Benjamin and Caroline Harrison Collection Edit

Summary

Identifier
Mss. Coll. Harrison

Dates

  • 1851-1959 (Creation)

Extents

  • 1 linear feet (Whole)

Subjects

Notes

  • Abstract

    This collection includes manuscripts, printed ephemera, photographs and prints, and objects pertaining to Benjamin and Caroline Scott Harrison.

  • Language of Materials

    The records are in English

  • Biography of Benjamin and Caroline Harrison

    Born on a farm by the Ohio River near Cincinnati on August 20, 1833, Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of William Henry Harrison, who served as ninth president of the United States in 1841. His great-grandfather was John Cleves Symmes, whose land purchase in 1788 led to the establishment of Miami University. An 1852 graduate of Miami University, Benjamin Harrison was a member of Phi Delta Theta. He served as secretary of the first national Phi Delta Theta convention in Cincinnati in 1851. During the Civil War, Harrison fought with the 70th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He rose through the ranks to become colonel of that regiment. Harrison's legal career included service as a reporter of the Supreme Court of Indiana from 1860 to 1862 and from 1864 to 1868. From 1854 to 1889, Harrison practiced law in Indianapolis, Indiana. Harrison's political career began as the Republican candidate for Governor of Indiana in 1876. From 1881 to 1887, he served as a United States Senator from Indiana. Nominated for the presidency of the United States at the 1888 Republican Convention, Harrison campaigned by delivering short speeches to delegations from the front porch of his Indianapolis home. Although Harrison received 100,000 fewer popular votes than his opponent, Grover Cleveland, he carried the Electoral College, earning 233 votes to Cleveland's 168 votes. From 1889 to 1893, Harrison served as the 23rd president of the United States. Levi Morton was his vice president. Harrison's presidential administration saw the first meeting of the Pan American Congress in 1889, naval expansion, substantial appropriations for internal improvements, and subsidies for steamship lines. President Harrison also signed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, designed to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies. On October 20, 1853, Harrison married Caroline Lavinia Scott. Born in Oxford in 1832, "Carrie" was the second daughter of John Witherspoon Scott, a teacher and Presbyterian minister who founded the Oxford Female Institute. In 1853, she graduated from that institution with a degree in music. She bore Harrison three children: Russell Benjamin Harrison; Mary Scott Harrison McKee; and an unnamed stillborn daughter. An accomplished pianist and a talented artist, Mrs. Harrison established the collection of china associated with White House history. She served as the first President General of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. An advocate of local charities, she helped to raise funds for the Johns Hopkins University medical school, provided that it admit women. Known for her elegant hospitality, Mrs. Harrison presided over many White House receptions and dinners. However, her illness during late 1891 and early 1892 led to her October 25, 1892 death of tuberculosis. After a service in the East Room of the White House, Mrs. Harrison was buried from her church in Indianapolis. After Mrs. Harrison's death, daughter Mary Harrison McKee acted as hostess for her father in the last months of his term. In 1892, Harrison unsuccessfully ran for a second term in the White House, this time with fellow Miamian, journalist and statesman Whitelaw Reid as his running mate. After Harrison left office in 1893, he returned to Indianapolis to practice law. He married his first wife's widowed niece and former secretary, Mary Scott Lord Dimmick, in 1896. Harrison died on March 13, 1901.

