Moses Dawson Correspondence


Xavier University is pleased to present the digitized and transcribed collection of letters from politicians of the Jacksonian era. The collection documents candid discussion about the most controversial issues of the era, from some of the most powerful men in the country. The letters were written to Moses Dawson (1768-1844), editor of the Cincinnati Advertiser, a direct predecessor of today's Cincinnati Enquirer. Dawson was a well-connected, extremely influential figure, and these letters reflect his friendships and associations with many powerful politicians including four U. S. presidents (Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, James Knox Polk, and William Henry Harrison); several senators, congressmen and governors; military personnel; and other notable individuals.

The Collection

The Moses Dawson papers have been housed at Xavier University for decades and, until now, have not been made widely available to scholars. Now, complete transcriptions of each letter accompany full-color digital images of each, enabling easy reading and comprehension of the ornate handwritten script. This collection of newly digitized primary source materials will inspire new research and strengthen knowledge of these significant figures in U. S. history. The collection consists of 182 letters written between 1811 and 1844. The collection also includes:

To view a sample letter and it's transcription in PDF format click the links below each of the four presidents. The entire digital collection is available to scholars. Contact Marty Ferrell (513 745-4806 or to schedule an appointment.

Letter | Transcription

Letter | Transcription

Letter | Transcription

Letter | Transcription


The Moses Dawson Correspondence was donated to Xavier University in 1934 by Joseph Debar, a prominent alumnus of Xavier University whose spouse was a descendant of Moses Dawson. The digitization and transcription of the collection was made possible through a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), awarded by the State Library of Ohio in 2010.


Participants in the project from Xavier University included Amy Ensor, former Director, University Library; Marty Ferrell, Head, Collection Development, Special collections, and Preservation; and Marcia Poggione, Head, Web Services and Open Access. Teresa Chupp, a volunteer who devoted countless hours reviewing transcriptions and uploading files, was an indispensable member of the project team and we appreciate her contribution. We thank our digitization partner, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County; and our transcription vendor, Backstage Library Works.