William L. Clements libraryAlternative names
Thomas Amory, the son of Jonathan and Rebecca Amory, was born in Ireland in 1682. In 1685, following his mother's death, Amory moved to South Carolina with his father. In 1696, he traveled to England for his education and, in 1709, moved to the Azores at the behest of French merchant Ozell. Amory stayed in the Azores for several years until leaving for Boston in 1719, where he married Rebecca Holmes in 1721. There, he enjoyed a successful mercantile career until his death in 1728. He and his wife had five children.
From the guide to the Thomas Amory collection, Amory, Thomas collection, 1709-1730, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
United States senator and the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Finis Davis (1808-1889) had a lengthy military and political career. After graduating from West Point in 1828, Colonel Zachery Taylor assigned Davis to escort Black Hawk to prison at the end of the Black Hawk War (1832). He sat in Congress as a Democratic representative from Mississippi from 1845 to1846. At the outbreak of the Mexican War, Davis returned to the army and distinguished himself at the battle of Buena Vista (1846). Davis represented Mississippi in the senate from 1847 until 1851, when President Pierce appointed him secretary of war. He returned to the senate in 1857, but resigned with other secessionists in 1861. The constitutional convention at Montgomery, Alabama, selected Davis as provisional President of the Confederate States of America, and on November 6, 1861, the Confederacy officially elected him President. Davis held his headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, where he closely supervised the Confederate Army. Following the war, Davis was imprisoned for two years, and although he was indicted for treason, he was never tried. He spent his later years writing in defense of the Confederacy. He died in New Orleans in 1889.
From the guide to the Jefferson Davis collection, Davis, Jefferson collection, 1861-1865, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
A descendent of Thomas Paine, Eugene Beauharnois Payne was born to Thomas Hubbard Payne and Susannah Newcomb Payne (née Smith) in Seneca Falls, New York, on April 15, 1835. He briefly practiced law after graduating from Northwestern University in 1860 and helped organize the 37th Illinois Volunteer Regiment in September 1861. After serving in the Battle of Pea Ridge and the Siege of Vicksburg, he left the army on September 14, 1864. Payne returned to Illinois, where he served in the state legislature (1865 or 1866-1869) and had a legal practice. He later became a member of the review board for the Bureau of Pensions in Washington, D. C. On January 26, 1862, he married Adelia A. Wright ("Delia"). Eugene B. Payne died on April 6, 1910.
From the guide to the Eugene B. Payne collection, Payne, Eugene B. collection, 1861-1888, 1862-1867, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Samuel May, Jr., was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 11, 1810, the son of Samuel May (d. 1870), a merchant, and Mary Goddard (d. 1882). He attended several Boston schools and spent one year at the Round Hill School in Northampton, Massachusetts, before entering Harvard in 1825. After graduating in 1829, he spent a year in Brooklyn, Connecticut, with his cousin, the radical reformer Samuel Joseph May (1797-1871). From 1830-1833 he attended Harvard Divinity School, from which he graduated in 1833. In August 1834, he was ordained in the Unitarian church in Leicester, Massachusetts, where he preached until 1846. He later became an agent for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. Following his retirement in 1865, he spent one term in the state legislature (1875). He married Sarah Russell (1813-1895) on November 11, 1835, and they had four children: Adeline, Edward, Joseph Russell, and Elizabeth Goddard. Samuel May died in 1899.
From the guide to the Samuel May, Jr., collection, May, Samuel, Jr., collection, 1857-1899, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
The New York (State) 18th-century letters and documents are made up of manuscripts related to life and legal procedures in 18th-century New York. This collection was formerly titled "Albany Congress collection," as a portion of the items in the collection were written by or addressed to the meeting's attendees. The collection does not contain any manuscripts related to the proceedings of the Albany Congress.
From the guide to the New York (State) 18th-century letters and documents, 1685-1790, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Horace Greeley was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, on February 3, 1811, to Zaccheus Greeley and his wife, Mary Woodburn. Because the family moved frequently during Greeley's childhood, Horace's formal education was sporadic. His first introduction to the newspaper business was as an apprentice with Vermont editor Amos Bliss ( Northern Spectator ), and as a printer for the Erie Gazette in Erie, Pennsylvania. He moved to New York City in 1831, where he worked for the Evening Post, Spirit of the Times , Morning Post, and Commercial Advertiser . In 1834, he founded the weekly New Yorker, and, later, the campaign weekly Log Cabin . The New-York Tribune ( The Tribune ), his most successful publication and a highly influential paper in the mid-19th century, began in 1841. Greeley frequently wrote editorials expressing his strong anti-slavery views, and other progressive political positions. He assisted in founding the Republican Party in 1854, and briefly served in the United States House of Representatives (1848-1849). Greeley won the nomination for President in 1872 from both the Liberal Republican and Democratic parties, but was soundly defeated in the November election. He died shortly thereafter, on November 29, 1872. Greeley married Mary Youngs Cheney in 1836, and they had seven children, of whom two survived to adulthood.
From the guide to the Horace Greeley collection, Greeley, Horace collection, 1847-, 1847-1875, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Arithmetic and geometry have been an integral part of the American school curriculum since the early colonial days. A necessary skill for occupations as diverse as merchants and merchant marines, arithmetical instruction was highly valued and highly structured, with the material manifestation being the "arithmetic book," the students' workbooks filled with notes and exercises.
From the guide to the Arithmetic Book collection, Arithmetic book, ca. 1761-1821, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Before the American Revolution, the land claimed by Connecticut stretched west to the Mississippi River, and included parts of Pennsylvania and New York. In 1786, Connecticut yielded most of its land claims in present-day Ohio to the United States government, but retained the northeast corner, which became known as the Western Reserve. The Reserve (so-called because it was "reserved" for the settlement of Connecticut citizens) was approximately 120 miles wide, bordered by Lake Erie to the north, Pennsylvania to the east, and stretching west to present-day Sandusky, Ohio. In 1795, Connecticut sold the land to venture capitalists of the Connecticut Land Company, for $1,200,000. The Company sent a party, headed by Moses Cleveland, to survey the state in 1796, and Connecticut residents soon flocked to area, which became known as "New Connecticut." The area was incorporated into the newly-formed state of Ohio when it achieved statehood in 1803.
From the guide to the Western Reserve (Ohio) collection, 1796-1808, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Alexander Turney Stewart was born in Lisburn, Ireland (now Northern Ireland), on October 12, 1803, the son of Alexander Stewart and Margaret Turney. He attended Belfast College and imigrated to New York City in 1818, where he worked as a tutor. After traveling to Ireland to collect an inheritance, Stewart returned to New York and opened a store on Broadway in 1823. His business grew quickly, aided by new retail methods. In 1846, Stewart constructed the "Marble Palace" to house his retail and wholesale dry-goods businesses; in 1850, Stewart's business expanded to become the city's largest dry-goods store. In 1862, Stewart relocated his retail business to the "Iron Palace," and he later opened auxiliary offices in other U.S. and European cities. Stewart was known for his philanthropic efforts, which included assistance for Irish citizens during the famine of the 1840s, donations to the U.S. Sanitary Commission during the Civil War, and compensation for victims of the Great Chicago Fire. In 1869, Stewart founded Garden City, Long Island, with the intention of supplying affordable homes to working-class families. He and his wife, Cornelia Mitchell Clinch, were married in 1823. Alexander T. Stewart died on April 10, 1876.
From the guide to the Alexander T. Stewart collection, Stewart, Alexander T. collection, 1855-1876, 1863-1876, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Frederick North, second earl Guilford, was born April 13, 1732, the eldest son of Francis North, first earl of Guilford, and Lady Lucy Montagu, who died in 1734. The father remarried in 1736, and Frederick became the stepbrother and lifelong friend of William Legge, second earl of Dartmouth. North studied at Eton and Trinity College, Oxford, and in 1754, became a Member of Parliament for Banbury. In 1756, he married Anne Speke, with whom he had seven children. The Duke of Newcastle appointed North to the office of Lord of the Treasury in 1759, which he held until 1765. In 1766, he became Joint Paymaster of the Forces in Pitt's ministry, and the next year, succeeded Charles Townshend as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. North became the unofficial leader of the House of Commons in January 1768, a position made official later that year. In February 1770, he became Prime Minister, retaining the office until his resignation in March 1782. He died on August 5, 1792.
From the guide to the Frederick North collection, North, Frederick collection, 1775-1783, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
The African American collection contains miscellaneous single items relating to the institution of slavery, abolition, and numerous aspects of African American life between 1729 and 1970.
From the guide to the African American History collection, African American history collection, 1729-1970, 1800-1865, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
James Craik was born in Scotland in 1730 and studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. After receiving his degree, he served in the British army as a surgeon, but resigned his position in 1751 to sail for Virginia; he eventually settled in Winchester. He served as a surgeon with the Virginia Provincial Regiment, where he befriended George Washington, with whom he served in the French and Indian War. In 1758, he moved to Port Tobacco, Maryland, where he married Marianne Ewell in 1760; they had nine children. Craik was dissatisfied with British rule, and joined the Continental Army, serving as assistant director general of the hospital department during the war. A founding member of the Society of the Cincinnati, Craik moved to Alexandria, Virginia, after the war. He remained close to Washington for the remainder of his life as his friend and personal physician, and was present at the time of his death in 1799. He died on February 6, 1814.
From the guide to the James Craik collection, Craik, James collection, 1789-1792, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
The Episcopal Bishops collection contains a miscellany of items related to 155 bishops of the Episcopal Church between the late 18th and early 20th centuries.
From the guide to the Episcopal Bishops collection, 1778-1911, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
After colonizing Hispaniola, Spain decided in the late seventeenth century to transfer the western third of the island to the French, who called it Saint Domingue. During an 18th-century economic boom, the colony became France's most prosperous Caribbean possession. In 1791, tensions led to a large slave rebellion, the first of several conflicts that eventually led to Haitian independence. Discord continued after the abolition of slavery in 1794, and by the late 1790s Toussaint L'Ouverture, with his formidable army, had control of areas throughout the colony. L'Ouverture and his troops held off Napoleon's subsequent attempts to restore French control over the island, and on January 1, 1804, the country, now re-named Haiti, became independent. Haiti's 19th century was marked by political turbulence, including the Haitian occupation of Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic) from 1822-1844 and a quick succession of political leaders, who were often overthrown or assassinated.
From the guide to the Haiti collection, 1761-1826, 1895, 1954, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was founded in 1741 by Moravians, who settled on the banks of the Lehigh River in present-day Northampton County, Pennsylvania. After rapid growth, the town quickly became a focal point of local commerce, though the strong religious influence of Bethlehem's Moravian founders persisted throughout its history. During the American Revolution, several key figures in the Continental Army passed through the town, including George Washington. Today, Bethlehem is the site of Lehigh University and Moravian College.
From the guide to the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania collection, 1741-1784, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Booker T. Washington was born a slave on a plantation in Franklin County, Virginia, around 1856. Following the Civil War, he moved to Malden, West Virginia, with his family. He worked in nearby mines and as a household servant while teaching himself to read and attending elementary school. Washington left West Virginia for the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Hampton, Virginia, in 1872. He graduated in 1875, and then returned to Malden to teach, before returning to Hampton to work as the director of its night school. In 1881, Washington became the first principal of the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, which he ran for the remainder of his life. Washington was an outspoken advocate of education for African Americans and a controversial political figure in both African American and white communities. He died on November 14, 1915.
From the guide to the Booker T. Washington collection, Washington, Booker T. collection, 1897-1915, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
The United States Congress established the Northwest Territory on July 13, 1787; the region included present-day Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, as well as northeastern Minnesota. A territorial government was created in 1788, with Arthur St. Clair as governor from that year until 1802, when Charles Willing Byrd replaced him. In 1803, Ohio became a state and the Northwest Territory ceased to exist.
From the guide to the Northwest Territory collection, 1755-1822, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Henry Alexander Scammell Dearborn (1783-1851) was born to Dorcas Osgood and Henry Dearborn, the famous Revolutionary War figure and Secretary of War under Jefferson. He graduated from William & Mary in 1803 and practiced law in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1806, he was appointed superintendant of new fort construction in Portland, Maine. During the War of 1812, Dearborn served as brigadier general of the local militia, and served as collector of customs in Boston until his removal in 1829, during the Jackson administration. He held several offices in local government, such as state representative from Roxbury, member of the Governor's Council, and delegate to the state constitutional convention, and served one term in the U. S. House of Representatives (1831-1832). Dearborn was appointed adjutant general of Massachusetts from 1834 to 1843, and was elected mayor of Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 1847, a position he held until his death in 1851. In addition to his political pursuits, Dearborn was president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and was the author of several books. He died in Portland, Maine, in 1851.
