissatisfaction went much beyond the difference in political parties. Nast viewed Tweed as a greedy politician who was only out for his personal gains. These opinions proved to be a strong influence in New York in 1871. “A man that can appeal powerfully to millions of people must be admitted to great power in the land. No writer can possibly possess a tenth part of the influence which Mr. Nast exercises. He addresses the learned and unlearned alike” (“Mr. Thomas Nast,” 1872). In Nast’s drawings, Tweed is depicted as an overweight, greedy villain stealing the city’s money. One of Nast’s most famous drawings is “Twas Him.” In this cartoon, Nast asks the question, “Who stole the people’s money.” In the cartoon, Tweed’s ring is arranged in a circular shape. Tweed and his four biggest supporters are placed in the front. They are all not taking responsibility for fraud as they all point to the men that are beside them. This pointing goes on until the men reach Tweed. Tweed stands there, not pointing at anyone. Nast does this to emphasize that Tweed is the mastermind of the fraud. These cartoons began to worry Tweed. According to Hinckley (2002), “Tweed is said to have once remarked that he feared Nast more than the other pesky reformers at the papers - because even though Tweed was confident that most of his supporters could not read, they could look at pictures.” Tweed feared Nast for a good reason. According to Hinckley (2002), “It helped give political reformers like Samuel J. Tilden, a one-time Tammany honcho himself, the public support to oust Tweed and his cronies.” Nast helped to change the political atmosphere of New York City. His drawings were a big influence on Tweed’s verdict of guilty of fraud and graft in 1873. However, Nast was only one contributor to Tweed’s downfall. The Orange Riots of 1871 became the turning point for Tweed. After the riots occurred, Tweed and Tammany Hall began to crumble, losing supporters from left and right.

The Orange Riots took place on June 12, 1871. This was only eight years after the Draft Riots had occurred. During the Draft Riots, Boss Tweed was seen as this great hero. He was the one who helped to solve the draft problem in New York City. Would Tweed be viewed as a great hero this time? The answer to that would be no, not exactly. The riots stemmed from a rivalry between two groups: the Irish Protestants and the Irish Catholics. This rivalry began all the way back in 1690. “The real roots of the trouble went back to 1690, nearly 200 years before, when the great Battle of Boyne was fought in Ireland. On that day, the adherents of William of Orange, the champion of Protestantism, won a complete victory over James II, the Catholic Champion. Ever since Protestant and Catholic Irishmen have looked upon the anniversary of the Boyne with diametrically opposite feelings” (“The Orange Riots of Fifty Years Ago, 1921). There had already been a riot in 1870 between the two groups. The Protestants organized a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Boyne. The Catholics were not happy with this and started a riot. This riot resulted in over eight deaths. In 1871, the Protestants proposed another parade. Tweed and Tammany Hall allowed the parade to happen to show that it can hold New York’s stability. Unfortunately, this did not happen. A riot again emerged. It was worse than in the previous years. The riot resulted in 60 deaths.

The Orange Riots had large negative impacts on Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall. Before the riots, Tammany Hall held a strong grip on New York City. They kept it stable, or so everyone assumed. The Orange Riots ruined that reputation. Tweed could not maintain control over the two Irish groups. This led to a loss of faith in Tweed that was never recovered. The most interesting part about the Orange Riots is it led to Tweed’s downfall, but not in exposing his corruption. This was for an entirely different reason. This exposed Tweed’s failure to keep the Irish under control, a group that he has always tried to help. If things could not get any worse for Tweed, his dream of building a courthouse turned into a nightmare.

Tweed’s dream of building a courthouse began in 1858 when $250,000 was laid out for the cost of constructing the courthouse. However, as usual with Tweed, $250,000 was well below what would be the actual cost of the courthouse. According to Dunlap (1986), “All told, the documented cost of the courthouse was put at $8 million with estimates of its actual price tags-kickbacks to the Rings included- going as high as $14 million” (p. B5). This is an incredibly high cost for the construction of a building in the 1800s. One of the reasons why the cost was so high is what Tweed paid the construction workers. According to Barry (2000), “A furniture contractor received $179, 729 for three tables and 40 chairs. The plasterer, a Tammany functionary, named Andrew J. Garvey, got $133, 187 for two days' work” (p. B5). These high amounts came from fraudulent bills. Since these bills were not legal, little to no work was performed, thus delaying the construction and increasing the costs.

At this point, Tweed was unstoppable. He was incredibly rich and had a wealthy body of supporters. However, in July 1871, along with the Orange Riots, Tweed encountered a huge dent in his plan. According to Barry (2000), “In July 1871, two low-level city officials with a grudge against the Tweed ring provided the New York Times with reams of documentation that detailed the corruption at the courthouse and other city projects. The newspaper published a string of articles teasing out the details day by day before publishing a special supplement. Those articles coupled with the political cartoons of Thomas Nast in Harper’s Weekly, created a national outcry and soon Tweed and many of his cronies were facing criminal charges and political oblivion” (p. B5). This dent had officially ended Tweed’s reign. In 1873, he was convicted of fraud and sentenced to twelve years in prison. He only served one year as he managed to escape and go to Spain. However, he was soon found with the help of Thomas Nast’s cartoons. He went back to prison, where he would remain there for the rest of his life. Boss Tweed died on April 12, 1878. He was broke and unhealthy, a shadow of his former self.

William “Boss” Tweed definitely made a name for himself in New York City. He was one of the most controversial political figures to ever grace the city. At first, he seemed like an honest man who had his sights on the welfare of the city and its people. This was seen through how he handled the Draft Riots in 1863. He helped to stop them and provide a more peaceful environment in the city. As the years went on, his seemingly honest persona would start to show its true colors. Instead of protecting the well-being of the city, he was stealing from it time and time again. When all was said and done, he is said to have robbed up to 200 million dollars, an incredibly high amount in 1871. However, his greediness got the best of him. Tweed’s love of greed was prominent during the construction of the courthouse. Thomas Nast’s cartoons, in addition to the Orange Riots, changed Tweed’s reputation for the worse. In fact, these would change it for the rest of his life. He spent the rest of his life in and out of jail. He died a man without a cent. Boss Tweed is a classic tale of the tragedy of greed. One who has a love of money will find ways to get it, even if it means stealing. He may be initially successful at getting money, but it will only be a matter of time until it will start to crumble and completely fall apart. William Tweed is a perfect representation of this, a man who went from a millionaire to a man who had lost everything due to his love of the dollar bill.

About the author: Anthony Ruggiero currently a High School History Teacher in New York City, New York. In addition to teaching, I have been published in several magazines and blogs. For example, I have been published previously in History Is Now magazine, Historic-U.K.magazine, Tudor Life magazine, Discover Britain magazine, The Odd Historian magazine, the Culture-Exchange blog, Inside History magazine and The Freelance History Writer blog. Through continuing to research and write, I am able to share my findings with my students in order to engage them in their learning and help them succeed. My work can also be viewed on my Twitter handle: @Anthony10290122


Barry, D. (2000, December 12). The courthouse that Tweed built seeks to shed notorious past. The

New York Times, pp. B1, B9.

Dunlap, D. (1986, May 5). Boss Tweed's courthouse: An elegant monument to corruption. The

New York Times, pp. B1, B5.

Greenspan, J. (2013, May 23). Ten things you may not know about the Brooklyn Bridge.

Retrieved from


Hamill, P. (2005, March 27). Boss Tweed: The fellowship of the ring. [Review of the book Boss

Tweed: the corrupt sol who conceived the soul of modern New York]. The New York

Times. Retrieved from


Hinckley, D. (2002, November 11). The Tammany tiger. New York Daily News, p. 31.

Hirsch, M. (1945). More light on Boss Tweed. Political Science Quarterly, 60(2), 267-278.


Lynch, D. (1927). "Boss Tweed”: The story of a grim generation. New Brunswick, New Jersey:


Munson, S. (2005). Tammany's boss. Policy Review, (132), 82-86.

Simkin, J. (2014, August 1). William Tweed. Retrieved from http://spartacus-

Ybarra, T. (1921, July 10). The Orange Riots of fifty years ago. The New York Times, pp. 4-5.

Mr. Thomas Nast. (1872, March 20). The New York Times, p. 4.

What caused the Harlem Riot of 1935?

By Anthony Ruggiero
Copyright ©2020 All rights reserved by the author

Race and the discrimination between them have always been a stain in the history of the United States. The conflict between the two themes has been a very common phenomenon over the years. One of the most significant events of the 20th century, the Harlem Riot of 1935, has manifested these two factors.

The initial riot took place in Harlem, New York on March 19th, 1935. The riot erupted when rumors spread that police apprehended a 16-year-old black-Puerto Rican boy named Lino Rivera, for stealing in a store. Witnesses had assumed that the police killed the boy when they saw a hearse pull up to the store. Although it might seem strange that a full-scale riot ensued due to this issue, it was the circumstances of the people of Harlem who lived there during that time period that caused it. The Harlem Riot was a direct result of years of racial tension, massive unemployment, the idea of black pride, and the influence of Sufi Abdul Humid. Harlem was a diverse area filled with many ethnicities; the Jewish community was particularly dominant. The white community clashed with the expanding black community. The black community soon faced struggles in things such as housing. During this time, New York was also feeling the effects of the Great Depression, which left many jobless. This also greatly affected the black community in Harlem who were already faced with discrimination. The idea of Black Nationalism spread rapidly which stressed the idea of creating black jobs. This also would lead to Sufi Abdul Humid's rise to prominence as he backed the idea of gaining white-dominated jobs.

At one point in time, the area of Harlem was heavily dominated by the Jewish community. The area was even nicknamed, “Jewish Harlem.”[1] However, a massive influx of blacks into the community put an end to that. Black communities during this time period were scattered along streets such as West 130th street and West 146th that collectively became known as, “Darktown.” As the black community began to expand into white communities so did resistance and violence. For example, Adolph B. Rosenfield who was an employee of the Property Owner’s Improvement Association, was in some ways successful in a resistance movement to keep blacks out of the area by 90th street, 110th street, Riverside Drive, and Central Park West during the 1910s. In the 1920’s, Jews also participated in efforts lead by Harry Goodstein and the West Side Property Owner’s Association to keep the black community from advancing to 127th street. Many Jews simply left Harlem in protest of the growing black community and moved to areas such as the Bronx and Brooklyn. This meant that the city’s population began to decline and lost revenue. Despite this, with the declining number of Jewish people in the community tensions between the Jews and Blacks began to lessen.[2]However, the years of discrimination had left its mark on the black population.

The years of racial discrimination greatly affected the black communities abilities to gain jobs and income. Many of the establishments were white-owned. In a survey of business establishments it was determined that only twenty-four percent of these establishments hired black workers for low paying jobs, and fifty-nine percent did not hire black workers at all.[3]According to a study made by the Milbank Memorial Fund in 1933, the family income for black families declined from $1,808 in 1929 to $1,019 in 1932. Black skilled workers suffered the greatest percentage during this time with forty-nine percent loss in income.[4] Unskilled workers also suffered greatly as well as they had only made $1,600 in 1929, which was already below the average income rate. The deductions of income lead to many housing issues for blacks in Harlem. A New York Urban Team reported that forty-eight percent of blacks in Harlem paid two times as much in their income in rent just for a standard four-bedroom apartment compared to a white tenant in New York City. Many blacks had to move into lodgers, which lead to much overcrowding. [5]

This led too many blacks living in Harlem questioning white domination of black communities during this time period. This resulted in many blacks demanding the creation black jobs headed by black residents. To convince other blacks that this newfound nationalism could be effective, they actually used Jews as an example. Booker T. Washington stated, “get money, like the Jew…who now has recognition because he has entwined himself about America in a business and industrial way.” However, this idea was ultimately unsuccessful. Many all-black jobs were low revenue jobs, for example: barber shops, beauty salons, and taxicabs. An example of a company that failed, which also negatively affected the black community in Harlem, was the closing of the A.P.H Taxicab Company in 1932, which was the largest privately black-owned company in New York. It was estimated that six hundred Harlem residents lost their jobs.[6]Another major reason the all-black business plan did not work was black shoppers still preferred to shop at Jewish-owned establishments that were in Harlem. Jewish-owned businesses offered a more variety of goods at cheaper prices. During the Great Depression, these Jewish-owned businesses offered credit to black buyers, which meant they had a longer period of time to pay for items they were unable to provide money for at that time. A woman from Harlem stated that her mother always suggested she continue to buy from Jews, because “they let us have anything we need even when we don’t have any money”,[7] thus proving that white dominance in the black community was still intact.

