Clendenen Family Papers: Finding Aid

Processed by Olga Tsapina.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Manuscript Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
© 2002
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Overview of the Collection

Title: Clendenen Family Papers
Dates (inclusive): 1855-1972
Collection Number: mssClendenen family
Creator: Clendenen (Family)
Extent: 113 pieces in 2 boxes
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscript Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Abstract: This collection contains papers of Clemens L. Clendenen and his family, chiefly consisting of correspondence from the 1850s-1860s and including sentiments about the American Civil War and the life of the common soldier, as seen primarily in letters from Clendenen to his wife in Beverly, Ohio.
Language: English.


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Administrative Information

Publication Rights

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Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Clendenen Family Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


Gift of Col. Clarence C. Clendenen, 1948, 1969 and 1973.

Biographical Note

The Clendenens were a farming family in Beverly, Ohio. In the mid 1850s, Hyram Clendenen, son of James Clendenden, moved to a Gold Rush town of Iowa Hill, California. In August, 1863, his brother, Clemens L. Clendenen, an Ohio farmer, enlisted in the 4th West Virginia Cavalry. This one-year regiment was on duty at Parkersburg, Clarksburg, Grafton, New Creek and other points on Baltimore & Ohio Railroad till June 1864, guarding railroads and operating against guerillas. Clemens L. Clendenen served as a cook and barber. Captured during the action at Williamsport, January 30, 1864, he died in the Andersonville prison in summer of 1864. Willard Lambden Clendenen was a farmer and laborer in Kansas in 1880's. Col. Clarence Clemens Clandenen, a prominent military historian and grandson of Clemens L. Clendenen, was curator of special collections, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.

Scope and Content

Clenenden family correspondence and the 1859 pocket diary kept by Clemens L. Clendenen cover Clendenen family affairs, farming, and property, including and a rift between Hyman Clendenen and his father over the land in Iowa and a homestead grant.
The Civil War letters from Clemens L. Clenden to his wife Louisa Shinn Clendenen posted from Parkersburg, Clarksburg and New Creek, West Virginia. (Aug. Sept. - 1864) and a letter from Andersonville prison deal with camp life and comprise some discussion of war politics, Vallandigham and Copperheads. This portion of the collection also includes letters to Louisa from John V. Clendenen, and members of the 4th W. Virginia Cavalry about her husband's fate.
Letters from William Lambden Clendenen to his fiance Mary Cowan (1887-1888) (32 pieces) describe his life in Ashland, Kansas, as a farmer and laborer.
Correspondence between Colonel Clarence Clemens Clendenen and Confederate Historical Society (London) (1969-1972, 18 pieces) deal with history of the Civil War, especially in the West and border states, and discuss affairs of the Confederate Historical Society. Correspondents include Michael A. Rich, Robert Fowler, and Kenneth M. Broughton.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection consists of correspondence, one manuscript, and ephemera and organized in the following manner:
  • Box 1. Clendenen family correspondence. 1855-1870. 62 pieces.
  • Box 2. Clendenen, Willard Lambden, To Mary Cowan (1887-1888); Confederate Historical Society, Correspondence with Clarence C. Clendenen (1969-1972); ephemera. 53 pieces.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


Clendenen, Clemens L., -1864 -- Correspondence.
Clendenen famiy -- Archives.
Vallandigham, Clement L. (Clement Laird), 1820-1871.
Clendenen, Clarence C. (Clarence Clemens) -- Correspondence.
United States. Army. West Virginia Cavalry Regiment, 4th (1863-1864)
Andersonville Prison -- Personal narratives.
Confederate Historical Society (London)
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
West Virginia -- Description and travel.
Kansas -- Description and travel.


Letters (correspondence) United States.
Diaries United States 19th century.
Family papers United States.
Ephemera United States.

Alternate Authors

Clendenen, Clemens L., -1864.
Clendenen, Willard Lambden, active 1887-1888.
Clendenen, Clarence C. (Clarence Clemens)
Clendenen, Louisa Shinn, active 1863-1864, correspondent.
Cowan, Mary, active 1887-1888, correspondent.
Confederate Historical Society (London).

Collection Contents

Box 1

Clendenen family correspondence. 1855-1870

Box 2

Clendenen, Willard Lambden, To Mary Cowan (1887-1888); Confederate Historical Society, Correspondence with Clarence C. Clendenen (1969-1972); ephemera.