Guide to the Bedinger and Dandridge Family Papers, 1752-2000


Bedinger and Dandridge families of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and New York. Collection consist of journals, correspondence, poems, reviews, and other papers of the Bedinger, Dandridge, Washington, Henry Clay, and Adam Stephen families, of Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio; and of the Cornwall, Lawrence, Mitchell, Walter Bowne, and Rufus King Southgate families, of Connecticut, Maine, and New York primarily created or collected by Caroline Danske (Bedinger) Dandridge. The papers fall into six classes: journals and fragments of journals of Danske Dandridge (1864-1909), Henry Bedinger (1830s), and Daniel Bedinger (1811); correspondence and material on Kentucky and the northern Shenandoah Valley during the Revolutionary period; family correspondence, genealogies, and memoirs used in writing the Bedinger family history; papers of Henry Bedinger, the American Minister to Denmark in the 1850s; poems, reviews and literary correspondence of Danske Dandridge, and poems and prose of her father, Henry Dandridge, and of her daughter, Serena Catherine Dandridge; and horticultural writings of Danske Dandridge.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Bedinger and Dandridge Family papers
30 Linear Feet, 13,000 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

Collection Overview

Collection includes the correspondence and papers of five generations of families from Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and New York chiefly created or collected by Carolina Danske (Bedinger) Dandridge. The primary portion of the collection is made up of the personal and family papers of Danske Dandridge (1858-1914), a writer and horticulturist. From 1866 to her marriage in 1877, Danske Dandridge's correspondence is concerned with social life in Virginia and Washington, D.C., and with family matters. Her literary correspondence begins in the early 1880s and continues until the year of her death. Correspondents include John Esten Cooke, Edmund C. Stedman, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Thomas W. Higginson. There are sustained exchanges of letters with William Hayes Ward, editor of The Brooklyn Independent which published much of her work; with the poet Lizette Woodworth Reese of Baltimore; and Margaretta Lippincott. Material on gardening begins to appear in the papers for the 1890s and includes a large number of letters and eleven notebooks.

Danske Dandridge's family correspondence continues with here sister Mrs. J. F. B. (Mary Bedinger) Mitchell, and her brother, Henry Bedinger IV, as well as with her numerous cousins.

Correspondence of Adam Stephen Dandridge (1844-1924) reflects his career in the West Virginia House of Representatives and his business as a seller of farm machinery.

Correspondence and papers of Serena Katherine (Violet) Dandridge, daughter of Danske and Adam Stephen Dandridge, bear on her career as an illustrator for the zoologist Hubert Lyman Clark, and reflect her interest in women's suffrage and the Swedenborgian Church. There are also twelve volumes of her writings in manuscript.

Correspondence and papers of Danske Dandridge's father, Henry Bedinger Dandridge III, include letters on literary subjects from Thomas Willis White, Philip Pendleton Cooke, and Nathaniel Beverly Tucker; papers from his years as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1845 to 1849; records of his service, 1853-1858, first as a consul and then as minister of the United States in Sweden and in particular his negotiation of the treaty with Sweden in 1857; and his notebooks containing poems and comments on social life in Virginia.

Letters of Caroline B. (Lawrence) Bedinger, mother of Danske Dandridge, to her husband's family in the South and her relatives in New York concern her experience as a young woman in Washington, D.C., and Virginia; her stay in Copenhagen; the Civil War experiences of her husband's family and her own; family life; and the education of her children.

The collection contains a large number of transcripts made by Danske Dandridge from originals in the possession of various branches of her family, including the Swearingens, Shepherds, Morgans, Rutherfords, Worthingtons, Washingtons, Kings, Brownes, and Lawrences for the period from the American Revolution to the Civil War. There are also copies of letters and documents from the Lyman C. Draper manuscripts at the University of Wisconsin. Essentially, they are the papers of three brothers, George Michael Bedinger (1756-1843), Henry Bedinger II (1753-1843), and Daniel Bedinger (1761-1818), and their descendants and connections. Among the many subjects discussed are Indian warfare and conditions on the Virginia frontier; descriptions of the events of the Revolution; trading in salt and fur; experiences of Americans held prisoner by the British during the Revolution; flour milling in the Potomac valley; trade and transport of farm commodities; travel on the Mississippi to New Orleans, 1811-1812; James Rumsey and the development of the steamboat; the settling of Kentucky and Ohio, descriptions of Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore at various times from 1800 to 1860; antebellum social life, South and North; and extensive comments on politics through 1860, particularly on the opposition to Federalism and the early Democratic-Republican Party.

