Summary Information

Repository
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011
Creator
Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869
Title
Franklin Pierce collection
ID
M148
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1823-1869
Date [inclusive]
1823-2010, undated
Extent
0.5 linear feet
Language
Abstract
The collection contains correspondence spanning the period from Pierce's election to the New Hampshire legislature to his death in 1869; oratory exhibitions from Pierce's Bowdoin years; newsclippings; commemorative materials; photographs; and ephemera.

Preferred Citation

Franklin Pierce Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine


Biographical/Historical Note

Franklin Pierce, the fourteenth president of the United States (1853-1857), was born in a log cabin in Hillsboro, New Hampshire on Nov. 23, 1804. He was the fourth son of Benjamin Pierce (1757-1839), who had fought in the Revolution, and later became governor of New Hampshire (1827-1829), and his third wife, Anna Kendrick Pierce. Pierce was graduated from Bowdoin College in 1824, and was a friend of schoolmates Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Pitt Fessenden, Calvin E. Stowe, and John P. Hale, who later became Pierce's greatest political rival. Before becoming president, Pierce served in the New Hampshire Legislature (1829-1832), where he was speaker of the House (1832); in the U.S. Congress as a representative (1833-1837) and a U.S. senator (1837-1842); and as brigadier general of volunteers, Mexican War (1846-1848), during which he was wounded at the Battle of Contreras.

While a student at Bowdoin College, Pierce met Jane Means Appleton (b. March 12, 1806, Hampton, NH), the third daughter of Rev. Jesse Appleton, who was president of Bowdoin College from 1807 to 1819. The couple married in 1834, but throughout their marriage were plagued by personal and political misfortunes. They had three sons, all of whom died young: Robert (b. 1836); Frank (b. 1839); and Benjamin (b. 1842). Although a brilliant lawyer, Pierce damaged his political career when, as president, he signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the 1820 Missouri Compromise.

Jane Pierce, who never recovered from her frail health, died in 1863. Pierce died at his home in Concord, New Hampshire on October 8, 1869.


Scope and Content

The collection contains letters, mostly to and from Franklin Pierce spanning the period from his election to the New Hampshire legislature to his death in 1869; oratory exhibitions from Pierce's Bowdoin years; newsclippings; commemorative materials; photographs; and ephemera. Correspondents include Pierce's classmates and friends Horatio Bridge and George Washington Pierce, both of the Class of 1825, Bowdoin professors Nehemiah Cleaveland and Alpheus Spring Packard, and Jane Pierce. Also included are indices and articles relating to the former president.


Administrative Information

Publication Information

 George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011

3000 College Station
Brunswick, Maine, 04011
(207) 725-3288
scaref@bowdoin.edu

Collection Inventory

 M148.1 Correspondence, 1828-1869, n.d.   0.15 linear feet

Series Description:

The correspondence consists chiefly of letters by Pierce to friends, especially his associates from Bowdoin. It covers the period after his election to the New Hampshire legislature to his death in 1869, but is most extensive during his term as president of the United States. Many of the letters, especially those to Bowdoin classmates Horatio Bridge and George Washington Pierce, have a personal tone, and at least one of the letters to Bridge concerns another famous life-long friend, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Organized chronologically, with a chronological and alphabetical listing of correspondents at the beginning of Box 1.

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Vault-Box Folder
1 1

Electrostatic copies, Franklin Pierce to George Washington Pierce, 1828-1835; originals owned by Wm. C. Pierce 

