Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Charles T. Cotton papers, 1850-1877

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0288
Bib ID 4079830 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Cotton, Charles T., 1825-1877 ; Wilkinson, Morton S (Morton Smith), 1819-1894
Title Charles T. Cotton papers, 1850-1877
Physical Description 0.5 linear feet (1 box)
Language(s) English .

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.






Cotton's 15 nonconsecutive manuscript pocket diaries for the period from 1850 to 1877. The diaries outline his life and travels. The entries for the Civil War years are especially interesting. He often describes the capital's fear of enemy invasion, recent nearby incursions, troop movements, and the general preoccupation with all aspects of the war. He called on President Lincoln, attended his second inauguration, and notes the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation. He describes the capital's joyous mood at the fall of Richmond and the gloom over the assassination of Lincoln. He attended the military court to see the conspirators. Later volumes talk about Pension Bureau affairs and his health and that of his family.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Charles T.Cotton papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

15 diaries: Source of acquisition--5285B (NYState). Method of acquisition--Purchase; Date of acquisition--01/11/94. Accession number--M-94-01-11.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

15 diaries Cataloged HR 01/25/94.

Revision Description

2012-05-29 xml document created by Judi Zupnick

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Accounts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Appointment books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Diaries Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Financial records Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lists (document genres) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Teachers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Civil service Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Law clerks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lind, Jenny, 1820-1887 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Natchez (Miss.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New Hampshire Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Public officers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Saint Paul Metropolitan Area (Minn.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States. Pension Bureau Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States. President (1861-1865 : Lincoln) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States. President (1861-1865 : Lincoln) -- Emancipation Proclamation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Washington (D.C.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Washington (D.C.) -- Social life and customs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Diarist and federal clerk in the U.S. Pension Bureau. Cotton was born in Natchez, Mississippi and taught school in nearby Pine Ridge. In 1851, he left Natchez and traveled via New Orleans and Havana to New York City and on to New Hampshire where he had relatives. By the summer of 1855 he was in St. Paul, Minnesota Territory where he clerked in a law office. At the end of 1859 he visited Natchez and Memphis, Tennessee. He moved to Washington, D.C. and in 1863 he was employed as a federal clerk in the Pension Bureau where he remained for the rest of his life. In later years he was the Recording Secretary of the Southern Republican Association.