Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Durant-Hornor Correspondence, 1848-1850

Finding aid created by
Cheney J. Schopieray, December 2011, and Meg Hixon, July 2013

Summary Information
Title: Durant-Hornor correspondence
Creator: Durant, Thomas J. (Thomas Jefferson), 1817-1882 and Hornor, Charles West, 1813-1905
Inclusive dates: 1848-1850
Extent: 1 volume
The Durant-Hornor correspondence consists of manuscript letters between attorneys Thomas J. Durant of Washington, D.C., and Charles W. Hornor of New Orleans, Louisiana, bound into a single volume. The legal partners discussed court cases, finances, and current events between 1848 and 1850.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated, Marjorie H. Burnell, 2012. M-4922.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

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.

Preferred Citation:

Durant-Hornor Correspondence, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Thomas Jefferson Durant was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 8, 1817, the son of John Waldo Durant and Sarah Heyliger. Around 1831, Durant moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he was a lawyer, a prominent supporter of the Democratic Party, a district attorney, and a state senator. He briefly served in the Confederate Army until the Union capture of New Orleans, though he supported the Union cause; he initially worked with Benjamin Butler and Nathaniel Banks to establish a loyal Louisiana government, serving as attorney general. He resigned around early 1864, expressing his opposition to the military government. In 1866, Durant moved to Washington, D.C., where he continued his legal career, often arguing in front of the United States Supreme Court. In 1867, he declined an offer of the governorship of Louisiana. Thomas J. Durant died on February 3, 1882.

Charles West Hornor was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1813, the son of Joseph Potts Hornor and Jane West. He later lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he founded a legal firm with Thomas J. Durant. From 1848-1850, Hornor remained in Louisiana while Durant lived in Washington, D.C. After the Civil War, Hornor returned to Philadelphia and then moved to Washington, D.C., where he and Durant reestablished their partnership. Charles W. Hornor died in Philadelphia on July 8, 1905.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Durant-Hornor correspondence (1 volume) consists of over 300 manuscript letters, between attorneys Thomas J. Durant of Washington, D.C., and Charles W. Hornor of New Orleans, Louisiana, dated July 11, 1848-October 21, 1850. The legal partners discussed court cases and other legal affairs, as well as their finances and local news. Durant occasionally described travel in the southern and middle Atlantic states. Many of the letters refer to local and national affairs, such as migrants passing through New Orleans on their way to California, disagreements over the future of slavery in California, the death of Zachary Taylor and the appointment of a new Cabinet, and Cuban political struggles. Some of the letters pertain to family news and health. The first 2 pages contain information about Durant and Hornor, the letters in the volume, and the book's provenance.

Subject Terms

    • Cuba--History--Insurrection, 1849-1851.
    • Lawyers--United States.
    • New Orleans (La.)
    • Southern States--Description and travel.
    • United States--Politics and government--1845-1861.
    • Washington (D.C.)
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Durant-Hornor correspondence,  July 11, 1848-October 21, 1850 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Thomas J. Durant once owned the following volume: A History of the Proceedings in the City of New Orleans on the Occasion of the Funeral Ceremonies in Honor of Calhoun, Clay, and Webster, Which Took Place on Thursday, December 9th, 1852. New Orleans: Printed at the Office of the Picayune, 1853.


    Kendall, John Smith. History of New Orleans. Volume III. Chicago and New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1922.

    "Louisiana: Removal of Gov. Wells and Appointment of Thomas J. Durant as Governor of Louisiana..." The New York Times 5 June 1867.

    Tap, Bruce. "Durant, Thomas Jefferson." American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press, 2000. DOI: 04-00333.