Library of Congress
BENJAMIN, Judah Philip (1811-1884)
Senate Years of Service: 1853-1861

BENJAMIN, JUDAH PHILIP, a Senator from Louisiana; born on the Island of St. Croix, Danish West Indies (now Virgin Islands), August 6, 1811; immigrated to Savannah, Ga., in 1816 with his parents, who later settled in Wilmington, N.C.; attended the Fayetteville Academy, Fayetteville, N.C., and Yale College; moved to New Orleans, La., in 1831 and taught school; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1832 and commenced practice in New Orleans; elected to the lower house of the state legislature in 1842 and served until 1844; member of the State constitutional convention in 1845; elected as a Whig to the United States Senate in 1853; reelected as a Democrat in 1859 and served from March 4, 1853, to February 4, 1861, when he withdrew; seat declared vacant by Senate resolution on March 14, 1861; chairman, Committee on Private Land Claims (Thirty-fourth through Thirty-sixth Congresses); appointed Attorney General under the provisional government of the Confederate States, February 1861; appointed Acting Secretary of War of the Confederate States in August 1861 and served until November 1861, when he was appointed Secretary of War; served in this capacity until February 1862, when he resigned to accept the appointment as Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President Jefferson Davis, in which capacity he served until the end of the war; moved to Great Britain in 1865; studied English law at Lincoln's Inn, London, was admitted to the bar in that city in 1866, and practiced law there; engaged in newspaper and magazine work; received the appointment of Queen's counsel in 1872; retired in 1883 from active practice and public life; moved to Paris, France, and died there May 6, 1884; interment in Pere la Chaise Cemetery.

Alabama Department of Archives and History
Montgomery, AL
Papers: Correspondence in the Governor of Alabama records, including administrative files (1861-1863) and military correspondence (1860-1861); a confederate officer's photograph album, n.d.; and 1 letter, typed transcript (July 27, 1854) Senate chamber to D.G. Dahlgreen concerning statutes regarding slavery.

American Jewish Archives
Cincinnati, OH
Papers: 1836-1878. 56 items. Chiefly transcripts and photocopies of papers in other repositories including a photocopy of a diary in Library of Congress, correspondence, and photographs.

American Jewish Historical Society
Waltham, MA
Papers: Ca. 25 items. Includes photocopy of original diary at the Library of Congress.

American Jewish Historical Society
New York, NY
Papers: 1838, 1854-1884, 1893, 1925, 1930, 1942, 1948, undated (bulk 1854-1884). 0.75 linear feet (1 manuscript box, 1 ½ manuscript box, 2 oversized folders).The collection contains correspondence, letters, newspaper clippings, Confederate bank notes and bonds, Civil War memorabilia, pamphlets, and a bound copy of Benjamin's diary from 1862-1864. The William Leys Donation of Box 2 material comprises 106 items (letters, notes, telegrams and miscellaneous documents) about the formation of the Louisiana Tehuantepec Company in 1857 until Benjamin resigned from the Senate in February 1861 upon Louisiana's secession from the Union. The business venture aimed at providing mail service and railroad transportation across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico. The bulk of the correspondence is from Judah P. Benjamin to Peter Hargous (1800?- 1884), a businessman and banker in New York City. The correspondence focuses on the efforts to secure financing, negotiate with the U.S. and Mexican governments, and the logistical difficulties encountered. An 1856 Judah P. Benjamin Autographed Lithograph from a Daguerreotype after Matthew Brady is included. Finding aid available online.

Boston Public Library
Boston, MA
Papers: 13 items.

California Historical Society

San Francisco, CA
Papers: Correspondence in Edgar Myron Kahn's papers, 1964-1969, relating to Kahn's article on Benjamin.

Emory University
Robert W. Woodruff Library
Atlanta, GA
Papers: Correspondence in the Great Britain, Consulate, Savannah, GA papers, 1859-1866. Finding aid.

Filson Club Historical Society
Louisville, KY
Papers: Miscellaneous letters and references in various collections including Johnston family papers, 1798-1943. Finding aid.

Historic New Orleans Collection
New Orleans, LA
Papers: 1845-1881. 30 items. In the Benjamin-Millaudon collection, c hiefly business papers, many concerning land ventures. Additional items in Walton-Glenny family papers, 1855-1967.