The idea of creating all-black jobs was essentially a failure. There were either not enough jobs or they failed completely. The only other alternative was to gain white-collar jobs in white-dominated establishments. This is when Sufi Abdul Humid began gaining a prominence as a leader of this idea at the beginning of 1932. Humid relocated to Harlem from Chicago, after having success in the city in a different jobs campaign which he and the Chicago Whip, a black newspaper at that time, had run. Although the reasons are unknown as to why he relocated to Harlem, he certainly made his presence known. With his tall body structure and flashy appearance, Humid was often seen at the forefront of rallies on 125th street, which is the center of Harlem’s stores for clothing or other commercial items. Humid urged his followers not to purchase items from white stores, that would not hire them for jobs. At one point, Humid would go along the stores on 125th street and exclaim, “Share the Jobs!” Humid was somewhat successful in this approach. In June of 1934, Martin Weinstein, the new owner of Koch’s Department stores declared that his clerical staff would be one-third black workers. The original owner and founder, H.C.F Koch, had closed at one time Harlem’s largest department store, in protest to the expanding black community. However, it seems the primary reason Weinstein made this statement was to avoid confrontation with Humid and his growing followers.[8]

All of these issues erupted on March 19th, 1935. A 16-year-old black, Puerto Rican boy named, Lino Rivera, stole a penknife from the Kress Five and Ten store on 125th Street. Both the store owner and the assistant manager witnessed Rivera steal the knife and managed to capture him before he was able to getaway. A police officer, who was patrolling the area, was called to the scene to investigate. When asked if he wanted to press charges, the store owner instructed the officer to let Rivera go. In order to avoid the large groups of people who were surrounding the store, the police officer took Rivera out through the back entrance of the store. When one of the witnesses saw the police officer take Rivera away, she shouted that they were going to the back of the store to beat Rivera. An ambulance arrived later to take care of the store owner and the assistant manager, who suffered injuries while trying to apprehend Rivera themselves. When the ambulance left empty, many of the people surrounding the store assumed that Rivera had been killed. Shortly after the ambulance left, a hearse parked across the street from the store. The driver was actually visiting his brother-in-law, who was inside the store. The gathering crowds immediately assumed that the hearse was there to take away the body of Rivera. The police officers who arrived at the store attempted to persuade the growing crowds that Rivera was still alive. However, the people began to demand that the police bring Rivera out of the store, but police officers objected to the crowd's demand and claimed that the situation was under control and it was none of their concern. This angered the crowd and rumors spread through Harlem that the police had killed the boy. The result was large organized mobs that would destroy and loot stores.[9]

The riot was ended the following day when the New York Governor of the time, Herbert Lehman, assured white store owners that the situation was under control and handled. During the riot three African Americans were killed, and over sixty were reported injured. Seventy-five people were also arrested, and it was also reported that a majority of these people were black. The riot also cost the city $200 million in property damages.[10] The Mayor of the city during that time period, Fiorello La Guardia, attempted to improve the conditions for blacks by gaining them jobs in hospitals and other government-related jobs following the riot but could take away all the burdens that the black community still faced in Harlem.[11]

Although the Harlem Riot of 1935 can be viewed as a misinterpretation by a group of people who were assuming that the police had killed Lino Rivera when they had not, their assumptions and actions can be understood by the circumstances prior to the riot. Years of racial discrimination, poverty, and influences by others in the black community culminated in this chaotic event that rocked New York City in the early twentieth century. With the outcome being no resolution for the black community, one thing was clear: that the problems between the black and white communities were far from over.

About the author: Anthony Ruggiero currently a High School History Teacher in New York City, New York. In addition to teaching, I have been published in several magazines and blogs. For example, I have been published previously in History Is Now magazine, Historic-U.K.magazine, Tudor Life magazine, Discover Britain magazine, The Odd Historian magazine, the Culture-Exchange blog, Inside History magazine and The Freelance History Writer blog. Through continuing to research and write, I am able to share my findings with my students in order to engage them in their learning and help them succeed. My work can also be viewed on my Twitter handle: @Anthony10290122


[1] Winston McDowell, “Race and Ethnicity During the Harlem Jobs Campaign, 1932-1935,” The Journal of Negro History, Vol.69, No.3/4 (Summer-Autumn, 1984), pg.135.
[2] Ibid, 136. 
[3] Winston McDowell, “Race and Ethnicity During the Harlem Jobs Campaign, 1932-1935,” The Journal of Negro History, Vol.69, No.3/4 (Summer-Autumn, 1984), pg.137
[4] Ibid, 136.
[5] Ibid, 137.
[6] Ibid, 137.
[7] Ibid, 138.
[8] Ibid, 138.
[9] Wang, Tabitha. "Harlem Race Riot (1935) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed." Harlem Race Riot (1935) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <>.
[10] Wang, Tabitha. "Harlem Race Riot (1935) | 
[11] The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Harlem Race Riot of 1935 (United States History)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <>.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Rocky Point Post Office and Its Stamp on History

By Michael M. DeBonis
Copyright © 2020All rights reserved by the author.

The British Penny Black
When we think of the United States Postal Service, we think of it firstly as a communications
network and secondly as a courier business. The Postal Service of modern America was forged and founded in the fire of the bloody Revolutionary War (1775-1783), on July 26, 1775, by an act from the second Continental Congress (, 1). It selected Pennsylvanian and newspaper mogul Benjamin Franklin as the United States’ first Postmaster General (, 1).

Franklin was America’s first great polymath; he was renowned worldwide as a scientist, inventor, journalist, and printer. He is regarded by contemporary American literary scholars, and as one of the finest prose stylists in the history of the United States. Yet, his role (and importance) as the first steward and director of the U. S. Postal Service is not fully known, or appreciated, by his own people. Despite being famed as the writer of Poor Richard’s Almanac and his Autobiography, Franklin was also, by 1753, chosen by the English crown as one of two Postmasters General for British North America (, 1). And before this, Benjamin Franklin served the public as Postmaster General of Philadelphia (, 1).

During his tenure as first U. S. Postmaster General, Franklin “…made numerous improvements to the mail system, including setting up new, more efficient colonial routes and cutting delivery time in half between Philadelphia and New York…”(, 1). He additionally “…debuted the first-rate chart, which standardized delivery costs based on distance and weight,”(, 1). Franklin occupied his position until the end of 1776 when the Continental Congress put him on a boat bound for France, where he would serve the fledgling American nation as a diplomat (, 1). Franklin “…left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain,” (, 1).

Franklin and his successors hence created a very viable and well-functioning postal service, which greatly facilitated communication and commerce amongst the thirteen new states, and, by such actions, greatly added to America’s national security and military readiness.

But Benjamin Franklin’s fertile imagination could only catch glimpses of the United States Postal Service’s true potential, namely as an outstanding agent in commemorating and spreading the great people and events of American history and documenting them brilliantly by way of numerous U.S. postage stamps. Modern self-adhesive postage stamps would be created only about sixty years after Franklin’s death in 1790 (Bruns, 476). These stamps were the legendary “Penny Blacks” printed by Great Britain and were initially for sale at most U. K. post offices on May 1, 1840 (Bruns, 476). The Penny Blacks are considered the world’s first modern (self-adhesive) postage stamps (Bruns, 476) and each stamp boldly depicted a bright white-sketched likeness of Queen Victoria’s visage, in profile, as a foreground, and then shown against a stark black background (Bruns, 476, and Kehr, 738). This cameo-similar rendering of Britain’s distinguished monarch was in use “…for over 60 years…”(Bruns, 476).

“The United States issued its first official postage stamps (5- and 10-cents denominations) on July 1, 1847”(Bruns, 477). These stamps portrayed images of Benjamin Franklin (on five-cents stamp) and George Washington (on ten-cents stamp), and they were issued and created by a March 3, 1847 act of Congress (Bruns, 477 and Kehr, 738). Such postage stamps from both the United States of America and Great Britain would quickly establish philately (the aesthetic, scholarly, financial, and historical collection of stamps), as a unique field of endeavor and it would globally transform how people came to see the world in cultural and geographic terms. Postage stamps (as well as other revenue stamps) sharply defined any Western nation’s political, historical, and artistic values, via how the symbolism, designs, and personages illustrated on these stamps were printed and shown to their respective publics.

Modern American philately is a direct historical descendant of Western sigillography (the study of ancient seals, stamps, and symbols). It is a sibling historical discipline concerning American and European numismatics (the careful study and collection of coins and paper money) and heraldry (the systematic formulation and meaningful descriptions of coats of arms). Postage stamps, by being created by established world governments, must then be considered as official state and legal documents of their specific home countries, and as such, are to be correctly deemed as part of the pubic and historical records of modern times. This also is to say that mail stamps convey (more often than not) messages much more significant than “Proper postage paid.”

The great State of New York has its history closely interwoven with the history of American philately. This is so because New York State’s history is America’s history. To make this observation and conclusion unambiguous and properly contextualized, consider the following:
The Roosevelt Blue

  • From at least 1778, and forward, New York State’s great Excelsior seal became the official and supreme symbol of New York State, both on its flag and on its legal documents (, 1). It remains so to this day, and the seal of the great State of New York’s custodian is New York’s Secretary of State (, 1). New York State’s notaries public often use, as part of their notarial seals, the official New York State coat of arms engraved on their stamps, and they are entitled to do so by NY State law, being all empowered by New York’s Secretary of State. NYS notaries public (however) are not required by NYS law to use New York State’s official coat of arms when working with legal documents, as this is optional (NYS Notary Public License Law, 24). Many American philatelic designs closely mirror American state seals.
  • American President (and former NY State Governor) Theodore Roosevelt, a great polymath like Franklin, had his visage proudly imprinted of several U. S. postage stamps, specifically the exquisite Roosevelt Reds and the Roosevelt Blues, of the early and mid-20th century. Both stamps vividly celebrate the life and times of “T. R.”
  • A distant cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, U. S. President (and another former NY State
    Franklin D. Roosevelt inspecting his
    stamp library.
    Governor) Franklin Delano Roosevelt was amongst the twentieth century’s foremost authorities, designers, and collectors of philately. FDR was an expert’s expert on mail stamps in general, and he was a huge proponent of using revenue (and postage stamps) to strongly advocate for American history and culture (e.g., the “duck stamps” of the U. S. Dept. of Wildlife Conservation). His illustrious and copious collection is now part of his Presidential Museum in Hyde Park, New York. 

As previously mentioned in this text, modern American philately has its lineage directly rooted in European sigillography. How do we know this? Written historical documents tell the tale, and they do not lie. One of humankind’s earliest written documents is the clay inscribed ancient Egyptian Palette of King Narmer, a royal proclamation, dating to circa 3,500 BC (King, 10). The regal visage of Narmer, standing in victory over his newly conquered foe, is unique in historical annals for two reasons: The first reason being that it portrays ancient Egypt’s very earliest (known) and official pharaoh. The second reason is that Narmer is shown to be uniting upper and lower Egypt by the result of his conquest, thus becoming Egypt’s undisputed ruler. Whether or not, the recently discovered “scorpion” seal of King Scorpion predates the reign of King Narmer is open to debate in historical circles, revolving around the specialized field of Egyptology.

