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Benjamin Franklin Wade papers

Identifier: LG-21

Scope and Content

The papers of Benjamin Franklin Wade span the years 1832-1886, but the bulk falls within the period of his service as a U.S. Senator, 1852-1869.

The collection consists of microfilm almost entirely of correspondence, letters received, and Wade’s letters to his wife, Caroline. One box of miscellany includes routine requests for government documents, printed speeches, letters of James F. Wade (son of Benjamin F.) to his parents, maps, business papers, and printed matter.

A few of the letters are concerned with Wade’s law practice and business affairs, but most of them are political in nature. Many are requests for Wade’s help in obtaining civil or military appointments. Ohio and national politics, including the elections of 1860, 1864, and 1868, secession, the Civil War, the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, emancipation, reconstruction, Negro suffrage, and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson are among the subjects treated in the correspondence.

Among the correspondents are James A. Briggs, Salmon P. Chase, Jacob D. Cox, Henry Winter Davis, William Dennison, John W. Forney, James A. Garfield, Joseph H. Geiger, William A. Goodlow, Count Adam G. De Gurowski, Abraham Lincoln, R. F. Paine, Donn Piatt, William S. Rosecrans, William Henry Seward, Green Clay Smith, Edwin McMasters Stanton, and Charles Sumner.

The finding aid at the Library of Congress was revised in 2009 and can be found at


  • 1832 - 1886
  • Majority of material found within 1852 - 1869


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Reproduction and publication restricted, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

Biographical Sketch

Benjamin F. Wade was a lawyer, U.S. senator, and Republican party leader from Ohio. He was associated with the radical wing of the party.

1800, October 27 Born, Feeding Hills, Massachusetts

1821 Moved to Andover, Ohio

1827 Admitted to Ohio bar

1827-1837 Practicing lawyer, Jefferson, Ohio

1835-1837 Prosecuting attorney, Ashtabula County, Ohio

1837 Elected to Ohio state senate

1841 Married Caroline M. Rosekrans

1847 Appointed judge, Third Judicial Circuit

1851-1869 U.S. senator

1852 Supported repeal of Fugitive Slave Law

1859 Supported homestead legislation

1860 Voted against Crittenden Compromise

1861-1865 Chairman, Committee on the Conduct of the War

1864 Introduced Wade-Davis bill, vetoed by Lincoln Issued Wade-Davis Manifesto, criticizing Lincoln

1865 Introduced bill for enfranchisement of Negroes in the District of Columbia

1867 Elected president pro tempore of Senate

1868 Failed of re-election to U.S. Senate

1869 Resumed law practice; general counsel Northern Pacific Railroad; Member, Board of Directors, Union Pacific Railroad

1871 Member, Santo Domingo Commission

1878, March 2 Died, Jefferson, Ohio


0.25 Cubic Feet (, 11 reels (3,500 items))

Language of Materials



Arranged into two series: 1. Correspondence. 2. Miscellany.

Ownership and Custodial History

Purchased from the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

Location of Originals

Benjamin Franklin Wade Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, 2nd St. and Indepencence Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. 20540, USA.

Reproduction Note

Microfilm. Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1968. 1 reel ; 35 mm.

Benjamin Franklin Wade Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US