From the guide to the Henry A. S. Dearborn collection, Dearborn, Henry A. S. collection, 1801-1850, 1814-1850, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
In the mid-19th century, American settlers increasingly moved west in search of plentiful land and economic opportunities. The popularity of the Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush in particular brought thousands of easterners to the west coast.
From the guide to the Western America collection, 1831-1889, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
John Paul was born near Kirkcudbright, Scotland, on July 6, 1747, the son of John Paul and Jean MacDuff. At the age of 13, he became an apprentice to a shipping merchant in Whitehaven, England, and traveled to the Caribbean and North America on trading voyages. In 1768, he was awarded command of the John after assuming command following the death of its captain and first mate. Legal troubles led him to move to Virginia in 1773, where he took the surname "Jones." In 1775, he received a commission as first lieutenant in the United States Navy, and he rose to the rank of captain in 1776. As commander of the Providence, Jones sailed to Bermuda and Nova Scotia, where he took several prizes, and in 1777 he assumed command of the Ranger . The Ranger sailed to France and successfully raided towns along the British coast. In 1778, Jones and his men sailed to St. Mary's Isle, Scotland, where they captured the Earl of Selkirk's tableware. Jones later apologized for the actions of his crew, who had originally intended to kidnap the absent earl, and attempted to recover the material. He later commanded the Bonhomme Richard off the northern British coast. He returned to Europe after the war and later served in the Russian Navy. John Paul Jones died in Paris, France, on July 18, 1792.
From the guide to the John Paul Jones collection, Jones, John Paul collection, [ca. 1864?]-1944, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
This collection contains letters and documents concerning the British military and its worldwide operations in the late 18th century and early 19th century.
From the guide to the Great Britain. Army collection, Great Britain Army collection, 1699-1850, 1800-1819, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Claude François Ferdinand de Brossard, a native of France, married Elisabeth Rosalie Pestel on January 10, 1826. Their daughter, Jeanne Josephine Elisabeth de Brossard ("Jennie" or "Jenny"), was born in France in June 1828. She attended Miss Draper’s Young Ladies Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut, and later married Caleb Ellis Draper (1806-1855). Their daughter, Jeanne de Brossard Draper ("Jenny") (b. January 5, 1852), married Seth Enos Smith (1848-1936), the son of Seth and Hannah Smith of Detroit, Michigan. Seth E. Smith received an M.A. from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and worked as college instructor in Racine, Wisconsin, and as a lumber dealer in Detroit, Michigan, before retiring in Grosse Isle, Michigan. He and Jenny de Brossard Draper had one surviving daughter, Florence Frisbie Smith, who was born in Detroit, Michigan, on November 9, 1882. Florence Smith became a pianist, vocalist, and actress. She married Oscar Worthington Stull (known professionally as Worthington L. Romaine) on November 8, 1906, and afterward used the name "Florence Romaine." She died on February 14, 1964.
From the guide to the Florence Romaine collection, 1822-1985, 1843-1907, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
The Hudson's Bay Company was founded on May 2, 1670, when the company, under Prince Rupert, obtained a royal charter from King Charles II, which established the company as a legal entity, granting them exclusive trading rights and authority over the drainage area of the Hudson Bay basin. This joint-stock company had a centralized bureaucracy that elected a governor to manage the corporation. The chief factor and his officials produced reports and accounts that were sent back to London for review. The focus of the company was trading fur, which, at that time, was abundant in the region. They exchanged manufactured goods with the native population in exchange for furs, which they then sent to England and Europe. After the Treaty of Paris (1763), in which the British gained control of Canada from the French, the Company expanded from posts along the coasts of the Hudson and James Bays into deeper land-based outposts. By 1774, they had established Cumberland House on the Saskatchewan River, and over the next 40 years continued to expand in order to compete with an increasing number of fur trading competitors such as the North West Company, American Fur Company, and the Revillon Frères. During the 19th century, the Hudson's Bay Company continued trading fur, but expanded into other retail markets such as food and liquor, and today it supplies major retail channels throughout Canada.
From the guide to the Hudson’s Bay Company papers, 1775-1914, 1775-ca. 1790, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
The War of 1812 was a military conflict between the United States and Great Britain that lasted from 1812 to 1815. Fighting occurred primarily along the border between the United States and Canada, along the Eastern Seaboard, and throughout the South. The British and American navies fought on the Great Lakes and on the Atlantic Ocean. The Treaty of Ghent ended the war in December 1814, and the British victory at Fort Bowyer on February 12, 1815, marked the end of the fighting.
From the guide to the War of 1812 collection, 1806-1860, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Prior to European contact, present-day Michigan was inhabited by several major Native American groups, including the Ojibwe, Menominee, Potawatomi, Sauk, Fox, Wyandot, Kickapoo, and Miami. Approximately 15,000 native people lived in the upper and lower peninsulas in 1621, when Étienne Brûlé became the first European to explore Michigan. The area received its first permanent European settlement in 1668, when Father Jacques Marquette founded a mission at Sault Ste. Marie. In the 18th century, both peninsulas served as important hunting, trapping, and trading grounds, and the British and French disputed their ownership. Present-day Michigan became part of the Northwest Territory in 1787, although the British continued to occupy Fort Detroit until 1796. In 1805, the Territory of Michigan was created, with Detroit as its capital; the territory became the 26th state to join the union on January 26, 1837.
From the guide to the Michigan collection, 1759-1947, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Benson John Lossing was born in Beekman, New York, on February 12, 1813, the son of John Lossing and Miriam Dorland. He received little formal education and worked on a farm after being orphaned at the age of 11. A few years later, he was apprenticed to Adam Henderson, a watchmaker and silversmith from Poughkeepsie, New York, and in 1833 he became Henderson's business partner. Lossing left the watchmaking business in 1835, and subsequently edited and published the Poughkeepsie Telegraph, Poughkeepsie Casket, and Family Magazine . He became a prolific author, and wrote extensively on American history and biography. He married Alice Barritt in 1833 and, following her death (1855), married Helen Sweet in 1856; he and Helen had four children. Benson J. Lossing died in Dover Plains, New York, on June 3, 1891.
From the guide to the Benson J. Lossing collection, Lossing, Benson J. collection, 1850-1904, 1850-1891, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
The Mexican War (or Mexican-American War) was a conflict between the United States and Mexico, fought between April 25, 1846, and February 2, 1848. In 1848, the two countries signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending hostilities and granting a large amount of land, including present-day California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and parts of Texas and other states, to the United States.
From the guide to the Mexican War collection, 1845-1894, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
The Society of Friends (Quakers) formed the bulk of the founding European populations in Pennsylvania and West Jersey during the 1680s. Over the next two centuries, the Quakers had profound influence on the shape of provincial and national affairs in America, and contributed to various reform causes, such as the antislavery, women's rights, Indian rights, prison and asylum improvement, temperance, and pacifist movements.
From the guide to the Quaker collection, 1700-1888, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
This collection documents various aspects and Native American relations with European settlers in North America between 1689 and 1921.
From the guide to the Native American History collection, 1689-1921, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
By the summer of 1786, many Massachusetts residents had grown discontent with the state's economic policies, which were constructed to alleviate the post-Revolutionary War depression. Farmers and other citizens, who traded in goods rather than currency, were disproportionately affected by increased taxes and the requirement that debt payments be made with paper currency. Other complaints included high legal fees and inflated salaries for public officials. By late August 1786, conflicts had broken out between angry citizens and local government institutions. The Massachusetts government requested permission from the Secretary of War to arm the state militia before the end of the year. In early 1787, Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays led an attempt to overtake a federal arsenal at Springfield, Massachusetts, where his "Regulators" met federal regiments under the command of Major General Benjamin Lincoln. Though resentment, pardons, punishments, and legislative responses continued into the following months, the rebellion effectively ended in February 1787.
From the guide to the Shays' Rebellion collection, 1784-1787, 1787, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
William Clements was a Bay City businessman who served as regent from 1910 to 1933. An Early interest in collecting books crystallized around gathering rare books related to American history that were printed before 1800. In 1921, he gave his collection of books, manuscripts and maps to the university and provided a building to house them, which was opened in 1923. Mr. Clements continued to serve on the Committee of Management of the Clements Library until his death in 1934. He worked closely with Randolph G. Adams, who served as director, in broadening the scope of the collection to cover American history from 1493 to the 1850s. The collection is particularly rich in U.S. revolutionary sources from British as well as American participants.
Directors of the Clements Library have been: Randolph G. Adams, 1923-1951; Colton Storm, acting director, 1951-1953; Howard H. Peckham, 1953-1978; and John C. Dann, 1978-current.
From the guide to the William L. Clements Library records, 1923-1964, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)
David Porter (1780-1843) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to the Revolutionary navy captain David Porter and Rebecca Henry. He entered the navy in 1798 and served on board the Constellation during the Quasi War with France. He participated in the 1st Barbary War as a 1st lieutenant on the Philadelphia . He and the rest of the crew were captured and held prisoner at Tripoli from October 1803 until June 1805. After release he remained in the Mediterranean as captain of the Enterprise . Porter took command of the New Orleans naval station in 1808, and during the War of 1812, he sailed around Cape Horn, entered the Pacific, and captured several British prize ships. However, on March 28, 1814, Porter's ship was captured by Captain James Hillary off the coast of Valparaiso, Chile. After the war, he served on the Board of Navy Commissioners until given command of the West India squadron in 1823. He was court martialed in 1825 for invading Fajardo (Foxardo), Puerto Rico, and resigned from the United States Navy the following year. From 1826 to 1829 he served as a capitán de navio of the Mexican Navy, after which, Porter returned to the United States. In 1830, the Jackson administration appointed him consul general to Algiers, and a year later appointed him minister to Turkey. He died in Constantinople in 1843.
David Porter married Evelina Anderson in 1808. They had ten children, including David Dixon Porter.
David Dixon Porter (1813-1891) was born in Chester, Pennsylvania. He began his naval career sailing under his father on the frigate John Adams in the West Indies. He followed his father into the service of the Mexican Navy from 1826 to 1829 as a midshipman for the Libertad and the Guerrero . In 1829, he returned to the United States and joined the US Ship United States as a midshipman. From 1834 to 1842, he worked for the Coast Survey, eventually climbing to the rank of lieutenant. During the Mexican War, he served in the Gulf and the South Atlantic and helped blockade Veracruz onboard the gunboat Spitfire . After the war, Porter left the navy to captain private vessels, such as the Panama, the Crescent City, and the Golden Age . He returned to naval service in 1855, as commander of the Supply, which transported camels from Turkey to Texas for the United States Army. During the Civil War, Porter participated in the taking of New Orleans (1862), the fall of Vicksburg (1863), the Red River expedition (1864), and the capture of Fort Fisher (1865). In 1866, he was promoted vice admiral and given superintendency of the Naval Academy at Annapolis. Ulysses S. Grant appointed him special advisor to the Navy Department, and there Porter instituted a number of administrative reforms. He succeeded Farragut as admiral in 1870, and served on the Board of Inspection until his death in 1891.
David D. Porter married Georgy Patterson in 1839. They had two daughters and four sons, including Captain Theodoric Porter.
From the guide to the David Porter and David Dixon Porter papers, Porter, David and David Dixon Porter papers, 1803-1889, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Revolutionary War officer and New York City politician, Nicholas Fish (1758-1833), was born into a wealthy New York City family. He studied law at age 17 before becoming a soldier in the Revolution. As a law clerk, Fish formed a lifelong friendship with Alexander Hamilton, and was later executor of his will. In 1776, Fish enlisted as a second lieutenant in Colonel John Lasher's First Battalion of New York Independents, beginning his military career that would last the war. In August 1776, he became General John Morin Scott's brigade major, and saw action at Long Island. In 1778 Fish was appointed division inspector under Steuben and commanded an infantry unit at the battle of Monmouth. He joined John Sullivan's expedition against the Indians in 1779, fought with Lafayette from 1780 to 1781, and served as Colonel Hamilton's second in command at Yorktown.
After the war, Fish was appointed supervisor of the revenue for New York (1793). He became deeply involved in New York City and state politics, first as an alderman (1806-1817), then as an unsuccessful Federalist candidate for lieutenant governor in 1810. He also served as president of the New York chapter of the Society of the Cincinnati, as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Columbia College, and in many other charitable societies. Fish married Elizabeth Stuyvesant in 1803. He died in New York City in 1833.
From the guide to the Nicholas Fish papers, Fish, Nicholas papers, 1775-1844, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
For Bankoku ichiyō [Costumes of the World, Pictures of People of 43 Countries]: Encounters with Western cultures and technologies brought great changes to Japan. European maps were first introduced to Japan in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. During a time when Christianity and all foreigners except the Dutch and Chinese were excluded from Japan, maps were not restricted because of their usefulness. In the Dutch style, illustrations of foreign couples in native costume often accompanied world maps. The earliest printed world map in Japan was the Shōhō Map and Peoples of the World, in 1645. Because of great interest in Japan, numerous copies of such world maps were made, with the illustrated figures repeated from one screen to another with small variations.
