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Barlow (Samuel L. M.) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Processing Information
  • General
  • Arrangement
  • Publication Note

  • Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
    Title: Samuel L. M. Barlow papers
    Creator: Barlow, Samuel L. M. (Samuel Latham Mitchill), 1826-1889
    Identifier/Call Number: mssBW
    Physical Description: 315.99 Linear Feet (276 boxes, 50 reels)
    Date (inclusive): 1776-1905
    Date (bulk): 1860-1889
    Abstract: Personal and professional papers of lawyer and Democrat Samuel L. M. Barlow.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services. RESTRICTED: Letterbook indexes (boxes 213-215), correspondence and documents (boxes 251-253), 51 volumes of letterbooks (boxes 259-275); this material is extremely fragile and cannot be paged until conserved.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Samuel L. M. Barlow papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Purchased from Samuel L. M. Barlow (grandson, 1892-1982) through Maury A. Bromsen Associates, 1960.

    Biographical / Historical

    Samuel Latham Mitchill Barlow was a prominent corporation lawyer and backstage Democrat. Co-founder of the law firm of Bowdoin, Larocque, and Barlow in 1852, he specialized in corporate law and management, particularly in railroads, mining, land, and utilities, and was a part owner of the New York World. Barlow represented the English Shareholders Association in a successful attack on the corrupt management of the Erie Railroad in 1872 and was directly responsible for the ouster of Jay Gould from the board of directors of that company. A lifelong Democrat despite his increasing disaffection after 1870, Barlow played a pivotal role in the nomination and presidential campaign of James Buchanan, served as advisor to Buchanan's administration, worked unsuccessfully to restore the party unity at the Charleston Convention of 1860, and engineered the 1864 presidential candidacy of General George McClellan, a close friend. A notable collector of early Americana and early printed editions of European Renaissance literature, Barlow also played an active role in the social and cultural life of New York. He entertained lavishly at his Madison Avenue home and his Long Island estate, and was co-founder of the Manhattan Club and patron of museums and historical societies.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection contains letters, letterbooks, documents, records, and manuscripts that document Barlow's legal, business, and political career, and his cultural and social pursuits. Barlow's legal and business papers constitute the bulk of the collection and cover 1860 to 1889. This portion of the collection deals with financing, building and management of railroads -- both Eastern and Western divisions of the Ohio and Mississippi, the Atlantic & Great Western, the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio, the Little Miami, the Columbus and Xenia, the Erie, and the New York, Erie & Western; Barlow's lobbying on behalf of Texas and Pacific Railroad Company and the Pacific Mail Steamship Company; his involvement in the affairs of the Tehuantepec railroad route in Mexico, mining promotions and operations, including the notorious Arizona diamond hoax; land speculation (farm lands in Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio and urban properties in St. Louis, Mo.); his patronage of the New York subway and telephone enterprises, and his part ownership of the New York World. Political and military correspondence and manuscripts cover Barlow's involvement in Democratic politics at both national and state levels, that started in 1856 and continued until his death. The papers deal with Barlow's role in the nomination of James Buchanan for President, 1856, and his administration; Democratic National Convention at Charleston, 1860; George McClellan's presidential bid, the National Union Club, congressional elections, Tilden, Hancock, and Cleveland campaigns, 1876 to 1886. This portion of the collection also contains reports from the Eastern theater of the Civil War that Barlow received from his agents in the field. Among the correspondents are William T. Sherman, and T.J. Barnett, a minor official at the Department of the Interior and the Washington correspondent of the New York Journal of Commerce, who provided an insight into Lincoln's White House. Also included are items reflecting Barlow's role in social and cultural life of New York -- his friendship with William Cullen Bryant and Bret Harte, patronage of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Academy of Music, and the New York Historical Society, his collections of colonial Americana and rare books, etc. Correspondents include William Henry Aspinwall, Henry Douglas Bacon, T.J. Barnett, James Asheton Bayard, Jr., August Belmont, Judah Philip Benjamin, Montgomery Blair, William Montague Browne, Benjamin Franklin Butler, Roscoe Conkling, George Ticknor Curtis, John Henry Dillon, William Maxwell Evarts, Henry Harrisse, Ben Holladay, Hugh Judge Jewett, Clarence King, George Brinton McClellan, James McHenry, Manton Malon Marble, Thomas Alexander Scott, Horatio Seymour, William Davis.
    Materials created by US presidents in this collection include James Buchanan autograph letters signed to Samuel L.M. Barlow, 1867 May 2 and May 22 (BW Box 63); Grover Cleveland autograph letter signed to Samuel L.M. Barlow, 1884 October 12 (BW Box 164); Millard Fillmore autograph letter signed to Charles Day, 1870 October 12 (BW Box 72); Andrew Jackson autograph letter to Mahlon Dickerson, 1835 June 9 (BW Box 1); also present is a contemporary copy of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee special order to Thomas Mann Randolph Talcott regarding Confederate soldiers paroled at Appomattox, 1865 April 10 (BW Box 58).