In any event, Narmer’s image on his palette is one of history’s most antique seals, stamps, and sigils (used synonymously here with the term symbols). Notarial seals and stamps are nearly as old as regal (and state) ones. Thus the scribes of ancient Egypt, who all held venerated positions in ancient Egyptian society (King, 8), passed on their stenographic and notarial professions to those royal, state, and municipal scribes of classical Greece and Rome. From there, historically, Greece and Rome (and especially the Roman Catholic Church and the Byzantine Empire) passed on the notarial trades to the states of mediaeval and Renaissance Europe. And America’s European forbearers brought notarial practices with them to the New World. On Columbus’ first sailing expedition to the Americas, a Spanish royal notary was present to copy down and verify Columbus’ discoveries in the Caribbean, “On October 12, 1492, Rodrigo de Escobedo, of Segovia, was the first notary in North America. He sailed on the [Spanish] flagship Santa Maria, as Secretary of the Fleet, landing with Christopher Columbus, and recording the event in legal documents. He witnessed documents as a royal notary for King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile.” (Lucas, 1).

Thus, we can say, with absolute certainty, that notarial stamps (first being created over 4,700 years ago) are substantially older than postage stamps, which all came about much, much later, at nearly 200 years before our present time. And postage stamps and notarial stamps, although sharing a common ancestor (sigillography) and although being closely related, are not the same. Postage stamps are mainly philatelic stamps, while notarial seals are purely sigillographic ones. Their difference can be succinctly summarized by both of these stamps’ functions. Notarial seals and stamps witness and attest the legal veracity of a signer’s name on written instruments. In contrast, postage stamps and seals (minus their historical and cultural roles) are designed to facilitate the transport of written documents only.

The first of three American (but New York-oriented) philatelic stamps to be discussed here is the unambiguously brilliant Roosevelt Red stamp, which was “…issued on November 18, 1955, in New York City, the place of Roosevelt’s birth,” (Rod, 1). “The 6-cents stamp was very versatile when issued, as it met both the two-ounces first-class letter rate and the one-ounce domestic airmail rate” (Rod, 1). The unmitigated ruby-like beauty of this stamp vigorously burns the young Theodore Roosevelt’s 42-year-old mien upon the eye of its looker, very much radiating the lofty rouge fire of early morning dawn. The intensity of “TR’s” eyes and countenance is both overwhelming and sincere, but it is not superfluous. Roosevelt’s exterior image reflects the true inner vibrancy of his singular character and soul. President T. Roosevelt is in total control of his person, and his gaze is the gaze of sunrise, bearing novel energy to the U. S. Presidency, which was lacking from many years before his tenure as Commander-in-Chief (1901-1909). The likeness of Theodore Roosevelt on the Roosevelt Red is “…reproduced from a photograph of a Philip A. De Laszlo painting.” (Rod, 1). This fact is soundly verified by the U. S. Stamp Gallery (Editors, 1). The Roosevelt Red boldly celebrates the life of the 26th President of the United States. At the time of his Presidency, Roosevelt “…was a widely respected historian, naturalist, and explorer…”(Rod, 1).

The second (U. S.-New York State-related) postage stamp I will mention in my text is the much earlier created Roosevelt Blue. It illustrates Theodore Roosevelt as a “…hero of the Spanish-American War and the Battle of San Juan Hill…”(Juell, 1) on an exquisite appearing 5 cents stamp. Unlike the Roosevelt Red, which was crafted by Victor S. McCloskey, Jr. and Charles R. Chickering, of the U. S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, (Rod, 1) the Roosevelt Blue was designed by artist Claire Aubrey Huston and engraved by one John Eissler (Juell, 1). “Issued in 1922, the stamp was commonly used on letters to foreign destinations” (Juell, 1). On the Roosevelt Blue (named so for the stamp’s pervasive blue ink), Theodore’s facial expression is starkly studious, dignified, and stubbornly rugged. This is a portrayal of Teddy Roosevelt made towards the end of his second Presidential term in office. The image was taken from a photograph of Mr. Roosevelt shot in 1907, by the firm of Harris and Ewing (Juell, 1).

Roosevelt’s demeanor sublimely glows in sapphire luster, as he cleverly peeps out of his picture. His look is of a man, certain of his person, place, and purpose. Theodore Roosevelt was a great reformer, anti-trust crusader, and conservationist. He was responsible (almost single-mindedly) for the development and construction of the Panama Canal (U. S. Stamp Gallery, 1) and the establishment of the U. S. Park System (Kenmore Stamp Co., 1). The omnipotent-like ruby color of the Roosevelt Red (noting the origin of this stamp’s name) monopolizes Teddy’s face and presence there, and it is not lost to the human eye. But the Roosevelt Red, being dissimilar to the Roosevelt Blue, in this respect, shows Theodore Roosevelt as the young firebrand he was in 1901 when first assuming the mantle of Chief Executive of the U. S. Constitution. TR’s subtly frenetic visage in the later 1955 Roosevelt Red stamp stands opposed to the much more experienced, sager, and cooler demeanor he exhibits in the 1907 image of the Roosevelt Blue (issued in 1922).

No American did more in the twentieth century to modernize the United States Postal Service than did Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The 32nd President of the United States (and like his cousin, Teddy, a proud New Yorker) “…implemented numerous stamp-related initiatives during his terms of office, including the establishment of first-day ceremonies, and the introduction of philatelic windows at local post offices,”(Ghedini, 1). FDR also “…reviewed and approved more than 200 postage stamps during his Presidency…”(Ghedini, 1-2) and “…personally submitted several hand-drawn designs that went on to become stamps.”(Ghedini, 2).

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “As part of the Works Projects Administration, …maintained hands-on participation in the construction of 406 post office buildings nationwide.” (Ghedini, 2). FDR’s love for philately came early on in his life (Ghedini, 2) as familial relations “…regularly sent him foreign postage stamps while engaged in trade overseas.”(Ghedini, 2). The young Franklin Roosevelt “…embraced the hobby as a means to bolster his interest in geography and world history by [his] documenting various facts related to each stamp’s origin and its significance to the issuing country’s heritage”(Ghedini, 2). Later in his life, after being badly paralyzed by the Poliovirus, FDR would credit “…his involvement in the hobby as having saved his life.”(Ghedini, 2). And as U.S. President, F. D. Roosevelt personally engineered the design and imagery of more than one major postage stamp, and he superbly mobilized the USPS to sell and market them (Ghedini, 2). These novel practices forever upgraded the USPS and did much to enrich and disseminate the study of philately, around the world (Ghedini, 2). FDR’s innovations with creating new U. S. postage stamps and his tremendous expansion of the USPS generally spanned his very difficult years in guiding America through the national tragedies of the Great Depression and WWII.

The final U. S. postage stamp, based upon an esteemed New Yorker, to be discussed here will be 2019’s Walt Whitman Stamp. The USPS issued Whitman’s stamp on September 12, 2019 (Walt Whitman Initiative, 1). Walt Whitman was one of America’s finest poets of the nineteenth century who “…is considered by many to be the father of modern American poetry “(Walt Whitman Initiative, 1). Whitman brazenly novelized free-verse poetry in English with outstanding and profound results. The 2019 Whitman Stamp brilliantly commemorates Whitman’s life as both a Civil War-era poet and a nurse. Whitman followed the Union Army during several terrible campaigns during the Civil War (1861-1865), and he spent much time helping Yankee and rebel soldiers recover their health. Walt’s momentous and visionary contribution to American literature was his epic poetry anthology Leaves of Grass.

Walt Whitman
2019 USPS stamp
The 2019 Whitman Stamp shows a silver-haired and bearded Whitman, neatly resting his head on his
left hand, while Whitman’s Merlin-like visage deeply looks at his viewers, ruminating on various things (Walt Whitman Initiative, 1). What Walt Whitman is thinking in this picture, we cannot know. But his gaze here is a benign one. The 2019 Whitman Stamp is “…based on a photograph [of Walt Whitman] taken by Frank Pearsall in 1869,”(Walt Whitman Initiative, 1) five years after the brutish Civil War terminated. Behind the meditating poet extends the flowering purple branch of a lilac bush, as one sigil, with a hermit thrush (another sigil) sitting on it (Walt Whitman Initiative, 1). Both the lilac bush and the hermit thrush quietly and symbolically allude to Walt Whitman’s somber and majestic elegy written for Abraham Lincoln, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” (Walt Whitman Initiative, 1). The Walt Whitman 2019 Stamp was designed by artists Sam Weber and Greg Breeding (Walt Whitman Initiative, 1). “The words THREE OUNCES indicate its usage value” (Walt Whitman Initiative, 1), and the Whitman Stamp is unique for its high aesthetic appeal. As of June 2020, the Whitman Stamp is still available for purchase at most U.S. Post Offices.

The history of the Rocky Point Post Office begins in post-Civil War New York State. While the Era of Reconstruction bitterly gripped the still badly wounded USA, which was only then starting to heal from The War Between the States, a prosperous Long Island farmer petitioned the Federal Government to create a post office at Rocky Point, on February 24th, 1872 (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1). The Brookhaven Town farmer’s name was Sylvester D. Tuthill (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1). Tuthill’s petition was subsequently granted, as he was sworn in as the first Rocky Point Postmaster on March 6th, 1872 (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1). Tuthill ran one of the tidiest farms in Suffolk County (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1), and his business interests ranged from agriculture to public service and sailing (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1).

While visiting New Orleans in Louisiana in late February of 1885, Sylvester Tuthill died (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1). Shortly after being buried at nearby Yaphank, NY, his wife was sworn in as rustic Rocky Point’s second Postmaster and first Postmistress, on March 17th, 1885 (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1). Ann Eliza Tuthill “…continued [on as Postmistress] just short of 16 years” (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1). Ms. Tuthill “…lived to age 75 and is buried with her husband in the Yaphank Cemetery” (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1). The Tuthill’s ran their pastoral north shore Long Island post office from the dining room of their home, as affirmed by their great-grandson Samuel Tuthill (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1). In the late nineteenth century, “It was common practice to operate a post office from a farmhouse or a general store,” (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1). John E. Laws, one of the Postmasters of Rocky Point, who succeeded Ann Eliza Tuthill, continued this procedure in the years just before World War I (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1). Laws operated his post office from a small building on his property, at the south side of what is now NYS Route 25A, near modern-day Hallock Landing (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1). Irene Hallock Dickinson, an old resident Rocky Point, verified this point of fact, as do also maps of Rocky Point, dating from the early 20th century (Aurucci-Stiefel, 1).

Frank H. Tuthill, of Rocky Point, NY, succeeded John Laws as Rocky Point Postmaster, and he was appointed as such on August 15th, 1913 (Aurucci-Stiefel, 2). “He followed in the tradition of his parents, Sylvester and [Ann] Eliza Tuthill, who [first] introduced the post office to Rocky Point”(Aurucci-Stiefel, 2). Frank Tuthill ran the Rocky Point Post Office from his residence (Aurucci-Stiefel, 2), and he altered his home’s architecture to do so (Aurucci-Stiefel, 2). During his lifetime, Frank Tuthill held many governmental Long Island offices (Aurucci-Stiefel, 2) such as Brookhaven Town Trustee, Trustee of Rocky Point School District No. 9, and Rocky Point Postmaster (Aurucci-Stiefel, 2). When he died in June of 1926, Frank Tuthill had perpetuated a family legacy, which was devoted to the U. S. Postal Service “…for over forty years.” (Aurucci-Stiefel, 2). William H. Fry replaced Tuthill in July 1926.

From the time of Fry and forward, the Rocky Point Post Office had one outstanding Postmistress after another, amongst them: Carol A. Fry, Anne Cardona, Mary Mushler, and Gladys Behn (Aurucci-Stiefel, 3). Ms. Behn was replaced by Margaret Doherty (Aurucci-Stiefel, 3). From the Roaring Twenties to the current day, as Rocky Point grew in population and settlement size, the Rocky Point Post Office dramatically modernized itself in two ways:

  • It ceased operating from family-owned general stores/homes from around the mid-twentieth century onwards, eventually finding a permanent location on NYS Rte. 25A, in Rocky Point, in a state-of-the-art mail-handling building.
  • In 1984, the Rocky Point Post Office added an auxiliary branch on the grounds of McCarrick’s Dairy Farm, to properly accommodate the mailing demands of an expanding Suffolk County hamlet (Aurucci-Stiefel, 3).

