Guide to the Papers of Gilbert A. Hays, c1833-1950 (bulk 1900-1925)

Digital Research Library, University Library System

Summary Information

Repository
Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center
Title
Papers of Gilbert A. Hays
Creator
Gilbert A. Hays
Collection Number
MSS#99
Date [inclusive]
c1833-1950
Date [inclusive]
1900-1925
Extent
4.5 cubic feet (8 boxes)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
Abstract
Gilbert Adam Hays was a Sewickley, Pennsylvania writer and historian who worked primarily to record the history of his father, Civil War General Alexander Hays, and the Civil War regiment he led. The Gilbert A. Hays papers include correspondence, printed items, research notes, and other sundry items.
Sponsor Note
This finding aid has been encoded as a part of the Historic Pittsburgh project a joint effort of the University of Pittsburgh and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Funding for this portion of the project has been donated by the Hillman Foundation.

Preferred Citation

Hays, Gilbert A., Papers, c1833-1950 (bulk 1900-1925), MSS#99, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania.

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Biographical Sketch of Gilbert A. Hays

Gilbert Adam Hays was a Sewickley, Pennsylvania writer and historian who worked primarily to record the history of his father, Civil War General Alexander Hays, and the Civil War regiment he led. Born in Sewickley (Allegheny County), Pennsylvania as one of seven children, little is known of Gilbert Hays' personal life except that he worked in Sewickley as a fire insurance agent and wrote extensively on his family and the history of Sewickley. Gilbert Hays wrote three books on General Hays and his 63rd Regiment. These were the Life and Letters of Alexander Hays, the  History of the 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteers Regiment, and  Under the Red Patch. Gilbert Hays compiled his father's correspondence from the war and used this to help produce his books. Hays was involved with the various reunion events for the 63rd Regiment as a member of the 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteers Regimental Association and served with the various committees that held Memorial Day celebrations in Sewickley. Hays was also very involved in other civic activities in his hometown, including serving on the executive committee of the Sewickley-Coraopolis Bridge Celebration in 1911, that celebrated the opening of the new bridge. Hays also appeared on the programs of numerous theatrical events, primarily listed in a technical capacity such as an electrician for the Dickens Carnival of 1911. Having a great interest in civic and cultural affairs, Hays collected a variety of Sewickley materials from church programs to World War I newspaper clippings and wrote a historical column for the  Weekly Herald on the history of the Sewickley Valley. Sewickley is situated on the north bank of the Ohio River, just over ten miles from downtown Pittsburgh. Sewickley Borough was incorporated on July 6, 1853, even though the area boasted European residents shortly before 1800. The community has grown into one of Pittsburgh's more affluent suburbs.

General Alexander Hays and the 63rd Regiment was the focus of much of Gilbert Hays' lifetime work. General Hays was born on July 8, 1819 in Franklin (Venango County), Pennsylvania to General Samuel and Agnes (Broadfoot) Hays. He graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania in 1840 and then entered the United States Military Academy at West Point. Upon graduation in 1844, Hays was commissioned brevet second lieutenant in the Fourth Infantry, one of the first regiments to enter the Mexican War. Hays was promoted to second lieutenant as a result of his bravery in this war. After the Mexican War, Hays resigned his commission and married Annie McFadden. They had seven children, including Alden, Gilbert, Agnes, and Rachel Hays. Alexander Hays returned to Franklin, Pennsylvania, where he worked briefly as an iron producer before heading to California during the gold rush of 1849. Hays moved back to Pennsylvania in 1851 and served as an engineer for construction projects, primarily railroad and municipal bridges in Western Pennsylvania. While he lived in Pittsburgh during this period, the exact year of his move to Sewickley is not known. In 1861, Hays enlisted in the Union Army and was commissioned major of the Twelfth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. Within three months, Hays chose instead to raise his own regiment, that became the 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteers Regiment. Hays was the colonel of this regiment. Hays and the 63rd Regiment fought in numerous battles including Fair Oaks (1862), Bull Run (1862), Gettysburg (1863), and the Battle of the Wilderness (1864). In 1862, Hays was promoted to brigadier general of the 3rd Division, 2nd United States Army Corps. Hays was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness on May 5, 1864. Hays and the 63rd Regiment were commemorated by monuments at Gettysburg, the Battle of the Wilderness, West Point, and Sewickley Cemetery. As was the case with many Civil War regiments, the 63rd Regiment held numerous reunions after the war and into the early 1900s.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Gilbert A. Hays papers include correspondence, printed items, research notes, and other sundry items primarily documenting Gilbert Hays' work as writer, as member of various veterans organizations such as the 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteers Regimental Association, and as citizen of Sewickley. The papers primarily include correspondence concerning Alexander Hays, the 63rd Regiment, and Sewickley. While these papers have been arranged in three distinct series, there are many common bonds between the material in the individual series. Alexander Hays was one of the most prominent citizens of Sewickley and the 63rd regiment was organized in large part from the same city. Numerous organizations in Sewickley took Hays' name to commemorate this famous citizen. This material provides documentation of many aspects of Sewickley's social life, culture, and military involvement from the 1860s through the first quarter of the twentieth century. While this material is rich with material on the history of Sewickley and Gilbert's famous father, little material in these papers document the personal life of Gilbert Hays.

