Home > Bronx County Archives Finding Aids > Henry B. Dawson Papers, 1841–1843

Henry B. Dawson Papers, 1841–1843

Information, Description, and Finding Aid

Collection Information

Reference: MS-DAWSON.1

Dates: 1841–1843

Extent: 0.125 linear ft. across 1 archival box

Finding Aid Information

Creator(s): Steven Payne, Ph.D., Librarian and Archivist

Date created/updated: July 9, 2020

Administrative History

Henry B. Dawson was born in England in 1821 and moved to New York City with his family in 1834, where he became a naturalized U.S. citizen. He began his literary pursuits during a brief period of employment at a book-selling house in Ithaca, New York. During the period 1839–1856, Dawson was involved in business pursuits back in New York City, where he became active in politics and social reform. Throughout these years, he acted as editor for various temperance newspapers and became active first in the short-lived Free Soil Party and then in the newly formed Republican Party. After the Civil War, however, Dawson began to disaffiliate with the Republican Party due to what he saw as the Party’s overly centralizing approach to governance. 

Dawson is perhaps best known for his historical work, which began in the late 1850s with his publication of historical essays and Battles of the Unites States by Sea and Land (1858). In 1863, Dawson published a new edition of The Federalist that provoked the ire of James A. Hamilton and John Jay. Shortly thereafter, in 1866, Dawson purchased the Historical Magazine, a periodical started before the Civil War to gather documentation of and critically evaluate U.S. history. He was editor of Historical Magazine until 1876 and printed it out of the village of Morrisania, which at the time was in Westchester County but later became part of The Bronx, where he was a long-time resident. In 1886, Dawson published his most noteworthy work, “Westchester County, New York during the American Revolution,” which was published in J.T. Scharf’s two-volume History of Westchester County.

Description/Scope and Content

The Henry B. Dawson Papers contain two of Henry B. Dawson’s private journals, covering March 21, 1841–March 20, 1842, and April 28, 1842–March 20, 1843, respectively. The diary that Dawson kept during the period March 21–April 27, 1842 was missing upon donation and likely was never held by the donor.


The Henry B. Dawson Papers were donated to the Society by Melissa Andruski of The Southold Free Library’s Whitaker Historical Collection in July 2020. These items were likely donated to the Southold Free Library shortly after the Whitaker Historical Collection was established in 1940.

Preferred Citation

[Item name or description,] Henry B. Dawson papers, box _, item _, The Bronx County Archives at The Bronx County Historical Society Research Library.

Points of Access

  • Individuals -- Dawson, Henry B.
  • Neighborhoods (The Bronx, New York) -- Morrisania
  • Westchester County, New York -- Nyack

Related Collections

  1. Bronx Towns and Topograhical Bureau records. The Bronx County Archives at The Bronx County Historical Society Research Library.
  2. Henry B. Dawson papers. Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan.

Container List







Private journal

March 21, 1841–March 20, 1842



Private journal

April 28, 1842–March 20, 1843