Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Lossing, Benson John, 1813-1891
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Benson Lossing Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists of selected correspondence, manuscripts, and printed material of the nineteenth-century American author and illustrator Benson Lossing.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of selected correspondence, manuscripts, and printed material of Benson Lossing. Correspondents include John W. Barber, regarding Lossing's article on Anderson; William Worth Belknap, Princeton Class of 1852 and U.S. secretary of war, discussing the U.S. War Department's sale of trophies of the war with Great Britain and Mexico; Edward Bierstadt of the Photo Plate Printing Company, explaining to Lossing the gelatin printing process; William J. Bok, including a circular of his Literary Leaves Syndicate with his letter regarding Lossing's future publications; E. J. Carson, praising the Anderson book; John R. Chapin, with a letter and photographs; George W. Childs, founder and editor of the Philadelphia Public Ledger, discussing the printing and publishing of Lossing's book titled The Great Rebellion (thirty-two letters, some with original envelopes, and printed material, two letters by Lossing to Childs); W. J. Linton, with an autograph letter and a prospectus for his book Engraving on Wood; Mrs. Howard (for "G. B. B."), regarding Alexander Anderson; J. W. Osborne of the American Photo-Lithographic Co., introducing his company and explaining his new method of copying by photo-lithography; George Henry Preble, writing about a Schuyler drawing for Lossing's biography about him; Philip C. Rogers; J. Morris of John E. Potter & Company, asking Lossing to write an obituary for Mr. Harper; Alfred Billings Street, New York State Librarian, praising The Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution; Mrs. Harriett Tenney, writing about Alexander Anderson; Major General L. Wallace; and Elias J. Whitney, asking Lossing to write a short biography of Anderson for The Child's Paper, which was published by the American Tract Society, accompanied by the original holograph manuscript and a copy of the November 1867 issue of the paper with Lossing's article. Also included is an holograph manuscript signed by Lossing titled "A Magician," about Alexander Anderson, and a draft of a letter to the editor of American historical records at Grosvenor Library in Buffalo, N.Y.


Arranged by accession number, and then alphabetically by correspondent.

Collection Creator Biography:

Lossing, Benson John, 1813-1891

Benson Lossing was an American wood-engraver, author, and editor, whose Dutch ancestors settled in Albany, N.Y. The only formal education he received was three years in the district schools in New York. At age twenty-two he was joint editor and proprietor of the Poughkeepsie Telegraph. He learned the art of engraving on wood, and in 1838 moved to New York City where he established himself as a wood-engraver. From June 1839 to May 1841 he edited and illustrated the weekly Family Magazine. In 1848 Lossing conceived the idea of writing a narrative sketchbook of scenes and objects associated with the American Revolution. Harper & Brothers advanced him the funds to carry out the project, which ultimately took the form of the Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution in two large volumes. In gathering material for this work Lossing traveled more than eight thousand miles in the United States and Canada. The book was published in parts between 1850 and 1852, and gave Lossing a wide reputation. For the next thirty-five years he was a prolific writer and editor of books mostly on popular subjects in American history, including Our Countrymen; or, Brief Memoirs of Eminent Americans (1855), The Hudson, from the Wilderness to the Sea (1866), and A Memorial of Alexander Anderson, M.D., the First Engraver on Wood in America (1872).

Collection History


Letter from George H. Preble was a gift of Michael Papantonio on September 24, 1973 .

Custodial History

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Dina Britain in June 2006. Finding aid written by Tenley Eakin on June 22, 2006. Folder inventory added by James Clark '14 in 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Benson Lossing Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1