Papers of Lyman Draper, the first superintendent of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, a noted bibliophile, collector of the Draper manuscripts, Wisconsin superintendant of public instruction, 1858-1859, editor, and author. Included are incoming correspondence, research notes, memorandum books with occasional personal entries, lists of letters sent and received, memoranda, bills for household expenses and books, outlines for articles, records of purchases, and a family Bible.
Correspondence comprises most of the collection. During the first twenty years there are letters from local historians from New Orleans to Montreal; from historians of wider repute, including Samuel G. Drake, Francis Parkman, and Jared Sparks; from bookdealers; owners of manuscript collections; custodians of archives; and government officials and others whose influence Draper sought in his collecting. Other correspondents include boyhood friends near his birthplace at Buffalo, New York; classmates at Granville College, Ohio; business associates at Pontotoc, Mississippi; his parents and brothers at Toledo, Ohio; and his cousin Lydia and her husband, Peter A. Remsen.
Beginning in 1854, the correspondence deals with the building up of the Historical Society's library, art gallery, and museum; inaugurating plans for publications; and soliciting contributions and securing members for the Society. There is also information on the passage of the township library bill, on University of Wisconsin affairs, particularly the selection of Henry Barnard as president, and on the First Baptist Church of Madison.
The correspondence also deals with the continuance of Draper's own private historical work: his plans for collaborating with Benson J. Lossing in publishing a biography of Daniel Boone; his continuing trips through the general region of the Ohio Valley to interview pioneers; his acquisition of some notable additions to his manuscript collections; his preparation for publication of several volumes and pamphlets; his assembling of a notable collection of autographs; and following up historical references.
Oversize items consist of early newspaper writings by Draper: "Wilson's Banditti: A Western Reminiscence" in the Rochester Gem, June 11, 1836, and "Biographical Sketch of Col. Richard M. Johnson," in the Farmers' and Mechanics' Journal, February 22, 1840.
The processed portion of this collection is summarized above; there are additional accessions which are described below.
Several items presented by Richard A. Erney, Madison, Wisconsin, January 3, 1964; by Mrs. F. M. Jones, Birmingham, Alabama, May 16, 1963; by Edward Jones, n.d.; by Earl M. Ratzer, n.d.; and by the Cresap Society, Gallatin, Tenn., 1987.
The information below has been drawn from sources outside of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries. In most instances, the information will be from sources that have not been peer reviewed by scholarly or research communities. Please report cases in which the information is inaccurate through the Contact Us link below.