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Posts by Mike O'Connor

Findings from the Miscellaneous Personal Name Collection: Two Documents Reflect Cause, Resolution of the War of 1812

Detail of 1812 Joshua Barney document. Note the total number of captives and their rank in the lower left cornerIn 1812, the Royal Navy would capture and impress American sailors as a means of bolstering its personnel during the Napoleonic Wars. Irritated by this practice, the American Navy soon returned the favor.

This document, signed by Commander Joshua Barney of the schooner Rossie, contains a list of British captives, their rank, and their ship’s name. The document 

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Findings from the Miscellaneous Personal Name Collection: Georgie Barrymore’s 1884 acceptance of a stage production role

In this heavily faded 1884 letter written from the New Jersey beach town of Point Pleasant, actress Georgie Barrymore accepts a role in a New York stage production for a salary of $100.

Detail of 1884 Georgie Barrymore letter containing quote to right.Ms. Barrymore, an ancestor of the legendary Barrymore acting family (and great-grandmother of Hollywood star Drew Barrymore) writes:

“I will accept the weeks engagement commencing Sept 8th + two rehearsals in NY for 

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Findings from the Miscellaneous Personal Name Collection: Aging and Death in 19th Century America

90 year old Isaac Bell writing in 1857This 1857 poem was written by a nonagenarian named Isaac Bell. It’s impossible for me not to admire his optimistic, confident attitude toward turning 90 in an era when geriatric care was considerably more primitive than today. I have included an image of the entire poem and would recommend that anyone take a minute to read it.

The thin folder containing Isaac Bell’s poem was filed after a folder labeled “

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Findings from the Miscellaneous Personal Name Collection: The Case of the Slave Ship Antelope

Detail of 1825 John MacPherson Berrien letter on Antelope slave ship trial

This is one of the most fascinating documents I have found so far in the Miscellaneous Collection. It’s a letter written by attorney and politician John MacPherson Berrien on March 4th, 1825, the same day he started his term as a U.S. Senator from Georgia.

The above detail of the letter reads: “…the U.S. have consequently a rightful possession of a number of human beings, who are claimed by the Sp[anish] and Port[uguese] 

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Findings from the Miscellaneous Personal Name Collection: 1774 Letter Describes Boston Tea Party and Its Aftermath

The Miscellaneous Personal Name Collection consists of over 12,000 files on 18th, 19th, and 20th century American and European historical and literary figures. This collection has served as a catchall for the smaller files acquired by the Library's Manuscripts and Archives Division.

I have discovered a wide range of subject matter of varied archival significance, and it has been inspiring to work with these materials to improve intellectual and physical 

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