Draper Manuscript Collection

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United States go to Wisconsin go to Dane Gotoarrow.png Archives and Libraries go to Wisconsin Historical Society go to Draper Manuscript Collection

Description

A 491-volume collection of partially indexed letters, genealogical and historical notes, land records, newspaper clippings, and interview notes pertaining to the frontier history and settlement of the old Northwest and Southwest Territories of the United States from the 1740s to 1830.

Coverage. This collection also known as the Draper manuscripts, and as the Draper Collection, consists of 491 volumes of manuscripts, papers, and books collected by Lyman Copeland Draper  about the history of the trans-Allegheny West in the United States, a region including the western areas of the Carolinas and Virginia, all the Ohio River Valley, and part of the upper Mississippi Valley from the 1740s to 1830. This includes New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan,
Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison
and Wisconsin. For a more detailed description, see Josephine L. Harper, Guide to the Draper Manuscripts (Madison, Wis. : University of Wisconsin Press ; London : Eurospan, 2004) Digital copy online; At various repositories (WorldCat); FHL Fiche 6050187; Book 977.583/M1 A3h

Arrangement. The collection was organized by Wisconsin Historical Society staff into 491 volumes divided into 50 series  of varying lengths. Each series is titled by a geographic area, by a subject, or by the name of a prominent frontier leader. For further details about the 50 series titles and arrangement see also:

Content. The bulk of the collection consists of notes from interviews, questionnaires, and letters gathered during Draper’s extensive travels and research to learn about frontier history.

A Draper Collection Search Strategy

A single, detailed, and comprehensive index to every individual name mentioned in the Draper Manuscript Collection does not yet exist. However, partial indexes to some  of the Draper series still can be useful:

1. Search by ancestor's name (including alternate spellings) for an ancestor in the indexes to:
a. Josephine L. Harper's Guide  Index section (pp. 239-309)
b. Josephine L. Harper's Guide  Pension applicants section (pp. 311-320)
c. Josephine L. Harper's Guide  Additional personal data section (pp. 321-418)
d. Reuben G. Thwaites' Descriptive list  Index (pp. 151-197; digital 165-211)
e. Barbara E. Wolfe's Index to Lyman C. Draper Manuscripts
f. Search for names of relatives, friends, and associates of your ancestor in the same indexes.
2. Search by place in (a) Harper's Guide  Index (pp. 239-309), and (b) Thwaites' Descriptive list  Index for the place (town, county, state, or nearby river) where the ancestor resided.
3. Search by series. Use Josephine L. Harper's Guide  (especially Appendix IV) to determine in which Draper manuscript series the ancestor would most likely appear.
a. From the list of Related Publications below determine if any of the other titles cited serve as an additional partial index to the series where your ancestor may appear.
b. Then search the partial index to the appropriate series for your ancestor's name, relatives, associates, and residences.
4. If you find  an ancestor or residence in an index, look up the reference to that ancestor or residence in the manuscripts on the appropriate series microfilm.
5. If you do not find  an ancestor or residence in any of the indexes, browse the appropriate series anyway because the indexes may be incomplete.

Availability

Original images can be viewed or ordered through the following:

Microfilm access. For contents of this collection by microfilm number, see the Draper Manuscript Series Coverage Table.

  • For a pdf list of the many other libraries in the United States and Canada which have obtained copies of these Draper microfilms, click here.

Record Content

Key facts found in this collection vary from record to record. They may include:

  • Names
  • Birth, marriage, or death dates and places
  • Names of parents or other family members
  • Residences
  • Life sketches
  • Names of neighbors
  • Notes of involvement in historical events

Indexes and Related Publications

The following works have been published about this collection and serve as partial indexes:

With general indexes

  • Josephine L. Harper, Guide to the Draper Manuscripts (Madison, Wis. : University of Wisconsin Press ; London : Eurospan, 2004) Digital copy online; At various repositories (WorldCat); FHL Fiche 6050187; Book 977.583/M1 A3h. This is a descriptive survey of each series in the collection. Includes three indexes: (a) Index (pp. 239-309), (b) Pension applicants (pp. 311-320), and (c) Additional personal data (pp. 321-418). The first index combines personal names, places, and subjects.
  • Reuben Gold Thwaites, Descriptive list of Manuscript Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin together with Reports on Other Collections of Manuscript Material for American History in Adjacent States (Madison, Wis.: Wisconsin Historical Society, 1906) Digital copy online; At various repositories (WorldCat); FHL Film 368687. Includes general index on pages 151-197 (digital 165-211)—many further index entries beyond Harper's Guide  above.
  • Barbara E. Wolfe, Index to Lyman C. Draper Manuscripts (Logansport, Ind. : B.E. Wolfe, [19--]) Digital copy online; At various repositories (WorldCat); FHL Book 977.583/M1 A3w. Some additional index entries not all duplicated in Harper and Thwaites above.