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Arrangement

The Gilbert Hays Papers are arranged in three series. Series have been designated for material documenting Alexander Hays, the 63rd Pennsylvania Regiment, and the Sewickley community.

The Gilbert Hays Papers are housed in eight archival boxes.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Digital Research Library, University Library System Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Spring 2000

Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
library@hswp.org

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or publish, please contact the curator of the Archives.

Acquisition Information

These materials were received in two accessions, in 1933 and in 1964. They were later combined into one body of papers in 1994.

Acc# 328 (1933) Gift of Mrs. Gilbert A. Hays, (Papers).

Acc# 1964x Gift of the Hays Family, (additional material on Sewickley, Pa. Much of this material was split up and individually cataloged within the collection. Material in series three represents what was easily consolidated at the time of processing in 1994).

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Historical Society Staff in c1933.

Papers rearranged and inventory rewritten by Craig Moore in March 16, 1994.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Sherry Kowalski on January 20, 2000.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • United States Military Academy.
  • Aztec Club.
  • Grand Army of the Republic. -- Hays Post No. 3.
  • Junior Order of United American Mechanics (Sewickley, Pa.)
  • United States. -- Army. -- Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 12th.
  • United States. -- Army. -- Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 63rd (1861-1864)
  • Sewickley-Coraopolis Bridge (Allegheny County, Pa.)

Geographic Name(s)

  • Sewickley (Pa.) -- Religion.
  • Cuba -- Description and travel
  • Sewickley (Pa.) -- Social life and customs.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Societies, etc.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Veterans.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- War work -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.

Personal Name(s)

  • Anderson, John
  • Hays, Alexander, -- 1819-1864.
  • Hays, Annie.
  • McFadden, John
  • Nevin, Ethelbert.
  • Nevin, John I., -- 1837-1884.

Subject(s)

  • Bridges -- Pennsylvania -- Sewickley.
  • Memorial Day -- Pennsylvania -- Sewickley.
  • Memorials -- Pennsylvania -- Sewickley.
  • Mexican War, 1846-1848 -- Veterans.
  • Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Veterans.
  • Theater -- Pennsylvania -- Sewickley.
  • Veterans -- Pennsylvania -- Sewickley.
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Veterans.
  • NATIVE AMERICAN COLLECTION

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Collection Inventory

Series I  Alexander Hays  (c1833-1930) 

Scope and Content Notes

The Alexander Hays material includes correspondence, research notes, programs, newspaper clippings, and financial documents. These papers were gathered by Gilbert Hays in preparation for his biographical work on his father. The strongest component of material in this series are transcripts of Alexander Hays' correspondence during the Civil War, 1861-1864, probably transcribed by Gilbert Hays. Alexander Hays wrote extensively to his wife Annie in Sewickley, his father-in-law John McFadden in Pittsburgh, among others. These letters document the life of a Civil War commander and his regiment. This correspondence conveys the mood of those fighting the war, their feeling on why it was being fought, the strategy involved, and the daily life of a soldier. Original documents primarily include letters and petitions written to President Lincoln and to the Congress to encourage then to promote Alexander Hays in rank; also included is a report of the Sanitary Board of Pittsburgh, 1833. Gilbert Hays' book, the Life and Letters of Alexander Hays provides detailed information on Hays' schoolmates and professors at West Point as well as rosters of field and company officers in the various regiments in which Hays served. This copy of the book is called a "draft copy," more reflecting Hays' working notes on the biography. Included in the draft are letters, lists and other information gathered when writing the book. Correspondence for information on his father and other material concerning the publication of this book is present as well. Also included is correspondence and programs concerning Gilbert Hays' successful campaign to erect monuments to Hays and the 63rd regiment at Gettysburg, West Point, the Battle of the Wilderness, and Sewickley Cemetery. The scrapbook include a variety of clippings on General Hays and other articles on the history of Pittsburgh. Miscellaneous material collected by Gilbert Hays on various Civil War topics are included within this series. Of note are a Congressional Bill from 1914 concerning General Hays' accounts and material on the Aztec Club, a Mexican War veterans organization.

Arrangement

The Alexander Hays material is arranged alphabetically by folder title with misc. material arranged to the rear.

Correspondence 
  boxfolder
Publication of Biography  1911-1924 11
Monuments 
  folder
 1904-1930 2
  folder
Wilderness (Va.)  1903-1908 3
Research Notes 
Hay's Correspondence 
  folder
 1861-February 1863 4
  folder
 March 1863-October 1863 5
  folder
 November 1863-May 1864  6
  folder
Original Documents  1833-1864 7
Scrapbook  1864-1900 
Writings on  
  folder
Index-chapter VI 8
  folder
Chapters VII-XXV 9
Miscellaneous Material 
  boxfolder
 1881-1905 21
  folder
 1906-1922 2

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Series II 63rd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers  (1861-1933) 