For Hyokyaku danki [The Strange Story of a Castaway]: In 1841, five Japanese fishermen were shipwrecked on an uninhabited island in the Pacific. Rescued by an American whaling ship captained by William Whitfield, they were taken to Hawaii, since Japan was closed to American ships. The youngest, a fourteen-year-old boy named Manjiro, accompanied Captain Whitfield to his home in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, where he was raised and educated by the Whitfields. Manjiro, called John Mung by Americans, learned the art of navigation and became a skilled whaler. He also struck gold as a forty-niner in the California gold rush. Returning to his companions in Hawaii, Manjiro found that two, Denzo and Goeman, were eager to return to Japan if possible. The three finally succeeded in making their way back to Japan in 1851, where they were arrested and interrogated. The full account of their testimony, accompanied by watercolor illustrations, comprised four volumes entitled Hyoson Kiryaku, "A Brief Account of Drifting Toward the Southeast." Manjiro's knowledge of English and of Western culture was particularly valuable to the Tokugawa shogunate, since they were aware of the imminent threat of Western powers despite their policy of seclusion. His testimony and sketches formed the basis of officials' information about America just prior to Commodore Perry's arrival in 1853. Commodore Perry was the leader of the United States Naval Expedition to Japan (1852-1854), which opened Japanese ports to U.S. trade and was considered a major turning point in diplomatic history. After the first peace treaty between Japan and the United States, Manjiro served as a secretary to the Tokugawa government and achieved samurai status, gaining the last name Nakahama.
For Amerika kokusho jisan no ken no ofuredome [Instructions for Receiving the Accredited Mission from America]: The first American ambassador to Japan, Townsend Harris, arrived in 1855 after Commodore Perry opened trade between the countries. Harris was finally granted an audience with the shogun in December 1857, and negotiated the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, or "Harris Treaty," in 1858.
For Kōbei Nichiroku [Diary of a Voyage to America]: The Harris Treaty was ratified in 1860 with the visit of the first Japanese Embassy to the United States. Three principle officials, accompanied by secretaries, interpreters and attendants, comprised the 77 members of the embassy. The embassy traveled on the U.S. frigate Powhatan, which had been Perry’s flagship in 1854, and on which the Harris Treaty had been concluded. The Japanese sent an escort ship, the Kanrin Maru, with a Japanese crew that included Nakahama Manjiro as an interpreter. The embassy crossed the Pacific with a stop at Hawaii, docked in San Francisco, and traveled to Washington, D.C. by way of the Isthmus of Panama. The ambassadors were presented to President Buchanan, and exchanged treaty ratifications. The group went on to visit Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York before returning home by the Atlantic route.
From the guide to the Japanese manuscript collection, Japanese manuscript, 1832-1861, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
The late 19th and early 20th centuries are considered a "golden age" of rare book collecting in the United States, encouraged by dealers and by the increased importation of rare books from Europe. During the period, several significant book collections were sold at auction, including those of Robert Hoe, Harrisse, and Brayton Ives. Wealthy men such as J. P. Morgan, Henry C. Folger, and William L. Clements amassed large collections of rare books and other materials, kept private libraries, and frequently bequeathed their collections to universities or similar institutions upon their deaths.
William L. Clements's personal library of early Americana is the foundation of the modern William L. Clements Library, which continues to specialize in books, manuscripts, graphic materials, maps, and other materials related to American history.
From the guide to the Book Collectors collection, 1769-1950, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
William Pitt was born in Westminster, London, England, on November 15, 1708, the son of Robert Pitt (1680?-1727) and Harriet Villiers (d. 1736). His grandfather, Thomas Pitt (1653-1726) was a diamond merchant and a governor of Madras, India, for the East India Company. William Pitt attended Eton College from 1719-1726, and Trinity College, Oxford, in 1727. He briefly lived in Utrecht, Netherlands, and received a cornet's commission under Richard Temple, Viscount Cobham, in 1731. After a grand tour of the Continent in 1733-1734, Pitt entered Parliament as part of the opposition to Prime Minister Robert Walpole, and he befriended Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales. His parliamentary reputation and influence grew, and he became paymaster-general from 1746-1755. On November 16, 1754, Pitt married Lady Hester Grenville (1720-1803), the daughter of Richard Grenville (1678-1727) and Hester Temple, Countess Temple (ca. 1684-1752). Pitt and his wife had five children: Hester (b. 1755), John (1756-1835), Harriot (b. 1758), William (1759-1806), and James Charles (b. 1761). Pitt was secretary of state for much of the Seven Years' War, and he continued to serve in Parliament after resigning as secretary in 1760. From 1766-1768, Pitt served as prime minister. He remained involved in politics and international affairs until his death on May 11, 1778.
John Pitt was born in Kent, England, on October 9, 1756, the son of William Pitt and Hester Grenville Pitt. He was an ensign in the 47th Regiment of Foot (1774-1776), a lieutenant in the 39th Regiment of Foot (1778-1779), and a captain in the 86th Regiment of Foot (1779-1783). He became first lord of the Admiralty on July 16, 1778, and inherited the earldom of Chatham upon the death of his father. He served in the British Admiralty until 1794 and in various positions within the Privy Council from 1789-1801. Throughout his time on the cabinet, Pitt continued his military service. In 1799 he was promoted to colonel of the 4th Regiment of Foot, and he served on the Continent later that year. From 1801-1806 and 1807-1810, Pitt was master-general of the ordnance, and he also served as governor of Plymouth and governor of Jersey. He commanded military actions on the Continent during the Napoleonic Wars, was promoted to general in January 1812, and was governor of Gibraltar from 1820 until his death. John Pitt, 2nd earl of Chatham, died on September 24, 1835.
William Pitt (also known as William Pitt the Younger) was born in Kent, England, on May 28, 1759. He attended Pembroke College at Cambridge University from 1773-1779, and studied law at Lincoln's Inn. He joined Parliament as a representative for Appleby in 1781 and became a member of the opposition. His ties to Lord Shelburne led to his appointment as chancellor of the exchequer in 1782, and he declined the office of prime minister after the collapse of Shelburne's government in 1783. Later that year, he became first lord of the Treasury and prime minister. His first ministry lasted until his resignation in February 1801, prompted by disagreement with the king over Catholic emancipation. Pitt returned to political life after the declaration of war against France in 1803, and he served a second term as prime minister from 1804 until his death on January 23, 1806.
From the guide to the Pitt family papers, 1728-1830, 1757-1805, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
American Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene (1742-1786) was born in Potowomut, Rhode Island, to Quakers Nathanael Greene and Mary Mott. Greene married Catherine Littlefield in 1774, and they had five children. In 1775, Rhode Island appointed Greene to command their newly raised regiments. He served under Washington through the siege of Boston, and took his troops to New York in the spring of 1776. Promoted to major general in April 1776, he fought in the New York campaign and accompanied Washington in the attack on the Hessians at Trenton in December. He spent the following winter at Valley Forge, and participated in battles in New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the summer of 1777.
Greene distinguished himself for his ability to gather and regulate supplies. He served as quartermaster general from early 1778 until he resigned in 1780. During that time, he reorganized the department and made it more efficient and effective, though he constantly struggled with Congress for funds. While serving as quartermaster, Greene also participated in several battles, for example at Monmouth, and aided General John Sullivan in the 1778 Rhode Island campaign. In August 1780, Greene replaced Horatio Gates as commander of the Southern Department. On his way south he accomplished the prodigious task of equipping and supplying his almost destitute army. Facing Lord Cornwallis's superior forces, Greene out-maneuvered the British and left them with costly victories at Guilford Court House, Hobkirk's Hill, Ninety-Six, and Eutaw Springs. Cornwallis, drawn northward from his base at Charleston, pushed into Virginia and was forced to surrender at Yorktown. Meanwhile, Greene, with the aid of General Anthony Wayne, concentrated on expelling the British from Savannah and Charleston in 1782.
After the war, South Carolina and Georgia gave Greene tracts of land as a reward for his service. Greene, however, had amassed considerable debts during the war, and struggled to pay them back. He moved his family to a plantation called Mulberry Grove, near Savannah, Georgia, but he struggled to make it profitable. Greene died suddenly of either heat stroke or an infection on June 19, 1786.
Catherine (Caty) Littlefield Greene (1755-1814) was born on Block Island, Rhode Island. She and Nathanael married in 1774 and over the course of the war they had five children. When possible, Caty joined Nathanael at his headquarters; however they spent much of the war separated. After Nathaniel's death, she hired Phineas Miller as the plantation manager of Mulberry Grove, and under his management the plantation prospered for a time. She and Miller married in 1796, and in 1798 they moved to a plantation called Dungeness on Cumberland Island, which Caty managed until her death in 1814.
From the guide to the Nathanael Greene papers, Greene, Nathanael, papers, 1762-1852, 1780-1785, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Founded in 1785 by the arch-republicans, Benjamin Rush and John Dickinson, Dickinson College rapidly grew into a leading educational center in the state of Pennsylvania, its name assured from the start by the reputation of its founders and by the choice of the scholarly Charles Nisbet as the school's first president. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, the Scotsman Nisbet went on to study theology at Divinity Hall, and in 1760 was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Edinburgh. A strict Calvinist, Nisbet 's influence in the Church of Scotland grew increasingly as his intellectual reputation grew, and by the end of the American Revolution, he was well known on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1783, Nisbet was recognized with an honorary doctorate of divinity from the College of New Jersey, a Presbyterian stronghold headed by his colleague and fellow Edinburgh alumnus, John Witherspoon.
Like Witherspoon, Nisbet was strongly sympathetic with the cause of American independence, and their political and intellectual compatibility led Witherspoon to suggest Nisbet as a candidate to fill the presidency of the new college that Rush and Dickinson had established at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Arriving in Philadelphia in 1785, Nisbet assumed his duties and remained at Dickinson until his death by pneumonia on January 18, 1804.
In addition to serving as president, Nisbet also lectured on logic, mental and moral philosophy, belles-lettres, systematic theology, and pastoral theology. A master of nine languages, ancient and modern, excelling in oratory, and possessed of personal warmth and magnetism, his goal in teaching was to give his students the capacity for independent thought.
From the guide to the Charles Nisbet lectures, Nisbet, Charles, 1789-1793, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Green Clay (1757-1828) was a militia general, a wealthy Kentucky landowner, and the father of abolitionist Cassius Clay. Born in Powhatan County, Virginia, Clay trained as a surveyor and explored Kentucky as a member of a surveying team from 1777 to 1780, at which time he became deputy surveyor of Lincoln County, Kentucky, for the state of Virginia. His first military experience was as a militia lieutenant for George Rogers Clark's 1782 expedition against the Shawnee Indians in Ohio. He became justice of the peace and a commander of the militia in Madison County, Kentucky, in 1785.
Clay represented Madison County in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1788-1789 and, as a participant in the state's constitutional ratifying committee, voted against approving the document. After Kentucky became a state, Clay represented Madison County in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1793-94, and in the State Senate from 1795-1798 and 1802-1808. He was Kentucky speaker of the Senate from 1807-1808 and left state politics after losing the governor's race in 1808.
During the War of 1812, Clay was commissioned major general in charge of a contingent of Kentucky militia in support of Commander William Henry Harrison's forces in Ohio. On May 5, 1813, Clay and his militia came to the aid of Harrison’s beleaguered troops at Fort Meigs, which was under siege by British and Native American forces. The enemy retreated on May 9th, and Clay took command of Fort Meigs until the end of his enlistment.
Clay was one of the richest men in Kentucky; he owned vast tracts of land in the state and had investments in farming, a Tennessee resort in Estill Springs, warehouses, 2 distilleries, and several taverns where he sold bourbon whiskey. In 1795, Clay married Sarah (Sallie) Ann Lewis; they had six children, including the anti-slavery politician, Kentucky congressman, and Russian diplomat, Cassius Marcellus Clay (1810-1903).
From the guide to the Green Clay collection, Clay, Green collection, 1753-1818, 1813, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Charles Sumner was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 6, 1811, the son of Charles Pinckney Sumner and Relief Jacob. He earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard in 1830 and a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1833; he practiced law in Boston between 1835 and 1837. After spending over two years in Europe, Sumner returned to the United States, and became involved in reform movements. He gained fame for his antislavery orations and involvement in the Free Soil Party. In 1851, he was elected to the United States Senate from Massachusetts. He served in Congress for the rest of his life as a member of the Free Soil Party (1851-1857) and Republican Party (1857-1874).
