SEWARD, William Henry (1801-1872)
Senate Years of Service: 1849-1861

SEWARD, WILLIAM HENRY, a Senator from New York; born in Florida, Orange County, N.Y., on May 16, 1801; after preparatory studies, graduated from Union College in 1820; studied law; admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Auburn, N.Y., 1823; member, State senate 1830-1834; unsuccessful Whig candidate for governor in 1834; Governor of New York 1838-1842; elected as a Whig to the United States Senate in 1849; reelected as a Republican in 1855 and served from March 4, 1849, to March 3, 1861; unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 1860; Secretary of State in the Cabinets of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson 1861-1869; while Secretary of State concluded the convention with Great Britain for the settlement of the Alabama claims and the treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska; died in Auburn, Cayuga County, N.Y., October 10, 1872; interment in Fort Hill Cemetery.

Boston Public Library
Boston, MA
Papers: 18 items.

Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society
Buffalo, NY
Papers: Correspondence in Millard Fillmore papers, 1809-1919. Available on 68 microfilm reels.

Columbia University
Rare Books and Manuscript Library
New York, NY
Papers: Correspondence in Belmont family papers, 1799-1930; John VanSchaick Lansing Pruyn papers, 1838-1869; Thomas Olcott papers, 1816-1886; Morgan family papers, 1811-1956; Jay family papers, 1828-1943; Josephine W. Griffing papers, 1862-1872; and Sam Schaefler collection, 1674-197-.

Cornell University
Rare Books and Manuscript Collections
Ithaca, NY
Papers: Correspondence in National Grange records, 1842-1969.

Foundation Historical Association
Auburn, NY
Papers: Correspondence and financial papers in Seward family papers, 1820-1935; in scrapbook collection, 1820-1951; and photograph album collection, 1850-1900.

Goshen Library and Historical Society
Goshen, NY
Papers: 96 items on family matters and business affairs from Samuel Seward; 135 items of business correspondence with George Grier; and 2 items indicating Seward's support for the Republican party in Anti-Masonic party papers. Available on microfilm.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Papers: Correspondence in Alexander Henry papers, 1858-1876; and Salmon Portland Chase collection, 1824-1881.

Indiana Historical Society
Indianapolis, IN
Papers: Correspondence in Henry Smith Lane papers, 1788-1936; and Lew Wallace papers, 1799-1923 (bulk 1846-1906).

Knox College
Seymour Library
Galesburg, IL
Papers: 2 letters (September 24, 1857; October 1, 1858) in Bookfellow Foundation autograph collection, 1705-1940.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: 1834-1866. 40 items. Also photographs.
Additional Papers: Correspondence in Nathaniel Prentice Banks papers, 1829-1911; James Redpath papers, 1861; and Riggs family papers, 1763-1945.

Maryland Historical Society
Baltimore, MD
Papers: Correspondence in Thomas Holliday Hicks papers, 1659-1900; and in the Winder family papers, 1817-1888.

Massachusetts Historical Society
Boston, MA
Papers: Ca. 100 letters (1839-1871) in various collections including correspondence in John A. Andrew papers, 1772-1889; and William Schouler papers, 1840-1872.

Museum of the City of New York
New York, NY
Papers: 1868. Passport.

New Jersey Historical Society
Newark, NJ
Papers: Correspondence in Horace N. Congar papers, 1863-1905.

New York State Library
Manuscripts and Special Collections
Albany, NY
Papers: 1828-1883. 85 items. Correspondence, orders, pardons, appointment, and recommendation.
Additional Papers: Correspondence in Robert C. Wetmore papers, 1834-1799; Albert H. Allen Tracy papers, 1815-1951; Elbridge Gerry Spaulding papers, 1834-1907; Samuel S. Seward papers, 1768-1849; and Myron Clark papers, 1834-1856.

New-York Historical Society
New York, NY
Papers: 1832-1870. Ca. 90 items. Correspondence on local politics, photographs, and portraits.

Peabody Essex Museum
Salem, MA
Papers: 1 folder (1852-1857) in the George Manchester correspondence, 1850-1879.

Pierpont Morgan Library
New York, NY
Papers: 1839-1867. 9 items.

Rosenbach Museum and Library
Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1861-1867. 8 items. Letters and documents.

Smithsonian Institution
Archives of American Art
Washington, DC
Papers: Photograph (copy print) in Matthew B. Brady photographs, [ca. 1860-1880], on 1 microfilm reel; and correspondence in George Catlin papers, 1821-1890, on 2 microfilm reels.

