1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
The collection consists of material relating to at least four generations of the Byington family, including the papers of A. Homer Byington, Civil War correspondent and U.S. consul in Naples (1897-1907), and those of his grandson, Homer M. Byington I, who served 47 years in the United States Foreign Service. In addition to correspondence from both men to family and friends, there is a long series of letters from A. Homer Byington to E.C. Frisbie, as well as correspondence from poet Edmund C. Stedman and diplomats Wilbur J. Carr, William R. Castle, Jr., and James B. Stewart.
Aaron Homer Byington was born in Herkimer, N.Y., on July 23, 1826, the son of Aaron Byington and Sarah Waterbury. He attended the Amos Smith Collegiate School for Boys in New Haven, Conn. Unable to attend college, he went to work as an office boy for the Norwalk gazette. When a syndicate was formed to begin publication of the New Haven morning journal, with Thomas G. Woodward as editor, Byington accepted the position of business manager, a capacity in which he remained until he bought the Norwalk gazette in 1848. Shortly before the Civil War, he was hired by Horace Greeley of the New York tribune as the newspaper's congressional correspondent in Washington, later becoming head of the paper's corps of army correspondents. Byington's reputation as a war correspondent was established when he became the first to deliver news of the outcomes of the battles of Bull Run and Gettysburg. After the war Byington founded, with Edmund C. Stedman and Charles A. Dana, a Republican newspaper called the New York sun. He sold his interest in the paper after a dispute arose between Dana and Ulysses S. Grant. Byington was active in politics as well as in journalism, representing Norwalk in the House of the Connecticut General Assembly during 1858 and 1859 and the Twelfth Senatorial District in the state senate during 1861 and 1862. In 1897, Byington received a Foreign Service commission and was appointed U.S. consul to Naples, at which time he suspended publication of the Norwalk gazette in order to devote full attention to his diplomatic duties. Byington had married Harriet Sophia Richmond on Nov. 8, 1849. She died during his posting to Naples, and shortly thereafter he retired from the Foreign Service. Aaron Homer Byington died on Dec. 29, 1910 in Flushing, Long Island, N.Y. He was survived by three sons: William Homer, George Richmond, and Stuart Woodford. Another son, Henry Sumpter, had died in 1887, and a daughter, Harriet Eloise, in infancy.
Homer Morrison Byington I was born in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 18, 1879, the son of George Richmond Byington and Emma Morrison. Byington was educated by private tutors in Naples during the tenure of his grandfather Aaron Homer Byington as U.S. consul there. A long career with the U.S. State Department began in 1897 when Byington was hired as a consulate clerk in Naples, remaining there in rising capacities as vice and deputy consul and eventually consular assistant. In succeedng years he served at posts in Rome, Bristol, Leeds, and Palermo. In 1917 Byington was assigned to assist Cordell Hull in Congress and in 1923 was posted to Naples as consul. He attained the class one category, the highest rank in the Foreign Service, in 1927. Upon his return to the U.S. he became chairman of the executive committee of the Foreign Service Personnel Board and member of the Board of Examiners for the Foreign Service. In Dec. 1929, Byington was made chief of the Division of Foreign Service Personnel, a position he held until 1933. In 1944, he accepted his final appointment, consul general to Montreal. Byington retired from the Foreign Service in 1944. Homer M. Byington was married to Jeannette Lindsley Gregory on June 2, 1903. They had three sons: Homer Morrison II, James Gregory, and Ward Gregory, as well as three daughters: Janice (Hinkle), Joan (Grant), and Jean (Macmillan). H.M. Byington died in Stamford, Conn., on July 7, 1966.
Material is in English.