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James D. Davidson collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: S0334

Scope and Contents

This collection contains photostats and typed copies of letters sent to James D. Davidson by his brothers, Alexander Davidson and Charles Baker (C.B.), his nephew Preston Davidson, and other Indiana residents regarding family news, economic conditions, elections, secession, slavery, the Civil War, money issues, and Noah Noble's estate. Also included are letters sent to other Davidson family members, three letters sent to C.H. and W.S. McCormick from an A.D. Hagen (?) regarding McCormick reaper business, and two letters sent to "Dear Sister" by Anica/Anaky Reed, an African-American woman living in Rockville, Indiana in 1865. The letters in the collection range from 1837 to 1866 and are copies of originals at the McCormick Agricultural Library, Chicago.


  • 1837-1866


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights resides with the creators of the documents or their legal heirs and assigns. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

James Dorman Davidson was born November 7, 1808 in Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia to Reverend Andrew Baker and Susan Davidson. He was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1831 and he practiced law for over half a century, specializing in settlement of estates. Davidson was a Unionist and opposed secession, but withdrew his opposition after meeting with President Abraham Lincoln at the behest of Governor Letcher.

He married Hannah McDowell Greenlee on May 24, 1832 and they had six children. His brother, Alexander, moved to Indiana and married Catherine Mary Noble, Governor Noah Noble's daughter. His brother, Charles Baker (C.B.), was an Episcopal clergyman and lived for a time in Indiana as well. James died on October 14, 1882.

Sources: "James Dorman Davidson." Find a Grave Index. Accessed September 16, 2016. "Rev Andrew Baker Davidson." Find a Grave Index. Accessed September 16, 2016.

Keller, Herbert A., ed. A Journey Through the South in 1836: Diary of James D. Davidson. Reprint ed. Baton Rouge, LA: Franklin Press, 1935.


0.02 Cubic Feet (2 folders)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2013/10/10 by Nikki Stoddard Schofield. Collection reprocessed by Laura Eliason 2016/09/16. EAD finding aid created 2016/09/17 by Laura Eliason.


James D. Davidson collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.