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Guide to the William Oland Bourne Papers
1837-1881
 MS 69

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Margaret Bausman

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on January 21, 2016
Finding Aid is written in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: Bourne, Wm. Oland, (William Oland), 1819-1901
Title: William Oland Bourne Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1837-1881
Abstract: This collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, newspaper clippings and lectures related to the career of William Oland Bourne (1819-1901), a social reformer, editor and author in New York City. Of particular note are materials related to his publication, Soldier's Friend, a newsletter for Civil War Veterans through which Bourne organized a Left-handed Penmanship Contest for veterans who had lost their right arm. The collection contains photographic portraits of four of the contest participants, left-handed writing samples and a sample written with a prosthetic arm. Much of the contents of Folder 2: Left-handed Penmanship Papers, 1865-1868 has been digitized and is available online via New York Heritage.
Quantity: 0.75 Linear feet
Language of Materials Note: The William Oland Bourne Collection is written in English.
Mixed materials [Box]: 2
Mixed materials [Box]: 1
Call Phrase: MS 69

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Historical Note

Born during the nascent abolitionist movement in the United States, throughout his professional life as a journalist, editor and author in New York City, William Oland Bourne embraced social reform causes related to the anti-slavery movement, labor and civil war veterans’ rehabilitation. The Bourne Papers, which are suggestive of an evangelical orientation and advocacy for temperance, demonstrate Bourne’s considerable passion for his causes through his writing as well as the fervent responses it elicited from peers and readers.

Four broad areas of Bourne’s professional life are documented. The first is the publication of Soldier’s Friend, a newsletter focusing on the stories and needs of Civil War veterans. A proponent of education and rehabilitation,  Soldier’s Friend sponsored a Left-handed Writing Contest for veterans who had lost their right arm. The collection documents this event including four portraits of competing veterans, left-handed writing samples and a sample written with a prosthetic arm. Many of these materials have been digitized and are available online to on-site researchers and to users affiliated with subscribing institutions via EBSCOhost.

Additionally, the collection covers Bourne’s involvement with the Workingmen’s Democratic Republican Association and his related publication, The Iron Platform. There is documentation pertaining to the formation, operations and dissolution of the American Mining, Metallurgical and Manufacturing Company and the Humboldt Mining and Manufacturing Company. Much in Bourne's handwriting, these materials include letters, copies of agreements and memoranda of his meetings with firm officials from 1859 to 1860. And lastly, the collection documents Bourne’s literary and oratory work in the form of unpublished manuscripts and copies of lectures.

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Scope and Content Note

The William Oland Bourne Papers consist of a range of materials both hand-written and printed. These include agreements, articles, broadsides, correspondence, leaflets, lectures, manuscripts, memorandums and newspaper clippings related to his advocacy for the laborer and disabled civil war veterans. The collection contains several unique items which include four photographic portraits of disabled civil war veterans who participated in the Left-handed Penmanship Contest, left-handed writing samples and one sample written with a prosthetic arm.

Arrangement Note

The William Oland Bourne Papers are arranged chronologically within series.

  1. Series 1: Soldier's Friend
  2. Series 2: Labor
  3. Series 3: Manuscripts, Lectures and Articles

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Agreements.
  • Articles.
  • Broadsides
  • Correspondence
  • Leaflets.
  • Lectures.
  • Manuscripts
  • Memorandums.
  • Photographs

Subject Topics

  • Antislavery movements -- United States.
  • Democratic Party (U.S.)-- Platforms.
  • Disabled veterans -- Rehabilitation.
  • Iron Platform.
  • Mining corporations -- United States.
  • Mining industries -- United States.
  • Penmanship, Left-handed.
  • Soldiers' writings, American.
  • Tariff -- United States.
  • Working class -- United States.
  • Workingmen's Democratic Association

Subject Places

  • United States -- Economic conditions -- To 1865.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Portraits

Occupation(s)

  • Editors.
  • Social reformers.