Sumner rose to national prominence for his outspoken opposition to slavery. On May 22, 1856, in response to Sumner’s speech opposing the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina attacked him with a cane, seriously injuring him; Sumner did not return to the Senate until 1859. After the war, Sumner continued his reform work, and worked to secure equal rights for African Americans.
Sumner and Alice Mason Hooper married in 1866 but separated soon thereafter; they had no children. Charles Sumner died in Washington, D.C., on March 11, 1874.
Elliot C. Cowdin was born in Jamaica, Vermont, in August 1819, and received his education in Boston, where he lived until moving to New York City in 1852. In New York, he founded the importing firm of Elliot C. Cowdin & Co., and became involved in the Union League Club and the New York City Chamber of Commerce. On December 14, 1874, Cowdin spoke at a memorial service held in Charles Sumner's honor at the New England Society in New York.
From the guide to the Charles Sumner collection, Sumner, Charles collection, 1840-1874, 1852-1874, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Lewis Cass (1782-1866) was a lawyer, officer in the War of 1812, governor of Michigan, United States senator, secretary of war, secretary of state, and Democratic presidential candidate. Born in Exeter, New Hampshire, to Jonathan Cass and Mary Gillman, he was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy. He taught for a brief period in Wilmington, Delaware, before relocating to Zanesville, Ohio. There he studied law with Governor Meigs and opened a private practice in 1802. He was made prosecuting attorney of Muskingum County in 1804 and in 1806 was elected to the Ohio legislature. That same year he married Elizabeth Spencer (1786-1853); they had 4 daughters and 1 son.
Cass was active in the Democratic Party; his strong support for Thomas Jefferson led to his appointment as United States marshal for the district of Ohio. At the outbreak of the War of 1812, he enlisted as a colonel in the 3rd Ohio Infantry under General William Hull. He was present when Hull surrendered Detroit, and later wrote a report critical of Hull's performance and testified at the court martial proceedings. On March 20, 1813, he was promoted to brigadier general, and contributed substantially to the American victory in the Battle of the Thames the following year.
After his military victories in 1813, Cass was appointed military and civil governor of Michigan Territory, a position he held from 1813-1831. As governor, Cass was instrumental in formulating a government policy toward Native Americans in the west, and was a central figure in promoting removal as a general policy. He treated with Native American tribes at Fort Meigs on September 29, 1817, gaining parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan for the US government, and signed a treaty with numerous tribes at Prairie du Chien in 1825. Andrew Jackson appointed Cass as secretary of war in 1831 and United States envoy to France in 1836, but his outspoken anglophobia led to a disagreement with Secretary of State Daniel Webster and prompted his resignation in 1842. Cass was elected senator from Michigan in 1845 and was reelected in 1851. He won the Democratic Party nomination for president in 1848, but lost to the Whig candidate Zachery Taylor. As a senator, Cass approved of the Compromise of 1850 and opposed the Wilmot Proviso, believing that states should decide the slavery question for themselves. Cass joined the Buchanan cabinet as secretary of state in 1857, but, with the growing threat of South Carolina's secession, Cass became convinced that only military force could save the Union. He resigned from the cabinet in December 1860, when Buchanan refused to fortify the federal garrisons at Charleston. He left Washington for Detroit in February 1861 and spent his final years engaged in scholarly pursuits and speaking in favor of the Union. He died in 1866. See additional descriptive data for a timeline of Cass' career.
From the guide to the Lewis Cass papers, Cass, Lewis, papers, 1774-1924, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
During the election of 1864, 19 Union states, including Pennsylvania, allowed soldiers in the field to cast their votes by absentee ballot. In Pennsylvania, absentee elections were conducted on October 11, 1864, and election officials recorded the votes of various companies of soldiers in pollbooks. This collection contains the pollbooks for residents of Westmoreland County within Company C, 11th Pennsylvania Infantry; one inhabitant of Wyoming County within a detachment near Camp Biddle in Pennsylvania; and residents of Philadelphia and Delaware Counties within Company E, 198th Pennsylvania Infantry.
The 11th Pennsylvania Infantry was organized at Harrisburg and in Westmoreland County in August 1861. The regiment fought in many important battles, including Cedar Mountain, Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, and Appomattox Court House.
The 198th Pennsylvania Infantry was organized at Philadelphia on September 9, 1864. The regiment participated in the Siege of Petersburg, and saw action in the battles of Poplar Springs Church, Boydton Plank Road, Hatchers's Run, Dabney's Mill, White Oak Road, Five Forks, and Appomattox Court House.
From the guide to the Pennsylvania Civil War pollbook collection, 1864, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Benjamin Franklin was born on January 6, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts, the youngest of fifteen children of soap maker and tallow chandler, Josiah Franklin, and his second wife, Abiah Folger. A self-educated man, Franklin signed a nine-year indenture to work in his brother James’s printing shop in 1718. Franklin was a prolific writer, and he published his first series of essays in 1721. He started his first publishing house in Philadelphia in 1728. Franklin married Deborah Read in 1730, and they raised his illegitimate son William, as well as their two children: Francis, who died of smallpox at four, and Sarah.
In 1732, Franklin began printing his Poor Richard almanacs, which became the backbone of his publication business until 1757. His extensive political writings led him to civil service, and he began working as a clerk for the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly in 1736. He retired from publishing in 1748, and became an assembly member in 1751.
The Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly first sent Franklin to England in 1757 to lobby against proprietary government in Pennsylvania; in his absence, Joseph Galloway became the leader of the anti-proprietary party. The anti-proprietary party was opposed to the hereditary rule of the Penn family and their power to appoint members to the local government. This system allowed proprietors in England to control facets of American government and profit off their lands in America without paying taxes equal to other Pennsylvania property. After successfully arguing for the taxation of proprietary land, Franklin returned to America, at which time the Assembly elected him Speaker in 1764. However, some Pennsylvanians continued to feel restless about proprietary power in their province, and Franklin returned to England (1764-1775) to petition for a royal government, oppose the Stamp Act, and report on British policies of interest to Pennsylvania. Royal government in Pennsylvania would turn the land into a royal province, and undercut the proprietors’ economic and political power, as the crown would have control of lands and political appointments.
Benjamin Franklin’s letters to Galloway constitute a running commentary on the events and political climate leading up to the Revolution. On this second visit to England, Franklin vocally opposed the Stamp Act, the Salt Duty, and argued for the adoption of paper currency in America. He met with the most influential statesmen in England, and even his staunch opponent Lord Grenville was willing to hear his ideas. During Franklin’s absence, the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly elected Galloway as Speaker (1766-1775).
Throughout his tenure as Speaker, Galloway argued that the colonies and Britain could arrive at an amicable agreement that would provide America the representation it wanted under British rule. His friendship with Franklin ended in 1775 when Galloway resigned his post as Speaker because of his Loyalist sympathies. In 1776, he joined the British Army and worked as superintendent general in William Howe’s occupied Philadelphia (1777-1778), before moving to England permanently and becoming a spokesman for Loyalists in Britain. After relocating to Britain, Galloway published multiple accounts of the Revolution and its origins before his death in 1803.
Benjamin Franklin attended the Second Continental Congress, drafted articles of confederation, and served on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. From 1776 to 1785, Franklin served as envoy and later minister plenipotentiary to France. He drafted preliminary terms of peace between Britain and America, which both sides revised and signed in 1782. On his return to America, he was elected the president of the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania (1785-1788). He argued for extending the right to vote regardless of land ownership status, and was an early supporter of the antislavery movement. He died in 1790 at his house in Philadelphia.
From the guide to the Benjamin Franklin collection, Franklin, Benjamin collection, 1766-1788, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Etienne Dutilh was born in Clairac, France, in November 1756. In 1783, he sailed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he established his first of multiple businesses. One of his partners was John Godfried Wachsmuth, with whom he founded Dutlih & Wachsmuth at the end of the 18th century. The company primarily traded coffee, sugar, cocoa, and logwood, with merchants in the West Indies and northern Europe. Dutilh and his wife Catherine had three children: Edmund J. Dutilh (b. 1798), Edward Dutilh (1799-1833), and a daughter who died young. Etienne Dutilh died on February 26, 1810.
George Louis Stockar, a Swiss citizen, moved to La Rochelle, France, in the late 18th century. He established a commercial house there in 1781 and later relocated to Philadelphia.
From the guide to the Dutilh & Wachsmuth collection, 1769-1833, 1781-1810, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Joseph Story (1779-1845) was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, to Dr. Elisha Story (1743-1805) and his second wife Mehitable Pedrick (1758-1847). Story graduated from Harvard in 1798, and studied law under Samuel Putnam and Chief Justice Samuel Sewall. Admitted to the bar in 1801, he began practicing law in Salem, Massachusetts. Story allied himself with the Jeffersonian Republicans, and from 1805-1808 he served in the Massachusetts state legislature. Upon Jacob Crowninshield's death, Story completed his office in the United States House of Representatives from 1808-1809. He served briefly as the speaker of the house in Massachusetts in 1811, but in November of that year, President James Madison appointed Story justice of the United States Supreme Court. He remained in this position until his death.
As justice, Story advocated expanding the power of the judiciary branch. He was a close political ally to Justice John Marshall, and exerted great influence over the court. His decisions in admiralty cases during the War of 1812 became landmarks in international law, and he was involved in several other significant decisions, such as Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819) and Swift v. Tyson (1839).
Story was elected as an overseer of Harvard University in 1818, and in 1829 the Harvard Law School appointed him Dane Professor of Law. Story, a prolific writer, made major scholarly contributions to the legal profession with his works Commentaries on Conflicts of Laws (1834) and Commentaries on Equity Jurisprudence (1836), among others. As a professor, Story mentored a generation of prominent lawyers and politicians, including Rutherford B. Hayes and Charles Sumner.
Story married Mary Lynde Oliver (1781-1805) in 1804, and shortly after his first wife's death, married Sarah Waldo Wetmore (1784-1833) in 1805. With Sarah, Story had seven children, though only two of them, Mary and William Wetmore, lived to adulthood. Story died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1845.
From the guide to the Joseph Story papers, Story, Joseph papers, 1794-1851, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
The "citizen of the world," Thomas Paine rose from a lower class Quaker home in England to become one of the most influential radical minds of the late 18th century. After working as a corset maker -- his father's trade -- and as a tax collector, Paine immigrated to Philadelphia in 1774, and quickly immersed himself in revolutionary agitation. A naturally persuasive writer, his pamphlet, Common Sense (Philadelphia, 1776), became a siren call for American independence. In eminently clear, straightforward language, it outlined an argument for the superiority of republican government over a monarchy and demanded legal and political equality for all citizens. Furthermore, Paine asserted that his argument extended beyond the narrow conditions of colonial America, envisioning an international struggle for civil and human rights. Common Sense sold as many as 150,000 copies in 1776, and within a year, had been translated into French.
Although clearly articulating a revolutionary position, Paine was not enamored of the violence spawned by the Revolution. "I joined in the defense of America," he wrote after the war, "on the ground that a Country invaded is in the condition of a house broke into, and on no other principles than this, can a reflective mind, at least such as mine, justify war to itself" (1787 September 21). Yet Paine never wavered from the radical cause, writing consistently in support of independence and, later, taking part in the movement that produced the highly democratic constitution of the state of Pennsylvania.
Returning to England in 1787, Paine enlisted his pen in the French Revolution, earning even greater renown with his essay, The Rights of Man . A more mature work than Common Sense, and even more popular, the Rights of Man was an effective counterweight to Edmund Burke's counter-revolutionary attacks, linking demands for political reform with a social program to ameliorate the conditions of the lower classes. In the political climate of the day, it ensured Paine's status as anathema in Britain, and after being charged with seditious libel for calling for an end to the monarchy, he took flight to France.
There, in the maelstrom of revolutionary France, Paine won election to the National Assembly, one of the few foreigners so honored, but he no longer found himself seated on the most radical pole of the political spectrum. Instead, after criticizing the Jacobin decision to execute the king, Paine found himself seated in prison. Released in 1794, he published both the Age of Reason, which defended Deism while attacking Christianity, and Agrarian Justice, calling for land reform.
Paine's return to America in 1802 completed his change of fortune. As the Rights of Man had made him infamous in Britain, so the Age of Reason made him infamous in the United States. Once adored by the American masses, the "taint" of Paine's "irreligion" (Deism) marked him for derision during the first phases of the American evangelical settlement. He died in 1809, nearly bereft of support, leaving only his powerful legacy of republican revolutionary tracts.
