Guide to the Francis Warrington Dawson Family Papers, 1386-1963 (bulk 1859-1950)
Journalist, of Charleston, S.C., and Versailles, France.
The collection (7918 items; dated 1386-1963, bulk 1859-1950) 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.
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
- Dawson, Francis Warrington, 1840-1889.
- Francis Warrington Dawson Family Papers, 1386-1963 (bulk 1859-1950)
- Language of Material
- 10.5 Linear Feet, 7986 Items
- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
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, and scrapbooks, diaries, and reminiscences, but also many letters. Papers of the senior Dawson contain three scrapbooks of clippings, letters, etc., which Dawson had arranged as a sort of biography of himself; loose letters and papers, primarily correspondence with his wife; two letterpress volumes with his replies to many of the letters in the scrapbooks and in the loose papers. 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.
Embassy memoranda by Dawson cover the Central Powers; the Supreme War Council meetings; French labor; the liberated regions of France; the Young Men's Christian Association; reaction to U.S. requisition of Dutch shipping; the Rhine frontier; allied land transportation; French government bureaus, personnel, politics, and administration; economic affairs; and finance in the Far East. Postwar diplomatic memoranda by Dawson, 1946-1958, 3 vols., concern French economic conditions, labor, communism, atomic warfare, politics, French leaders including Charles de Gaulle, Indochina, and the U.S.S.R. Letters also cover 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.
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.
Among bills, receipts, and legal papers are materials of J. M. Morgan and the DeSaussure-Trenholm family, financial papers of the Charleston News and Courier, and records of the settlement of the estate of Frank Dawson.
There are manuscripts of writings by Sarah Dawson; manuscripts, fragments, lectures by Warrington Dawson and Theodore Roosevelt; a log and a diary of Roosevelt's African trip; Roosevelt's notes on the policy of his administration in regard to Negroes; extracts from letters and speeches which the former president supplied for use in connection with Dawson's book, Opportunity and Theodore Roosevelt; manuscripts of the book; essays and drafts by Jessie Conrad, Auguste Rodin, Vance Thompson, and Georges Ladoux, reflecting on Dawson's friendships and literary collaborations; and other manuscripts dealing with psychical research. There are also manuscripts, research instructions, notes, page proofs, and other papers resulting from Dawson's research for Colonial Williamsburg, and from his novels and short stories; genealogical papers of the Morgan family and related Gibbes, Fowler, Waller, Hunt, Bunyan, and Baynton families, including a chart of the Reeks family of England; and notes for Dawson's lectures on art, France, Charleston, the Negro in America, Joseph Conrad, and Theodore Roosevelt.
Bound volumes include Frank Dawson's scrapbooks, 1875-1888, 3 vols., relating to his editorship of the Charleston News and Courier and to Democratic politics, and contain editorials, and other newspaper clippings relating to Dawson, letters from his friends, and speeches. There is information on Dawson's opinions concerning the economic theories of Henry George and letters from George. There are also letterpress books, 2 vols., 1870s-1887, largely containing political correspondence. Miscellaneous volumes hold Dawson's plays, poems, clippings, and copies of letters from Mary Haxall. Business records include an address book; cashbook, 1886-1888; ledger, 1867-1872; notebook on the finances of the News and Courier; a private ledger, 1867-1887; and miscellaneous financial notebooks. For Sarah Dawson there are scrapbooks, 1853-1882, 3 vols., with clippings, her letters to the News and Courier, and accounts of the death of Frank Dawson and tributes to him. Sarah Dawson's manuscript diaries, 1862-1866, 6 vols. (largely published 1913), also include notes from ca. 1896-1906. There are notebooks of Sarah explaining her husband's death, a manuscript by Warrington Dawson commenting on the same subject, and biographical accounts of Frank Dawson and other family members. Other notebooks of Sarah Dawson, 4 vols., 1898-1908, concern her life, travel, and psychical phenomena.