State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Archives Division
Madison, WI
Papers: Correspondence in Rufus King family papers, 1833-1903, on 1 microfilm reel; Jeremiah Curtin papers, 1861-1869, on 3 microfilm reels of originals in Seward collection, Department of State archives; Samuel D. Sturgis papers, 1845-1879, on 2 microfilm reels; and Charles A. Page papers, 1865-1882.

Syracuse University
George Arents Research Library
Syracuse, NY
Papers: 30 letters (1842-1857, no date); and 10 to Seward (1839-1861) in the Gerrit Smith papers.

Tulane University
Latin American Library
New Orleans, LA
Papers: Correspondence in E.G. Squier papers, 1835-1872.

Union College
Schaffer Library
Schenectady, NY
Papers: 51 letters and 7 photographs in Bigelow collection, college letter file, and college photograph file.

University of Michigan
William L. Clements Library
Ann Arbor, MI
Papers: 1840-1845. 27 items. Letters from Seward to James Bowen, president of New York and Erie Railroad, written during Seward's 2nd term as governor and on his return to private law practice.

University of the Pacific
Holt-Atherton Pacific Center for Western Studies
Stockton, CA
Papers: Correspondence in George Arthur Bell Autograph and Manuscript collection, 1779-1900.

University of Rochester
Rush Rhees Library
Rochester, NY
Papers: 1776-1921 (bulk 1830-1872). 230 linear feet. Political, official and personal correspondence, chiefly letters to Seward about current affairs; gubernatorial papers (1839-1842); diaries; notebooks; speeches; reports; financial and legal papers; genealogical papers; and photographs. Available on microfilm. Finding aid.
Additional Papers: Correspondence in Thurlow Weed papers, 1775-1900; Porter family papers, 1785-1912; George Washington Patterson papers, 1822-1890; James N. Elwood papers, 1827-1923; and Sir Frederick William Adolphus Bruce papers, 1865-1867.

University of Virginia
Alderman Library
Charlottesville, VA
Papers: Correspondence in various collections. Finding aid.

Virginia Historical Society
Richmond, VA
Papers: Numerous items in various collections. Finding aid.

Wells College
Louis Jefferson Long Library
Aurora, NY
Papers: Correspondence in Henry Wells papers, 1853-1878; Morgan family papers, 1834-1902; and Edwin Barber Morgan papers, 1834-1888, and 1836-1904. Finding aid.

Yale University Libraries
Manuscripts and Archives
New Haven, CT
Papers: In James Watson Webb papers, 1834-1877, on 1 microfilm reel of originals at University of Rochester; John McLean papers, 1817-1861, on 18 microfilm reels of originals at Library of Congress; Edwards Pierrepont papers, 1813-1902; Champion Spalding Chase papers, 1837-1899; Morse family papers, 1779-1868; Gilman family papers, 1659-1935; William Gilman Thompson autograph collection, 1771-1924; Johnson family papers, 1769-1886; William Henry Brewer papers, 1830-1927; and Dana family papers, 1805-1961.
Research Libraries Information Network In addition to the institutions listed above, items are also cataloged in collections at: Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, AL; American Baptist Historical Society, Rochester, NY; American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA; Broome County Historical Society, Binghamton, NY; Brown University, Providence, RI; Chautauqua County Historical Society, Westfield, NY; Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY; General Theological Seminary, New York, NY; Geneva Historical Society Museum, Geneva, NY; Hagley Museum and Library, Greenville, DE; Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY; Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, NY; Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN; Johns Hopkins University Special Collections, Baltimore, MD; New York Public Library, New York, NY; New York Times Archives, New York, NY; Northwestern University Library, Evanston, IL; Patterson Library, Westfield, NY; Rochester Public Library, Rochester, NY; Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, NY; St. Lawrence University Special Collections, Canton, NY; Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, CA; State University of New York, Buffalo, Poetry and Rare Books, Buffalo, NY; Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA; University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; University of Washington Libraries, Seattle, WA; and Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, DE.

