Unfortunately, the letters and manuscripts in this collection reveal little about Dawson's participation in various historiographical controversies. Most of the letters deal with the tasks assumed by an editor--soliciting subscriptions or articles, inquiring about research materials, and related matters. The most famous of Dawson's correspondents was Abner Doubleday, who submitted--or intended to submit--an article to the Historical Magazine. There are several letters in the collection by a Joseph Sabin, who is probably the son of Dawson's contemporary, Joseph Sabin (1821-81), the author of the Dictionary of Books Pertaining to America from its Discovery to the Present Time. An intriguing, but somewhat mysterious inclusion is a set of letters from Charles Grey, son of Charles, the second Earl of Grey, and private secretary to his father, to Prince Albert from 1849 to 1861, and to Queen Victoria from 1862 to his death in 1870.
The manuscripts included here deal primarily with Dawson's work on the Revolutionary Period. Among them is a biographical sketch of Daniel Morgan, who led troops in North Carolina and Virginia and supported Washington against his early domestic opponents. Also included is a fragment of a memoir of Levi Hanford who fought in the Revolution and was captured by the British.