From the guide to the Thomas Paine papers, Paine, Thomas papers, 1776-1811, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Richard Howe was born March 19, 1726, in London, England, the son of Emanuel Scrope Howe, second viscount Howe (1699-1735), and his German-born wife, Mary Sophia Charlotte von Kielmansegg (1703-1782). In 1739, Howe began his naval service on the 40-gun ship Pearl . He served on several ships during the War of the Austrian Succession and was confirmed as a lieutenant in 1744 and as a post-captain in 1746. He afterwards distinguished himself while performing numerous raids on the French coast during the Seven Years War. He became the fourth viscount Howe in 1758, after his eldest surviving brother, George Augustus Howe, was killed at a skirmish near Fort Ticonderoga. In 1763 and 1765, he was a member of the Admiralty Board, and he served as Treasurer of the Navy from 1765 to 1770.
Howe is best known for his role in the American Revolution. He was made vice admiral in December 1775 and then named commander-in-chief of the North American colonies in February 1776. He arrived in New York in July 1776 and took part in the failed peace conference at Staten Island, New York, which occurred in September of that year. He provided naval support during the New York campaign and was ordered to blockade the American coastline, but complained that he lacked enough ships to prevent French vessels from reaching the northern colonies. In 1777, he assisted in the British occupation of Philadelphia, particularly focusing on the capture of forts in the Delaware River. Deeply offended at the deployment of the Carlisle Peace Commission in 1778, Howe attempted to resign his station, but his resignation was refused until November of that year; in the meantime, he successfully defended Newport, Rhode Island, from Comte d'Estaing's large fleet. Postwar, he served as the first lord of the admiralty (1783-1788) and in 1790, he took command of the Channel Fleet during a dispute with Spain. He also commanded the Channel Fleet with great success during the French Revolution at the age of nearly 70. In 1797, he was made a Knight of the Garter. He died on August 5, 1799.
In 1758, Howe married Mary Hartopp, with whom he had three daughters: Sophia Charlotte (b. 1762; m. Penn Assheton Curzon, 1787), Mary Juliana (b. 1765; m. Edward Furse, 1800), and Louisa Catherine (b. 1767; m. John Denis Browne, 1787).
William Howe was the younger brother of Richard Howe, born in London on August 10, 1729. He joined the British army in 1746 and served in the War of the Austrian Succession and in the Seven Years War. In the latter war, he distinguished himself during the capture of Quebec and participated in the campaigns of Louisbourg, Belle Isle, and Havana. During the Revolutionary War, he served as second-in-command under Gen. Thomas Gage (May-October 1775) and then as commander-in-chief of British forces in North America (October 1775-April 1778). His service was marked by several missed opportunities (particularly at the Battle of Long Island) and painful defeats in Trenton and Saratoga. After receiving news of John Burgoyne's surrender at the latter engagement, Howe attempted to resign and return to England to defend himself. His resignation was eventually accepted the next year, and he sailed for home in May of 1778. After the war, he lost his seat in Parliament, but was appointed to the privy council (1782) and named lieutenant general of the ordnance (1782-1804). In 1793, he was promoted to full general and served in defense of Great Britain in the French Revolution. After the death of Richard in 1799, he became the 5th viscount Howe. Toward the end of his life, Howe served as governor of Berwick-upon-Tweed (1795-1808) and Plymouth (1808-1814), where he died on July 12, 1814.
In 1765, Howe married an Anglo-Irish woman, Frances Connelly (1742-1817). They did not have children.
From the guide to the Richard and William Howe collection, Howe, Richard and William collection, 1758-1812, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
George Washington (1732–1799), commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and first President of the United States, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, to Augustine Washington and Mary Ball. In 1753, Washington entered the Virginia militia as a major. After several skirmishes with the French in Ohio Country, the enemy captured him at Fort Necessity in July 1754. The French allowed him to return to Virginia, but the clash set in motion a greater conflict between France and England in North America. In 1755, Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie appointed Washington commander-in-chief of the Virginia Regiment. He participated in several battles in the French and Indian War, and left the service in 1778.
Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis on January 6, 1759. They had no children. In 1775, the Second Continental Congress appointed him commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, a post he held until the American army defeated the British in 1783. Washington forced the British out of Boston in 1776, but the British chased the Continental army out of New York later that year. In 1777, Washington suffered defeats at Brandywine and Germantown, and his troops suffered a harsh 1777-1778 winter at Valley Forge. In 1778, Washington drove the British from Philadelphia and fought them at Monmouth, New Jersey. In the autumn of 1781, the British surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the major military engagements of the war. Washington left military service in December 1783.
Washington enjoyed a brief retirement from public life, but in 1787 served as president for the Constitutional Convention. The newly formed Electoral College unanimously nominated him 1st President of the United States in 1789 and 1793. Finally, Washington retired from public life in 1797 and returned to Mount Vernon. He died there on December 14, 1799.
From the guide to the George Washington collection, Washington, George, 1758-1799, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Tobias Lear (1762-1816), private secretary to George Washington and consular officer, was the son of Mary Stilson and Tobias Lear, Sr., of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Lear graduated from Harvard in 1783, and in 1785 became the private secretary to George Washington during his retirement at Mount Vernon. Lear served as Washington's aid for seven years and remained his close associate until Washington's death in 1799. In 1801, Lear was appointed consul to Saint Domingue, where he witnessed the turbulent assent of Toussaint L'Ouverture's regime. In 1802, he left Hispaniola and, shortly after, was appointed consul general to Algiers. Lear succeeded in establishing peaceful relations with Morocco, Tunis, and Algeria, ending the 1st Barbary War (1801-1805), which, although favorable to the United States, required payment of ransom for Americans held prisoner. Lear remained in Algeria until the outbreak of the War of 1812. The political controversy surrounding the Tripolitan treaty, however, ended his diplomatic career. James Madison appointed Lear as an accountant in the War Department, and in 1814, Lear successfully negotiated an exchange of prisoners with the British in New York.
Lear married three times: first to Mary Long in 1790 (d. 1793), then to Frances Bassett Washington in 1795 (1767-1796), and finally to Frances Dandridge Henley in 1803. Lear committed suicide in 1816.
From the guide to the Tobias Lear papers, Lear, Tobias, papers, 1791-1817, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Henry Knox (1750-1806) was born in Boston to William Knox and Mary Campbell. He married Lucy Flucker (1756--1824) in 1774. They had 12 children, but only three lived to adulthood. Before his military career, Knox owned a bookstore in Boston. He joined the local militia, and at the outbreak of the American Revolution, befriended General George Washington and served as his civilian military advisor. In November 1775, Washington appointed Knox chief of artillery for the Continental Army. Knox participated in many key events in the Revolution. He headed the mission to bring the arsenal at Fort Ticonderoga to Cambridge, Massachusetts, which Washington used in the siege of Dorchester Heights. He accompanied Washington in the campaigns in New York and New Jersey (1776-1777); trained troops and officers in the use of artillery at Pluckemin, New Jersey (1778-1779); and was a member of John André's court martial in 1780. He was promoted major general in 1782, and established a headquarters at West Point.
The Continental Congress appointed Knox secretary of war on March 8, 1785, and he retained the post until 1794. Knox focused much of his attention on managing Indian affairs in the Ohio territory. He was in charge of supplying the frontier forces, and involved in the decision-making that lead to Brigadier General Josiah Harmar's defeat at Fort Washington in 1790, St. Clair's defeat (Battle of the Wabash) in 1791, and the ongoing negotiations with the Western Indian Confederacy (the Miami, Shawnee, and Delaware Indians) between 1792 and 1794. Knox left the War Department in 1794 and retired to a mansion called Montpelier, in Thomaston, Maine, which Lucy Knox had inherited. Henry speculated heavily in land and various local industries, such as lumber, shipbuilding, brick making, and quarrying. His investments all failed and debtors forced him to sell much of his land. Knox died in 1806 from an infection after swallowing a chicken bone.
Lucy Flucker Knox was born in Boston to Thomas Flucker, the royal secretary of Massachusetts Bay. Her family, who had strong Loyalist ties, disapproved of her marriage to Henry, and became estranged from her after the Revolution. During the war, Lucy split her time between staying with friends and living with Henry at various military camps. After Henry's death, Lucy was forced to sell much of her belongings to pay off outstanding debts. She remained in Montpelier until her death in 1824.
From the guide to the Henry and Lucy Knox collection, Knox, Henry and Lucy collection, 1777-1807, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
John Wilkes was born on October 17, 1725, in Clerkenwell, London, the second son of Israel Wilkes, a wealthy London brewer, and his wife, Sarah Heaton. The other Wilkes children were Israel (b. 1722), Sarah (b. ca. 1723), Mary (b. ca. 1724), and Heaton (b. 1727). John Wilkes was educated in Hereford and attended the University of Leiden from 1744-1746. The next year, he married Mary Mead (ca. 1715-1784), an heiress ten years his senior, whose dowry was the manor of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. The marriage produced one daughter, Mary (known as Polly; b. 1750), but ended in a separation in 1756. Thereafter, Wilkes gained a reputation as a rake, and fathered several illegitimate children. He also became increasingly involved in a notoriously bawdy gentlemen's club, the Knights of St. Francis of Wycombe, also known as the Hellfire Club.
In 1754, Wilkes stood unsuccessfully for Parliament, and was instead appointed high sheriff of Buckinghamshire. He was elected to Parliament for Aylesbury in 1757 and again in 1761, but rarely spoke and proved himself a poor debater. He instead relied on his writing talents to express his political ideas. He wrote a pamphlet and several essays for The Monitor, and then founded a satirical newspaper, The North Briton, in June 1762. In issue 45 of the serial, published on April 23, 1763, Wilkes lampooned King George III and Prime Minister George Grenville, after the kinpraised the 1763 Treaty of Paris in a session of Parliament. The King took personal offence to the attack, and on April 30, issued general warrants which led to Wilkes' arrest for seditious libel. Wilkes was freed on grounds of parliamentary privilege on May 6, but not before crowds of supporters had taken to the streets with shouts of "Wilkes and Liberty!" Several months later, Wilkes came under scrutiny for a raunchy poem he had written with Thomas Potter, entitled An Essay on Woman . He fled to France and was expelled from Parliament, found guilty of libel, and outlawed.
After five years in exile, publishing anti-government polemics and supported financially by friends, Wilkes returned to England. He entered the 1768 election, standing for London; he was defeated, but was returned for Middlesex. Government attempts to block Wilkes from taking his seat and imprisonment for blasphemy and libel made Wilkes a hero with London's lower classes. In America as well, "Wilkes and Liberty" became a rallying cry against unconstitutional Crown authority. Elected alderman in 1769, Wilkes became the center of a radical party in London which was pro-American and advocated parliamentary reform. His influence in the city continued, with his election as lord mayor in 1774 and as city chamberlain in 1779. Although he continued to sit in Parliament until 1790, his influence gradually declined. He died in 1797.
From the guide to the John Wilkes papers, Wilkes, John papers, 1741-1790, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Richard Peters was born in Liverpool, England, in 1704, the son of Ralph Peters and Esther Preeson. Before he was ordained in 1730, Peters studied law at the Inner Temple in London. He had married as a teenager and, erroneously believing his first wife to be dead, remarried in 1734. His first wife's reappearance led Peters to immigrate to North America around 1735. He settled in Philadelphia, where he was a preacher and a public servant, working as a provincial secretary, a councilman, and an Indian agent. He left his post at Philadelphia's Christ Church in 1775. Reverend Richard Peters July 10, 1776.
Richard Peters, nephew of Reverend Richard Peters, was born near Philadelphia on June 22, 1744. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1761, he practiced law in Philadelphia. He served as a Continental Army captain, secretary for the Board of War, speaker of the Pennsylvania Senate, and a district court judge; Peters was also a member of the First and Second Continental Congresses and the Pennsylvania General Assembly. He died on August 22, 1828.
From the guide to the Richard Peters collection, Peters, Richard collection, 1749-1825, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
American navy officer Abraham Whipple (1733-1819) was born in Providence, Rhode Island, to Noah Whipple, Jr., and Mary Dexter. He went to sea at an early age, working for West Indian traders, including Nicholas Brown and Company. From 1759 to 1760 he commanded the privateer Game Cock and grew wealthy from capturing many French ships in the Atlantic.
A committed revolutionary, Whipple lead a group of 50 Rhode Island patriots to attack and burn the British schooner Gaspée, which had run aground near Pawtucket in 1772. In 1775, Whipple took command of a small fleet commissioned by Rhode Island to protect the state's ports. When the Continental Congress established a navy, he was commissioned navy captain and his ship Katy was renamed Providence . Still in command of the frigate Providence in 1778, Whipple sailed to France to acquire arms and supplies for the American forces. The following year, he captured the British Jamaica fleet that was sailing off the coast of Newfoundland. The prize proved to be one of the richest of the Revolutionary War. He was taken prisoner in the siege of Charleston on May 12, 1780, and held at Chester, Pennsylvania, for the remainder of the war.