  • Baker, George E., ed. The Works of William H. Seward. 5 vols. 1853-1884. Reprint. New York: AMS Press, 1972. Vol. 5 is Seward's The Diplomatic History of the War for the Union.
  • Bancroft, Frederic. The Life of William H. Seward. 2 vols. 1900. Reprint. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1967.
  • Brown, Thomas. "William Seward and the Politics of Progress.'' In Politics and Statesmanship: Essays on the American Whig Party, pp. 93-116. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.
  • Carman, Harry J., and Reinhard H. Luthin. "The Seward-Fillmore Feud and the Crisis of 1850.'' New York History 24 (April 1943): 163-84.
  • ___. "The Seward-Fillmore Feud and the Disruption of the Whig Party.'' New York History 24 (July 1943): 335-57.
  • Conrad, Earl. The Governor and His Lady: The Story of William Henry Seward and His Wife Frances. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1960.
  • Coulter, E. Merton. "Seward and the South: His Career as a Georgia Schoolmaster.'' Georgia Historical Quarterly 53 (June 1969): 147-64.
  • Crofts, Daniel W. "Secession Winter: William Henry Seward and the Decision for War.'' New York History 65 (July 1984): 229-56.
  • Curran, Thomas J. "Seward and the Know-Nothings.'' New-York Historical Society Quarterly 51 (April 1967): 141-59.
  • Dibble, Ernest F. "War Averters: Seward, Mallory, and Fort Pickens.'' Florida Historical Quarterly 49 (January 1971): 232-44.
  • Estrem, Andrew. The Statesmanship of William H. Seward as Seen in His Public Career Prior to 1861. Decorah, IA: Lutheran Publishing House, 1892.
  • Forness, Norman O. "The Seward-Fillmore Feud and the U.S. Patent Office.'' Historian 54 (Winter 1992): 255-68.
  • Hale, Edward Everett. William H. Seward. Philadelphia: G.W. Jacobs Co., 1910.
  • Huff, Lawrence. "Sectionalism versus Friendship: The William H. Seward-William Turner Correspondence.'' Atlanta History 32 (Summer 1988): 35-42.
  • Johnson, Patricia C. " `I Could Not be Well or Happy at Home . . . When Called to the Councils of My Country': Politics and the Seward Family.'' University of Rochester Library Bulletin 31 (Autumn 1978): 41-68.
  • Kazarian, Richard, Jr. "Working Radicals: The Early Political Careers of William Seward, Thaddeus Stevens, Henry Wilson, Charles Sumner, Salmon P. Chase and Hannibal Hamlin.'' Ph.D. dissertation, Brown University, 1981.
  • Kushner, Howard I. "Visions of the Northwest Coast: Gwin and Seward in the 1850s.'' Western Historical Quarterly 4 (July 1973): 295-306.
  • Lodge, Henry Cabot. "William H. Seward.'' In Historical and Political Essays, pp. 1-46. 1892. Reprint. Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1972.
  • Lothrop, Thornton Kirkland. William Henry Seward. 1899. Reprint. New York: AMS Press, 1972.
  • Merrick, Wayne Reynolds. "A Study of William Henry Seward, Reformer.'' D.S.S. dissertation, Syracuse University, 1956.
  • Miller, Wayne Verdeen. "The Emergence of William Henry Seward as a National Political Leader, 1847-1859.'' Ph.D. dissertation, University of Southern California, 1957.
  • Pease, Jane Hanna. "William Henry Seward and Slavery: 1801-1861." Master's thesis, University of Rochester, 1957.
  • Scheidenhelm, Richard Joy. "The Legal and Political Rhetoric of William Henry Seward.'' Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1970.
  • Seward, Frederick William, ed. William H. Seward: An Autobiography from 1801-1834. With a Memoir of His Life, and Selections from His Letters. 3 vols. New York: Derby Miller, 1891.
  • Seward, Olive Risley, ed. William H. Seward's Travels Around the World. New York: D. Appleton Co., 1873.
  • Seward, William Henry. Life and Public Services of John Quincy Adams, Sixth President of the United States, with the Eulogy Delivered Before the Legislature of New York. 1849. Reprint. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1971.
  • Sharrow, Walter George. "William Henry Seward: A Study in Nineteenth Century Politics and Nationalism, 1855-1861.'' Ph.D. dissertation, University of Rochester, 1965.
  • ___. "William Henry Seward and the Basis for American Empire, 1850-1860.'' Pacific Historical Review 36 (August 1967): 325-42.
  • Stahr, Walter. Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012.
  • Stegmaier, Mark J. "Intensifying the Sectional Conflict: William Seward versus James Hammond in the Lecompton Debate of 1858.'' Civil War History 31 (September 1985): 197-221.
  • Taylor, John M. William Henry Seward: Lincoln's Right Hand. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.
  • Van Deusen, Glyndon G. "The Life and Career of William Henry Seward, 1801-1872.'' University of Rochester Library Bulletin 31 (Autumn 1978): 3-21.
  • ___. William Henry Seward. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967.
  • Wilson, Major L. "The Repressible Conflict: Seward's Concept of Progress and the Free-Soil Movement.'' Journal of Southern History 37 (November 1971): 533-56.
  • Woodward, Isaiah A. "The Life of William H. Seward and His Role in The Crisis of 1850 and 1860." Negro History Bulletin 25 (1961): 27-31.