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Collection 175 Papers of Benjamin Tappan

Identifier: CN 175

Scope and Contents

Microfilm copy of original materials in the Library of Congress. Correspondence, speeches, business papers, genealogical material. Documents deal mostly with Benjamin Tappan's career as jurist and U.S. Senator from Ohio. There is also information on the abolitionist movement, local and national politics, and Tappan's hobbies of mineralogy and conchology.


  • Created: 1795-1900

Conditions Governing Access

According to the guide published by the Library of Congress from whom this microfilm was purchased, the status of the literary rights in the unpublished writings of Benjamin Tappan in these papers is unknown.

Biographical Information

Full Name: Benjamin Tappan

Birth date: May 23, 1773

Birth place: Northampton, Massachusetts

Father: Benjamin Tappan, Sr.

Brothers: Arthur, Lewis, Charles, John, and William

Marital Status: 1801: Married Nancy Wright (died, 1822) 1823: Married Betsy Ford Frazer (died, 1840)

Education: Educated in public elementary schools; apprenticed to a copperplate printer and engraver; made a voyage to the West Indies; studied portrait painting briefly under Gilbert Stuart; studied law under Gideon Granger; admitted to the bar at Hartford, Connecticut.


1799 - Became first settler of what is now Portage County, Ohio

1801 - Settled in Ravenna, Ohio

1803-1805 - Member of Ohio State Senate

1809 - Moved to Steubenville where he continued to practice law

1812 - Served as an aide-de-camp to major general Elijah Wadsworth during the War of 1812

1816-1823 - Presided as judge of the Fifth Circuit Court of Common Pleas

1823 - Returned to private practice

ca.1823 - Appointed as member of the Ohio Canal Commission

1826-1833 - Served as Federal district judge

1831 - Publication of Cases Decided in the Courts of Common, in the Fifth Circuit of ... Ohio (Steubenville, printed by J. Wilson, 300 pp., previously printed in parts, 1818-1819)

1832 - Served as Democratic Presidential elector supporting Andrew Jackson and Martin van Buren

1839-1845 - Member of U. S. Senate from Ohio

1856 - Supported John C. Fremont for President

1857 - Died April 20 in Steubenville, Ohio

[The preceding biographical information was taken directly from the guide published for the microfilm by the Library of Congress.]


11 Reels of microfilm

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

[The following Arrangement note is taken directly from the guide published for the microfilm by the Library of Congress.]

The papers of Benjamin Tappan span the years 1795 to 1900 and consist of correspondence, notes, speeches, financial and legal papers, and miscellaneous material.

Correspondence, which constitutes the bulk of Benjamin Tappan's papers, relates to his law practice, his activities in the anti-slavery movement, and to Ohio and national politics, especially during the Jacksonian period. An extensive family correspondence includes letters from his several brothers (Arthur, Charles, John, Lewis, and William), from his father, Benjamin, Sr., wife, Nancy, and brother-in-law, John Crafts Wright. Among the principle correspondents are brothers Arthur and Lewis,  and father Benjamin, Sr.  Correspondents also include American political, religious, legal and scientific figures.

Benjamin Tappan's interest in conchology and mineralogy is also well documented. A partial index to the correspondence is contained in the Miscellany series. Included among principal correspondents are William Allen, John Gould Anthony, M[athew?] Birchard, Ethan Allen Brown, John C. Bryan, William H. Cabell, David Clendenin, DeWitt Clinton, James D. Dana, David F. Disney, Joseph Drayton, Ogden E. Edwards, George H. Flood, Augustus A. Gould, Charles Hammond, John Hastings, Elijah Hayward, Joshua Leavitt, Samuel Medary, William Medill, Marcus Morton, Francis Joseph Nicholas Neef, Lucy W. Say, John Sloane, Edwin M. Stanton, and Elisha Whittlesey.

A small Subject File consists of additional correspondence, and notes, petitions, and printed matter, relating to slavery, conchology, and other matters. The remainder of the papers includes printed speeches, bills and receipts, indentures, plats, briefs, acts, a certificate, newspaper clippings, notes, and miscellaneous items.

Accruals and Additions

The microfilm in this collection was purchased from the Library of Congress in April 1981.

Collection 175 Papers of Benjamin Tappan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

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