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Ray (Charles Henry) 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
  • Arrangement
  • General

  • Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
    Title: Charles Henry Ray papers
    Creator: Ray, Charles Henry
    Identifier/Call Number: mssRY
    Physical Description: 7 Linear Feet (3 boxes, 1 expansion folder, 29 folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1826-1950
    Date (bulk): 1838-1871
    Abstract: A collection of material related to Charles Henry Ray, American physician, abolitionist, politician, journalist, and editor.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

    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]. Charles Henry Ray papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Julia Ray Andrews, 1943 and gift of Paul Ray and Julia Ray Andrews in 1954.

    Biographical / Historical

    Charles Henry Ray (1821-1870) was a physician, abolitionist politician, journalist, editor and owner of the Chicago Tribune from 1855 to 1863. Ray was born in Norwich, New York; his father was Levi Ray (1796-1850). Ray attended the Norwich Union Seminary and from 1837 to 1838, he studied medicine under Thompson Meade of Poolville, New York. In 1838, he decided to join the military and became a surgeon's mate; in 1840 was commissioned Surgeon of the 105h Regiment of Infantry. An unknown scandal caused him to leave the military and he ended up in Bedford, Massachusetts where he enlisted as the surgeon on the whaling bark Newton bound for South Africa. Ray returned to Bedford in August 1843 and went to New York to study medicine; in 1844, he decided to move West. Ray went first to Iowa and, a year later, to Illinois, having obtained a letter of recommendation to John T. Stuart, a law partner of Abraham Lincoln. He settled in Springfield where he joined the Washingtonian Temperance Society. Together with Tench S. Fairchild, he tried to start a temperance newspaper and joined the Sons of Temperance. In 1846, he married Jane Yates Per Lee and moved to Mackinac, Illinois and set up a medical practice. Soon the family moved to Galena, Illinois where Ray became a proprietor of a newspaper The Galena Jeffersonian. Known for his strong abolitionist politics, Ray reported for his own newspaper and for Horace Greeley's New York Tribune on the Kansas-Nebraska Act crisis and became a powerful political force in the state. In 1855, in partnership with Joseph Medill, Ray bought the Chicago Tribune. Although he was skeptical about Lincoln's commitment of anti-slavery causes, he assumed the role of his advisor in 1856. In 1861, his first wife died, and three years later he married Julia Annah Clark, daughter of Lincoln Clark (1800-1886). In 1863, he sold his interest in the Tribune to Medill and devoted his time to business investments; most were unsuccessful and having lost money in these enterprises, he returned to Chicago and assumed the post of the editor of the Chicago Evening Post. He became a patron of the arts and founded the Chicago Historical Society. He died in Chicago on September 24, 1870.

    Scope and Contents

    A collection of approximately 437 items from 1826 to 1950, it consists of the professional, political, and personal correspondence and papers of Charles Henry Ray; chiefly letters addressed to him. Included are letters discussing family news; Ray's studies of medicine in New York; the whaling voyage from 1841 to 1843 onboard the New Bedford whaler Newton; early medical practice in Illinois; business affairs; the Chicago Tribune; the Chicago Evening Post; his involvement in the trade with the South during the Civil War. Also, contemporary politics, including the Republican party, the Lincoln presidency and the Civil War. Correspondents include Levi Ray, Jane Yates Per Lee Ray, Julia Annah Clark Ray, Harvey Hubbard, William M. Fenton, Serranus Clinton Hastings, Tench S. Fairchild, Charles S. Hempstead, James Wilson Grimes, Joseph Medill, Henry Martyn Smith, Lyman Trumbull, Elihu Benjamin Washburne, Horace White, and others. Also included are newspaper clippings of the obituaries of Charles H. Ray, and photographs and portraits of Ray and his second wife. The collection also includes additional family and political letters and a manuscript of "Charles H. Ray and the Chicago Tribune."

    Processing Information

    Processed by Huntington Staff, circa 1960. In 2020, Gayle Richardson created the finding aid derived from a legacy summary report.


    Arranged chronologically.


    Individual call numbers included in the collection: mssRY 1-294.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Chicago tribune Chicago evening post
    Abolitionists -- Illinois
    Businessmen -- Middle West
    Journalists -- Illinois
    Newspaper editors -- Illinois
    Physicians -- Illinois
    Politicians -- Illinois
    Slaves -- Florida -- History -- 19th century
    Whaling ships -- Massachusetts -- New Bedford
    Chicago (Ill.) -- History -- 19th century
    Florida -- History -- 1821-1865
    Illinois -- History -- 19th century
    Illinois -- Politics and Government -- 19th century
    Kansas -- Politics and Government -- 1854-1861
    Middle West -- History -- 19th century
    Norwich (N.Y.) -- History
    United States -- History -- 19th century
    United States -- History -- 1815-1861
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
    United States -- History -- 1865-1898
    United States -- Politics and Government -- 1841-1861
    United States -- Politics and Government -- 1861-1865
    United States -- Politics and Government -- 1865-1869
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 19th century
    Personal papers -- Illinois -- 19th century
    Fairchild, Tench S.
    Fenton, William M. (William Matthew), 1808-1871
    Grimes, James W. (James Wilson)
    Hammond, O. T., active 1838
    Hempstead, Charles S., 1794-1874
    Hastings, S. Clinton (Serranus Clinton), 1814-1893
    Hubbard, Harvey, active 1847
    Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
    Medill, Joseph, 1823-1899
    Ray, Jane Yates Per Lee, -1861
    Ray, Julia Annah Clark, 1840-1913
    Ray, Levi, 1796-1850
    Smith, H. M. (Henry Martyn), 1828-1894
    Trumbull, Lyman, 1813-1896
    Washburne, E. B. (Elihu Benjamin), 1816-1887
    White, Horace, 1834-1916
    Equal Rights Party (N.Y.)
    Newton (Bark)
    Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )
    Sons of Temperance of North America
    United States -- Kansas-Nebraska Act