George N. Meissner Papers
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Collection Scope and Content Note


Scope and Contents Note

The George N. Meissner Collection is composed of individual, or in some cases multiple, items of figures of historical or literary significance. Included are autograph signatures, letters, official documents, literary manuscripts, illuminated manuscripts, engravings, and a few printed items.

The subject areas included in the Collection are widely varied. Each of the Presidents of the United States through Wilson is represented, Washington and Lincoln by several items. Of particular note are letters from John Adams to Elbridge Gerry, 1775: June 18, describing proceedings at the Second Continental Congress; from Thomas Jefferson to the General Assembly of North Carolina, 1808: January 10, explaining his decision not to seek a third term; and from Millard Filmore and others to John W. Allen, 1843: December 29, discussing campaign machinery for the 1844 election. Numerous French artists of the 18th and 19th centuries are represented by items tipped in Stranahan, Clara, A History of French Painting ... (London, 1889) (Spec./ND 544/S 79/V. 1-3). Relatively large numbers of items are included for both Samuel Langhorn Clemens and Eugene Field. A group of 13 letters from three members of the Huntington family of Connecticut describe the condition of soldiers during the American Revolution, 1776-1782. Many items are addressed to either Anna Morgan, a Chicago educator of the turn of the century, or Edward Freiberger, editor of the Saturday Evening Herald . Individual items of particular note include a fragment of an autograph letter from Robert Southey, 1808: July 2, describing Coleridge; a letter from Coleridge to Sara Hutchinson, [1807?]: [ca. February 12], accompanying a copy of Chapman's Homer ; and items by Michelangelo, Rubens, Vespucci, Walt Whitman and Washington Irving. Following the autograph section in box 6 is a folder of typescript transcriptions of many items in the collection. A list of 11 illuminated manuscripts from the 14th and 15th centuries is at the end of this register.

Though housed in different locations because of the variety in nature, size, and format, each item is listed in the register alphabetically under the name of its author. Ephemeral items such as newspaper articles and engravings are listed and foldered by subject. Correspondence is arranged chronologically when an individual is represented by more than one letter. Other items are alphabetical by title.

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