Other more contemporary Rocky Point Postmasters and Postmistresses are Joseph J. Terranova, Frank J. Kolb, Carmine Pluchino and Margaret Young (Aurucci-Stiefel, 3). The current location of the Rocky Point Post Office, besides boasting an excellent postal staff, is itself a building dedicated to its local history. Natalie Aurucci-Stiefel, the Chief Historian of the Rocky Point Historical Society and some of her dedicated Historical Society members, artfully decorated the Rocky Point Post Office with antique pictures of Rocky Point and old photos of the Tuthill family, Rocky Point’s first Postmasters. They also created a beautiful wall painting of the fabled RCA Radio Central, which was “…the world’s largest transmitting station, from 1921-1978,” (Rocky Point Historical Society, 1) and itself was based in Rocky Point, New York. Aurucci-Stiefel is a tremendously dogged and thorough historical researcher and genealogist. It is due to her superlative efforts and those of her inspired colleagues from the Rocky Point Historical Society that visitors to the Rocky Point Post Office may learn something of Long Island’s history.

About the Author: Michael Mauro DeBonis is a poet and a historian from Long Island, NY.  A graduate of Suffolk County Community College (A. A. in Liberal Arts) and SUNY Stony Brook (B.A. in English Literature), Michael’s work first appeared in The Village Beacon Record and The Brookhaven Times Newspapers.  Mr. DeBonis is a diligent student of New York State and American history.  His latest writing (poetry and prose) can be found in the New York History Review and elsewhere.


Natalie Aurucci-Stiefel. “The Post Office at Rocky Point,” The Rocky Point Historical Society, Rocky Point, New York (September 2019).

Franklins R. Bruns. “Postage Stamps,” Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 25, New York, NY, USA: The Americana Corporation, copyright 1970.

Gloria Ghedini. “Book Review of Anthony Musso’s ‘FDR and the Post Office: A Young Boys Fascination; A World Leader’s Passion,’” The Branch, Poughkeepsie, NY, February 2010.

History.Com. “U. S. Postal System Established,” Editors, November 24th, 2009-July 28th, 2019.

Rod Juell. “5 Cents Roosevelt,” Arago Philately.Com, May 6th, 2006.

Earnest A. Kehr. “Philately,” Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 21, New York, NY, USA: The Americana Corporation, copyright 1970.

Kenmore Stamp Co. “6 cents Theodore Roosevelt,” Editors, 2019.

Charles King. Hieroglyphs to Alphabets. New York, NY, Crane Russak & Company, copyright 1977.

Jerry Lucas. “Notary with Christopher Columbus 1492,” ABC Legal Docs.Com, 2015.

NYSED.Gov. “New York State Flag and the Great Seal of the State of New York,” Editors, NYSED.Gov-NYS Library, September 25, 2019.

“New York State Notary Public License Law,” Editors, Passbook Exams, National Learning Corporation, copyright 2010, Syosset, New York, USA.

Rocky Point Historical Society. Rocky Point Historical Society.Org Home Page, 2020.

Steven J. Rod. “6 Cents Roosevelt,” Arago Philately.Com, May 16th, 2006.

U. S. Stamp Gallery. “Theodore Roosevelt,” Editors, U. S. Stamp Gallery.Com, 2019.

Walt Whitman Initiative. “USPS Walt Whitman Bicentennial First Day of Issue Stamp Ceremony,” Editors, September 12th, 2019.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Two Soldiers and a Chronicler

By Lawrence S. Freund
Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved by the author

Isaac J. Greenwood II
Source: The Greenwood Family of Norwich,
England in America
– Publ. 1934

They came from one family in a line that reached back to 16th century England but ended abruptly in the mid-20th century, a history that included a too-young-to-fight Revolutionary War soldier and a too-old-to-volunteer World War One captain, along with a mid-generation New York gentleman fascinated by history, equipped with the means to pursue it and nurtured with the pride of owning founding-father artifacts that continue to fascinate generations of Americans.

The best place to begin this tale is with the chronicler himself. His name was Isaac John Greenwood II [1] Just those two short sentences reveal much about their author. His birthplace, in what was then a busy residential neighborhood of the expanding city, was the home and office of his father and namesake, Isaac J. Greenwood, one of New York’s most prominent dentists and a pioneer in his field. Rev. Schoonmaker (born in 1777 in New Jersey) became the pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church in Jamaica (now in New York City’s Borough of Queens), a house of worship built in 1716 that, according to one account, had become “too small and inconvenient, and it was decided to build a new one.”[2] In the same year that Rev. Schoonmaker baptized the young Isaac J. Greenwood, 1833, “Dr. Schoonmaker preached the last sermon in the old church in the Dutch language, which was understood by very few.”[3]

He was born, he once wrote, “at No. 71 Warren Street in New York City. He was christened by Dominie Jacob Schoonmaker of Long Island.”

The 19th century Greenwood family’s attachment to the Dutch Reformed Church seems to have been deeply influenced by the marriage in 1822 of the first Isaac J. Greenwood (the dentist) to Sarah Vanderhoof Bogart. The ceremony was performed by a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church.[4] Sarah Greenwood, who gave birth to three daughters, died in 1829 after just seven years of marriage; her husband Isaac married again three years later to Mary McKay, the 17-year-old daughter of a New York china merchant who had emigrated from the north of Ireland. That ceremony also took place in the Dutch Reformed Church.[5]

Isaac J. Greenwood (again, the dentist) retired from his successful New York practice in 1839, at the age of 44, although he continued an active interest in his profession. He moved from his residence on Warren Street in 1845 to nearby Murray Street “and in the spring of 1855 he moved to West 14th Street, which was then the upper portion of the city, and resided there until his death, ten years later, at the age of seventy.”[6]

Isaac J. Greenwood II, the future chronicler, and namesake of the retired dentist was sent in 1842 as a nine-year-old to Columbia Grammar School, the primary-level affiliate at the time of Columbia College, then located on Murray Street, where the Greenwood family would soon move. The noted scholar Charles Anthon was rector of the school while also serving as a professor of Greek and Latin languages at the adjoining Columbia College. Greenwood remained under the Columbia banner for the rest of his academic career, graduating from Columbia College in 1853 and receiving a master’s degree in 1857. Ending his formal academic career, Greenwood went to work for a hardware company in Manhattan and then, soon after, for a silk importing firm. But, as he described it years later, “A mercantile life proving uncongenial,”[7] he dove back into academic work. According to his autobiographical sketch, for the next several years, until 1861, he studied with chemist Robert Ogden Doremus, a founder in 1850 of the New York Medical College who was elected a professor of natural history at the recently founded Free Academy of New York (later to become the City College of New York). Greenwood also recalled attending lectures at the New York Medical College,[8] perhaps a sop to his father and a nod to his father’s dental profession and a medical degree. 

Of interest, Greenwood supplies no details of his life from 1861 (the conclusion of his studies with Doremus) until his marriage in 1866 to Mary Agnes Rudd (except for his role as an incorporator in 1864 of the New York-based American Numismatic and Archaeological Society). Those, of course, were the years of the U.S. Civil War. On April 15, 1861, three days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteer troops. On March 3, 1863, the Civil War Draft Act was enacted, requiring the enrollment of male citizens between the ages and 20 and 45. By then, Isaac J. Greenwood (born November 15, 1833) had turned 29 and so he registered as required, giving his address as 142 West 14 St. and his occupation as “No Bus” (No Business). (Others on that same registration page, all with nearby addresses, provided various occupations such as Saddler, Clerk, Laborer, Grocer, Butcher, and Cartman.[9]) But there are no other available records and no testimony suggesting Greenwood’s involvement in wartime activities.

To some extent, the draft registration clerk’s description of Isaac J. Greenwood’s occupation as “No Bus.” was accurate; he was not employed in any paid capacity. At the same time, it was substantially wrong. As the Greenwood family history, written by Isaac J. Greenwood II and edited by his daughter Mary after his death, explains, “Mr. Greenwood was not engaged in any profession. He was a lifelong student of American Colonial History, spent much time in research, and contributed frequent articles to the historical and genealogical magazines.”[10]

In fact, one of Greenwood’s earliest and most significant public genealogical contributions was published in 1863, as he turned 30. In The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, the quarterly of the estimable New England Historic Genealogical Society, Greenwood questioned the factual conclusions of Sir Isaac Heard about George Washington’s ancestry. Heard was at one time Britain’s Garter Principal King of Arms, in effect that country’s chief heraldic authority and genealogist. In late 1791, Heard had written to Washington, noting that he (Heard) “… should feel a particular Gratification if Your Excellency will condescend to enable me previously to complete my Collection by shewing the Descent of your Line…”[11] Washington replied five months later, in May 1792, stating that his ancestry “is a subject to which I confess I have paid very little attention,” but Washington enclosed a “lineage” for Heard’s information.[12] Heard later constructed a chart tracing Washington’s ancestry, and Isaac J. Greenwood challenged some of its suppositions with a series of questions about the identities of two of Washington’s immediate ancestors.[13] Years later, in 1900, the Boston Herald credited Greenwood for his historical research, commenting: “Not until 1863 was any strong hand reached forth to punch holes in the Heard hypothesis.” Noting that Greenwood had, in effect, identified a missing generation of Washington’s immediate ancestors, the newspaper added that “after punching his hole Mr. Greenwood plugged it up with the wrong peg,”[14] misidentifying a possible Washington ancestor.

Nonetheless, Isaac J. Greenwood had launched himself into what would become a lifetime of historical research and, at the same time, publicly linked his name to George Washington, who continued to play a key role in the Greenwood family’s history.

Eliza R. Greenwood – 1922
Source: 1922 Passport Application

In the succeeding years, Greenwood married Mary Agnes Rudd (in the Dutch Reformed Church, as did his father) and became the father of two daughters (Eliza in 1867, Mary in 1871) and two sons (Isaac J. Greenwood III in 1875, Joseph in 1883). During those years (in 1876), he published his first lengthy historical profile, “The Willoughby Family of New England,”[15] again under the auspices of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, which would later comment, “From an early period in the history of this Society, Dr. Greenwood has been a very extensive and acceptable contributor to the Register. He published several privately printed books, among them The Willoughby Family of New England, and A Genealogical Statement of the Clarke Family.[16] In his Willoughby study, as in the case of his brief, 1863 article on Washington’s ancestry, Greenwood challenged the conclusions of an established and respected authority in the field. In his 1876 Willoughby article, he set out in 12 pages to disprove a theory quoted by historian and genealogist James Savage about the British ancestry of the Willoughby family, which, Greenwood wrote, “though made by so excellent an authority as the late Hon. James Savage, it would be doubtless very difficult, if not impossible, to substantiate.”[17]

The year Isaac J. Greenwood’s article about the Willoughby family was first published, 1876, was a historic occasion for Americans, the 100th anniversary of the signing in Philadelphia of the Declaration of Independence. To mark the event, Philadelphians began years earlier to organize an ambitious Centennial Exposition, featuring the latest in industrial, agricultural, and domestic technology, with a slight nod to the events of the preceding century. Again, historic events and their chronicler, Isaac J. Greenwood, crossed paths, now through an illustrious ancestor, his grandfather John Greenwood.

