Scope and arrangement
The Baldwin-McDowell Papers (formerly known as the Library Americana Collection) consist to the papers of Henry Baldwin, William O. McDowell, and, to a much lesser externs, Ethan Allen, dealing with their involvement in American patriotic organizations and enterprises.
The Baldwin-McDowell papers are arranged in three series:
The Henry Baldwin Papers consist of his correspondence, 1887-1902, and the notes and scrapbooks he assembled for the Library Americana. The correspondence includes letters, circulars, minutes, and printed material he sent and received during the organization of the Morton House, Philadelphia, and Chicago conferences of patriotic orders and his research on American secret societies. These letters to and from members of patriotic and fraternal orders throughout the U. S. discuss the need for one comprehensive national organization, foreign influence in the U. S., the restriction of immigration, anti-Catholicism, and related issues. Correspondents include Andrew Powell of the American Patriotic League and representatives of the Columbian College of Citizenship, the American Union Party, and the Junior Order of United American Mechanics. The correspondence also concerns Baldwin's participation in William McDowell's Pan-Republic Congress Committee, Cuban-American League, and Columbian Liberty Bell Committee, as well as his attempts to raise funds and collect material for the Library Americana and the creation of a national University of the United States.
Baldwin's notes and scrapbooks include a card file of data on the influence of the Roman Catholic Church in the U. S., scrapbooks of correspondence, clippings, and printed material on the identification and preservation of historical landmarks in Connecticut, the American flag and its desecration, and the distribution of Ethan Allen's book, Washington, or the Revolution to raise funds for the Library Americana and the University of the United States. Two volumes entitled "American Papers" contain transcripts and excerpts from newspapers; meeting minutes, and other documents relating to the Catholic Church, Irish immigration, the Order of United Americans, Sons of America, and other nativist groups.
The remainder of Baldwin's papers consist of a box of contributions to the Library Americana (mostly the writings of William McDowell) and a box of his personal papers, including a handwritten manual of infantry tactics, 1861; notes for a bible study class; business papers and field reports on mines, 1864; and a draft history of the Sons of the American Revolution.
The William O. McDowell Papers contain general correspondence, 1874-1917, letterbooks, 1889-1908, organizational papers, 1890-1912, and business papers, 1874-1887. The correspondence and letterbooks contain a small amount of business and personal correspondence. However, they consist primarily of letters to and from McDowell regarding his work for the various organizations he created or to which he belonged. The organizations include the Sons of Veterans, Sons of the Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Institute of Christian Philosophy, Universal Peace Union, Cuban-American League, Pan Republic Congress Committee, Human Freedom League, United States of Freedom, Columbian Liberty Bell Committee, Society of the Who's Who, and United Nations of the World/League of Peace. Among his correspondents are his collaborators William H. Arnoux, John Clark Ridpath, Persifor Frazer, Alfred H. Love, Ethan Allen, and Josiah C. Pumpelly, as well as the numerous prominent individuals he tried to interest in his efforts, such as Andrew Carnegie, Auguste Bartholdi, Terence Powderley, and John Shaw. Billings.
The organizational papers described below contain additional correspondence and related material of eight of these organizations. McDowell's idea for a Pan-Republic Congress was modeled on the Pan-American Conference of 1889-1890. As secretary of the Pan-Republic Congress Committee he appointed numerous prominent Americans and a handful of Europeans to this committee charged with the task of arranging a meeting of delegates from every nation with a democratic form of government to discuss issues of common interest. The Congress was to be held in the U. S. in 1893 to coincide with the World's Columbian Exposition. The papers, 1890-1896,contain statements of purpose, lists of committee members and nominees, correspondence with committee members, numerous letters from members of the public who were asked to make donations, meeting minutes, drafts and printed copies of form letters and other mailings, newspaper clippings, and photographs of committee members. Also included are papers of the Human Freedom League and the United States of Freedom, two related organizations.
McDowell also chaired the Columbian Liberty Bell Committee. This group raised subscriptions for the casting of a "Columbian Liberty Bell" to be exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition and at other patriotic celebrations, the distribution of "Liberty Primers" and the sale of miniature bells. The papers, 1892-1896, contain McDowell's fund-raising correspondence with contributors, sponsors, and promoters, printed promotional material, subscription lists, memoranda, auditor's reports, scrapbook of clippings, and photographs of the bell.
The Sons of Veterans material, 1889-1893, contains McDowell's correspondence concerning routine business of the organization, his attempt to be elected Commander-in-Chief, and the recruitment of members.
The Cuban-American League was organized to promote the independence of Cuba and its annexation by the United States. McDowell's correspondence as president, 1897-1901, consists of letters exchanged with members of Congress and the general public to garner support for the cause.
As vice-president of the Universal Peace Union, McDowell managed its fund-raising campaign to furnish the Union's new rooms in Independence Hall, Philadelphia. The papers consist of letters from potential contributors and the Union's president, Alfred H. Love, 1894-1896.
McDowell held the title of "The Peacemaker" in the United Nations of the World/League of Peace, an organization dedicated to the promotion of international peace through world government. He appears to have been its only member. The papers, 1912, consist of letters written to his family while on a trip to Europe and letters to wealthy and prominent Americans soliciting contributions for his return trip to Europe and the organization of a meeting of the Inter-parliamentary Union to be held in the United States in 1915.
McDowell's business papers contain material on mining and railroad stocks and investments.
The Ethan Allen Papers, 1862-1896 were presented to the Library Americana. They include letters he received as Colonel in the 3rd Regiment, Merchants Brigade of New York, 1862-1863; manuscript, galleys, and promotional copy for his play, Washington, or the Revolution, and correspondence with McDowell and others, 1883-1896, regarding the publication of the play, his membership in the Sons of the American Revolution and Sons of the Revolution, and the Pan-Republic Congress Committee.