Specific series indexes

Indexes only

  • series NN.  Karen Mauer Green, Index to the Draper manuscripts, series NN: the Pittsburgh and northwest Virginia papers (Cooperstown, New York : Frontier Press, 2003) At various repositories (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 A32dnn. This is an every-name index to films 889179 and 889180 of the Draper manuscript collection.
  • series S.  Bayless E. Hardin, Index to volume 6S, Draper manuscripts (Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1983) At various repositories (WorldCat); FHL Fiche 6018900; Book 976.9 H22h. Indexes vol. 6S (series S) entitled Draper's notes  made June 1851. Microreproduction of a photocopy of the original index at the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Series papers with every-name indexes

  • series A.  Craig L. Heath, The George M. Bedinger papers : volume 1A of the Draper Manuscript Collection (Bowie, Maryland : Heritage Books, 2002) At various repositories (WorldCat); FHL Book 976.9 D29h. Transcript with every-name index.
  • series TT.  Craig L Heath, South Carolina papers : volume 1TT of the Draper manuscript collection (Westminster, Md. : Heritage Books, 2006) At various repositories (WorldCat). Transcript with every-name index.
  • series V.  Craig L Heath, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina papers : volume 1V of the Draper manuscript collection (Westminster, Md. : Heritage Books, 2006) At various repositories (WorldCat). Transcript with every-name index.
  • series Z.  Craig L. Heath, The Illinois manuscripts : volume 1Z of the Draper manuscript collection (Bowie, Maryland : Heritage Books, 2003) At various repositories (WorldCat); FHL Book 977.3 H2hc. Transcript with every-name index.
  • series ZZ.  Craig L Heath, The Virginia papers, 5 vols. (Bowie, Md. : Heritage Books, 2003- ) At various repositories (WorldCat). Transcripts with every-name index.  Contents: v. 1. Volume 1ZZ of the Draper Manuscript collection -- v. 2. Volume 2ZZ -- v. 3. Volume 3ZZ -- v. 4. Volume 4ZZ -- v. 5. Volume 5ZZ.

Volumes with an index

Note 1:  The St. Louis County Library has photocopies of a set of Lyman C. Draper indexes in four big white binders. It is not clear if these are different from the list in Note 2 below. Presumably, the Wisconsin Historical Society has the originals of the St. Louis County Library indexes.[1]
Note 2:  Lyman C. Draper himself indexed parts, but not all, of his own series.[2] The extent and detail of these indexes is uncertain. See:
Individual volumes with an index by Lyman C. Draper

v13-series CC Shane, KY & OH 1807-1835
v16-series CC Shane, KY & OH 1807-1835
v25-series CC Kentucky
v10-series E Brady and Wetzel 1759-1865
v11-series E Brady and Wetzel 1759-1865
v04-series J Pogue and Menard
v60-series J Illinois Clark's campaign
v01-series NN Pittsburgh and NW Virginia

v2-series NN Pittsburgh and NW Virginia
v6-series NN Pittsburgh and NW Virginia
v3-series S Draper's notes, 1843-1850
v4-series S Draper's notes, 1843-1850
v5-series S Draper's notes, 1843-1850
v6-series S Draper's notes, 1843-1850
v7-series S Draper's notes, 1843-1850
v8-series S Draper's notes, 1843-1850

v17-series S Draper's notes 1860-1863
v18-series S Draper's notes 1860-1863
v19-series S Draper's notes 1863-1868
v20-series S Draper's notes 1863-1868
v22-series S Draper's notes 1863-1868
v25-series S Draper's notes 1868
v28-series S Draper's notes, 1841-1845
v29-series S Draper's notes, 1841-1845

v30-series S Draper's notes, 1841-1845
v31-series S (partial) notes, 1841-1845
v32-series S Draper's notes, 1844-1845
v33-series S Draper's notes, 1844-1845
v15-series U Frontier war treaties/journals
v12-series ZZ Virginia papers, 1753-1873

Calendars of papers

(ONLY indexed by key names relative to each papers' creation--not by all the names listed in the papers)

Documentary histories

Websites

Wiki Articles

References

  1. Indexes in Guide to finding your ancestors in the Draper Manuscript Collection in St. Louis County Library (accessed 25 March 2015).
  2. Barabara E. Wolfe, Index to Lyman C. Draper Manuscripts (Logansport, Ind. : B.E. Wolfe, [19--]), 47.

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