Joseph R. Greenwood – ca. 1934
Source: Year Book of the (Collegiate) 
Reformed Protestant 
Dutch Church of the City of
 New York – Publ. 1934

The father of John Greenwood (1760-1819) was Isaac Greenwood (1730-1803). To clarify, Isaac John Greenwood (1795-1865), the New York dentist, was awarded both his grandfather’s single given name (Isaac) and his father’s single given name (John); Isaac John Greenwood’s son – Isaac John Greenwood II (1833-1911), the chronicler – inherited both given names, as did his son, Isaac John Greenwood III (1875-1924), the last in the line with that name. Isaac Greenwood, a resident of Boston, “carried on the business of ivory-turning,” as his great-grandson, Isaac J. Greenwood II would write, “and, as an adjunct of the same, the profession of dentistry, much after the manner of his friend, Paul Revere…”[18]

In 1809, John Greenwood decided to set down his recollections of his early years, a manuscript that would become available in part to the public more than a century later, with editing and notes by his grandson, Isaac J. Greenwood II, “written from memory … by a person who was in the Revolutionary War between Great Britain and America; relating naught but facts, so strongly imprinted upon the mind as never to be forgotten.”[19] John Greenwood’s memoir includes his remembrance as a nine-year-old of the Boston Massacre (in 1770), when British troops fired on a riotous crowd, killing several men, “one of whom,” Greenwood wrote, “was my father’s apprentice, a lad eighteen years of age, named Samuel Maverick. I was his bedfellow, and after his death, I used to go to bed in the dark on purpose to see his spirit, for I was so fond of him and he of me that I was sure it would not hurt me.”[20] At the age of 13, John Greenwood was sent from Boston to apprentice with his uncle, a cabinetmaker in what is now Portland, Maine, but two years later, having heard of the British attack in Lexington, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775, he set out by foot to see his parents in distant Boston. In his account of his exploits in the Boston area, Greenwood wrote that several colonist soldiers, having witnessed his talents as a fifer, tried to persuade the 15-year-old to enlist. “Concluding finally that it would be best for me,” Greenwood explained, “I enlisted for eight months in the company of Captain Bliss…” Greenwood detailed his own experience in the aftermath of the Battle of Bunker Hill, his reenlistment for a year and the transfer of his regiment (“500 strong and tolerably well-disciplined soldiers, badly equipped as to guns, however, as the majority had fowling-pieces of different sizes and bores and few of them had bayonets.”[21]) to New York, then to Quebec, followed by a retreat back to safety at Fort Ticonderoga in New York.

On December 25, 1776, 16-year-old John Greenwood set out for what would become an almost legendary chapter in his life and in the history of his country. A day or two after his regiment reached Newtown, Pennsylvania, Greenwood recalled, “we were paraded one afternoon to march and attack Trenton.”

If I recollect aright the sun was about half an hour high and shining brightly, but it had no sooner set than it began to drizzle or grow wet, and when we came to the river it rained. Every man had sixty rounds of cartridges served out to him, and as I then had a gun, as indeed every officer had, I put the number which I received, some in my pockets and some in my little cartridge-box. Over the river, we then went in a flat-bottomed scow, and as I was with the first that crossed, we had to wait for the rest and so began to pull down the fences and make fires to warm ourselves.[22]

John Greenwood continued his first-person description of the Battle of Trenton, the rout of the Hessians and the aftermath, including an encounter with a man with whom he would later enjoy a close relationship. “… I obtained a sword from one of the (Hessian) bodies,” Greenwood wrote, “and we then ran on to join the regiment which was marching down the street toward the market. Just before we reached this building, however, General Washington, on horseback and alone, came up to our major and said, ‘March on, my brave fellows, after me!’ and rode off.”[23]

The next day, the period of his enlistment having been completed, John Greenwood decided he had had enough of army life despite being offered $26 and a promotion to ensign if he would remain for another six weeks. He set off by horse and then by foot for his parents’ home in Boston. “When I arrived at my father’s house in Boston,” he wrote, “the first thing done was to bake my clothes and then to anoint me all over with brimstone. I had then been in the army twenty months and had received only six months’ pay for all my services; I have never asked nor applied to Congress for the residue since, and I never shall.”[24]  Two or three months later, feeling “uneasy,” Greenwood decided to go to sea and boarded the Cumberland, a privateer commanded by Commodore John Manley that was to sail in the West Indies to intercept and capture British merchant ships. That began the next phase of Greenwood’s still-young life, sailing aboard colonial privateering and merchant ships, surviving multiple captures, and eventually returning to Boston to work with his father. John Greenwood’s grandson, Isaac J. Greenwood, would later write, “It came about that with business in a state of stagnation after the war, Greenwood, by this time a thoroughbred seaman, could no longer find employment, and so, after again working for a time in his father’s shop at the turning business, he set out for New York.”[25] In New York, Greenwood assumed his father’s profession as ivory-turner and maker of what were then called “mathematical instruments” such as quadrants, scales, and sun dials, setting the stage for his most illustrious career, dentistry. As Isaac J. Greenwood, John’s grandson, wrote, “He rapidly became eminent in the profession of dentistry.”[26] However, John Greenwood’s rise to that eminence began, according to his own testimony, inauspiciously, at the behest of a friend, physician John Gamage.

“Out of fun one day,” he wrote, “by the desire of Dr. Gamage, I attemted to draw a tooth for him. I had never seene one drawn, but it came out easey, and encouraged me to attempt others, although it went much against my feelings, as I thought I was as good a work man at that at least as I was at Instruments, etc for in my opinion any fellow may fix teeth if he has the ground ingreadient, patience – that poverty forced upon me – so I undertook to be a mathimaticle Instrument maker, Ivory turner and a Dentist – not knowing much more than the man in the moone, about eather of the above businesses, but persevere in them all until I made out so well that I had so much business I could not attend to them all – and so sent for my brother William P. Greenwood.[27] 

That transition to dentistry occurred in about 1785. Early the following year, Greenwood placed an advertisement in one of New York City’s newspapers with the headline, “White Teeth, a great ornament,” and his name in bold letters followed by the message: “Encouraged by the success of his practice, begs leave to acquaint the public that he preserves the teeth and gums by removing infectious tartar, that destroys them…; substitutes artificial teeth in so neat a manner as not to be perceived from the natural…”[28]

Three years later, on April 23, 1789, George Washington arrived in New York City, the first capital of the United States, to assume the new nation’s presidency. His inauguration was held a week later, on April 30th. As Professor Jennifer Van Horn writes, Washington swore his oath of office and delivered his inaugural address with one natural tooth remaining in his mouth. “The first president,” she notes, “began experiencing dental problems early in life, probably the result of illness, the harsh drugs used to treat that illness, and the abrasiveness of eighteenth-century dental cleaning products. Washington had his first tooth pulled at the age of twenty-four and lost teeth consistently thereafter.”[29]There is no record of Washington and Greenwood acknowledging their close encounter at the Battle of Trenton more than a decade earlier, but, as Prof. Van Horn writes, John Greenwood “became New York City’s premier dentist and George Washington’s favored practitioner.”[30]

It is unclear how and why Washington sought the services of John Greenwood although, as the late dentist and historian Melvin E. Ring wrote, “At that time, John Greenwood was the most prominent dentist in the city and his name obviously came to the attention of the president.”[31] It is also uncertain, wrote Ann Pasquale Haddad of the New York Academy of Medicine, “when Washington began wearing dentures, but he owned quite a few sets… For many years John Greenwood … tried to save the President’s last remaining tooth, the first bicuspid in his left lower jaw. In 1789, Greenwood made his first set of teeth for Washington, carved from hippopotamus ivory and set with human teeth affixed with brass nails. A hole was made in the left lower plate, which fitted snugly over the last remaining tooth.”[32] That final tooth lasted until 1796 when it was extracted. Both the tooth and the lower set of false teeth were given by Washington to Greenwood, who for safekeeping had the chief executive’s last tooth enclosed in a gold locket. In 1815, John Greenwood wrote his will, giving “unto my eldest surviving son my gold watch and chain with that valuable relic hanging to the chain, the only or last Tooth that remained growing in the mouth of our late and worthy President Washington, which tooth he sent to me from Mount Vernon, Virginia State…”[33]

The presidential tooth, lower denture, and associated correspondence passed with pride from father (John Greenwood) to son (Isaac J. Greenwood) to grandson (Isaac J. Greenwood II). At his Manhattan home on West 14th Street, inherited from his father who died in 1865, Isaac J. Greenwood II was contacted in 1876 by a prominent New York dentist, Dr. John Allen, who had in mind a small display of artifacts (what he called a “museum”) at the coming exposition in Philadelphia marking the nation’s centennial. The display would highlight the early accomplishments of American dentistry, chief among them the appliances that once sat within the mouth of the nation’s first president. Greenwood agreed to Allen’s request, handing over the family treasures five days in advance of the May 10, 1876, opening of the Centennial Exposition. A receipt, signed by Allen, specified the objects he would carry off to Philadelphia, including:

First:-The lower jaw-piece of the first set of teeth made for Washington, in 1789, by Dr. John Greenwood of New York; showing the hole through which passed the last natural tooth which grew in his head. Second:-The fob-chain of Dr. John Greenwood, with watch seal, watch-key and Lafayette-button attached, and also the last natural tooth which grew in Washington’s head; the latter enclosed in a gold case, with glass on either side.[34]

At the conclusion of the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, Allen dutifully returned the heirlooms to Greenwood, who noted:

The above articles remained on exhibition in Dr. Allen’s case during the whole time that the Centennial Buildings were open, and were safely returned in November 1876. In the case was another set, mounted with spiral springs, the gum work of which was much thinner and well worn, and which was said to have belonged to Genl. Washington; There was also the set made for Col. Aaron Burr in France, the gum-work being of block tin…[35]

Oddly, Allen’s display was among the few exhibits looking to the past at a landmark exposition observing the 100th anniversary of the nation’s birth. “Ostensibly,” wrote Professor Thomas J. Schlereth, “it commemorated 1776, yet only a few colonial relics were exhibited: Washington’s false teeth, a few colonial army uniforms, and the contents of a ‘New England Kitchen of 1776.’”[36]

In 1878, Isaac J. Greenwood focused on print on George Washington, Washington’s dentures, and the images created of Washington by various artists over the years. In a magazine article, Greenwood observed that once Washington had lost his final tooth, which, in effect, had anchored his lower denture, subsequent sets of false teeth pushed the president’s lower lip forward, a physical distortion reproduced by portraitists. Quoting the memoir of George Washington Parke Custis, Washington’s step-grandson (the grandson of Washington’s wife, Martha), Greenwood explains, “‘Washington at the time [Gilbert] Stuart painted his portrait (April 1796) had a set of sea-horse (hippopotamus) ivory teeth. These, just made, were too large and clumsy, and gave that peculiar appearance to the mouth seen in Stuart’s picture. He soon rejected them. Stuart’s month is a caricature in a slight degree.’ It may here be observed that it was through the winter of 1795-6 that the single natural tooth remaining in Washington’s head, and which heretofore exerted some resistance to the outward pressure of the false jaws, became loosened and was removed.”[37]

More than a decade later, at the beginning of 1889, Isaac J. Greenwood continued to evidence his pride in his inherited Washington mementos as he invited reporters to his home to examine the collection. “All the jewels contained in Tiffany’s are not more zealously guarded and cared for than this same tooth,” wrote a visitor from the New York Evening Sun. “The owner is Mr. Isaac J. Greenwood, of No. 216 West Fourteenth street. The tooth is an heirloom, and has been in the possession of his family for many years.”[38] At the same time, a reporter for the New-York Daily Tribune commented, “The present Mr. Greenwood came into possession of the relics upon the death of his father in 1865, and has carefully guarded them ever since.”[39]

During these years, Greenwood continued his primary interests: researching, writing, and collecting (collecting not just historical data but also adding to the rarities and artifacts that had been passed onto him by his forebears). In the summer of 1879, he sailed for England with his family – wife, three children, mother, and father-in-law – aboard the new Cunard steamship S.S. Gallia, remaining in Britain until the following spring, when they returned to New York on the same ship, a then-modern vessel powered by a combination of sails and steam engines.[40] It is likely that Isaac J. Greenwood spent much of that time in Britain searching through the nation’s archives for information that would contribute to his writings in the following three decades of his life. In December 1884, he completed an annotated treatise on the English and American Rainborowe family, based on archival research in England by the American genealogical researcher Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters. Greenwood’s study was published in 1886 by the New England Historic and Genealogical Society and was then privately published in book form.[41] Four years later, in 1890, he published a study of the Allerton family, principally focused on Isaac Allerton, one of the Mayflower passengers and a signer of the Mayflower Compact.[41]  The following year, Greenwood, apparently fascinated by the transcript of an epitaph engraved on the 1687 London gravestone of one Thomas Saffin, wrote a short essay on the deceased man and his family.[43] Then, in 1893, Greenwood completed an ambitious account of the family of his grandmother, Elizabeth Weaver.[44] She was the wife of the pioneering dentist, John Greenwood, and the daughter of William Weaver who died in 1777, two years after being struck in the leg by a cannonball fired by the British warship H.M.S. Asia as a group of colonists tried to remove British cannon at the southern tip of Manhattan. The next year, 1894, Greenwood published under one cover two short, unrelated family histories. The first was about the Maverick family, one of whom, Samuel Maverick, was an apprentice to Greenwood’s great grandfather in Boston and was killed during the Boston Massacre, the second about the family of Massachusetts Governor Simon Bradstreet.[45]

By this time, Greenwood was producing historical/genealogical studies on nearly a yearly basis, the fruit of his earlier research. In early 1896, he published a study that begins with, for Greenwood, an unusually atmospheric first-person reminiscence explaining his interest in this latest project. The setting, he wrote, was the Red Lion Inn, also known as the Stockbridge House, a Massachusetts hostelry with eighteenth-century antecedents. He had been approached, Greenwood explained, by the owner of the inn, Charles H. Plumb.