    Processing Information

    Processed by Huntington Library staff. In 2022, Brooke M. Black created a finding aid. In 2022, Melissa Haley enhanced description of the presidential material present in the collection as part of the American Presidential Papers Project. In 2023, Gayle M. Richardson processed the material that had been previously separated and restricted due to the fragile condition of the material.


    Former call number: mssBW Boxes 1-202.


    Organized in the following series: 1. Correspondence; 2. Family estate papers and vouchers, ephemera, unidentified and oversize material, Connecticut Land Co. and photographs; 3. Material previously restricted; 4. Letterbooks and microfilm.

    Publication Note

    Albert V. House, "The Samuel Latham Mitchill Barlow papers in the Huntington Library," Huntington Library quarterly, 28, no. 4 (August 1965): 341-352.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Americana -- Collectors and collecting -- United States
    Coal mines and mining -- Colorado
    Corporate lawyers -- United States -- Archives
    Corporation law -- United States -- History -- Sources
    Elections -- United States -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
    Land speculation -- Illinois
    Land speculation -- Iowa
    Land speculation -- Ohio
    Lawyers -- United States -- Archives
    Lobbyists -- United States -- Archives
    Lobbying -- New York (State) -- New York -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
    Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1856
    Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1864
    Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1880
    Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1884
    Railroads -- United States -- History -- Sources
    Rare books -- Collectors and collecting -- United States
    Real property -- Missouri -- Saint Louis
    New York (N.Y.) -- History -- 1775-1865 -- Sources
    New York (N.Y.) -- History -- 1865-1898 -- Sources
    New York (N.Y.) -- Politics and Government -- To 1898 -- Sources
    New York (N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 19th century -- Sources
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources
    United States -- History -- 1817-1861 -- Sources
    United States -- History -- 1865-1898 -- Sources
    United States -- Politics and Government -- 1849-1861 -- Sources
    United States -- Politics and Government -- 1861-1865 -- Sources
    United States -- Politics and Government -- 1865-1900 -- Sources
    Business records -- United States -- 19th century
    Corporation records -- United States -- 19th century
    Ephemera -- United States -- 19th century
    Legal correspondence -- United States -- 19th century
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 19th century
    Personal papers -- United States -- 19th century
    Professional papers -- United States -- 19th century
    Aspinwall, William Henry, 1807-1875
    Bacon, Henry Douglas, 1817-1893
    Barnett, T.J.
    Bayard, James A. (James Asheton), 1799-1880
    Belmont, August, 1813-1890
    Benjamin, J.P. (Judah Philip), 1811-1884
    Blair, Montgomery, 1813-1883
    Browne, William M. (William Montague), 1823-1883
    Bryant, W.C. (William Cullen), 1794-1878
    Buchanan, James, 1791-1868
    Butler, Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin), 1818-1893
    Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908
    Conkling, Roscoe, 1829-1888
    Curtis, George Ticknor, 1812-1894
    Dillon, John Henry, 1819-1877
    Evarts, William Maxwell, 1818-1901
    Fillmore, Millard, 1800-1874
    Gould, Jay, 1836-1892
    Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885
    Harte, Bret, 1836-1902
    Hancock, Winfield Scott, 1824-1886
    Harrisse, Henry, 1829-1910
    Holladay, Ben, 1819-1887
    Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845
    Jewett, Hugh J. (Hugh Judge), 1817-1898
    King, Clarence, 1842-1901
    Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
    McClellan, George B. (George Brinton), 1826-1885
    McHenry, James, 1817-1891
    Marble, Manton, 1834-1917
    Scott, Thomas Alexander, 1823-1881
    Seymour, Horatio, 1810-1886
    Shipman, William D. (William Davis), 1818-1898
    Slidell, John, 1793-1871
    Taylor, Richard, 1826-1879
    Tilden, Samuel J. (Samuel Jones), 1814-1886
    Trescot, William Henry, 1822-1898
    Waite, Morrison R. (Morrison Remick), 1816-1888
    Ward, Samuel, 1814-1884
    Atlantic and Great Western Railway Company
    Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio Railroad Company
    Colorado Coal and Iron Company
    Columbus and Xenia Railroad Company
    Democratic Party (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
    Bowdoin, Larocque & Barlow (Law Firm) -- Archives
    Democratic Party (N.Y) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
    Erie Railroad Company
    Little Miami Railroad Company
    New York, Lake Erie, and Western Railroad Company
    Pacific Mail Steamship Company
    Tehuantepec Railway Company
    Texas & Pacific Railway
    Nation Union Club (Philadelphia, Pa.)
    Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) -- History -- Sources
    Academy of Music (New York, N.Y.) -- History -- Sources
    Democratic National Convention. (1860 :. Charleston, S.C.; Baltimore, Md.)
    World (New York, N.Y. : 1860-1931)