William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Benson J. Lossing Collection, 1850-1904
Meg Hixon, August 2012
Benson J. Lossing collection
William L. Clements Library
0.25 linear feet
This collection is primarily made up of Benson J. Lossing's incoming and outgoing correspondence concerning his writings about and interest in numerous subjects in American history. Essays, newspaper clippings, and ephemera are also included.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
1935-2012. M-263, M-1187, M-1210, M-1240, M-1717, M-2629, M-2769.1, M-2812.3, M-2889.2, M-3184, M-3445.3, M-4935.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
Benson J. Lossing Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
- Series I: Correspondence
- Series II: Writings and Biographical Sketches
- Series III: Printed Items
Each series is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.
Benson John Lossing was born in Beekman, New York, on February 12, 1813, the son of John Lossing and Miriam Dorland. He received little formal education and worked on a farm after being orphaned at the age of 11. A few years later, he was apprenticed to Adam Henderson, a watchmaker and silversmith from Poughkeepsie, New York, and in 1833 he became Henderson's business partner. Lossing left the watchmaking business in 1835, and subsequently edited and published the Poughkeepsie Telegraph, Poughkeepsie Casket, and Family Magazine. He became a prolific author, and wrote extensively on American history and biography. He married Alice Barritt in 1833 and, following her death (1855), married Helen Sweet in 1856; he and Helen had four children. Benson J. Lossing died in Dover Plains, New York, on June 3, 1891.
Collection Scope and Content Note
This collection is primarily made up of Benson J. Lossing's incoming and outgoing correspondence (179 items, 1850-1904) concerning his writings about and interest in numerous subjects in American history. Essays, newspaper clippings, and ephemera are also included (15 items, 1849-1877).
The Correspondence series (179 items) mostly contains incoming letters to Lossing about his career as a historian. Some writers thanked Lossing for sending them copies of his books or otherwise commented on his works, such as his Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812. Others offered biographical details on historical figures, notes on family genealogies, and information about historical events. Some older correspondents provided firsthand accounts of events, and other writers shared information about potential primary source material. The American Revolutionary era and War of 1812 were common topics, though at least one letter was written during the Civil War. Historical figures discussed included John André and Oliver Hazard Perry; one man wrote about busts of George Washington at Mount Vernon. Some authors enclosed newspaper clippings in their letters, and two made drawings: one of an unidentified building (June 2, 1851) and one of the grave of James Ross (May 11, 1852). One letter from a publisher postdates Lossing's death.
Benson Lossing wrote occasional letters about his work, and at least one of his letters contains a printed form letter requesting historical information.
The Writings and Biographical Sketches (6 items) are brief essays about historical topics, mostly in Benson J. Lossing's handwriting. Subjects include copied inscriptions from a monument marking the Battle of Red Bank and biographies of Colonel Anthony White, William H. Winder, and Alexander Lillington. The final item is a copied "Parole of Honor," with Lossing's added notes on some of its signers. An essay about William H. Winder is attributed to Mrs. A. W. Townsend of Oyster Bay, New York.
The Printed Items series (9 items) is comprised of programs, newspaper clippings, obituaries, and engravings. One clipping is a reprint of an article written by Benson J. Lossing.
- André, John, 1751-1780.
- Historians--United States.
- Perry, Oliver Hazard, 1785-1819.
- Red Bank, Battle of, N.J., 1777.
- United States--Historiography.
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
- United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783.
- United States--History--War of 1812.
- Washington, George, 1732-1799.
- White, Anthony Walton, 1750-1803.
- Winder, William Henry, 1775-1824.
- Lossing, Benson John, 1813-1891.
- Sepulchral monuments.
- Lossing, Benson John, 1813-1891.
- Clippings (information artifacts)
- Engravings (prints)
- Letters (correspondence)
- Programs (documents)
Additional Descriptive Data
The Clements Library holds many published items by Benson J. Lossing. These are available by searching the University's catalog, Mirlyn.
American Travel collection: Samuel S. Forman ALS to Benson J. Lossing (March 17, 1853)
Jared Sparks collection: Jared Sparks ALS to Benson J. Lossing (March 19, 1853)
Peter Force papers: Benson J. Lossing ALS to Peter Force (June 9, 1857) and Benson J. Lossing ALS to Peter Force (October 11, 1858)
- Robert R. Carson ALS to Benson Lossing; April 7, 1862. encouraging Lossing to utilize the Union Volunteer Refreshment Committee's business card in a projected pictorial history of the war, and attached a newspaper clipping reporting a grand jury's approval of the project.
- Arad Bellows ALS to Benson Lossing; August 6, 1866. Providing a list of corrections and additional information about the Union Refreshment Saloon, in response to Lossing's recent work.
James S. Schoff Civil War collection: Charles Stone ALS to Benson J. Lossing (November 5, 1866)
Handy family papers: Benson J. Lossing ALS to Moses Handy (December 6, 1877); Benson J. Lossing ALS to the Philadelphia Times (March 4, 1879); and Benson J. Lossing to Moses Handy (April 30, 1879)
John André, The Cow Chace: Benson J. Lossing ALS to George W. Childs (March 21, 1881)
Marks, Alfred H. "Lossing, Benson John." American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press: 2000. DOI: 16-01021