The evening carillon was trembling on the summer air, and Stockbridge street was all aglow with slanting sunbeams, when I was aroused from musing by my host of the Red Lion Inn placing in my hand a small roll of time-stained manuscript. “A bundle of old French letters, containing an autograph of Montcalm,” he remarked, knowing our congenial tastes, and I, delighted at the prospect of an evening’s agreeable occupation, was soon at work over the treasure-trove. How well the trouble of straightening out and arranging the crumpled papers was repaid, the following notes, somewhat extended from memoranda jotted down at the time, may give an idea.[46]

There were 14 letters in the bundle, according to Greenwood, all relating to Michel-Alain Chartier de Lotbinière, an eighteenth-century French-Canadian military figure, engineer, builder of what would become known as Fort Ticonderoga and a landowner. The documents were sufficient to launch Greenwood on a detailed essay about Lotbinière, his ancestors and descendants, with notes on the significance of each of the letters.

Later that same year, 1896, Greenwood published a brief history of the complex relations between the British-controlled island of Bermuda (“this nursling of the sea”) and the American colonies during the American Revolution.[47] The following year, he focused on Jacob Schieffelin, a Philadelphia-born soldier in the British army, trader, merchant, real estate investor, and wealthy proprietor of a New York City wholesale and retail drug company.[48] That was followed in 1897 by a two-page genealogical sketch Greenwood described as “rough notes” on the Langley family of Newport, Rhode Island, one of whom, Dorothy Langley, was his own relative.[49] In 1898, Greenwood published a biographical sketch of an unrelated historical figure, Morgan Jones, who either substantiated an ancient tradition or added his own creative embroidery to an elaborate and mythical tapestry. Jones, as Greenwood described him, was “a clerical gentleman” from Wales who because of religious differences in Britain immigrated to America. Hired as a chaplain with a company of English explorers of the Carolinas in the late 1600s, Jones, Greenwood wrote, “undertook to reach on foot, through the wilderness, the Virginia settlements, but only to fall into the hands of hostile natives westward of the great swamps. His few companions were evidently tortured and killed, while he, liberated by some Indians of the Doeg tribe, was taken to their retreat near Cape Hatteras. His freedom he attributes to his speaking Welsh, which was also the language of the Doegs, and in that tongue he continued to preach the Gospel to them for some months, before proceeding northward.”[49]  In 1740 Jones reported on his North American adventure in Gentleman’s Magazine, a London publication, and Greenwood carefully fact-checked Jones’ preliminary details, concluding, “no historical inaccuracies, as to his own movements, exist in Jones’s statement.”[50] Jones’ tale of his encounter with Welsh-speaking Indians was seen as supportive evidence of the claim that Welsh sailors had arrived in America in the 12th Century, long before Christopher Columbus, and had merged with Native Americans, a theory now largely discounted.

Even as Greenwood completed his investigation of Morgan Jones, he was also readying the manuscript of one of his most substantial historical chronicles, one perhaps less predictable than his largely genealogical inquiries. The subject was the circus, beginning with its origins in antiquity and concluding in the mid-19th century. Why had he chosen to shift his attention to the ancient spectacle? “(If) I told you why such a subject had occupied my attention,” Greenwood wrote, “I might scarce be believed; but I do think it was suggested while loitering through the Egyptian Collection of our New-York Historical Society.”[52] Perhaps with a nod to Walt Whitman, Greenwood exclaimed, “I sing the circus; humble theme and yet divine…,” adding, “From remote antiquity, the art of horsemanship has been carried to the highest degree, and through all epochs and by all nations has it ever been considered one of the most brilliant, noble, and useful of sciences.”[53] Greenwood’s book-length study traces the circus from Mesopotamian war chariots to “a period within the memory of many of my readers who must surely recall the ‘Bowery Circus,’ with its mixed odors of tan-bark, gas, and peanuts.”[54]

Aside from a short tabulation of the military service of Isaac J. Greenwood’s extended family,[55] The Circus was evidently his final work published during his lifetime. In the early years of the new century, his focus shifted from research and writing to his collections and the distribution of those collections to institutions with which he had established associations. In 1907, he donated a valuable collection of more than 400 watercolor drawings of powder horns to the New-York Historical Society. Then, in early 1911, he donated a collection of books to the Society, for which its librarian, Robert Kelby, offered a letter of thanks, and Greenwood responded, “I would have written you at the time your men were here but was deterred by a visit from my doctor.”[56] In March of that year, in another letter pointing to his declining health, Greenwood wrote to the American Numismatic Society, thanking the organization for awarding him a silver medal. “The medal,” he said, “commands unqualified admiration as a work of art, and the recognition of my lengthy membership is very pleasant to one who, though shut-in for many years, has always been interested in the Society and its aims.”[57] Months later, Greenwood presented his extensive coin collection to the Numismatic Society.

269-279 West End Avenue, New York, NY 
– 1925 Source: New York Public Library

On December 16, 1911, Isaac J. Greenwood died at his West End Avenue residence. The following day, Greenwood’s nephew, Langdon Greenwood, wrote to Robert Kelby at the Historical Society. “I regret to announce,” he said, “that Mr. Isaac J. Greenwood passed away yesterday morning, and a(s) he always regarded you as one of his oldest friends I wished to personally advise you of the fact. Death came peacefully although he had suffered considerably during the summer (and) fall.” 

In his will, Greenwood left to his two sons what the New York Herald described as “interesting historical relics,” including a pistol used by George Washington and a “Napolean snuff box.”[58] He also willed a copy of Paul Revere’s famous engraving of the Boston Massacre to the New-York Historical Society. The Society would benefit from Greenwood’s collections a year later when his daughter Eliza sent a letter to librarian Robert Kelby about his books. “These books,” she wrote, “now belong to my sister and myself, and, believing that they would be of interest and value to your society and that by so doing, we would be most fully acting in accordance with my father’s wishes, we would like to present them to the New-York Historical Society if such a gift would prove acceptable to that body. To this gift, we would like to add a sum of money which would in part defray the expenses of the rebinding sorely needed in some cases. The bulk of the books consists of biographical, genealogical, topographical, and documentary records pertaining to the Thirteen Colonies and the United States, similar works (but less numerous) on England, and a still smaller collection on Canada.”[59]

In 1915, four years after Isaac J. Greenwood’s death, his literary legacy continued to expand, thanks to the efforts of his daughter Mary. Until his death, Greenwood had been at work “for some years past” on a biography of John Manley, an early leader in the nascent American Navy, under whom his grandfather, John Greenwood, had served. “In the mind of the author of this book,” Mary Greenwood observed, “a peculiar interest attached to the less well-known names of early American history, and he gathered and prepared with special care and interest the material for the life of Captain Manley. The book was on the point of completion at the time of his death, and this limited edition is now produced in accordance with his plans and wishes.”[60]

Publication of Greenwood’s study of John Manley, a military leader in the American Revolution, coincided with the outbreak of war on the European continent. Both conflicts would have a significant impact, both indirect and direct, on the life of Joseph Rudd Greenwood. Joseph, born May 27, 1883, was the fourth and youngest child of Isaac J. Greenwood and his wife Mary Agnes Rudd Greenwood. He was educated in private schools in New York and Pennsylvania, graduated from Princeton College with a degree in civil engineering, taught at the university’s Civil Engineering School, and then went to work for the Ballwood Company, an engine manufacturing firm whose president was his older cousin, Langdon Greenwood. In 1916, he joined the Manhattan-based architecture and engineering firm of a fellow Princetonian. That was two years after World War One had begun, a year after the German torpedoing of the S.S. Lusitania and the same year President Woodrow Wilson won the election with the slogan “He kept us out of the war.” Yet, in the same way, his great grandfather John Greenwood was drawn to Boston in 1775, Joseph Greenwood was drawn to the battlefields of France. On February 7, 1917, he applied for a U.S. passport, submitting a letter written five days earlier by William R. Hereford of the American Committee of the American Ambulance Hospital in Paris, stating that the nearly 33-year-old Greenwood had “been engaged as a volunteer ambulance driver in the service of the American Ambulance Hospital in Paris” and was scheduled to sail for France on February 10.[61] Also attached to Greenwood’s request for a passport was a note from a city clerk attesting that he was unable to find a record of Greenwood’s birth in the municipal files, along with a deposition from Greenwood’s sister Eliza swearing that her brother was born on May 27, 1883, at the then family residence on West 14th Street and that she “was present in the house at the time of his birth.”[62] A few years later, Greenwood would recall, “(You) have just joined the American Field Service; your wild efforts to get a birth certificate only to find you had never been officially born, your horrible rush to the photographer, your trips to the French consul, to the passport bureau, to the steamship office, your sad farewells with family and friends are finished.”[63]

The American Field Service – the organization of volunteer ambulance drivers – took shape in France during the winter of 1914-1915, inspired by the volunteer drivers for the American Ambulance Hospital, which had officially recruited Joseph Greenwood. Wrote Amos Wilder, another volunteer driver, “Appeals for drivers and for cars – the Model-T Ford had now become the vehicle of choice – were widely publicized in America, especially in our colleges and universities. By the late summer of 1917, the AFS had thirty-four ambulance sections, each with twenty cars, serving with as many French divisions… When the American army took over the entire operation in October 1917, some 2,500 young men, largely college students, were serving or had served as drivers.”[64]  The volunteers had paid for their own ship tickets, supplied their own equipment, lived on French army rations at the front, and were paid the wages of a French soldier, the equivalent of about five cents a day.[65]

On the day of Joseph Greenwood’s scheduled departure from New York aboard the French ocean liner S.S. Espagne, the American press made it clear to trans-Atlantic passengers what to expect. “Seventy-three vessels with a total tonnage of 147,394 have been sunk by German submarines since the German declaration of ‘barred zones’ on Feb. 1,” according to one report.[66] However, the immediate concern for the Espagne’s passengers and the crew was the lack of coal to fuel the ship’s boilers, as a result of floating ice hampering the approach of coal barges and tugs. Finally, one newspaper announced: “53 Americans Sail for U-Boat Zone on Espagne.”