Subject Uniform Title(s)

  • American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Manufacturing Company
  • Humbolt Mining and Manufacturing Company
  • Soldier's Friend
  • United States. Army -- Military life

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to all qualified researchers.

Use Restrictions

Permission to quote from this collection in a publication must be requested and granted in writing. Send permission requests, citing the name of the collection from which you wish to quote to: Curator of Manuscripts, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024

Preferred Citation Note

This collection should be cited as the William Oland Bourne Papers, MS 69, The New-York Historical Society.

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Container List

Series 1: Soldier's Friend, 1864-1872

Scope and Content Note

Series 1 consists of correspondence, leaflets, articles and broadsides related to Soldier's Friend, a newsletter for the Civil War Veteran. It contains several unique items which include four photographic portraits of disabled civil war veterans who participated in the Left-handed Penmanship Contest, left-handed writing samples and a sample written with a prosthetic arm. Much of the contents of Folder 2: Left-handed Penmanship Papers, 1865-1868 has been digitized and is available online via New York Heritage.

Arrangement Note

Series 1: Soldier's Friend is arranged chronologically.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Correspondence
1864-1872
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Left-handed Penmanship Papers and Photographs
1865-1868

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Series 2: Labor, 1852-1881

Scope and Content Note

Series 2 consists of correspondence, memorandum and agreements primarily hand-written by Bourne related to the formation, administration and dissolution of the American Mining, Metallurgical and Manufacturing Company and the Humbolt Mining and Manufacturing Company. Some of the names frequently mentioned are: Frederick Janes, E. C. Benedict, Frederick V. Rushton, Andrew C. Armstrong, Francis Bourne, Joseph E. D. Comstock, Albert Gilbert, Daniel B. Brown, William S. Sears, John N. Wyckoff and Samuel Clark all of whom apparently had related operations in New York City, Virginia and California.

Series 2 also contains broadsides, brochures and correspondence pertaining to Bourne's involvement with the Workingmen's Democratic Republican Association and his related publication, The Iron Platform.

Arrangement Note

Series 2: Labor is arranged chronologically.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Records of the "American Mining, Metallurgical and Manufacturing Company" and the "Humbolt Mining and Manufacturing Company"
1859-1860
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Records of the "American Mining, Metallurgical and Manufacturing Company" and the "Humbolt Mining and Manufacturing Company"
1859-1860
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Workingmen’s Democratic Republican Association / Broadsides and Brochures
1852-1872
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Workingmen's Democratic Republican Association / Correspondence
1855-1881 and Undated

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Series 3: Manuscripts, Lectures and Articles, 1837-1870

Scope and Content Note

Series 3 consists primarily of unpublished, hand-written manuscripts including Bourne's unpublished book, Out of Work: or, Walks Among Empty Workshops and Dreary Firesides written in protest against the Tariff of 1846 and describing the conditions which Bourne cited as the result of this commercial policy. There is a volume of four lectures given at the Beriah Sacred Lyceum entitled:  The Effects of Ignorance and Education (March 30, 1837),  The Effects of Christianity (December 28, 1837),  On the Study of History (December 1837) and  The Origin and Progress of Idolatry (July 1838). There is a set of newspaper clippings some written by Bourne, which were originally folded into the back cover of the volume of lectures.

Arrangement Note

Series 3: Manuscripts, Lectures and Articles is arranged chronologically.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Volume of Lectures
1837-1838
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Newspaper Clippings
1851-1870 and Undated
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Unpublished Manuscript "Out of Work", Part I
1856
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Unpublished Manuscript "Out of Work", Part II
1856
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Untitled Manuscript
Circa 1864
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Manuscript "The American Laborer as an Artist"
Undated
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Manuscript "The Dweller in Ambervale"
Undated
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Manuscript "Fighting and Working"
Undated
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Two Untitled Manuscripts
Undated

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