Scope and Content Notes

The 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteers Regiment material includes correspondence, membership lists, regimental cards, photographs, printed material, and newspaper clippings, primarily documenting Gilbert Hays' work with the 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteers Regimental Association. Hays' close involvement with this veterans organization is well documented in this series with the large amount of correspondence, membership lists, and reunion information present. Programs, memorabilia, and newspaper clippings recount the various reunions held for the regiment between around 1890 and 1930. A draft of Hays' book the History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers Regiment and orders for his book  Under the Red Patch are included in this series. Also of note is a notebook containing membership records and includes additional information on the activities and whereabouts of the members. Miscellaneous articles and other material regarding the Civil War are arranged to the rear of this series. Information on membership in the regiment in found in a number of resources within this series and researchers should examine more than just the membership cards. The scrapbook includes various clippings, ribbons, programs, the regimental song, minutes of the reunions, and other items documenting the maintenance and activities of the Regimental Association. Since many of their activities were held in Sewickley, researchers should use these materials in conjunction with the papers in series III.

Arrangement

The 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteers Regiment material is arranged alphabetically by folder title.

  folder
Aztec Club  1921-1929 3
Correspondence 
  folder
Reunions  1902-1921 4
Members 
  folder
Deceased Members  1900-1929 5
  folder
Surviving Members  1917-1927 6
  folder
Other Veterans  1908-1917 7
  folder
Enrollment Papers and Lists of Wounded, Killed, or Missing  1862-1864 8
  folder
Roster/Muster Call  1861-1864 9
63rd Pennsylvania Volunteers Regimental Association 
  folder
Printed Material  1900-1933 10
  folder
Membership Lists 1900-1930 11
  folder
Memorabilia 1891-1920 12
  folder
Newspaper Clippings and Rolls of Honor 1899-1932 13
  folder
Sewickley Veterans 14
Scrapbook  1881-1920 
Membership Cards 
  box
A-N 3
  box
P-Z and Misc. Regiments 4
  boxfolder
Membership Records  c1900 51
Writings 
 1908 
  folder
Chapters I-III 2
  folder
Chapters IV-VI 3
  folder
Chapters VII-XII 4
  folder
Chapters XIII-XVII 5
 
  folder
Correspondence  1908 6
  folder
Orders  1903-1925 7
  folder
Miscellaneous Civil War Material  1895-1917 8

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Series III Sewickley (Pa.)  (c1834-1950) 

Scope and Content Notes

The Gilbert Hays' material includes a wide assortment of information on the town and its activities. This series contains newspaper clippings, programs, correspondence, and other material documenting various establishments in Sewickley. Included is abundant material on churches, clubs, newspapers, lodges of fraternal organizations, and cultural activities, specifically concentrating on local celebrations and theatrical performances. Of note are material concerning the Memorial Day Committee and its work in preserving the memory of Sewickley soldiers who died defending the country. Included with this material are programs, primarily for the Grand Army of the Republic's events, minutes and other documents. These items also include many references to John I. Nevin's Camp 33 for sons of veterans. The scrapbook includes material relating to activities, celebrations and theatrical performances in the community, many of which Gilbert Hays played a role in. Of note are the Dickens Festival of 1911 and the extensive newspaper clippings and programs for the Sewickley-Coraopolis Bridge Celebration of September 1911. Hays saved biographical material on some of Sewickley's more prominent citizens including long-time resident Capt. John Anderson and composer Ethelbert Nevin. Material in this series provides a miscellany of information on Sewickley and also consists of short histories, printed material, and clippings on the daily activities of the town.

Arrangement

The Gilbert Hays' material on the history and community of Sewickley is arranged alphabetically with misc. material arranged to the rear.

  boxfolder
Anderson, Capt. John  1927-1928 61
Churches 
  folder
 1900-1924 2
St. Stephen's Church 
  folder
History and Records  1881-1914 3
  folder
  1908-1923 4
Clubs 
  folder
Miscellaneous  1895-1933 5
  folder
Sewickley Valley club  1886-1898 6
  folder
Industries-Notes and Articles 1834-1910 7
  folder
Lodges  1889-1926 8
Memorial Day Committee 
  boxfolder
 1883-1940 71
  folder
Soldier's War Memorial  1904-1930 2
  folder
Nevin, Ethelbert  1913-1921 3
Newspapers 
  folder
 1859-1910 4
  folder
  1895-1912 5
  folder
Public Buildings  1876-1925 6
Scrapbook  1878-1911 
  folder
Sewickley (Pa.)-History  1898-1928 7
  folder
Sewickley Valley Memorial  1930 8
  folder
Spanish-American War 1898-1910 9
  folder
Sports  1887-1921 10
Theatricals 
  folder
Correspondence  1905-1914 11
Programs 
  boxfolder
 1873-1913 81
  folder
 1914-1950 2
Transcripts of Programs 
  folder
 1859-1900 3
  folder
 1907-1916 4
  folder
Transportation  1894-1921 5
World War I 
  folder
Church Programs and Honor Rolls 1917-1918 6
  folder
Correspondence  1917-1918 7
  folder
Newspaper Clippings  1917-1918 8
  folder
Miscellaneous Material  1861-1923 9

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