MG 500 - Cameron Family Papers

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Scope and Content

The collection has approximately 4,100 items which have been indexed and microfilmed. This consists mainly of incoming correspondence and business papers of Simon Cameron, 1828-1892. The collection also includes letters or drafts of letters by Simon Cameron and a few written by his son J. Donald Cameron, and other family members. Many of the papers relate to Cameron's political and governmental career, but others are concerned with business affairs including his estate papers. The papers contain one telegram from President Lincoln dated December 14, 1862. The collection also includes account ledgers, daybooks, scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and a scrapbook of letters and telegrams of congratulations to Simon Cameron on his ninetieth birthday.

Includes a DVD containing digital images of twelve Abraham Lincoln documents, 1860-1862, housed at HSDC.

Also contains a letter written by the Rev. William Radcliff DeWitt, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Harrisburg (later known as the Market Square Church) to A. Lincoln, President Elect, dated January, 1861. The letter served as a character reference for Simon Cameron.


Simon Cameron, b.1799, d. 1889, was born in Lancaster County and was apprenticed at a very early age in the printer's trade. He became the editor of the Bucks County Messenger and then a partner in the management of the Pennsylvania Intelligencer and purchased the Harrisburg Republican in 1824 and was awarded the position of State printer. He became interested in various business enterprises, but by the mid-1840's his attention was turning to politics. He was elected to the United State Senate, served as Secretary of War under President Lincoln and was appointed Minister to Russia in 1862. He was once again seated as a United States senator in 1867 and served in that capacity until 1877. He was succeeded by his son J. Donald Cameron. He died at his home in Donegal in June, 1889.

James Donald Cameron, son of General Simon and Margaret (Brua) Cameron was born in Middletown, Pennsylvania in May, 1833. He graduated from Princeton in 1852 and followed his father into the banking business and later was president of the Northern Central Railroad. He was active in politics and was appointed secretary of war by President U.S. Grant. He was later elected United States senator to fill the vacancy caused by his father's resignation. He married (first) Mary McCormick, daughter of James and Eliza (Buehler) McCormick of Harrisburg. His second wife was Ellen Sherman, daughter of Judge Sherman of Cleveland, Ohio.

Date(s): 1810-1964

Extent: 3 cartons, 6 boxes, approx. 4,328 items