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
- 30.0 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.
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
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.
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.
Letterpress book of correspondence with multiple recipients (mostly professional); highly fading; multiple handwritings suggest secretary