Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Bright mss., 1832-1873, are mainly letters from, to, and about Jesse David Bright, 1812-1875, U.S. senator. The collection is made up of reproductions (i.e. photostats, typescripts, xerox copies, and microfilms), of material in other libraries, collected by Wayne J. Van der Weele for his doctoral dissertation "Jesse David Bright, master politician from the Old Northwest," at Indiana University, 1958.

There are three reels of microfilm consisting of Bright letters to various persons in the collections of the following libraries: the Indiana state library, Allen Hamilton papers, 1850-1859, and William G. Ewing and George W. Ewing papers, 1845-1858; the Indiana historical society library, William Hayden English papers, 1842-1863, and Jesse David Bright papers, 1845-1849, (one reel of microfilm for the letters from these four collections in the two Indianapolis libraries); Archives of the Historical society of Pennsylvania, 1846-1862, (one reel); the library of Congress, W.W. Corcoran papers, 1853-1866, and Breckinridge family papers, 1852-1857, (one reel); and one reel of microfilm from the University of North Carolina Library, Southern historical collection, containing a biographical sketch of Henry Stuart Foote and a June 19, 1879 letter from J. W. Harmon to J. F. H. Claiborne from the John Francis Hamtramck Claiborne papers.

Index cards have been made for the manuscript index for individual items for which there are photostats, typescripts, and xerox copies. The microfilm has been entered only under Jesse David Bright's name, except for the Henry Stuart Foote biographical sketch and the J. W. Harmon letter, which have been indexed individually.

The letters are primarily to politicians and deal chiefly with Indiana and federal politics before and after the Civil War.

Among the correspondents are Thomas Hart Benton, Michael Graham Bright, C. Cole, Michael Christian Garber, Allen Hamilton, J. W. Harmon, William Hendricks, Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter, George Wallace Jones, Gordon Tanner, Daniel Webster, and John Yaryan.

The collection also contains xerox copies of pictures of Jesse David Bright and Michael Graham Bright, a mimeographed genealogy of the Steele and Bright families by M. S. B. Churchman, 1957, and Addenda et Corrigenda: Families of Steele and Bright, June, 1967.

The first folder in the collection contains a guide to the Bright mss., including a biographical sketch of Jesse David Bright, prepared by Wayne J. Van der Weele. In the guide are listed all the Bright letters and documents in the collection.

Collection size: 66 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.