Guide to the Francis Warrington Dawson Family Papers, 1386-1963, bulk 1859-1950
Journalist, of Charleston, S.C., and Versailles, France. The collection contains the papers of Francis Warrington Dawson, who was born Austin John Reeks; his wife, Sarah Ida Fowler Morgan Dawson; and their son, Francis Warrington Dawson II, better known as Warrington Dawson. The papers are primarily literary in character but also include many letters. Francis's papers are primarily autobiographical with information about his Civil War service, travels, courtship, and career. Also present are Morgan family papers describing social life in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., in the second half of the 19th century, especially during Reconstruction. Warrington Dawson materials document his work with the American Embassy in Paris and describes French life and politics. Also present is material from his work as director of French Research for Colonial Williamsburg, Inc., including copies (made from the originals at Colonial Williamsburg) of original documents pertaining to French participation in the American Revolution. Also included are copies of 18th century maps of North America, Williamsburg, Va., and positions of the French and American armies in New York and Virginia during the Revolutionary War.
- Collection Number
- Francis Warrington Dawson family papers
- 1386-1963, bulk 1859-1950
- Dawson, Francis Warrington, 1840-1889
- 30 Linear Feet, 7,986 items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
The collection comprises the papers of Francis Warrington (Frank) Dawson (1840-1889), whose original name was Austin John Reeks; his wife, Sarah Ida Fowler (Morgan) Dawson; and of their son, Francis Warrington Dawson II, known as Warrington Dawson (1878-1962). The papers are primarily literary in character, with many editorials, newspaper writings, short stories, novels, articles, scrapbooks, diaries, reminiscences, and letters.
There are several series in the collection: Correspondence, Photographs, Scrapbooks, Writings, and Printed Materials document the family's activities in the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries. Warrington Dawson's research interests in French manuscripts, early American history, and family genealogy are also documented in the French Manuscripts and Research Files series.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Francis Warrington Dawson Family Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The Correspondence series has been arranged alphabetically by correspondent, with general correspondence arranged chronologically at the end of the series. The series also includes Warrington Dawson's diplomatic dispatches and assorted diplomatic papers from Alphonse Pageot.
Morgan family correspondence, beginning in 1859, describes the social life and customs in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana; in Paris, France; and the death of Henry Waller Morgan in a duel in 1861. Letters of Thomas Gibbes Morgan, Sr., describe Confederate mobilization in 1861. Correspondence of Frank Dawson and members of the Morgan family describe Dawson's passage on the blockade runner Nashville, his career as ordnance officer in Longstreet's corps and later in Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry corps; the destruction of homes in Louisiana by the war and Butler's conduct in New Orleans; the battle of Fredericksburg; imprisonment at Fort Delaware; refugee life at Macon, Mississippi; cavalry operations; the causes of Confederate defeat; a duel of Henry Rives Pollard, editor of the Richmond Examiner; politics and journalism in Reconstruction South Carolina; the editorial policies of Dawson's paper, the Charleston News and Courier; accusations of bribery, fraud, and libel; the courtship of Dawson and Sarah (Morgan) Dawson; Dawson's refusal of a challenge to a duel by Martin Witherspoon Gary; the army bill, 1879; the Tilden-Hayes disputed election, 1876; the redemption of South Carolina; Morgan family genealogy; travel in Italy and Europe in the 1880s; education in South Carolina at state-supported colleges and the Citadel; the Charleston earthquake, 1886; Dawson's alleged remarks about Grover Cleveland, reported in the New York World, 1886; labor and labor organizations; the tariff; court procedures in South Carolina; Confederate veterans' organizations; Democratic Party affairs; Dawson's debts; his murder; and the settlement of his estate. Among Dawson's frequent correspondents are Daniel Henry Chamberlain, Edward B. Dickinson, Samuel Dibble, Fitzhugh Lee, Robert Baker Pegram, Henry A. M. Smith, Hugh Smith Thompson, Benjamin Ryan Tillman, Giddings Whitney, and Benjamin H. Wilson.
There is also correspondence of Sarah Dawson and Warrington Dawson, newsman, novelist, editor, special assistant to the American Embassy in Paris, and director of French research for Colonial Williamsburg. This material gives glimpses of French life, 1900-1950, and information on the families of Joseph Conrad and Theodore Roosevelt. Regular letters of Sarah Dawson to Eunice (Martin) Dunkin (Mrs. William Huger Dunkin) and to her sister, Mrs. Lavina (Morgan) Drum of Bethesda, Maryland, comment on French and Washington, D.C., social life and customs. Dawson's writings as Paris correspondent of the United Press Associations of America after 1900 are in clippings in the scrapbooks. They reflect French and world affairs. Topics treated in correspondence include Theodore Roosevelt's safari; Roosevelt's opinions; press relations for the Roosevelt party in Africa; Roosevelt's reviews of Dawson's books; Dawson's lectures and writings; Conrad's writings; other literary matters; John Powell's career as a concert pianist; seances and mediums; the Taft administration; Roosevelt and race relations; the Negro in Liberia, Nigeria, Haiti, and the U.S.; Roosevelt's political career; the Fresh Air Art Society of London; the organization of the press bureau in the U.S. embassy in Paris; and the work of the Foreign Department of the Committee on Public Information.
