This collection (1 linear foot) contains correspondence, documents, newspaper clippings, and other items pertaining to the personal and financial affairs of actor Edwin Forrest, his close friend James Lawson, and members of the Lawson family.
The Correspondence series (268 items) largely consists of personal correspondence between Edwin Forrest and James Lawson. Forrest discussed his theatrical career and his travels in the United States, England, and Ireland; Lawson provided financial and personal advice, sometimes regarding Forrest's marital difficulties. Few of the letters from the Civil War period mention the conflict; in one letter to Lawson, Forrest commented on the possibility of reconciliation between the North and South. After 1865, Forrest's letters focus primarily on his declining health, though he continued to travel into the 1870s. Catherine Forrest also wrote occasionally to James Lawson about finances.
The series also contains letters that James Lawson wrote to his daughter Nellie after Edwin Forrest's death, as well as other Lawson family correspondence. James Lawson's letter of August 10, 1885, describes a funeral procession honoring Ulysses S. Grant. Others wrote about family news and deaths.
An undated Speech (21 pages), unsigned and delivered to an unidentified audience, concerns the history of Yonkers, [New York].
The Legal and Financial Documents series (33 items) contains accounts, an account book, receipts, insurance records, legal documents, and legislative resolutions related to the financial affairs of Edwin Forrest and James Lawson. Some items pertain to real estate transactions between Edwin Forrest and a religious group, and others concern the establishment of the Edwin Forrest Home. A series of legislative resolutions and a group of court records document disputes over Forrest's estate, sometimes involving his ex-wife, Catherine Norton Sinclair. An undated copy of James Lawson's will is also present.
The Photographs series (13 items) contains card photographs and cartes-de-visite of members of the Forrest and Lawson families. One item provides details about items present in Cornelia B. Lawson's home in Yonkers, New York.
Newspaper Clippings (44 items) include obituaries for members of the Lawson and Sandford families, articles about Edwin Forrest's theatrical career, and articles about disputes over Forrest's estate.
The Ephemera series (9 items) contains name cards, advertisements, the back part of a notepad with postage rates printed on it, a blank coloring page, and a printed map of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, marking several lots within the Blackwell estate.
Fragments (8 items) include manuscript notes about Lawson family genealogy and other subjects.