Thanks to a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, Xavier University Library has released the Moses Dawson Papers, a digitized and transcribed collection of 19th century political letters from such figures as Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison and James Knox Polk, in addition to many more letters from other well-known national and Ohio political leaders. The collection includes more than 180 letters.
Moses Dawson, 1768-1844, was an extremely influential Cincinnatian in the Jacksonian era. He owned The Advertiser, a direct predecessor of today’s Cincinnati Enquirer, for more than 20 years. Dawson’s collection of papers, spanning 1811-1845, contain letters of specific interest to Ohioans, as well as letters of vast national and international interest.
Complete transcriptions accompany full-color, high-resolution digital images of each letter, enabling easy reading and full keyword searching of the ornate handwritten script. Each digitized and transcribed letter has been uploaded to DigitalSpace@Xavier, Xavier’s platform for digital documents in OhioLINK’s Digital Resource Commons. The digital collection also includes biographical information about Dawson and selected correspondents, finding aids, a thesis written about Dawson by a Xavier University student in 1958, documents describing the time period and newspaper announcements about the collection.
Dawson’s papers have been housed at Xavier for decades and until now had never been digitized or fully cataloged online, and thus not widely available to scholars. This digitized collection will serve Ohio students, teachers and others studying and teaching 19th century U.S. history and particularly the Jacksonian era, and will be of value to U.S. presidential scholars around the world.
The collection was gifted to Xavier University in 1934 by Joseph Debar, a prominent Xavier alumnus and descendant of Moses Dawson.