Description taken from Guide to the Cataloged Collections in the Manuscript Department of the William R. Perkins Library, Duke University. (1980).

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Bedinger and Dandridge Family Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, 1752-1845
Box 1
Correspondence, 1846-1849
Box 2
Correspondence, 1850-1856
Box 3
Correspondence, 1857-1862
Box 4
Correspondence, 1863-1875
Box 5
Correspondence, 1876-1882
Box 6
Correspondence, 1883-1885
Box 7
Correspondence, 1886-1887
Box 8
Correspondence, 1888-1889
Box 9
Correspondence, 1890-1891
Box 10
Correspondence, 1892-1894
Box 11
Correspondence, 1895-1896
Box 12
Correspondence, 1897-1899
Box 13
Correspondence, 1900-1901
Box 14
Correspondence, 1902-1903
Box 15
Correspondence, 1904-1905
Box 16
Correspondence, 1906-1907, Jan.-March
Box 17
Correspondence, 1907, Apr.-Dec.
Box 18
Correspondence, 1908
Box 19
Correspondence, 1909
Box 20
Correspondence, 1910
Box 21
Correspondence, 1911, Jan.-July
Box 22
Correspondence, 1911, Aug.-1913
Box 23
Correspondence, 1914-1916
Box 24
Correspondence, 1917-1950s
Box 25
Correspondence, undated
Box 26
Correspondence, undated
Box 27
Correspondence (copies), 1784-1854

Includes letters of Henry Bedinger II, Henry Bedinger Davenport, and Caroline (L.) Bedinger.

Box 28

2. Writings Series

9 boxes
Writings of Henry Bedinger III

Copies of Bedinger papers in the Draper Collection, University of Wisconsin.

Box 29
Writings of Danske Dandridge
Box 30
Prose (Fiction)
Box 30
St. Clair's Campaign
Box 31
De Deah Old House
Box 31
Heroes of the Vendee
Box 32
Prose (Non-fiction)--including Garden Notes, 1899-1901 and letters about her garden to Lizette Reese
Box 33
Cossack Celebration, poetry (Holo. MSS.), and prose (fiction)
Box 34
Henry Bedinger and Old Shepherdstown
Box 35
Henry Bedinger and Old Bedford
Box 35
Writings of Serena C. (Violet) Dandridge
Box 36
Elizabeth S. Pendleton, The Burning of Fountain Rock
Box 37
Henrietta (Lee) Goldsborough, The Fate of Old Ironsides and Original Masts
Box 37
Other writings by various people
Box 37
Legal Papers
Box 38
Financial Papers
Box 38
Financial Papers
Box 39
Box 40
Box 41
Box 42
Printed Material: Leaflets, Broadsides, and pamphlets, 1827-1957 and undated
Box 43
Box 44
Box 45
Daniel Bedinger Journal, 1811-1812
Box 46
Hugh Stephenson, Muster Roll, 1776
Box 46
Caroline (Lawrence) Bedinger, Letterbooks, 1848-1862
Box 46
Mar (Bedinger) Mitchel, Memoirs, 1854-1860
Box 46
Notebooks on family history: 1892; 1903; 1906; 1907; 1910
Box 46
Danske Dandridge's Journals, 1864-ca. 1892
Box 47
Danske Dandridge's Journals, 1885-1904
Box 48
Danske Dandridge's journals, 1906-1909
Box 49
Danske Dandridge's Autobiography
Box 49
Family record, 1877-1885
Box 49
Box 49
Danske Dandridge's Garden notes, Journals, and articles
Box 50
Notebooks for American Prisoners of the Revolution and Historic Shepherdstown
Box 51
Notebooks for "Heroes of the Vendee" and "De Deah Old House"
Box 52
Notebooks for "St. Clair's Campaign"
Box 53
Writings of Danske Dandridge, including fiction and other prose
Box 54
Serena Katherine (Violet) Dandridge poetry
Box 55
Box 56
Box 57
Business Records
Box 58
Business Records
Box 59
Business Records
Box 60
Miscellaneous Volumes
Box 61
Miscellaneous Volumes
Box 62
Miscellaneous Volumes
Box 63
Immortal Essence: The Life and Writings of Danske Dandridge, Poet and Nature-Lover, shown on West Virginia Public Television.
(VHS cassette)
Box 63

Historical Note

Bedinger and Dandridge families of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and New York.

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The Bedinger-Dandridge Papers were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library from 1955 to 1959, and 2003.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library Staff

Encoded by Abraham Lee and Noah Huffman, April 2010

Accessions from 1955-1959 and 2003 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.