Scope and arrangement
The Gideon Welles Papers are comprised of three principal series: Correspondence, Official Papers, and Writings. The bulk of the papers is correspondence, most of which is related to Welles' public life and duties. The fortunes of the Connecticut and national Democratic parties are the subjects of many of the letters, with issues ranging from local election results to the admission of Texas to the United States. Also discussed is the business of the Hartford Post Office, and the Navy Bureau of Clothing and Provisions, both headed by Welles. The Civil War and the operations of the Navy Department also figure prominently in the correspondence. Subjects include: patronage requests, ship specifications, contracts, War and Navy Department policies, and charges of corruption and mismanagement in the Navy Department. The post-war correspondence refers to the re-employment of rebel personnel in Naval and Naval shipyard positions, as well as Welles' personal political and literary endeavors and interests. There is also a small amount of family correspondence. Correspondents include: W. C. Church, Charles Ingersoll, George D. Mason, J. M. Niles, and William Seward.
The official papers consist of memoranda, charters, contracts, and lists of ships and officers relating to Welles' government positions as Postmaster, Chief of the Navy Bureau of Provisions and Clothing, and Secretary of the Navy.
Finally, the writings are drafts of articles, congressional reports and notes on politics and Civil War issues.
Three series: I. Correspondence; II. Official Papers; III. Writings