In 1761, Whipple married Sarah Hopkins, daughter of Captain John Hopkins and Catherine Templin. They had three children, John, Catherine, and Mary Jane (Polly]. Whipple and his family moved to the Ohio frontier in 1788, and helped found the town of Marietta. He established a farm in Marietta, but in 1813 retired to live with his daughter Catherine. He died in 1819.
From the guide to the Abraham Whipple papers, Whipple, Abraham, papers, 1763-1793, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
William Jenks, the noted American scholar and clergyman, was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to Samuel and Mary Haynes Jenks in 1778. He studied at the Boston Latin School and graduated from Harvard in 1797. Jenks held pastorates in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was ordained at the Congregational Church in Bath, Maine, in 1805. There he also served as an army chaplain for the Bath Light Infantry (1st Regiment, 1st Brigade, of the 11th Division) during the War of 1812 and was a professor of Oriental Language and English at Bowdoin College from 1812-1816. Jenks next returned to Boston where he taught privately and was active in a number of humanitarian reform efforts, such as founding a mission for seamen and opening the Mariner's Church on Central Wharf. Jenks was also the chaplain for the Massachusetts senate from 1827-1828.
Between 1826 and 1845, Jenks was the pastor for the Green Street Church; he augmented his ministry through his religious and political writings. His theses include the important Comprehensive Commentary on the Holy Bible, 6 vols. (1835-1838), the anti-Jeffersonian Memoir of the Northern Kingdom (1808), and Bible Atlas and Gazetteer (1847). Jenks received many honorary degrees, including a doctorate of divinity from Harvard Divinity School (1845). Although Jenks was best known for his biblical and oriental scholarship, his interests were far ranging. He was a founder of the American Antiquarian Society and the American Oriental Society, and a prominent member of the Massachusetts Historical Society and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
Jenks married Betsey Russell (1783-1850) of Boston in 1799; they had 16 children: Elizabeth Russell, Theodore, Sarah Judith, Frederick Craigie, Joseph William, John Henry, Francis Haynes, Russell Edward, Harriet Newell, Mary Susanna, Mary Elizabeth, Lemuel Pope, Cornelia Hood, Nathaniel Frederick, Adeline Matilda, and Craigie Phillips. William Jenks died in 1866.
From the guide to the William Jenks collection, Jenks, William collection, 1794-1884, 1794-1868, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
George Washington (1732--1799), commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and first President of the United States, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, to Augustine Washington and Mary Ball. In 1753, Washington entered the Virginia militia as a major. After several skirmishes with the French in Ohio Country, the enemy captured him at Fort Necessity in July 1754. The French allowed him to return to Virginia, but the clash set in motion a greater conflict between France and England in North America. In 1755, Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie appointed him commander-in-chief of the Virginia Regiment. Washington participated in several battles in the French and Indian War, and left the service in 1778.
Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis on January 6, 1759. They had no children. In 1775, the Second Continental Congress appointed him commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, a post he held until the American army defeated the British in 1783. Washington forced the British out of Boston in 1776, but the British chased the Continental army out of New York later that year. In 1777, Washington suffered defeats at Brandywine and Germantown, and his troops suffered a harsh 1777-1778 winter at Valley Forge. In 1778, Washington drove the British from Philadelphia and fought them at Monmouth, New Jersey. In the autumn of 1781, the British surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the major military engagements of the war. Washington left military service in December 1783.
Washington enjoyed a brief retirement from public life, but in 1787 served as president for the Constitutional Convention. The newly formed Electoral College unanimously nominated him 1st President of the United States in 1789 and 1793. Finally, Washington retired from public life in 1797 and returned to Mount Vernon. He died there on December 14, 1799.
From the guide to the Washingtoniana collection, 1602-1932, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Samuel Lawrence of Groton, Massachusetts, and his wife, Susanna Parker, had at least two sons: Amos and Abbott. Amos Lawrence was born in Groton on April 22, 1786, and worked as a store clerk until 1807, when he moved to Boston. He opened a dry goods store and was a successful merchant and factory owner. After his retirement in 1831, he became a prominent philanthropist. He died in Boston on December 31, 1852.
Amos Adams Lawrence, Amos's son, was born on July 31, 1814, and graduated from Harvard University in 1835. He was an investor and bank president, and supported efforts to ensure that Kansas became a free state. Lawrence served as Harvard University's treasurer from 1857-1860 and was twice nominated for the governorship of Massachusetts. Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and the city of Lawrence, Kansas, are named for him. He died on August 22, 1886.
Abbott Lawrence, brother of the elder Amos Lawrence, was born in Groton on December 16, 1792, and worked as a clerk in Amos's store in Boston until 1814, when they formed a partnership. After his brother's retirement, Abbott invested in the textile industry, acted as a selling agent for cotton manufactories in Lowell, Massachusetts, served as president of the Essex Company, and provided the founding financial support for the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard University. Lawrence was a member of the National Republican (later Whig) Party. He served in the United States House of Representatives (1835-1836 and 1839-1840) and as minister to Great Britain (1849-1852). He and his wife, Katherine Bigelow, married in 1819 and had seven children. Abbott Lawrence died on August 18, 1855.
From the guide to the Abbott and Amos Lawrence collection, Lawrence, Abbott and Amos collection, 1831-1885, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
British politician, colonial governor, and diplomat William Henry Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton and 1st Baron Westcote (1724-1808), was the sixth son of Sir Thomas Lyttelton and Christian Temple. Lyttelton attended Eton and St. Mary Hall, Oxford, where he studied law. Eschewing a career as a lawyer, Lyttelton entered politics in 1748 as a member of Parliament representing Bewdley. Through the influence of friend William Pitt, Lyttelton was appointed governor of South Carolina in 1755. Though he departed for the colony later that year, French privateers captured his ship and held him prisoner in Brest. He finally arrived in South Carolina in June of 1756. As governor, Lyttelton's focused his attention on improving defense against attacks from the French and various Native American tribes. After decades of growing tension between settlers and the Cherokee, Lyttelton lead a colonial force against them. The result was the Anglo-Cherokee war, a bloody conflict between the British and Native Americans in the South Carolina frontier that lasted from 1758 through 1761.
In 1760, the British government appointed Lyttelton to serve as governor and chief executive of Jamaica. He briefly returned to England that year to marry Mary Macartney of Longford, Ireland, and traveled to Jamaica in 1761. He clashed with the local assembly over their alleged rights of judicial immunity, and resigned in 1766. His next appointment was as British ambassador to Portugal from 1766-1770, after which he returned to England.
Lyttelton served as a member of Parliament for Bewdley from 1774 to 1790, and was Lord North's commissioner of the treasury from 1777 to 1782. He married his second wife, Caroline Bristow of Quidenham, Norfolk, in 1776. The king gave Lyttelton the title of Baron Westcote of Ballymore, Ireland, in 1776, and the British title of Baron Lyttelton of Frankley in 1794. Lyttelton died at Hagley in 1808.
From the guide to the William Henry Lyttelton papers, Lyttelton, William Henry, papers, 1730-1806, 1755-1761, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Henry Dundas, 1st viscount Melville (1742-1811) was born in Edinburgh and educated at Edinburgh University. He began practicing law in 1763, and three years later became solicitor general for Scotland. Melville entered Parliament for Edinburghshire in 1774, and within a year was appointed lord advocate. In 1777, he was made joint keeper of the signet.
Melville proved to be an effective spokesperson for the North ministry, supporting the American War, arguing against any acknowledgment of American independence, and opposing economic reform. In 1781, Melville began his long involvement in India affairs as chairman of the secret committee investigating the Carnatic Wars. In the second Rockingham ministry, Dundas continued as lord advocate and was a member of the Privy Council. Under the Shelburne administration, Dundas was made treasurer of the navy, and held the position from 1782 to 1800. In 1783, he returned to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Edinburghshire, and spoke in defense of Shelburne's peace preliminaries. Melville served as lord of trade from 1784 to 1786, and over the next twenty years held various prominent positions, such as William Pitt's secretary of state for the Home Office (1791-1794), president of the Board of Control for Indian Affairs (1793-1801), secretary at war (1794-1801), and first lord of the admiralty (1804-1805). As a military leader, Melville played a major role in the conduct of the war with France. Politically, he dominated Scottish politics in Parliament, defended government control of the East India Company, and opposed abolishing the British slave trade. He was forced to resign from the Admiralty in 1805 when accused, and later acquitted, of misappropriating funds.
Melville married Elizabeth Rannie (d.1847) in 1765, and through her gained the title of Melville. They divorced in 1778, and in 1793 he married Lady Jane Hope (d.1823). He was created Viscount Melville in 1802.
Robert Saunders Dundas, 2nd viscount Melville (1771-1851), was the only son of Henry Dundas and Elizabeth Rannie. He entered politics as private secretary to this father, and was elected to Parliament for Hastings in 1794, for Rye in 1796, and for Edinburghshire in 1801. That same year he was appointed joint keeper of the signet for Scotland. In 1807, the Duke of Portland appointed him president of the Board of Control for Indian Affairs, and he remained in the position throughout the Perceval ministry. Prime Minister Robert Jenkinson, Lord Liverpool, made Robert Dundas first lord of the admiralty, an office he held from 1812 to 1830. During his admiralty tenure, he oversaw British naval operations against the Americans during the War of 1812, and against the French, including the Battle of Trafalgar. He also managed Britain's peacetime drawdown of naval forces.
Robert married Anne Saunders (d. 1841) in 1796 and took her name. Together they had six children, including Henry Dundas, later 3rd viscount Melville.
From the guide to the Viscounts Melville papers, Melville, Viscounts papers, 1600-1851, 1780-1830, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
American Naval officer Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819) was born in Rock Brook, Rhode Island, to Sarah Wallace Alexander and Christopher Raymond Perry (1761-1818). Oliver entered the navy at age 14, serving under his father in the West Indies and in the Quasi War with France. In 1803, he served on board the Adams in the 1st Barbary War, and in 1804, Commodore John Rodgers gave him command of the schooner Nautilus, which participated in the capture of Derna. He became a lieutenant in 1807, and at the outbreak of the War of 1812 was given command of the naval force on Lake Erie under Commodore Isaac Chauncey. In March 1813, he began building a fleet at his headquarters at Presque Isle (Erie), Pennsylvania. Perry engaged the British fleet under the command of Robert H. Barclay on September 10, winning the battle decisively. The Battle of Lake Erie made Perry a national hero, although he was soon involved in the controversy over the role played by Captain Jesse D. Elliot in the conflict. For the remainder of the war, Perry worked closely with General William Henry Harrison, participating in the recovery of Detroit and in the Battle of the Thames.
From 1816 to 1817, Perry commanded the Java as part of the Mediterranean Squadron. He quarreled with the Java 's Marine Captain John Heath, and after a violent altercation, both men were court martialed. In 1819, President James Monroe sent Perry on a diplomatic mission to Venezuela to put an end to piracy against American merchant ships. His negotiations with Simón Bolívar were a success, but on the return voyage he died of yellow fever. His crew buried him at Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and in 1826, his remains were moved and reburied in Newport, Rhode Island.
Perry married Elizabeth Champlin Mason (1791-1858) in 1811; they had five children including Oliver Hazard Perry, Jr. (1815-1878).
This collection also contains the letters of Perry's father, Captain Christopher Raymond Perry (1761-1818); his brother, Commander Mathew Calbraith Perry (1794-1858); his wife Elizabeth C. Mason Perry; his son Oliver Hazard Perry, Jr. (1815-1878); and his grandson Oliver Hazard Perry, Jr. (1883-1933).
From the guide to the Oliver Hazard Perry papers, Perry, Oliver Hazard papers, 1796-1969, 1812-1819, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Charles Morris was born on July 26, 1784, in Woodstock, Connecticut, the son of Charles Morris and Miriam Nichols. His father’s position as a purser for the Navy in the Quasi-War with France allowed Charles to get an appointment as a midshipman in 1799, when he was 15. Morris was onboard the Constitution as it sailed to Tripoli in 1803 and Stephen Decatur selected him to participate in the raid to destroy the captured Philadelphia, whose deck Morris was the first to reach.
By the outbreak of the War of 1812, Morris was first lieutenant under Captain Isaac Hull on the Constitution . Morris famously aided in evading a British squadron by suggesting kedging and towing the Constitution ; later he was badly wounded during the ship's battle with the HMS Guerriere, and received a promotion to captain for his efforts. After his recovery, he commanded the Adams in raiding expeditions against British merchant ships.
After serving on the Congress from 1815 to 1817, Morris commanded the Portsmouth Navy Yard until his appointment to the Navy Board of Commissioners in 1823. He also succeeded Oliver Hazard Perry on an 1819 mission to promote friendly relations with Venezuela after Perry died of yellow fever. Morris then served as navy commissioner from 1823-1827 (except for a mission transporting Lafayette back to France in 1825-1826) and from 1832-1841, and was instrumental in instituting a number of naval reforms. For the last five years of his life, he was chief of the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography. He died on January 27, 1856.
