Samuel L. M. Barlow papers, 1776-1905 (bulk 1885-1889)

Barlow, Samuel L. M. (Samuel Latham Mitchill), 1826-1889


211 boxes, including 7 boxes of miscellanea and ephemera.
Approximately 29,000 pieces.
Arranged chronologically.
Personal and professional papers of Samuel L. M. Barlow. The collection contains letters (including 53 tissue copy letter books), documents, records, and manuscripts and documents Barlow's legal, business, and political career, and his cultural and social pursuits.
Barlow's legal and business papers constitute the bulk of the collection and cover 1855-1889. This portion of the collection deals with financing, building and management of railroads -- both Eastern and Western divisions of the Ohio and Mississippi, the Atlantic & Great Western, the Atlantic, Missisippi & Ohio, the Little Miami, the Columbus and Xenia, the Erie, and the New York, Erie & Western; Barlow's lobbying on behalf of Texas and Pacific Railroad Company and the Pacific Mail Steamship Company; his involvement the affairs of the Tehuantepec railroad route in Mexico, mining promotions and operations, including the notorious Arizona diamond hoax; land speculation (farm lands in Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio and urban properties in St. Louis, Mo.); his patronage of the New York subway and telephone enterprises, and his part ownership of the New York World.
Political and military correspondence and manuscripts cover Barlow's involvement in Democratic politics at both national and state levels, that started in 1856 and continued until his death. The papers deal with Barlow's role in the nomination of James Buchanan for President (1856) and his administration; Democratic National Convention at Charleston (1860); George McClellan's presidential bid, the National Union Club, congressional elections, Tilden, Hancock, and Cleveland campaigns (1876-1886). This portion of the collection also contains reports from the Eastern theatre of the Civil War that Barlow received from his agents in the field. Among the correspondents are William T. Sherman, and T.J. Barnett, a minor official at the Department of the Interior and the Washington correspondent of the New York Journal of commerce, who provided an insight into Lincoln's White House.
Also included are items reflecting Barlow's role in social and cultural life of New York -- his friendship with William Cullen Bryant and Bret Harte, patronage of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Academy of Music, and the New York Historical Society, his collections of colonial Americana and rare books, etc.
Correspondents include William Henry Aspinwall, Henry Douglas Bacon, T.J. Barnett, James Asheton Bayard, Jr., August Belmont, Judah Philip Benjamin, Montgomery Blair, William Montague Browne, Benjamin Franklin Butler, Roscoe Conkling, George Ticknor Curtis, John Henry Dillon, William Maxwell Evarts, Henry Harrisse, Ben Holladay, Hugh Judge Jewett, Clarence King, George Brinton McClellan, James McHenry, Manton Malon Marble, Thomas Alexander Scott, Horatio Seymour, William Davis Shipman, John Slidell, Richard Taylor, William Henry Trescott, Morrison Remnick Waite, Samuel Ward.
Samuel Latham Mitchill Barlow, prominent corporation lawyer and backstage Democrat. Co-founder of the law firm of Bowdoin, Larocque, and Barlow in 1852, he specialized in corporate law and management, particularly in railroads, mining, land, and utilities, and was a part owner of the New York World. Barlow represented the English Shareholders Association in a successful attack on the corrupt management of the Erie Railroad in 1872 and was directly responsible for the ouster of Jay Gould from the board of directors of that company. A lifelong Democrat despite his increasing disaffection after 1870, Barlow played a pivotal role in the nomination and presidential campaign of James Buchanan, served as advisor to Buchanan's administration, worked unsuccessfully to restore party's unity at the Charleston Convention of 1860, and engineered the 1864 presidential candidacy of General George McClellan, a close personal friend. A notable collector of early Americana and early printed editions of European Renaissance literature, Barlow also played an active role in the social and cultural life of New York. He entertained lavishly at his Madison Avenue home and his Long Island estate, and was co-founder of the Manhattan Club and patron of museums and historical societies.
Guide to the American Historical Manuscripts in the Huntington Library (H. E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, Cal., 1979).
Cards for individual items are filed in both alphabetical and chronological sections of the Manuscript catalog.
The unpublished summary report is filed at the Manuscripts Dept. The report provides only a general overview of the collection's content and cannot be used as a finding aid.
Albert V. House, "The Samuel Latham Mitchill Barlow papers in the Huntington Library," Huntington Library quarterly, 28, no. 4 (August, 1965): 341-352.

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