  • Scope and Content

    The collection begins with a Valentine that Harrison sent to Helen Kemper of Glendale, Ohio, a student at the Oxford Female Institute, in 1851. A photocopy of Harrison's commencement oration, "England's Poor," written June 24, 1852, also dates from Harrison's days as a student at Miami University. Presidential campaign ephemera include sheet music titled "Gen'l Harrison's Grand March," composed by Clifford Hale in 1888; a brochure from the 1892 Harrison-Reid campaign titled "American Farmers Are Protected by the McKinley Tariff Law;" and official ballots from the November 8, 1892 Presidential election. Other printed ephemera in the collection include business advertisements featuring images of President Harrison, such as a card for the B. Hafertepen shoe store in Hamilton, Ohio. Another card for Cincinnati tailor Henry W. Mack includes images of Harrison, Levi Morton, and representative businessmen of the United States government. An 1890 Puck editorial cartoon titled "The Raven" can be found in the collection. The cartoon depicts President Harrison sitting at his desk, wearing his grandfather's hat which is too big for his head, suggesting that he is not fit for the presidency. Sitting on top of a bust of William Henry Harrison is Secretary of State James G. Blaine, a reference to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven." Blaine and Harrison were at odds over the McKinley Tariff, which set the average ad valorem tariff rate for imports to the United States at 48.4 percent and protected agriculture. A publication titled "Galveston and Deep Water" provides insight into President Harrison's views of Galveston, Texas, which he included in his annual message to Congress on December 1, 1890. The publication also provides the full text of Harrison's Galveston speech, delivered at the Beach Hotel, Galveston, on April 18, 1891. A map showing traffic of trans-Mississippi Country and Central and South America can be found at the back of the publication. Ephemera pertaining to Caroline Harrison includes an announcement of a log cabin raising by the Carrie Harrison Club in September 1888. The collection includes first day of issue cards for the Benjamin Harrison stamp, released in conjunction with the celebration of Miami University's sesquicentennial in 1959. Newspaper reports of Harrison's death, together with a Miami Student article about the dedication of the Caroline Scott Harrison Memorial in Oxford, can also be found in the collection. Photographic images in the collection include a Civil War-era tintype of Carter Bassett Harrison, son of John Scott Harrison (Miami University 1857-1861) and brother of Benjamin Harrison. Carter Harrison left Miami to volunteer in the 51st Ohio Volunteer Infantry; he obtained the rank of Colonel during the Civil War. A photographic print also shows Harrison with fellow Civil War generals William Cogswell, Dan Dunstan, and William T. Ward. The collection also includes a group of views of a visit of President Harrison and Vice President Morton to New York, April 29-30, 1889. Removed from an unidentified book, the plates include views of the landing at the foot of Wall Street, naval and military parades, and Harrison delivering a speech at the Sub-Treasury. A photograph of a street in Broadalbin, New York during the 1892 Presidential campaign shows a banner for Harrison and Reid. A photographic print of Harrison planting a tree in Glen Miller, April 25, 1895 is taken from Dalbey's Souvenir Pictorial History of the City of Richmond, Indiana, published in 1896. Photographic prints related to Caroline Harrison include a photograph taken by Matthew Brady of Caroline Harrison and other ladies on the occasion of the First Continental Congress of the Daughters of the American Revolution in February 1892. The collection also includes an image of Dr. Scott's Boarding-House for Young Ladies at the corner of College and High Streets in Oxford, where the Harrisons are said to have been married. Finally, a print of a photograph showing four generations of the Scott family - John W. Scott, Caroline Scott Harrison, Mary Harrison McKee, and her children - can also be found in the collection. Campaign-related objects in the collection include a metal lapel pin, silk ribbons, handkerchiefs, and a metal pillbox configured as a stack of coins that reads "My Pile on Harrison," with portraits of Harrison and Whitelaw Reid. A copperplate engraving block of Harrison's portrait, together with a print created by the block as published in a supplement to the Butler County Republican on October 6, 1892, can also be found in the collection. Reproductions of a Harrison White House dessert plate, teacup and saucer feature an American Eagle motif in the center and a border design of open corn ears in cobalt blue and gold. An inner border of 44 gold stars represents each of the existing American states. The collection also includes a Wedgwood plate depicting the home of Caroline Scott Harrison in Oxford, Ohio that was made for the Ohio Daughters of the American Revolution. The 2008 White House Historical Association Christmas ornament, honoring the administration of Benjamin Harrison, can also be found in the collection. The collection concludes with a copy of "The Inauguration of President Harrison - The Procession Returning from the Capitol," a supplement to the March 16, 1889 issue of Harper's Weekly. An August 23, 1889 Cincinnati Commercial Gazette article reports President Harrison's speech to commemorate a monument to commemorate the valor and heroism of Indiana soldiers. Cincinnati Enquirer articles from August 22, 1884 and August 22, 1889 report on Harrison's handshake and his visit to Cincinnati.

  • Statement of Arrangement

    Series I: Manuscripts Series II: Ephemera Subseries I: Printed Material from Presidential Campaigns Subseries II: Miscellaneous Printed Material Series III: Photographs and Prints Series IV: Objects Series V: Oversized Items

  • Restrictions on Access

    This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections, Miami University Libraries.

  • Restrictions on Use

    Reproduction of materials in the collection is subject to the restrictions of copyright law. To use any materials not yet in the public domain, the researcher must obtain permission from the copyright holder.

  • Preferred Citation

    Benjamin and Caroline Harrison Collection, Walter Havighurst Special Collections, Miami University Libraries

Components