There are diaries of Warrington Dawson, 1898, 1914-1918, 1930-1931, 1934-1945, 4 vols., and of Ethel Dawson, 1888-1891, 1 vol. Warrington's reminiscences of World War I deal with the French intelligence service and attributes the origin of his illness and that of Woodrow Wilson to German biological warfare. A second reminiscence concerns his work for the American Embassy in the 1930s and his life in Paris under German occupation, and has information on the dietary work of B. Lytton-Bernard (Bernard Trappachuh). A third reminiscence gives a mystical interpretation of world events, 1932-1945. Warrington Dawson also left scrapbooks, 1884-1952, 4 vols., preserving many of his newspaper writings. Dawson's collection of French manuscripts and autographs, 1386-1830, relates to his interest in genealogy and concern the de Bethune, de Crequi, Chevalier, and related families, and include a few parchments concerning Maximilien de Béthune, Duc de Sully, and Henry IV, King of France.
The collection includes a number of photographs of Joseph and Jessie Conrad, Warrington Dawson, Sarah Dawson, Ethel (Dawson) Barry, Herbert Barry, Frank Dawson, Daniel H. Chamberlain (Reconstruction governor of South Carolina), François Millet, Woodrow Wilson, Archibald Forbes, Lord Windsor, the Chateau de Josselin (signed by the Duke and Duchess de Rohan), historical monuments and their inscriptions in Virginia, the Charleston earthquake, and Warrington Dawson's Versailles apartment.
There is also microfilm, 1 reel, of published and unpublished works by and about Warrington Dawson and Joseph Conrad, filmed from the originals at the Ralph Foster Museum, The School of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Missouri.
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.
Warrington Dawson's handwritten journals, autograph books, drafts, and essays, dating from the 1930s.
Warrington Dawson's handwritten journals, drafts, and essays, including "History of My Bride," 1929, and "University School, Richmond, Va.," 1895.
Oversize folder in Box 100 containing encapsulated reproductions of 8 maps from Virginia, New York, and the North American continents, dating from the 1700s through the 1930s, collected by Warrington Dawson from Williamsburg.
Oversize folder containing photographs of sculpture, people, and places.
Draft of an undated play, "Strange Guests for Dinner," by Francis Warrington Dawson; miscellaneous correspondence.
These images are mounted on cardboard and are approximately 16x20 inches, unless otherwise noted. They are arranged in four oversize boxes, which have been numbered in the catalog as Image Boxes 1-4. Most photographs were taken by C.C. Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey on August 31, 1886. Some photographs have additional captions, added later, written on their cardboard mounts. At least two photographs are personal, and show the Dawson residence following the earthquake.
14 carat gold cuff links which Dr. Bernard Lytton-Bernard of Guadalahara [sic], Mexico, presented to the Dawson Collection on April 6, 1966. He said they were given to Dawson by Theodore Roosevelt and in an impulsive moment Dawson gave them to him.
- Dawson, Francis Warrington, 1840-1889.
- Dawson, Sarah Morgan, 1842-1909.
- Morgan, Howell.
- Dawson, Warrington, 1878-1962.
- Morgan family.
- Colonial Williamsburg Foundation--Employees.
- Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)--Louisiana.
- Diplomatic and consular service, American--France.
- New York (State)--Maps.
- Baton Rouge (La.)--Social life and customs.
- France--Social life and customs--20th century.
- Louisiana--Social life and customs.
- New Orleans (La.)--Social life and customs.
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives, Confederate.
- United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Participation, French.
- United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Sources.
- Williamsburg (Va.)--Maps.
- North America--Maps.
- Conrad, Joseph, 1857-1924.
- Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919.
- Charleston News and Courier.
- Charleston earthquake, S.C., 1886--Pictorial works.
[Identification of item], Francis Warrington Dawson Family Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The Francis Warrington Dawson Family Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift between 1950-1988.
Processed by Rubenstein Library Staff, date unknown
Encoded by Meghan Lyon, July 2010
Accessions were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.
Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.
This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.