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Ackerson Family papers

 Collection — Box: 1-20, 21+
Identifier: MS-0168

Scope and Contents

Collection includes extensive diaries from 1872-1968 of Fred Ackerson and his parents, Charles F. and Mary Jane Nellist Ackerson, and his second wife, Elizabeth V. Ackerson. Diaries include clippings and photographs of people and places in Niagara County, New York. Also included are personal papers of Fred M. Ackerson which document his personal, political, and professional life as an orator, teacher, lawyer, Niagara County District Attorney, and judge on the New York Court of Claims from 1915 to 1940. Continuing the family story are diaries from 1971 to 1996 of Fred's son, Charles F. Ackerson, who was a high school math teacher and civil engineer/surveyor in Olean, (Cattaraugus County) New York.


  • 1864-1996
  • Majority of material found within (1872-1996 )


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Ackerson Family Papers are open for research.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Biographical Note

Fred Morris Ackerson was born June 6, 1866 to Charles F. Ackerson and Mary Jane Nellist Ackerson. Raised in the Town of Somerset, Niagara County, New York he attended the University of Buffalo Law School and had a long career as practicing attorney, Niagara County District Attorney, and judge on the New York State Court of Claims. In 1892 he married Evangeline Hotaling who died in 1905. They had one child, Leah, born December 4, 1893. In 1909 he married Elizabeth C. Vogt. They had three children: Mary Elizabeth, born July 17, 1910; Charles Frederick, born October 7, 1911; and Alda Katherine, born May 25, 1913. Leah Ackerson Handte, widow of New York violinist Frederick Handte, was a teacher at the Friends Academy in Locust Valley, Long Island, New York. Charles F. Ackerson married Jean Tothill and was a high school math teacher and civil engineer/surveyor in Olean, New York.

Chronology for Fred M. Ackerson

Fred's father Charles Frederic Ackerson born
Fred's mother Mary Jane Nellist Ackerson born
Fred M. Ackerson born June 6, 1866, Town of Somerset, Niagara County, New York
[approximately 1873 - 1881]
Attended District Schools No. 8 and 16, Town of Somerset
Somerset Academic School, Somerset Corners
Yates Academy, Orleans County
Brockport Normal School, graduating in Classical Course
Principal and teacher at Somerset School Districts 2 and 15, 1887-1888
September 1889
Began clerking in the law offices of John E. and Cuthbert W. Pound
Federal census enumerator, Town of Somerset
University of Buffalo Law School, Bachelor of Law degree
Admitted to the bar, June 1892
Married Evangeline Hotaling on August 10, 1892, daughter of Doctor and Mrs. Irving W. Hotaling of Somerset, New York
Practiced law in Buffalo, New York with Judge William W. Hammond and Charles S. Hatch (Hammond, Hatch & Ackerson)
Daughter Leah born December 4, 1893
Practiced law in Niagara Falls, New York [from 1900 to 1915 in partnership with Judge John O. Chapin]
Elected Justice of the Peace, City of Niagara Falls
Appointed to the City of Niagara Falls, Board of Education by Mayor Arthur C. Hastings
Assistant District Attorney, Niagara County
Fred's father Charles Frederic Ackerson died October 28, 1904
Evangeline Hotaling Ackerson died
Elected District Attorney, Niagara County
Married Elizabeth C. Vogt, daughter of Jacob B. and Mary S. Whitney Vogt, June 29, 1909
Daughter Mary Elizabeth born July 17, 1910
Re-elected District Attorney, Niagara County
Son Charles Frederick born October 7, 1911
Re-elected District Attorney, Niagara County
Daughter Alda Katherine born May 25, 1913 (died 1924)
Appointed a judge on the New York Court of Claims, February 16, 1915, by Governor Charles S. Whitman.
Presiding Judge, 1916-1929
Retired December 31, 1936 because of age limit
Fred's mother Mary J. Ackerson died October 3, 1937
Appointed Official Referee of the Court of Claims by the Justices of the Appellate Division, Supreme Court, Fourth Department, February 26, 1937
Designated Acting Judge of Court of Claims by presiding judge James J. Barrett, March 1937
Retired due to health, September 30, 1940
Fred M. Ackerson died December 28, 1956
Elizabeth V. Ackerson (Fred's 2nd wife) died November 29, 1968
Son Charles F. Ackerson died April 10, 1996


17.2087 Linear Feet (3 manuscript boxes, 3 legal manuscript boxes, 1 flat box, 11 cartons, 2 folders, 1 oversize box)


Diaries and personal papers of Fred M. Ackerson which document life in Niagara County, New York, and a professional legal and judicial career in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Also includes diaries of Fred's wife and parents and those of his son, Charles F. Ackerson who lived in Olean, (Cattaraugus County) New York.


This collection is arranged in seven series:

  1. I. Fred M. Ackerson, Diaries
  2. II. Fred M. Ackerson, Papers
  3. III. Elizabeth Vogt Ackerson
  4. IV. Charles F. Ackerson
  5. V. Mary Jane Nellist Ackerson
  6. VI. Charles F. Ackerson
  7. VII. Ackerson Family Scrapbook

Acquisition Information

Collection was donated by Anne W. Ackerson, Fred Ackerson's granddaughter in March and July 2010.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Karen Spencer, April 2010. Additional materials processed and finding aid updated, July 2010.


Finding Aid for the Ackerson Family papers
Finding aid prepared by Karen Spencer, April 2010.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)