Charles Morris married Harriet Bowen in February 1815, and the couple had four sons and six daughters. One son, Charles W. Morris also served in the United States Navy. He was flag lieutenant under Commodore David Connor and perished in the Mexican-American War from wounds received in an attack on Tabasco, October 1846.
From the guide to the Charles Morris papers, Morris, Charles papers, 1801-1861, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Samuel Coates was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 24, 1748, the son of Samuel Coates and his wife, Mary Langdale. Orphaned at a young age, Coates lived with his uncle and mentor, John Reynell, who helped establish Coates as a merchant before he joined Reynell’s firm in 1771. In 1782, Coates gained sole ownership of the company, and conducted business along the Eastern Seaboard, particularly around New England. A prominent resident of Philadelphia, he served with a relief committee during the 1793 yellow fever epidemic, as an overseer of Philadelphia's public schools, as a director of the First Bank of the United States, and as treasurer of the Philadelphia Library Company; he also served as a manager of the Pennsylvania Hospital and, later, as the president of its board. He and his wife, Lydia Saunders, married in 1775 and had four surviving children: John Reynell, Hannah, Joseph Saunders, and Lydia. Following the death of his first wife in 1791, he married Amy Horner in 1791, with whom he had three surviving children: Samuel Horner, Benjamin Horner, and Reynell. Samuel Coates died on June 4, 1830.
Dr. Samuel Cooper was born in Maryland on September 8, 1772. In 1786, he moved to Philadelphia, where he attended a Quaker school. He began his medical studies in Maryland in 1791, and in 1793 became apprenticed to Samuel Coates, Samuel Clark, and Bartholomew Wistar, managers of the Pennsylvania Hospital. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in May 1797, and began to practice medicine in Philadelphia. Cooper died of yellow fever on September 25, 1798.
From the guide to the Samuel Coates collection, Coates, Samuel collection, 1772-1806, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) captivated public attention as a young writer in the mid 1820s with her romantic and historical novels, Hobomak and The Rebel, and her children's magazine, The Juvenile Miscellany . Her early success spawned the possibility of financial independence which became necessary not long after her marriage in 1828 to the improvident lawyer and editor David Child. The fame of her domestic guide, The Frugal Housewife illustrated the growing American audience of women readers to which Maria Child then aimed The Girl's Own Book . Out of necessity rather than choice, Child became the breadwinner of the couple, a role that was to keep her actively publishing and editing for the remainder of her life. Despite their pecuniary circumstances, the young antislavery sympathizers plunged headily into the unleashing Garrisonian fury. While David Child began addressing antislavery assemblies and joined the fiasco of an experimental free-labor colony in Mexico, Maria Child published An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans (1833). As a result, sales for her previous books plummeted and she was forced to surrender the editorship of her magazine.
As proslavery mobs rioted across the North, antislavery societies multiplied. The next five years became some of the most prolific of Maria Child's life as she published stories, poems, advice books and antislavery tracts, raised money for antislavery causes, participated actively in the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, and accepted delegate invitations from Philadelphia to New York. She consistently expressed a desire, however, for the peace and resources to return to more literary and philosophical pursuits. Her novel Philothea (1836) expressed an occupation with spiritualism that she was to pursue in her literary circles in Boston, and later in New York. Thoreau and Edgar Allen Poe expressed their delight with the book which was dedicated to her brother Convers Francis, a Harvard theologian and a good friend of Emerson's. Its publication presaged Maria Child's growing disenchantment with the political divisions of the Antislavery movement. A Garrisonian, Maria Child defended the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society (the "Old Organization") against the American Anti-Slavery Society's attempts to force members to vote, its attempts to circumscribe women's active participation, and some of its aggressive lines of action. The Childs' financial position nevertheless prevented any resistance to their appointment as editors of the A.A.S.S.'s official weekly newspaper, the National Anti-Slavery Standard and they moved to New York in 1841. Maria Child's two year management of the paper increased its circulation, reduced its debts, and coincided with the Antislavery movements calls for disunion in the wake of the Gag rule. In 1843 she published a collection of her weekly columns as Letters From New York, which was so successful her publishers were calling for another edition within two months. Nevertheless, detesting the controversies inherent in her job, she relinquished her editorship to her husband and cut all ties with the organized antislavery movement. In her remaining years in New York she grew to relish an independent Bohemian lifestyle. She befriended several artists and musicians, witnessed the Astor Place Riots, published stories influenced by Swedenborgianism, and grew increasingly interested in the principles of the women's movement. She also began work on a religious history influenced by Spiritualism.
The turbulence of the slavery question in the 1850s rekindled Maria Child's enthusiasm with it. Writing on the violence in Kansas, and to Charles Sumner upon his beating in the Senate, she began to relinquish her declared pacifism. Stirred by John Brown's raid she offered to nurse him in prison and upon his suggestion attended to looking after his family instead. Her Correspondence to Governor Wise of Virginia was published, along with several antislavery and Republican tracts through the war: The Right Way, The Safe Way; The Patriarchal Institution ; and The Duty of Disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act . She also edited and published the memoirs of a fugitive slave, Harriet A. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and brought out The Freedmen's Book, which has been credited for being one of the few postwar books that imparted a sense of racial pride. Although interested in merging the causes of black people's and women's suffrage, Maria Child was always more dedicated to the former. Her life's work was praised at length by her friend Wendell Phillips at her funeral.
From the guide to the Lydia Maria Child papers, Child, Lydia Maria, 1835-1894, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Richard Rush was born August 29, 1780, the third child of prominent Philadelphia physician Dr. Benjamin Rush and his wife, Julia Stockton. A 1794 graduate of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University), he was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar in 1800 and practiced law there for 11 years. In 1809, he married Catherine Elizabeth Murray, with whom he had 11 children, including lawyer and writer Benjamin Rush (1811-1877), lawyer James Murray Rush (1813-1862), and Richard H. Rush (1825-1893).
Rush served briefly as attorney-general of Pennsylvania in 1811; the following year, he was chosen comptroller of the U.S. Treasury, and in 1814, he became U.S. attorney-general under Madison. He was acting secretary of state in 1817 and responsible for the Rush-Bagot Agreement with Great Britain, establishing limited naval armaments on the Great Lakes. James Monroe appointed Rush minister to Great Britain in 1817, in which capacity Rush distinguished himself by settling disputes arising from the War of 1812 over the Northwest boundary and fisheries. He also played an important role in preparing for the negotiations that resulted in the Monroe Doctrine.
Rush returned to the cabinet as secretary of the treasury, 1825-1829, and was John Quincy Adams' running mate in the presidential election of 1828. Following his defeat, Rush remained in private life for a number of years.. He resumed his public career in 1835 to act as co-commissioner in the Michigan-Ohio boundary dispute, and again in 1836-1838 as advocate for the United States in British courts regarding the Smithson bequest, which would establish the Smithsonian Institution. Rush accepted his last important office in the Polk administration, serving as United States minister to France, 1847-1851. He died July 13, 1859.
From the guide to the Richard Rush papers, Rush, Richard papers, 1812-1856, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Gideon Lee was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, on April 27, 1778, the son of Gideon Lee and Lucy Ward. He learned the shoemaking and tanning trades and lived in Worthington, Massachusetts, before moving to New York City and, later, to Georgia. He returned to New York in 1807, where he continued to work in the leather industry. That year, he married Laura Buffington (1790-1818), with whom he had 3 surviving children: Lucy Ward Melvin (b. 1809), Laura Theresa (1813-1840), and Samuel Buffington (b. 1816). Lucy Lee married Samuel Ward (d. 1879).
Gideon Lee married his second wife, Isabella Williamson (b. 1800), in 1823; the two had 4 sons: Gideon (1824-1886), David (b. 1826), Charles Henry (1828-1831), and William Creighton (b. 1830). While living in New York City, he served in the state assembly (1822-1823), on the city's board of aldermen (1828-1830), as the city's mayor (1833), and in the United States House of Representatives (1835-1837). Lee retired in 1836 and moved to Geneva, New York, where he died on August 21, 1841.
From the guide to the Gideon Lee correspondence, Lee, Gideon correspondence, 1807-1839, 1823, 1832-1839, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Nicholas Low was born in Raritan Landing, New Jersey, on March 30, 1739, the son of Cornelius Low, Jr., and Johanna Gouverneur. He later lived in New York City, where he established a mercantile firm in 1774. His brother, the Loyalist Isaac Low, moved to Great Britain after the Revolution, as did his brothers-in-law Hugh and Alexander Wallace. His nephew William, Alexander Wallace's son, moved to New York in the 1790s, and they formed the firm Low & Wallace in 1796. Nicholas Low held stock in the Bank of New York and the Bank of the United States, successfully speculated in the country's postwar debts, and owned significant tracts of land in northern New York. He was a director of the Bank of New York (1784-1792), a member of the New York State Assembly (1788-1789), and a director of the Society for Useful Manufactures (1792-1796). Low and his wife, Alice Fleming, had three children, including Henrietta Liston Low.
Henrietta Liston Low (1799-1882) married Charles King (1789-1867), the son of Revolutionary-era politician Rufus King (1755-1827), in 1826. Charles King was president of Columbia College (now Columbia University) from 1849-1864 and a founding editor of the New York American . He and his first wife, Eliza Gracie, had eight children, including Rufus King (1814-1876), who attended the United States Military Academy and became a Union Army general during the Civil War. Charles King and Henrietta Low had six children: Anne Johnstone (1827-1891), Cornelius Low (1829-1893), Henrietta Low (b. 1833), Gertrude Wallace (b. 1836), Mary Alsop (b. 1839), and Augustus Fleming (1841-1862).
From the guide to the Nicholas Low collection, Low, Nicholas collection, 1776-1863, 1776-1820, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
British politician Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney (1733--1800) (hereafter Sydney) was born to Thomas Townshend (1701-1780) and Albinia Selwyn. Sydney's family had been politically well connected since the tenure of his grandfather, Charles Townshend (1764-1738), as secretary of state under Robert Walpole. Sydney entered politics as a Whig Member of Parliament, representing Whitchurch, Hampshire, in 1754; he retained the seat until 1783, when he was elevated to the peerage. Initially aligned with his great uncle, the Duke of Newcastle, Townshend joined Pitt in opposition to Grenville. During the first Rockingham ministry, Sydney served as a lord of the treasury and continued in that office in the Chatham administration until December 1767, when he became a member of the Privy Council and joint paymaster general. Though he opposed the 1765 Stamp Act, he supported the American revenue program initiated by his cousin, Charles Townshend, during the Chatham-Grafton ministry. In June 1768, he was forced out of office during negotiations between Grafton and Bedford in June, 1768, and replaced by Richard Rigby.
Townshend remained an active opponent of the North ministry in the House of Commons, and frequently spoke out against the war with America. He briefly took office as secretary of war in the second Rockingham ministry, between March and July 1782, and when Shelburne became prime minister in July 1782, Townshend succeeded him as secretary of state for the Home Office. He next became leader of the House of Commons (1782-1783) and tirelessly threw his support in favor of ending the war with America. The Fox-North coalition forced Sydney into opposition, but he quickly returned to office with Pitt, serving as home secretary from 1783 to 1789. He advanced in the peerage from baron to 1st Viscount Sydney of St. Leonards in 1789, and resigned from office that same year because of a disagreement with Pitt over an India bill and a slave regulation bill.
Sydney married Elizabeth Powys (1736--1826) of Suffolk in 1760; they had twelve children. Sydney died in 1800 at his estate in Frognal.
From the guide to the Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney papers, Sydney, Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount papers, 1665-1828, 1780-1788, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
George Clinton (1686-1761), British naval officer and colonial governor of Newfoundland and New York, was born in Lincolnshire, England, to Francis Clinton, sixth earl of Lincoln, and Susanna Penyston. Clinton served for 35 years in the Royal Navy, entering in 1708 and becoming a captain in 1716. Through a familial connection with Thomas Pelham-Holles, first duke of Newcastle, he secured various high-ranking positions, such as governor of Newfoundland (1731), commodore of the Mediterranean Fleet (1736-1738), and rear admiral (1743). Also through Newcastle, Clinton obtained the governorship of New York in 1741, but did not arrive in the province until 1743. Allying himself with Chief Justice James DeLancey (1703-1760), Clinton pitted himself against the New York Assembly over matters of military control, governor's pay, and political appointments. Clinton dissolved the assembly in 1745 and 1747 and but in both cases the people of New York reelected opposition assembly members. In 1746, after a drunken dispute over military policy, Clinton cut ties with DeLancey and turned to Cadwallader Colden for counsel.
