William Livingston/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about William Livingston.
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Dillon, Dorothy R. The New York Triumvirate: A Study of the Legal and Political Careers of William Livingston, John Morin Scott, William Smith, Jr. New York: AMS Press, 1968. (Worldcat.org) Originally published in 1949, this book examines the professional and public lives of Livingston and his inner circle during their involvement in the politics of pre-Revolutionary New York City.

Kierner, Cynthia A. Traders and Gentlefolk: The Livingstons of New York, 1675-1790. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992. (Worldcat.org) The best modern study of one of the most important families in colonial New York. | Google Books extracts.

Klein, Milton M. The American Whig: William Livingston of New York. New York: Garland, 1990. (Worldcat.org) (Amazon) The first major biography of Livingston in over one-hundred years.

———. "The Rise of the New York Bar: The Legal Career of William Livingston." The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 15, no. 3 (1958): 334-58. (JSTOR) Also, in Klein, Milton M. The Politics of Diversity: Essays in the History of Colonial New York. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1974, 129-53. (Worldcat.org) Perhaps Klein's greatest legacy in colonial New York scholarship is his examination of the legal profession's development and role in the coming of the revolution.

Levine, Michael L. The Transformation of a Radical Whig under Republican Government: William Livingston, Governor of New Jersey, 1776-1790. PhD diss., Rutgers University, 1975. (Worldcat.org) An interesting interpretation of Livingston's New Jersey career, which claims that Livingston's unfamiliarity with economics made him increasingly uneasy with the Revolution especially during the Confederation period.

Livingston, William. The Independent Reflector: Or, Weekly Essays on Sundry Important Subjects. More Particularly Adapted to the Province of New York, edited by Milton M. Klein. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1963. (Worldcat.org) This book collects all the essays from the first political journal in New York City and the only one of its kind in the colonies during its publication. Influenced by The Spectator and Independent Whig, these essays are one of the most significant contributions to colonial republicanism.

———. Some Serious Thoughts on the Design of erecting a College in the Province of New-York. shewing the eminent advantages of a liberal education, more especially with regard to religion and politicks. Humbly offered to the publick, for the encouragement of so useful an undertaking. Pamphlet, New York, Printed by John Peter Zenger, 1749. Early American Imprints, Readex, no. 6366. (Worldcat.org) Livingston's first major pamphlet, in which he argues for the necessity of a college in improving the culturally-deficient city.

Prince, Carl E., ed. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton: New Jersey Historical Commission, 1979-1988. The first, and only, edited collection of Livingston's private papers. Encompasses his life and career from shortly after Livingston removed from New York to New Jersey until his death in 1790. There is still no published edition of his private papers from his time in New York.

Sedgwick, Theodore, Jr. A Memoir of the Life of William Livingston. New York: J. and J. Harper, 1833. (Google Books) Written by a descendant, this book covers Livingston's entire life and includes a valuable history of the Livingston family and long passages from Livingston's papers.

Shuffelton, Frank. "’Philosophic Solitude’ and the Pastoral Politics of William Livingston." Early American Literature 17, no. 1 (1982): 43-53. (JSTOR) This article seeks the origins of Livingston's politics in an ode to the pastoral life that he wrote in his 20s.

Wilson, Rob. "William Livingston's "Philosophic Solitude" And the Ideology of the Natural Sublime." Early American Literature 24, no. 3 (1989): 217-36. (JSTOR) A literary analysis of Livingston's famous poem.