Warrington Dawson's correspondence also covers German reparations; relief work in Austria and the Near East; details of embassy staff work; George Harvey's mission to Europe, 1921; the Washington Disarmament Conference; French finance and politics; war debts; international finance; Coueism; French socialism; a crisis in the publication of the Charleston News and Courier, 1927; the boy scout movement; the Conrad family after Joseph's death; Theodore Roosevelt; U.S. investment in the U.S.S.R.; the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia; the French dead at Yorktown; research in French sources on Rochambeau's army; reports to Harold Shurtleff, in charge of the research department of Colonial Williamsburg; the research of Peter Stuyvesant Barry on his grandfather, Frank Dawson; personal and family matters; Dawson's health; restoration of the Lee mansion, Stratford; the Great Depression in the United States and in France; the genealogy of the Chambrun family; the role of Lafayette in Florida land settlement; the Compañía Arrendataria del Monopolio de Petroleos, a Spanish firm in which the French Petroleum Company held an interest; the war records of Theodore Roosevelt's sons; and autograph collecting for the Schroeder Foundation, Webster Groves, Missouri. Major correspondents of Warrington Dawson include Ethel (Dawson) Barry, Phyllis (Windsor-Clive) Benton, Jessie Conrad, Joseph Conrad, Annie Cothran, Alice Dukes, Camille Flammarion, Clarence Payne Franklin, A. H. Frazier, Hugh Gibson, Alice Stopford Green, Yves Guyot, Mary Goodwin, William Archer Rutherfoord Godwin, Herman Hagedorn, Ralph Tracy Hale, Constance (Cary) Harrison, Leland Harrison, Elizabeth Hayes, Henriette Joffre, James Kerney, Grace King, Rudyard Kipling, Georges Ladoux, William Loeb, Jr., Samuel Frank Logan, Andrew W. Miller, C. V. Miller, Francois Millet, L. D. Morel, James Morris Morgan, Frederick Palmer, John Powell, Auguste Rodin, the Duke end Duchess de Rohan, Edith Roosevelt, Nicholas Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Max Savelle, H. L. Schroeder, George Sharp, Hallie (Clough) Sharp, Philip Simms, George E. Smith, Vance Thompson, and Robert William Vail.
There are three letters in this folder. The first is addressed to Warrington. The other two are addressed to "My dear Young Friend" and the second to "My dear Sir." They both refer to Francis W. Dawson and his wife, but they refer to them as the addressee's Grand-Father and Grand-Mother. This would mean they are not addressed to Warrington, who was their son. It's not certain, but more likely, that they were addressed to Stuyvesant Barry, FWD's grandson, who was at Harvard in 1930 and writing his thesis on FWD. He wrote and interviewed everyone he could find. Baynard was a reporter on the News and Courier, and worked for FWD for years, as he describes in the letters.
This includes two letters from Berry to Warrington Dawson. The third letter is to "Chere Madame" and it describes something Berry and the Ambassador are trying to do for her "oeuvre," which involves 500 francs. Then it gives charming thanks for an exquisite Ste. Therese and goes on to offer some intimate, friendly comments about vacation, the South, and fresh air. It's signed "Yours devotedly, Walter Berry." At the top of the letter it says COPIE and 53, Rue de Varenne. That is Edith Wharton's address, and she and Berry were devoted friends and possibly lovers.
Letterpress book of correspondence with multiple recipients (mostly professional); highly fading; multiple handwritings suggest secretary
It is written to F.W. Dawson, but written in FWD's hand, on N & C stationery. However, it is signed by James M Morgan, so it is technically from him. It is a legal document re: JMM's daughter.
A researcher has identified Miriam as Miriam Morgan Dupre, sister of Sarah Morgan Dawson. The first letter, on green paper, without a salutation, is to James Morris Morgan, brother of Miriam and Sarah. He was in the Confederate Navy. He was the only brother in the War left alive by then. Other letters are to Sarah Morgan Dawson, whose family nickname was Zay.
A group of transcripts of diplomatic dispatches of Comte Louis Barbe Charles Serurier, French minister in Washington, to Talleyrand, Oct., 1812-June, 1813, describe the opening phrases of the War of 1812, United States opinion concerning France, the divorce proceedings of Elizabeth (Patterson) Bonaparte, interviews with Secretary of State James Monroe, Joel Barlow's negotiations for a commercial treaty with France, embargo, non-importation, and impressment; Republican and Federalist activities; and affairs in New Granada (Columbia). A later series of dispatches from the French minister in Washington, Alphonse J. Y. Pageot, 1835-1848, relates to American spoliation claims against France, American public opinion, analyses of nullification, the Bank of the United States crisis, abolition, and other aspects of American politics. Dispatches of 1841-1843 from Madrid contain information on Spanish affairs, and the guardianship and marriage of the Spanish queen. Later dispatches from Washington concern commercial relations between France and the United States; annexation of Texas and Oregon; the Mexican War and the question of slavery in the territories and its implications for disunion; and the war's effect on French commerce.
Includes cable index.