Historical Society of Delaware
Wilmington, DE
Papers: Correspondence with Senator James A. Bayard, Jr. in the Bayard papers.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: 1827-1871. 7 items including Benjamin's diary, Feb. 22, 1862-April 16, 1865. Also photograph.

Louisiana State Museum
New Orleans, LA
Papers: 1860-1884. 3 items. Political correspondence and speeches. Also portrait.

National Archives and Records Administration
Washington, DC
Papers: Investment bonds (1850's) in a trans-Mexico railroad company in the General Records of the State Department, RG 59.

New England Historic Genealogical Society
Boston, MA
Papers: Correspondence in Charles Carleton Coffin papers, 1861-1890.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library
Natchitoches, LA
Papers: Memoir (1931) by Uda Victoria Hill Goodwill concerning her mother's relationship with Benjamin in the Robert DeBlieux collection, 1750-1970; also biographical sketch (1935) by Mary Lilla McClure and a 26-page, illustrated biography (1937) by Louisiana State Museum in Melrose collection, 1700s-1948.

Pierpont Morgan Library
New York, NY
Papers: 1856. 1 item.

University of Georgia
Hargrett Library for Rare Books and Manuscripts
Athens, GA
Papers: Letter, 8 June 1866, to J.A. Hatton.

University of Virginia
Alderman Library
Charlottesville, VA
Papers: Miscellaneous items (1856-1884); 1 microfilm reel; and items in various collections including correspondence in Lawrence O'Bryan Branch papers, 1840-1862.

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

Virginia State Library and Archives
Richmond, VA
Papers: Items in the Isaac Hammond collection, 1839-1875 (bulk 1861-1865); and the Tazewell family papers, 1756-1931.

Western Reserve Historical Society
Cleveland, OH
Papers: Correspondence in N.R. Jennings papers, 1830-1863; and Civil War miscellany, 1832-1910.

  • Butler, Pierce. Judah P. Benjamin. 1907. Reprint, with new introduction by Bennett H. Wall. New York: Chelsea House, 1980.
  • Cunningham, Geoffrey D. "'The Ultimate Step:' Judah P. Benjamin and Secession." American Jewish History 97 (March 2013): 1-19.
  • Evans, Eli N. Judah P. Benjamin: The Jewish Confederate. New York: Free Press, 1988.
  • Gorin, Robert Murray, Jr. "The Anglo-American Conservative Response in the Middle Nineteenth Century: The Political Record of Judah P. Benjamin and Benjamin Disraeli.'' Ph.D. dissertation, St. Louis University, 1980.
  • Gruss, Louis. "Judah Philip Benjamin.'' Louisiana Historical Quarterly 19 (October 1936): 964-1068.
  • Guest, Anthony Gordon, ed. Benjamin's Sale of Goods. London: Sweet Maxwell, 1974. Based on Benjamin's Treatise on the Sale of Personal Property with References to the French Code and Civil Law.
  • Hagan, Horace H. "Judah P. Benjamin (1811-1884).'' In Eight Great American Lawyers, pp. 206-53. 1923. Reprint. Littleton, CO: Fred B. Rothman Co., 1987.
  • Kaplan, Benjamin. "Judah Philip Benjamin.'' In Jews in the South, edited by Leonard Dinnerstein and Mary Dale Palsson, pp. 75-88. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1973.
  • Kohler, Max James. Judah Benjamin: Statesman and Jurist. Baltimore: Lord Baltimore Press, 1905.
  • ___. "Judah P. Benjamin: Statesman and Jurist.'' Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 12 (1904): 63-85.
  • Korn, Bertram W. "Judah P. Benjamin as a Jew.'' Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 38 (March 1949): 153-71.
  • Krause, Allen. "The Enigmatic Judah Benjamin.'' Midstream 24 (October 1978): 17-20.
  • Meade, Robert Douthat. "Judah P. Benjamin.'' Civil War Times Illustrated 10 (June 1971): 10-20.
  • ___. Judah P. Benjamin: Confederate Statesman. 1943. Reprint. New York: Arno Press, 1975.
  • Neiman, Simon I. Judah Benjamin. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1963.
  • Osterweis, Rolli. Judah P. Benjamin, Statesman of the Lost Cause. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1933.
  • Rywell, Martin. Judah Benjamin, Unsung Rebel Prince. Asheville, NC: Stephens Press, 1948.