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Finding Aid for the Charles Lanman Papers, 1840-1892
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Charles Lanman Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1840-1892
    Collection number: 728
    Creator: Lanman, Charles, 1819-1895
    Extent: 4 boxes (2 linear ft.)
    Abstract: Charles Lanman (1819-1895) was an editor, librarian, and author. He also wrote travel accounts of his explorations in wilderness areas of the eastern United States, and is best known as the publisher of the Dictionary of Congress, first issued in 1859. The collection consists of holograph manuscripts of Lanman's published works, portions of two unpublished manuscript autobiographies, manuscripts of his works on travel in the U.S., and his biographical sketches.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    W.H. Lowdermilk, purchase, 1960.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Charles Lanman Papers (Collection 728). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 1973058 


    Lanman was born on June 14, 1819 in Monroe, Michigan; worked ten years at a business in New York City before returning to Michigan to edit the Monroe gazette in 1845; the next year was the associate editor of the Cincinnati chronicle, and in 1847 was an assistant on the New York express; in 1849 he became librarian of the War Department in Washington, D.C.; in 1850 he became librarian of copyrights and private secretary of Daniel Webster, and in 1853 examiner of depositories for the southern states; from 1855-57 he served as librarian and head of the returns office in the Interior Department, in 1866 the librarian of the House of Representatives, and from 1871-82, secretary to the Japanese legation; wrote travel accounts of his explorations of wilderness areas of the eastern United States; best known as the publisher of the Dictionary of Congress, first issued in 1859; he died in 1895.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of holograph manuscripts of Charles Lanman's published works, all with revisions for editions that were never published. Also includes portions of two unpublished manuscript autobiographies. Contains manuscripts of his works on travel in the U.S. and his biographical sketches.

    Expanded Scope and Content

    The letters, papers and manuscripts of Charles Lanman (1819-1895) are scattered in a number of repositories throughout the United States. This small collection of Lanman's writings was purchased in 1960 from W.H. Lowdermilk & Company, booksellers, Washington, D.C., with the assistance of Dr. E. Maurice Bloch of the Department of Art, UCLA.
    Lowdermilk & Company purchased the Charles Lanman Library, and apparently this collection of manuscripts was among the books in the library. The library has long since been dispersed, however, the manuscripts were retained and were discovered in 1960 by Dr. Bloch in the basement of Lowdermilk & Company, Washington, D.C.
    The collection contains some of Lanman's published and unpublished works. Two Lanman letters, purchased by the Library in 1940, have been added to the collection. The following is a register with description of the items in the collection.
    James V. Mink

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Eventide recollections, My ships of thought, or, A booklover's monologue (Box 1).
    2. Haphazard personalities, Curious characters and pleasant places (Box 2). “Presidential recollections,” “Recollections of Michigan,” “Octavius Perinchief,” “Letters from a motley crew,” “Literary ladies,” “An quixotic Yankee,” “The old Connecticut Academy,” “Narrow escaper,” untitled manuscript (Box 3).
    3. “Adventures of an angler in Canada,” Letters from the Alleghany Mountains and the source of the Potomac, “A summer in the wilderness,” “A tour to the River Restigouche,” “A winter in the South,” “From the River Potomac to Mount Desert,” “In the evening twilight” (Box 4).
    4. Correspondence (Boxes 3-4).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Lanman, Charles, 1819-1895--Archives.
    Authors, American--19th century--Archives.
    Librarians--United States--Archival resources.
    Travelers' writings, American.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Manuscripts for publication.