George Lee Schulyer donated the America’s Cup to the New York Yacht Club in 1851. Ten years later he wrote this letter to President Lincoln with news about the Union Defense Committee’s efforts to provision Daniel Sickles’s brigade one month into the Civil War.

New Zealand defeated the United States in the America’s Cup off the coast of Bermuda yesterday. In a strange coincidence, for my book I am currently writing about George Lee Schuyler, father of Louisa Lee Schuyler. George Schuyler co-founded the New York Yacht Club in 1844. After his schooner America won a regatta in England in 1851, Schuyler and his mates donated the trophy to the New York Yacht Club. The club would henceforth own what was now the America’s Cup in perpetuity with the proviso that the club host competitions with “any organized yacht club of any foreign country.” Legal agreements in the late 1880s tightened the language and made the agreement more binding.

Louisa and her sister donated this portrait of their father to the N-YHS in 1925 along with about a dozen other works. The two women were descendants of both Philip Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton.

George Lee Schuyler was a member of John Dix’s Union Defense Committee and later an aide to General John E. Wool. His daughter was a good friend of Theodore Roosevelt Sr. and active in the Women’s Central Association of Relief. Louisa was going strong well into the twentieth century. During the First World War she performed some of the same relief functions she had in American Civil War over half a century earlier. She and her sister presented this portrait to the New-York Historical Society in 1925 and made the gift official in Louisa’s 1926 will.

(bottom image/New-York Historical Society)