CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION: THE MAKING OF MODERN AMERICA
Series One: The Papers of Jay Cooke (1821-1905) from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Part 2: General Correspondence, May 1865-December 1867
The strength of the Cooke collection lies in the 106 boxes of correspondence it contains. These are a vital source describing politics, finance and metropolitan culture in Civil War and Gilded Age America.
Part 2 covers the period from 1865 to 1867, when correspondence between Jay, Henry and Pitt Cooke was at its peak. The letters were full and frank. Jay Cooke retained copies of his own correspondence as well as those sent to him, and these now provide a unique historical record of a period in which they wielded considerable power. In addition to their own letters, there are also reports from contacts all over America - from congressmen to newspaper reporters, and from foreign emissaries to land agents.
There is much on life in Washington DC, New York and Philadelphia; both gossip and accounts of a country still reeling from the assassination of Lincoln and struggling to meet the costs of the Civil War. There are also reports from Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri and California. There is material on:
- Reconstruction and the condition of the Southern States;
- Investments in coal, gold and silver mines;
- The purchase of land in areas designated for expansion;
- Rivalry between the Union Pacific and Northern Pacific railroads;
- The clash between President Johnson and Congress, and the threat of impeachment;
- Friendship with General Grant;
- Relations with Sioux.