Bedinger and Dandridge Family papers, 1752-2000

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Bedinger family
Bedinger and Dandridge families of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and New York. Collection consist of journals, correspondence, poems, reviews, and other papers of the Bedinger, Dandridge, Washington, Henry Clay, and Adam Stephen families, of Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio; and of the Cornwall, Lawrence, Mitchell, Walter Bowne, and Rufus King Southgate families, of Connecticut, Maine, and New York primarily created or collected by Caroline Danske (Bedinger) Dandridge. The papers fall into six classes: journals and fragments of journals of Danske Dandridge (1864-1909), Henry Bedinger (1830s), and Daniel Bedinger (1811); correspondence and material on Kentucky and the northern Shenandoah Valley during the Revolutionary period; family correspondence, genealogies, and memoirs used in writing the Bedinger family history; papers of Henry Bedinger, the American Minister to Denmark in the 1850s; poems, reviews and literary correspondence of Danske Dandridge, and poems and prose of her father, Henry Dandridge, and of her daughter, Serena Catherine Dandridge; and horticultural writings of Danske Dandridge.
30 Linear Feet
13,000 Items
Material in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

Collection includes the correspondence and papers of five generations of families from Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and New York chiefly created or collected by Carolina Danske (Bedinger) Dandridge. The primary portion of the collection is made up of the personal and family papers of Danske Dandridge (1858-1914), a writer and horticulturist. From 1866 to her marriage in 1877, Danske Dandridge's correspondence is concerned with social life in Virginia and Washington, D.C., and with family matters. Her literary correspondence begins in the early 1880s and continues until the year of her death. Correspondents include John Esten Cooke, Edmund C. Stedman, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Thomas W. Higginson. There are sustained exchanges of letters with William Hayes Ward, editor of The Brooklyn Independent which published much of her work; with the poet Lizette Woodworth Reese of Baltimore; and Margaretta Lippincott. Material on gardening begins to appear in the papers for the 1890s and includes a large number of letters and eleven notebooks.

Danske Dandridge's family correspondence continues with here sister Mrs. J. F. B. (Mary Bedinger) Mitchell, and her brother, Henry Bedinger IV, as well as with her numerous cousins.

Correspondence of Adam Stephen Dandridge (1844-1924) reflects his career in the West Virginia House of Representatives and his business as a seller of farm machinery.

Correspondence and papers of Serena Katherine (Violet) Dandridge, daughter of Danske and Adam Stephen Dandridge, bear on her career as an illustrator for the zoologist Hubert Lyman Clark, and reflect her interest in women's suffrage and the Swedenborgian Church. There are also twelve volumes of her writings in manuscript.

Correspondence and papers of Danske Dandridge's father, Henry Bedinger Dandridge III, include letters on literary subjects from Thomas Willis White, Philip Pendleton Cooke, and Nathaniel Beverly Tucker; papers from his years as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1845 to 1849; records of his service, 1853-1858, first as a consul and then as minister of the United States in Sweden and in particular his negotiation of the treaty with Sweden in 1857; and his notebooks containing poems and comments on social life in Virginia.

Letters of Caroline B. (Lawrence) Bedinger, mother of Danske Dandridge, to her husband's family in the South and her relatives in New York concern her experience as a young woman in Washington, D.C., and Virginia; her stay in Copenhagen; the Civil War experiences of her husband's family and her own; family life; and the education of her children.

The collection contains a large number of transcripts made by Danske Dandridge from originals in the possession of various branches of her family, including the Swearingens, Shepherds, Morgans, Rutherfords, Worthingtons, Washingtons, Kings, Brownes, and Lawrences for the period from the American Revolution to the Civil War. There are also copies of letters and documents from the Lyman C. Draper manuscripts at the University of Wisconsin. Essentially, they are the papers of three brothers, George Michael Bedinger (1756-1843), Henry Bedinger II (1753-1843), and Daniel Bedinger (1761-1818), and their descendants and connections. Among the many subjects discussed are warfare with Indigenous Americans and conditions on the Virginia frontier; descriptions of the events of the Revolution; trading in salt and fur; experiences of Americans held prisoner by the British during the Revolution; flour milling in the Potomac valley; trade and transport of farm commodities; travel on the Mississippi to New Orleans, 1811-1812; James Rumsey and the development of the steamboat; the settling of Kentucky and Ohio, descriptions of Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore at various times from 1800 to 1860; antebellum social life, South and North; and extensive comments on politics through 1860, particularly on the opposition to Federalism and the early Democratic-Republican Party.

Description taken from Guide to the Cataloged Collections in the Manuscript Department of the William R. Perkins Library, Duke University. (1980).

Biographical / historical:

Bedinger and Dandridge families of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and New York.

Acquisition information:
The Bedinger-Dandridge Papers were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library from 1955 to 1959, and 2003.
Processing information:

Processed by Rubenstein Library Staff

Encoded by Abraham Lee and Noah Huffman, April 2010

Accessions from 1955-1959 and 2003 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Bedinger and Dandridge Family Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University