    1 2

    1837 Apr 20, Hillsboro, Franklin Pierce to Horatio Bridge 

      1 3

      1837 May 2, Hillsboro, Franklin Pierce to Horatio Bridge 

        1 4

        1845 Jul 28, Concord, Franklin Pierce to Horatio Bridge 

          1 5

          1846 Feb 20, Dover, Franklin Pierce to Horatio Bridge 

            1 6

            1846 Oct 2, Concord, Mrs. Franklin Pierce to Alpheus Spring Packard 

              1 7

              1849 Oct 19, Concord, Franklin Pierce to Horatio Bridge 

                1 8

                1850 Sep 20, Concord, Franklin Pierce to Alpheus Spring Packard 

                  1 9

                  1852 Sep 11, Portsmouth, Franklin Pierce to Mr. Ticknor 

                    1 10

                    1854 Jan 15, Washington, Franklin Pierce to Miss Elizabeth McNiel [fragment] 

                      1 11

                      1854 Mar 4, Washington, Mrs. Franklin Pierce to Mrs. A.S. Packard 

                        1 12

                        1854 Jul 4, Washington, Franklin Pierce to Nehemiah Cleaveland 

                          1 13

                          1854 Jul 8, Brooklyn, Nehemiah Cleaveland to Franklin Pierce 

                            1 14

                            1854 Aug 4, certificate of appointment as surveyor and inspector of the Port of Dubuque, State of Iowa 

                              1 15

                              1854 Sep, Washington, Mrs. Franklin Pierce to Mrs. A.S. Packard 

                                1 16

                                1854 Oct 28, Brooklyn, Nehemiah Cleaveland to Franklin Pierce 

                                  1 17

                                  1855 Mar 1: Executive Pardon for Frances Wheeler 

                                    1 18

                                    1855 Apr, Washington, Mrs. Franklin Pierce to Mrs. A.S. Packard 

                                      1 19

                                      1855 Nov 13, Washington, Mrs. Franklin Pierce to Mrs. A.S. Packard 

                                        1 20

                                        1856 Mar, Washington, Mrs. Franklin Pierce to Mrs. A.S. Packard 

                                          1 21

                                          1857 Jan 31: Executive Pardon for William Nicholson 

                                            1 22

                                            1858 Mar 28, Funchal, Madeira, Franklin Pierce to Horatio Bridge 

                                              1 23

                                              1859 Sep 11, Andover, Franklin Pierce to Horatio Bridge 

                                                1 24

                                                1863 May 11, Concord, Franklin Pierce to Horatio Bridge 

                                                  1 25

                                                  1864 May 26, Concord, Franklin Pierce to Mrs. Horatio Bridge 

                                                    1 26

                                                    1865 Nov 27, Concord, Franklin Pierce to Horatio Bridge 

                                                      1 27

                                                      1868 Sep 3, re. Franklin Pierce 

                                                        1 28

                                                        1868 Oct 11, Concord, Franklin Pierce to Horatio Bridge 

                                                          1 29

                                                          1869 Feb 16, Concord, Franklin Pierce to Horatio Bridge 

                                                            1 30

                                                            n.d., Rockingham House, Franklin Pierce to Mrs. Horatio Bridge 

                                                              1 31

                                                              Typescripts of Franklin Pierce letters to Horatio Bridge 


                                                                 M148.2 Clippings, ephemera, images, etc., 1823-2010, n.d.   0.35 linear feet

                                                                Series Description:

                                                                Pierce's exhibition parts and orations during his tenure at Bowdoin; newsclippings of various types and subjects dating from 1850 to the present; commemorative material; and images. Also included are copies of Pierce manuscripts in other Bowdoin collections, as well as an index to the Franklin Pierce Papers at the Library of Congress.

                                                                Arrangement:

                                                                Arranged alphabetically.

                                                                Box Folder
                                                                1 32

                                                                Articles and addresses: 

                                                                  1 33

                                                                  "Franklin Pierce, Popular Sovereignty, and Manifest Destiny..." by Peter Steinbrueck 

                                                                    Volume Vault
                                                                    1

                                                                    "Oratio Salutatoria De Seculo Augusti," May 20, 1824 

                                                                      Box Folder
                                                                      1 34

                                                                      Clippings: 1850-1899 

                                                                        1 35

                                                                        Clippings: 1900-1949 

                                                                          1 36

                                                                          Clippings: 1950-1959 

                                                                            1 37

                                                                            Clippings: 1960-current; miscellaneous 

                                                                              1 38

                                                                              Ephemera: Commemorative medal: gift of Evelyn H. Dupont, February 10, 1981 

                                                                                Box
                                                                                MRealia 3

                                                                                Ephemera: Franklin Pierce presidential dollar coins, one roll, released into circulation 2010 May 20 

                                                                                  Ovsz-Box
                                                                                  C2

                                                                                  Ephemera: Miscellaneous documents signed while president 

                                                                                    Box Folder
                                                                                    1 39

                                                                                    Ephemera: Miscellaneous ephemera 

                                                                                      1 40

                                                                                      Ephemera: Picture on commemorative stamp envelope 

                                                                                        1 41

                                                                                        Ephemera: Stationery 

                                                                                          1 42

                                                                                          Images 

                                                                                            Ovsz-Box
                                                                                            C2

                                                                                            Images 

                                                                                              Box Folder
                                                                                              1 43

                                                                                              Lists and indices: Copies of mss. in other collections 

                                                                                                1 44

                                                                                                Lists and indices: Library of Congress-index to the Franklin Pierce Papers, 1962