With 53 American citizens among her 103 cabin passengers, the French Line steamship Espagne sailed today for Bordeaux. A 6-inch quick-firing rifle was mounted on her stern. Unusual precautions were observed to keep suspicious persons from the pier at West Sixteenth Street, Manhattan, and no friends of passengers were permitted to go on the dock. All “goodbyes” had to be said on the cobblestone West street.[67]

Fifty of the Americans aboard the Espagne, according to news reports, were volunteer ambulance drivers, among them Joseph R. Greenwood “You are on board the steamer,” he would write, “land has faded from sight, and you are actually on your way to France.”

Do you remember the thrill of that thought? A week of uneventful shipboard life followed, with nothing but lifeboat drills to break the monotony. Then one morning some French sailors in uniform appeared and the gun on the stern was uncovered, cleaned, and tried out; the naval officer, who up to that day had spent all his time playing bridge in the smoking-room mounted the bridge and took command of the ship. Two days and two nights of tense excitement followed as the ship steamed through the submarine zone, and then one morning you went on deck to find yourself quietly sailing up the Gironde, and a few hours later you were actually landed in Bordeaux. France! France itself, and the first step of your journey to take part in the war was accomplished.[68]

Joseph Greenwood was assigned a few days after his arrival in Paris to drive an ambulance in the American Field Service’s Section 8, which served with the French army on the Verdun and Champagne fronts. [69] “You remember your arrival at the Section,” he would write, “you remember that first night in cantonment (military camp); you remember your first trip to a poste (first aid station) as orderly on another driver’s car; you remember the first arrivée (incoming artillery shell) you ever heard; you remember the first soixante-quinze (French 75-millimeter artillery) that unexpectedly went off rather close to you; you remember the first time you ever took a car out at night by yourself; those things are indelibly impressed on your mind.”[70] On June 11, 1917, Greenwood was transferred to the Vosges Detachment in an entirely different region of the Western Front with an entirely different geography.  In general, the western slopes of the Vosges mountain chain were held by the French while German troops held the plains, eastward to the Rhine. During the war, thousands of French and German soldiers were killed while fighting for strategic positions in the mountainous region, as the Model-T Ford ambulances driven by American volunteers struggled along the winding roads to rescue the wounded. During the 1916-1917 winter, there had been a heavy snowfall, which made the roads impassable, wrote Greenwood. “Sometimes not more than two blessés (wounded) could be carried at one time, and frequently, even with this light load the ambulances had to be assisted over icy portions of the grades by friendly poilus (infantrymen).” Replacements for the original crew of American volunteers arrived in June, Greenwood noted, “Greenwood in charge” along with six drivers.[71]

The Vosges sector was usually quiet during Greenwood’s months in the region, but, he added, “The service was not all play.”

… an order comes to send all available cars to the poste at Hoche, whereupon the Chef (the chief; that is, Greenwood) sets out in his staff car followed by the ambulances. The run along the valley to Willer is quickly made, but then begins a fourteen-kilometre climb up the mountain. A steady rain, wet, narrow, steep, curving, slippery roads, long convoys of pack-mules, artillery caissons, and ravitaillement (supply) wagons make the trip up a difficult one, especially as after a certain point is reached no lights of any description may be used. … Four of the blessés are at Hoche itself, and these are loaded into an ambulance and started on their way down to the hospital at Moosch.  … (The) staff car rolls its way back down to Mollau to close the night’s work at 4 A.M. Punctuate and illumine this description with a fairly heavy bombardment, plenty of star-shells, and roads which have a sheer drop of several hundred feet from the outside edge, and a fair idea of an active night in this sector will be obtained.[72]

The Vosges Detachment, Greenwood continued, set no record for the number of wounded carried nor distance driven, “but it played its part in the game all the same. … (It) did its work in the true spirit of the American Field Service – that of helping France no matter what the work or where it led.”[73]

Greenwood departed the Vosges region in mid-August 1917 and in October was assigned as head of the Section 15 ambulance group in the Champagne region. On November 13th, one of the unit’s drivers, Jerome Preston, wrote in his diary, “Greenwood has some very secret ‘dope,’ as he has told flatly that there is to be a large coup de main (surprise attack) by the French on Thursday morning and that he expects to call all cars out. One battalion of the 101st Regiment is going to make the attack.” The French attack was delayed a day, but on November 16, Preston wrote, “… it happened. The din was tremendous. The sky showed streaks of crimson in the east, over the dead, peaceful countryside, and birds were singing in the air. But the inferno on the hills yonder only increased. However, the coup de main was an absolute failure. I carried two terrible head cases.”[74]

By that time, the United States had ended its neutrality, the U.S. Congress had declared war against Germany, the first troops of the American Expeditionary Forces had started to arrive in France and the U.S. Army Ambulance Service was formed (also to serve French troops). Greenwood’s Section 15 of the American Field Service became Section 633 of the Army Ambulance Service (23 of the 30 men in Section 15 volunteered for army service[75]) and, on November 19th, Joseph Greenwood was commissioned a lieutenant in the army, in command of Section 633.[76] A month later, Greenwood’s sector with the French 124th Division came under German attack and he was later presented with France’s Croix de Guerre “for meritorious work under bombardment and gas, the night of December 18-19, 1917” (specifically, according to the citation, for coming to the aid of an ambulance that had fallen into a shell hole when its driver was blinded by gas fumes).[77] In January 1918, Greenwood was placed in charge of the U.S. Army ambulances serving the French 2nd Army during the battle of Verdun; in July, the army promoted Greenwood to captain and he served in both the Saint-Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offenses until October when, with the conclusion of the war in sight, he was assigned to Paris as an inspector.[78] The war ended with an armistice on November 11, 1918. In April 1919, Greenwood was placed in command of a contingent of Americans preparing to depart for home, including the men of another Army Ambulance Service group, Section 503. That section’s history records, “Captain Greenwood commanded the contingent which left Base Camp on April 25 and reached Brest after a slow and painful journey in freight cars. Stopping in Brest long enough to repair all the beds of the negro unit there, the contingent went aboard the U.S.S. Rhode Island, on May 7. Slowly, on the afternoon of May 8, the shores of France faded away before the thoughtful faces of the soldiers packed on the deck of the battleship.”[79] The ship reached Boston on May 19th and the men were transferred by train to Camp Devens, Massachusetts, where Greenwood was discharged on May 23. By the following day, May 24, 1919, he was back in New York for the first time in more than two years, and on that day, he married Ruth McCallum Dayton at the West End Collegiate Church, just a few blocks from his family home on Manhattan’s West End Avenue and in keeping with his family’s generations-old ties to the Dutch Reformed Church.

In 1919, the New York Public Library received a donation from the Greenwood family of what it described as “a collection of historical and general reference books, early American plays, early Psalm books in Dutch and English, etc., comprising 808 volumes and 109 pamphlets,” yet another legacy of Isaac J. Greenwood, who had died in 1911.[80] That was followed in 1926 by another gift to the library by Isaac J. Greenwood’s children, a collection of prints enthusiastically acknowledged by the library’s curator of prints, Frank Weitenkampf. “The strongly specializing collector of prints is a man after a curator’s own heart,” Weitenkampf wrote, “particularly if the collection falls into the curator’s hands.” Among the works of art donated was a collection of mezzotints by Isaac J. Greenwood’s 18th-century cousin, John Greenwood (1727-1792). “One goes back to the outstanding fact of the rehabilitation, so to speak, of John Greenwood,” Weitenkampf commented. “And that forms a ‘memorial’ to the zeal of Isaac John Greenwood.”[81] Isaac J. Greenwood’s legacy was also continued by the effort his son, Joseph, who had inherited his father’s manuscript based on the Revolutionary War activity of Isaac’s grandfather, John Greenwood. In 1922, Joseph published the book, already completed when his father had died eleven years earlier. “This record of the Revolutionary services of John Greenwood, of which his grandson, Isaac John Greenwood, is the editor and annotator,” Joseph wrote, “was ready for the press at the time of the latter’s death. The publication has been delayed, first by the production of another book giving the Revolutionary record of Captain John Manley, of which Mr. Greenwood was the author, and later by the entry of the United States into the World War, which directed all energies to matters of immediate concern. This limited edition is now published in accordance with the editor’s wishes, and it is peculiarly fitting that this simple record of a gentleman’s services in America’s first war should appear just after the country has emerged victorious from the greatest war the world has ever known.”[82]

With his return to civilian life, Joseph Greenwood resumed his work as a consulting engineer, but, in 1922, he became president of the New York Vitreous Enamel Products Corporation, which, according to one news report, “embraces the enameling of stoves, washtub covers, kitchen table tops, electric reflectors, yarn and thread spindles and many other products made of steel and cast iron.”[83] In 1929, according to a biographical sketch, he “withdrew from active business,” while continuing his activity as a lay leader of the Dutch Reformed Church and as a trustee of an orphanage in Yonkers and a day nursery.[84]  At the same time, he dealt with illness attributed by friends to his wartime service. “As the result of severe illnesses of pleurisy followed by pneumonia during the last two years,” his Princeton classmates wrote, “a condition developed in one of his lungs which required its removal. These illnesses and this condition were due undoubtedly to exposure to gas in heavily bombarded areas in which Joe served, especially at Verdun. Undaunted and fully appreciating the seriousness of the situation, Joe calmly faced what was before him in the same gallant way he faced death so many times during the war – full of fight, confidence, and faith.”[85] Joseph Rudd Greenwood died on March 2, 1934, at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, where he had gone a month earlier for treatment.[86] The Dutch Reformed Church in New York said he had “won the high regard and sincere affection of all who knew him. To his singular lovable personality was added integrity of character, unfailing courtesy and clarity of judgment which inspired confidence. His classmates at Princeton testify that even in his college days his genial personality and a fine sense of humor were balanced with serious-minded and mature judgment.”[87]

Later in 1934, Joseph Greenwood’s sisters, Mary and Eliza, took the first steps to place in an institutional setting some of their family’s most cherished keepsakes, now that there was no longer a direct male line to hold them (Isaac J. Greenwood III, Joseph’s brother, had died in 1924; as his brother Joseph, he was childless).[88] Dr. Bernhard Wolf Weinberger, an orthodontist, eminent writer on dental history as well as dental librarian and associate fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, had actively solicited the family’s artifacts associated with John Greenwood. “Often I am asked the question,” Weinberger wrote in November of that year, “‘what is there so interesting that induces you to continue year after year as Librarian?’”

My answer usually is “The uncertainty, thrills and surprises that one receives.” One hopes that some day the long-sought treasure he seeks will be uncovered and will come his way, and there is hardly a year when something worth while does not turn up. The past few months have amply rewarded the years of hope and search and The New York Academy of Medicine as well as the dental profession are this richer. Through the generosity and kindness of the Misses Eliza and Mary Greenwood, the great granddaughters of John Greenwood, the latter’s dental engine, instruments and dental books he possessed have been presented to the Academy. Besides these are several unpublished original manuscripts, written by John’s son, Isaac John Greenwood. Truly, rich treasures have been added to the wonderful collection, and we hope that even greater ones will soon find their way to those now in the Academy’s possession.[89]

Dr. Weinberger had already discussed the “even greater” treasures in 1934 with officials of the Academy[90] but it was not until 1937 that Mary and Eliza Greenwood agreed to donate “further relics” to the institution, and on May 13 of that year, the Academy’s librarian, Archibald Malloch, wrote to Mary expressing his gratitude for “those very important relics of your great-grandfather, Dr. John Greenwood, and his patient, George Washington…”[91] About a week later, the relics, Washington’s encased final tooth and the lower half of a set of Washington’s dentures, were brought to the Academy, where they remain today in a secure safe, a continuing draw for dental students and the curious.

