Library of Congress
GWIN, William McKendree (1805-1885)

GWIN, WILLIAM MCKENDREE, a Representative from Mississippi and a Senator from California; born near Gallatin, Sumner County, Tenn., October 9, 1805; pursued classical studies; graduated from the medical department of Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky., in 1828; practiced medicine in Clinton, Miss., until 1833; United States marshal of Mississippi in 1833; elected as a Democrat from Mississippi to the Twenty-seventh Congress (March 4, 1841-March 3, 1843); declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1842; moved to California in 1849; member of the State constitutional convention in 1849; upon the admission of California as a State into the Union was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and served from September 10, 1850, to March 3, 1855; reelected to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy occurring at the expiration of his term, caused by the failure of the legislature to elect, and served from January 13, 1857, to March 3, 1861; chairman, Committee on Naval Affairs (Thirty-second and Thirty-third Congresses), Committee on Post Office and Post Roads (Thirty-sixth Congress); an outspoken proponent of slavery, was twice arrested for disloyalty during the Civil War; traveled to France in 1863 in an attempt to interest Napoleon III in a project to settle American slave-owners in Mexico; retired to California and engaged in agricultural pursuits; died in New York City September 3, 1885; interment in Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, Calif.

Boston Public Library
Boston, MA
Papers: 3 letters.

California Historical Society
San Francisco, CA
Papers: 1841-1885. 1 folder. Political correspondence from his first term in the U.S. Senate and other papers.
Additional Papers: Several letters and a speech written by Gwin in San Francisco early documents, 1838-1877.

Henry E. Huntington Library
San Marino, CA
Papers: 33 items (1850-1881) in various collections.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: Photocopy of a memoir.

Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Jackson, MS
Papers: 1856-1863. 17 items. Letters and legal documents relating to a controversy over land in Texas.

New York State Library
Manuscripts and Special Collections
Albany, NY
Papers: February 19, 1852. 1 item. Letter from John A. Dix requesting Committee on Naval Affairs to have the secretary of the navy obtain information about steam packet companies.

Stephen F. Austin State University
Ralph W. Steen Library
Nacogdoches, TX
Papers: Transcripts of court case in Robert Bruce Blake papers, 1791-1938.

University of California, Berkeley
The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, CA
Papers: 1833-1897. 3 boxes. Correspondence and memoirs (1878). Finding aid.

University of Rochester
Rush Rhees Library
Rochester, NY
Papers: 3 letters (1852-1858) in various collections. Finding aid.

  • Coleman, Evan J., ed. "Doctor Gwin and Judge Black on Buchanan.'' Overland Monthly, 2d ser. 19 (January 1892): 87-92.
  • ___, ed. "Gwin and Seward.--A Secret Chapter in Ante-Bellum History.'' Overland Monthly, 2d ser. 18 (November 1891): 465-71.
  • ___, ed. "Senator Gwin's Plan for the Colonization of Sonora.'' Overland Monthly, 2d ser. 17 (May 1891): 497-519; (June 1891): 593-607; 18 (August 1891): 203-12.
  • Ellison, William Henry, ed. "Memoirs of Hon. William M. Gwin.'' California Historical Society Quarterly 19 (March 1940): 1-26; (June 1940): 157-84; (September 1940): 256-77; (December 1940): 344-67.
  • Hargis, Donald E. "The Issues in the Broderick-Gwin Debates of 1859.'' California Historical Society Quarterly 32 (December 1953): 313-25.
  • ___. "W.M. Gwin: Middleman.'' Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly 40 (March 1958): 17-32.
  • Kushner, Howard I. "Visions of the Northwest Coast: Gwin and Seward in the 1850s.'' Western Historical Quarterly 4 (July 1973): 295-306.
  • McPherson, Hallie M. "The Interest of William McKendree Gwin in the Purchase of Alaska, 1854-1861.'' Pacific Historical Review 3 (March 1934): 28-38.
  • ___. "The Plan of William McKendree Gwin for a Colony in North Mexico, 1863-1865.'' Pacific Historical Review 2 (December 1933): 357-86.
  • ___. "William McKendree Gwin, Expansionist.'' Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, 1931.
  • O'Meara, James. Broderick and Gwin. San Francisco: Bacon Co., 1881.
  • Quinn, Arthur. The Rivals: William Gwin, David Broderick, and the Birth of California. New York: Crown Publishers, 1994.
  • Stanley, Gerald. "Senator William Gwin: Moderate or Racist?'' California Historical Quarterly 50 (September 1971): 243-55.
  • Steele, Robert V. [Lately Thomas]. Between Two Empires: The Life Story of California's First Senator, William McKendree Gwin. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1969.
  • Stout, Joe A., Jr. "The Erstwhile Duke of Sonora: Adventures and Conspiracies of William M. Gwin.'' Military History of Texas and the Southwest 10 (1972): 197-208.