During the war with France (King George's War, 1744-1748) Clinton appointed William Johnson (1715-1774) to manage Colonial-Indian relations, and recruited the Six Nations tribes to join British forces against the French in Canada. Clinton failed to organize the New York Assembly behind the expedition and without the support of the British Army, the Indian and colonial forces abandoned the attack. After the war, Clinton focused his attentions on his conflicts with the Assembly over constitutional issues and Indian relations, and on boarder disputes with New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. In 1753, Sir Danvers Osborn took over the New York governorship. Clinton returned to England and represented Saltash in Parliament from 1754 to 1760.
Clinton was perpetually in debt and never found enough success in his naval and political appointments to escape financial ruin. Clinton married Anne Carle around 1727. They had six children, including Sir Henry Clinton (1730-1795), who became commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America during the Revolution. George Clinton died in 1761.
From the guide to the George Clinton papers, Clinton, George, papers, 1697-1760, 1745-1753, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
George Fales was born in Bristol, Rhode Island, on December 1, 1787, the son of Nathaniel Fales and Elizabeth Bradford. In 1802, he went into business with his brother Samuel, a dry goods merchant in Boston, Massachusetts. Fales moved to Philadelphia in 1814, where he formed Cheever & Fales and, later, Fales, Lothrop & Company, which sold American manufactured goods. In 1830, George Fales married Anne Rush. He became the director of the Commercial National Bank in 1840, and the director of the Franklin Fire Insurance Company in 1875.
Samuel Bradford Fales was born in Boston, Massachusetts, around 1807, the son of Samuel Fales. After graduating from Harvard College in 1825, he briefly studied medicine before becoming a merchant in Philadelphia. He later collected art and served as director of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. During the Civil War, he helped establish and operate the Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon and Hospital. Samuel Bradford Fales died in September 1880.
The Union Volunteer Refreshment Committee of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was formed on May 27, 1861, to provide food, water, lodging, and medical care to soldiers passing through the city between military assignments. The committee erected the Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, a hospital, and other facilities on the corner of Washington and Swanson Streets, and served hundreds of thousands of soldiers throughout the Civil War. The buildings were demolished after the end of the war in 1865.
From the guide to the George and Samuel B. Fales collection, Fales, George and Samuel B. collection, 1815-1866, 1834-1850, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, at Shadwell, Virginia, the third of ten children of a farmer and surveyor, Peter Jefferson, and his wife, Jane Randolph. In 1757, after the death of his father, Jefferson inherited 5000 acres of farmland and numerous slaves. A 1762 graduate of the College of William and Mary, he then studied law under George Wythe and was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1767. Jefferson worked as a lawyer for many of Virginia's most prominent families, and in 1768, began construction of his mansion, Monticello. In 1772, he married Martha Wayles Skelton, the daughter of planter John Wayles and Martha Eppes, with whom he had two children who survived infancy: Martha and Mary.
In addition to work as a lawyer, Jefferson represented Albemarle County in the Virginia House of Burgesses, and in 1774, he wrote a set of resolutions opposing the Coercive Acts. The next year he served in the Second Continental Congress and in June of 1776 was appointed to a committee to draft a declaration to accompany a resolution of independence from Great Britain. The committee chose Jefferson to write the document, and on July 4, 1776, Congress approved the Declaration of Independence.
Jefferson served in numerous other political roles, first in the new Virginia House of Delegates (1776-1779) and then as Governor of Virginia (1779-1781), member of the Congress of the Confederation (1783-1784), minister to France (1785-1789), and Secretary of State under President George Washington (1790-1793). From 1797-1801, he served as vice president under John Adams, and then was elected to two presidential terms, which he held from 1801-1809. During his presidency, the United States began and won the First Barbary War, secured the Louisiana Purchase, and banned the importation of slaves. After his presidency, Jefferson focused much of his attention on the founding of the University of Virginia, which opened in 1825, and on book collecting. His donation of approximately 6000 volumes to Congress in 1815 formed the foundation of the Library of Congress. He died on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
From the guide to the Thomas Jefferson collection, Jefferson, Thomas, collection, 1780-1881, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
James G. Birney (1792-1857), lawyer and antislavery politician, was born in Danville, Kentucky, to a plantation owning family. He was educated at Princeton and studied law in Philadelphia at the office of Alexander J. Dallas. Birney became a successful lawyer in Huntsville, Alabama, and in 1819 was elected representative to the first General Assembly of Alabama, where he drafted and passed legislation prohibiting the importation of slaves into the state. Eventually, his humanitarian sympathies led him to abandon his law practice for a career in anti-slavery activism. In 1832, he became a southern agent for the American Colonization Society, but within a year he resigned, disillusioned with their scheme of gradual emancipation based on ideas of racial inferiority. Convinced of the importance of united action by all opponents of slavery, he moved to Cincinnati in 1836, and established the newspaper Philanthropist, one of the first anti-slavery papers in the Midwest.
The growth of Birney's influence in the anti-slavery movement is evident in his correspondence and pamphleteering, as well as in his active schedule of public lectures. He resigned as editor of The Philanthropist in 1837 and moved to New York to become the corresponding secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Disagreements with William Lloyd Garrison led to the society's formal division into Boston and New York factions. Birney saw the need for a new political party whose sole purpose was to promote the abolition of slavery, and with his leadership, the Liberty Party was founded in 1840. As its presidential candidate in 1840 and 1844, Birney argued that the Bible and the Constitution proscribed slavery. His 1844 candidacy drew enough votes away from Whig party candidate Henry Clay to throw the election to James K. Polk. Birney retired from public life after the election of 1844, although he continued to write occasional articles for the anti-slavery press.
Birney married Agatha McDowell in 1816; they had eleven children, six of whom survived early childhood (James, William, Dion, David, George, and Florence). After Agatha died in 1838, Birney married Elizabeth Fitzhugh of Geneseo, New York, in 1841. Of their three children, only Fitzhugh Birney survived to adulthood. Between presidential bids, Birney and his family moved to Lower Saginaw (now Bay City), Michigan. In 1841, Birney established a law practice and ran unsuccessfully for the Michigan governorship. He moved to New Jersey in 1852 and died there in 1857. See additional descriptive data for a biographical timeline.
From the guide to the James G. Birney papers, Birney, James G. papers, 1816-1884, 1820-1856, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
John Trumbull was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, on June 6, 1756, the son of Jonathan Trumbull and Faith Robinson. His father served as governor of Connecticut from 1769-1784. Trumbull studied privately in Lebanon and attended Harvard College. After his graduation in 1773, he returned to Lebanon, where he taught school and furthered his artistic studies, which he had begun prior to his matriculation at Harvard. From 1775-1777, he was a member of the 1st Regiment of Connecticut Militia, and he briefly served as an aide to George Washington. Trumbull resigned his army commission in 1777 and moved to Boston, where he continued to educate himself in the fine arts. Around 1780, he traveled to London to study under Benjamin West (1738-1820), who became a close acquaintance. Though Trumbull was imprisoned for several months on suspicion of espionage and forced to return to the United States, he returned to London after the war. He lived in England, France, and the United States throughout the rest of his life. Professionally, Trumbull gained fame for his portraiture and a series of historical paintings about the Revolutionary era. He served as the president of the American Academy of the Fine Arts, 1817-1836.
On October 1, 1800, Trumbull married Sarah Hope Harvey (1774-1824). They had no children, but he fathered one illegitimate son, John Ray, with a servant woman named Temperance Ray. John Trumbull died in New York City on November 10, 1843.
From the guide to the John Trumbull collection, Trumbull, John collection, 1768-1829, 1818-1829, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Winfield Scott was born June 13, 1786, at the Laurel Branch plantation near Petersburg, Virginia, the son of William Scott (1747-1792) and Ann Mason (1747-1803). He was educated for two years at a Quaker school and in 1805 entered the College of William and Mary, where he studied for only a year; he then briefly studied law at the office of David Robinson in Petersburg. Scott joined the military in 1807 as a Virginia militia cavalry corporal, and the next year he was commissioned a captain in the artillery. During the War of 1812, he rose up the ranks, serving as lieutenant colonel, colonel, and brigadier-general, and receiving a commission as major-general for his valorous service in 1814. At the Battle of Lundy's Lane, he was seriously wounded and left active duty for the remainder of the war. In 1815, he headed a board assembled to write the first standardized set of American drill regulations, Rules and Regulations for the Field Exercise and Manoeuvres of Infantry . Thereafter, Scott served in both the Black Hawk War and in the campaign against the Seminole and Creek Indians. He also worked as a peacemaker in the Anglo-American dispute over the Canadian border in 1838. He was appointed general-in-chief of the United States Army in 1841 and commanded the southern of the two U.S. Armies during the Mexican-American War.
The Whig party nominated Scott for the presidency, but Franklin Pierce defeated him in the 1852 election. He again served as negotiator between the United States and Great Britain in the 1859 dispute over San Juan Island in Puget Sound, Washington. Although a Virginian by birth, Scott remained loyal to the Union when the Civil War broke out. Despite his advanced years, he continued as commander of the army, making the initial preparations for the defense of Washington, D.C., and proposing the "Anaconda Plan" of isolating the Confederacy through blockading southern ports and gaining control of the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers. He resigned in November 1861, and died five years later at West Point.
In 1812, Scott married Lucy Baker, with whom he had a son, John Baker Scott (b. 1816). After her death in 1816, he married Maria DeHart Mayo (1789-1862), the daughter of John Mayo and Abigail DeHart of Richmond, Virginia. The couple had seven children: Maria (1818-1833), John (1819-1820), Virginia (1821-1845), Edward (1823-1827), Cordelia (1825-1886), Marcella (1825-1886), and Adeline (1834-1882).
From the guide to the Winfield Scott collection, Scott, Winfield collection, 1809-1862, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
James McHenry was born on November 16, 1753, in Ballymena, Ireland, to Daniel and Agnes McHenry. In 1771, he emigrated to Philadelphia, and was joined by his father the next year in Baltimore, where the elder McHenry started a successful importing business. Having first received his education in Dublin, James continued his studies at Newark Academy in Delaware in 1772, before beginning the study of medicine in Philadelphia under Dr. Benjamin Rush. McHenry first volunteered for military service in 1775, and he served as an assistant surgeon at the Cambridge military hospital in Massachusetts, before being appointed surgeon of the 5th Pennsylvania Battalion in August 1776. The British captured McHenry at Fort Washington in November, and he was paroled the next January, before being exchanged in March 1778. On May 15, 1778, George Washington appointed him as his secretary, a position he held until he became a member of Lafayette's staff in 1780. In 1781, Maryland elected McHenry to its State Senate, where he served until 1786. The next year, he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, where he created a private record of the proceedings.
After the convention, McHenry returned to Maryland and was a member of the constitutional ratifying convention for the state. He served as a member of the Maryland Assembly and then the Maryland Senate, before being offered the position of secretary of war to replace Timothy Pickering in January 1796. He served until 1800, when President John Adams forced his resignation over increasing tensions arising from McHenry's alignment with Alexander Hamilton. After his resignation, McHenry came under attack from Republicans, who accused him of misusing funds during his tenure as secretary of war. A congressional committee declined a formal investigation, but McHenry delivered a defense before Congress on December 28, 1802. Afterwards, McHenry retired to Fayetteville, his estate near Baltimore, where he founded the first Bible society in Baltimore, in 1813. McHenry died in 1816, survived by his wife Margaret Caldwell, and two children.
From the guide to the James McHenry papers, McHenry, James papers, 1777-1832, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)
Richard Oswald was born in Scotland in 1705 to the Reverend George Oswald, minister of Dunnett in Caithness, and Margaret Murray. He taught at the parochial school in Thurso, but left the area after being passed over for mastership of the school. Oswald first migrated to Glasgow, and then to London, where he became a successful and wealthy merchant and slave trader. In 1750, he married Mary Ramsay, only daughter of Alexander Ramsay of Jamaica, and inherited sizeable estates in America and the West Indies. During the French and Indian War, he worked as an army contractor and expanded his fortune by supplying bread to English troops.
Through his American and mercantile interests, Oswald acquired a circle of international friends including Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, the comte de Vergennes, Adam Smith, and the Earl of Shelburne. During the Revolutionary War, he was frequently consulted by the ministry on American matters. Shelburne used Oswald as his emissary to Franklin in Paris during the first informal inquiries on American peace terms and, when Shelburne became prime minister, he appointed Oswald as English peace commissioner for America. Oswald was largely responsible for the preliminary articles signed in November, 1782, and left office with Shelburne when the peace treaty was defeated in the House of Commons. He died at Auchincruive, Scotland, on November 6, 1784.
From the guide to the Richard Oswald collection, Oswald, Richard collection, 1779-1783, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)