In his will, Joseph R. Greenwood distributed his own inheritance to the government – including George Washington’s pistol, which he gave to the National Archives – and to his family, including what he described as the “Bound manuscript book of the unbound writings of Isaac J. Greenwood II, being a collection of researches of the family history in England and America,” which he left to his sister Mary.[92] Working with H. Minot Pitman, a lawyer and professional genealogist, Mary had already begun the detailed work of transforming her father’s writings into a manuscript suitable for publication in a limited edition (printed in 1934). “Desiring to preserve a record of his early forbears, and believing that there is value in the annals and traditions of the past as they are handed down from one generation to another,” Mary wrote in September 1933, “the author of this volume gathered the material for it over a number of years, collecting the facts from original records and sources in this country… No great or stirring deeds may be found recorded in this volume, but men are here who have been useful in their sphere of life; ‘Ut prosim’ – that I may be of use.”[93]

About the author: Lawrence S. Freund is a former news correspondent based in London, Belgrade, and New York and a news editor in New York. A graduate of Queens College (City University of New York) and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, he has published family histories and has written on various aspects of the American Civil War.


[1] Isaac J. Greenwood, The Greenwood Family of Norwich, England, in America, (Concord, New Hampshire [privately printed], 1934), 153.
[2] Mrs. Clark Cumings, “’Dominie’ Schoonmaker” in Long Island Life, Vol. VI, No. 1 (Brooklyn, N.Y., July 1917), 5.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Greenwood, The Greenwood Family, 134.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid., 135.
7] Ibid., 154.
[8] Mitchell C. Harrison (compiler), New York State’s Prominent and Progressive Men, Vol. III (New York, 1902), 140.
[9] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General's Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General's Bureau (Civil War); Collection Name: Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); NAI: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 4 of 6.
[10] Greenwood, The Greenwood Family, 154.
[13] Isaac J. Greenwood, “The Washington Family” in New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 17 (Albany, NY, 1863), 249.
[14] Boston Herald, December 28, 1900, 7.
[15] Isaac J. Greenwood, “The Willoughby Family of New England” in New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. XXX (Boston, 1876), 67-78.
[16] The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. LXVI (Boston, 1912), lxxxvi. Both treatises appeared originally in the Register.  Isaac J. Greenwood privately published his A Genealogical Statement of the Clarke Family of Boston, Mass., with a Review of the Same in 1879. In it, Greenwood critiques and amplifies a brief family history (the “statement”) written in 1731 in Boston by merchant and provincial official William Clark, Greenwood commenting: “How strangely mixed, after the usual manner of family traditions, had become these recollections of the past, will be very apparent upon reading the printed statement.” (Isaac J. Greenwood, A Genealogical Statement of the Clarke Family of Boston, Mass., with a Review of the Same [New York, 1879], 5.)
[17] Isaac J. Greenwood, The Willoughby Family,” 67. Savage, President of the Massachusetts Historical Society, had quoted in the organization’s publication a British author who asserted that many early American settlers “were the branches of noble and distinguished houses in England,” adding, “The Willoughbys also now in the United States I have reason to believe are the heirs of the dormant Barony of Willoughby of Parham.” James Savage, “Gleanings for New England History” in Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. VIII (Boston, 1843), 309-310.
[18] Isaac J. Greenwood, ed., The Revolutionary Services of John Greenwood of Boston and New York, 1775-1783(New York, 1922), xx.
[19] Ibid., 2.
[20] Ibid., 4.
[21] Ibid., 25.
[22] Ibid., 38-39.
[23] Ibid., 42.
[24] Ibid., 47.
[25] Ibid., 140.
[26] Greenwood, The Greenwood Family, 103.
[27] John Greenwood, “An Unpublished Manuscript,” in Alumni Bulletin of the School of Dentistry, the University of Michigan (Michigan, October 1962), 41. (Original spelling preserved.)
[28] Daily Advertiser (New York, NY), March 1, 1786, 3.
[29] Jennifer Van Horn, “George Washington’s Dentures: Disability, Deception, and the Republican Body,” in Early American Studies 14, no. 1 (2016), 4.
[30] Ibid., 5.
[31] Malvin E. Ring, “John Greenwood, Dentist to President Washington,” in Journal of the California Dental Association, Vol. 38, 12 (December 2010), 850.
[32] Ann Pasquale Haddad,  “Washington’s Last Tooth Rests in New York,” in The New York Times, March 30, 1991, 18.
[33] Greenwood, The Greenwood Family, 112.
[34] Bernhard Wolf Weinberger, An Introduction of the History of Dentistry in America (St. Louis, 1948), 387.
[35] Ibid.
[36] Thomas J. Schlereth, Victorian America: Transformations in Everyday Life (New York, 1992), 5. Soon after the opening of the Centennial Exposition, Gustave N. Winderling, a dentist from Milan, Italy, visited Dr. Allen’s display and commented: “At the Centennial I had the pleasure of examining what the doctor terms his museum, and it does present a great variety of anatomical and pathological conditions of the jaws and teeth; and I could not but admire the manner in which the specimens were arranged.” (Transactions of the New York Odontological Society (Philadelphia, 1876), 85.
[37] Isaac J. Greenwood, “Remarks on the Portraiture of Washington” in The Magazine of American History, Vol. II, Part I, A.S. Barnes & Company, New York, January 1878, pp. 30-38.
[38] Philadelphia Inquirer, January 3, 1889, 7.
[39] New-York Daily Tribune, January 3, 1889, 5.
[40] The Greenwoods sailed from New York on August 6, 1879 (The New York Times, August 7, 1879) and arrived back in New York more than 10 months later, on May 18, 1880 (Year: 1880; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 426; Line: 2; List Number: 568).
[41] Isaac J. Greenwood, The Rainborowe Family. – Gleanings by Henry F. Waters, A.M. with Annotations by Isaac J. Greenwood (Boston, 1886).
[42] Isaac J. Greenwood, Allertons of New England and Virginia, (Boston, 1890).
[43] Isaac J. Greenwood, The Saffin Family (Boston, 1891). The epitaph reads in part: “Here Thomas Saffin lyes interr’d: Ah! Why/ Born in New England, did in London dy?/ Was the third Son of Eight, begot upon/ his mother Martha by his Father John./ Much favour’d by his Prince he got to be;/ But nipt by Death at th’ Age of twenty-three.”
[44] Isaac J. Greenwood, The Weaver Family of New York City (Boston, 1893).
[45] Isaac J. Greenwood, Remarks on the Maverick Family and the Ancestry of Gov. Simon Bradstreet (Boston, 1894). In both essays, coincidentally or by design, Greenwood reflects on the historical meaning of the two names, Maverick and Bradstreet. “The name Maverick,” Greenwood writes, “one of unusual occurrence, is akin doubtless to Morris, Morrice, or Maurice; we get nearer to it in the original Welsh Mawr-rwyce, ‘a valiant hero.’” (5) Turning to the Bradstreet surname, he writes, “If we may judge from what can be gathered in the MSS. of the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s, the family name of Bradstreet is of pure cockney origin, originating in Bread Street, that locality in the metropolis where was anciently established a bread market.” (8) 
[46] Isaac J. Greenwood, The De Lotbinieres: A Bit of Canadian Romance and History (Boston, 1896?), 3.
[47] Isaac J. Greenwood, Bermuda During the American Revolution (Boston, 1896).
[48] Isaac J. Greenwood, Jacob and Hannah (Lawrence) Schieffelin of New York (Boston, 1897).
[49] Isaac J. Greenwood, Langley of Newport, R.I. (Boston, 1897). In 1788, Dorothy Langley married Isaac Greenwood, the great uncle of author Isaac J. Greenwood.
[50] Isaac J. Greenwood, The Rev. Morgan Jones and the Welsh Indians of Virginia (Boston, 1898), 3.
[51] Ibid., 5.
[52] Isaac J. Greenwood, The Circus, Its Origin and Growth Prior to 1835 (New York, 1898; second printing 1909), 136. Greenwood omitted the hyphen in “New-York Historical Society.”
[53] Ibid., 9.
[54] Ibid., 132.
[55] Isaac J. Greenwood, Greenwood: Colonial and Revolutionary Services, 1695-1783 (Boston, 1899).
[56] Isaac J. Greenwood, Letter to Robert Kelby, January 25, 1911, Greenwood Correspondence, New-York Historical Society.
[57] American Journal of Numismatics, Vol. 45, No. 2 (April, 1911), 77.
[58] New York Herald, December 31, 1911, 8.
[59] Eliza R. Greenwood, Letter to Robert Kelby, December 13, 1912, Greenwood Correspondence, New-York Historical Society.
[60] Isaac J. Greenwood, Captain John Manley: Second in Rank in the United States Navy, 1776-1783 (Boston , 1915), Note (unnumbered).
[61] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 348; Volume #: Roll 0348 - Certificates: 46701-47100, 02 Feb 1917-07 Feb 1917.
[62] Ibid.
[63] Joseph R. Greenwood, “Memories of 21 Rue Raynouard,” History of the American Field Service in France Vol. II (Boston and New York, 1920), 490.
[64] Amos N. Wilder, Armageddon Revisited – A World War I Journal (Eugene, Oregon, 2014), 2.
[65] Walter Graham, Poet of the American Ambulance,” The South Atlantic Quarterly, Vol. XIX, (Durham, North Carolina, 1920), 18.
[66] St. Joseph Herald Press (St. Joseph, Michigan), February 10, 1917.
[67] The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 14, 1917.
[68] Joseph R. Greenwood, “Memories of 21 Rue Raynouard,” 490-491.
[69] Isaac J. Greenwood, The Greenwood Family of Norwich, England, in America, 374.
[70] Joseph R. Greenwood, “Memories of 21 Rue Raynouard,” 492.
[71] Joseph R. Greenwood, “Vosges Detachment,” History of the American Field Service in France Vol. II, (Boston and New York, 1920), 512.
[72] Ibid., 514-515.
[73] Ibid., 516.
[74] Jerome Preston, “Section 15,” History of the American Field Service in France Vol. II (Boston and New York, 1920), 131-132
[75] Clitus Jones, “Section 15,” History of the American Field Service in France Vol. II (Boston and New York, 1920), 107.
[76] New York State Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917–1919. Adjutant General's Office. Series B0808. New York State Archives, Albany, New York.
[77] Isaac J. Greenwood, The Greenwood Family of Norwich, England, in America, 374, 376.
[78] Ibid., 374-375.
[79] Glenn W. Clark, ed., S. S. U. 503 of the U. S. Army Ambulance Service With the French Army, (Philadelphia, 1920), 65.
[80] Bulletin of the New York Public Library, Vol. 24 (New York, 1920), 109.
[81] Frank Weitenkampf, “John Greenwood, Artist, and the Isaac John Greenwood Collection,” Bulletin of the New York Public Library, Vol. 30, Number One,
(New York, January 1926), 926-927.
[82] Isaac J. Greenwood, ed., The Revolutionary Services of John Greenwood of Boston and New York, 1775-1783,155.
[83] The Brooklyn Standard Union, August 26, 1922.
[84] Isaac J. Greenwood, The Greenwood Family of Norwich, England, in America, 374, 375.
[85] The Princeton Alumni Weekly, Vol. XXXIV, No. 24 (Princeton, New Jersey, March 16, 1934), 546.
[86] The New York Sun, March 3, 1934.
[87] YEAR BOOK of the (Collegiate) Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of the City of New York (New York, 1934), 1027.
[88] Eliza Rudd Greenwood died December 4, 1952; Mary MacKaye Greenwood died December 15, 1968. Neither had ever married.
[89] Bernhard Wolf Weinberger, “Recent Accessions to the Library and Museum of the New York Academy of Medicine – The Books and Instruments of John Greenwood,” Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, Vol. 10, no. 11 (New York, November 1934), 662. 
[90] Handwritten memo, New York Academy of Medicine, referencing meeting with Weinberger on April 23, 1934.
[91] Archibald Malloch, Letter to Mary M. Greenwood, New York Academy of Medicine, May 13, 1937.
[92] Joseph R. Greenwood, Last Will and Testament of Joseph R. Greenwood, Surrogate’s Court, County of New York, May 13, 1932, 3.
[93] Isaac J. Greenwood, The Greenwood Family of Norwich, England, in America, viii-ix. The motto “Ut Prosim” was traced by Isaac J. Greenwood to the Greenwood family’s ancestral coat of arms in England.