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Series One: The Papers of Jay Cooke (1821-1905) from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Part 3: General Correspondence, January 1868-April 1870

" Whether the subject is the day-to-day construction of the Northern Pacific, its branches and rivals, the Alabama claims, the manipulation of land titles, the opening of Indian territory to white encroachment, the war effort, religious philanthropy, campaign finance, or lobbying in general, Cooke's papers provide an indispensable source."  
Mark W Summers, Professor of History, University of Kentucky at Lexington, Consultant Editor

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 3 covers the period from 1868 to 1870 - correspondence between Jay, Henry and Pitt Cooke was still 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 political intrigues and projects for westward expansion.   There are also reports from Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Montana and Oregon.  There is material on:

  • The Treasury Department investigation into the bond-selling of the Cookes;
  • The Impeachment trial of President Johnson;
  • The Northern Pacific, North Missouri and Lake Superior railroads;
  • Anglo-American oil company ventures;
  • Campaign finance and correspondence with Secretary of the Treasury McCulloch and W E Chandler;
  • The exploration of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest;
  • Confrontation with the Sioux and planned development in Yellowstone Valley.

Editorial introduction
Digital Guide
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