Joseph Baily Political Papers, 1845-1878

Overview of the Collection

Joseph Baily Political Papers
1845-1878 (inclusive)
2 containers, (3 linear feet)
Collection Number
Cage 670
Correspondence, printed materials, a manuscript personal memoir, and funeral attire, relating to Joseph Baily's political career.
Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
Pullman, WA
Telephone: 509-335-6691
Access Restrictions

The collection is open and available for on-site research use. Researchers will be instructed to wear gloves. Though the images vary widely in their physical condition, reproductions in the form of digital scans and prints will be available for most of the items in the collection.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Joseph Baily was born March 18, 1810 in Pennsburry Township of Chester County, Pennsylvania to Jacob Baily and Elisabeth Parker. As one of 12 children, Baily attended the "common schools." According to his memoir, his "parents couldn't afford the education beyond what could be acquired in the winter months." He worked on his father's farm until he was 16 years old and then apprenticed in the trade of a hatter, which he carried on in Parkersville. He then saved enough money to attend a boarding school in New Jersey for one year. Following that, he returned to journey work in New Jersey and started a shop in 1832. In 1840, Baily served in the State House of Representatives and in 1843, he became a member of the State Senate. Baily moved to Perry County in 1845, where he purchased "the Caroline furnace estate." He remained out of public office while he repaired the estate's furnace so that manufacturing iron could resume.

From 1851-1853, Baily was again elected as a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate. In 1854, he was appointed the position of State Treasurer of Pennsylvania and also joined the Know-Nothing party. He served one year as Treasurer and then spent the following two years studying law at an attorney's office in New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania. He was admitted to the bar in 1860. Baily was elected as a Democrat to the 37th and 38th Congresses (March 4, 1861 -- March 3, 1865). A note from Baily to President Lincoln is included in the collection as is an invitation to Lincoln' funeral and the funeral crepe Mrs. Baily wore to the ceremony. In 1872, he served as a member of the State constitutional convention. Joseph Baily died at Bailey Station, Perry County, PA., on August 26, 1885. His interment is in the Bloomfield Cemetery, New Bloomfield, PA.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Most of the documents relate to Baily's political career and include letters regarding political appointments, requests, and other printed political materials. Joseph Baily's manuscript Memoir contains a wealth of personal information as well as Baily's opinion of Lincoln, and contemporary politics. The collection is divided into four series: Correspondence, Memoir, Printed Documents and Other Articles. The folders within each series are arranged in chronological order.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

The Joseph Baily letters and printed materials were donated by the Baily estate to the Washington State University Libraries in 1998.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

I:  Correspondence Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
James Buchanan (1791-1868); Secretary of State during Polk administration
Three page letter (signed "James Buchanan") to the Democratic members of the legislature of Pennsylvania, including Joseph Bailey, "Gentlemen...", marked "copy", three pages, Washington [D.C.]. The whole document appears to be a secretary's hand. This document concerns the election of "general" Simon Cameron (A Pennsylvanian businessman and politician) to the U.S. Senate in 1845 "by means which won him the enmity of Buchanan and regular party men." Later, as a Republican, Cameron's support of Lincoln in 1860 won the post of Secretary of War, however his corrupt conduct of office caused his removal in 1862. He was appointed as minister to Russia.
March 31, 1845
Assistant Postmaster General [Warren]
One page partly printed document from the 2d Assistant Postmaster General [Warren] to the Hon. [J. H M ] Lanahan, Ho. of Reps. Regarding the appointment of Joseph Baily to the Postmaster of Baileysburgh, Perry County, Pennsylvania.
December 17, 1849
Abraham Lincoln, as 16th President
One page note (signed "A. Lincoln") [to Congressman Joseph Baily], [Washington, D.C.] Response on the reverse of a card from Bailey requesting a visit with the President "to hear his decision in the case of Capt. C. Garrettson." Lincoln declines indicating that the report from the Judge Advocate General "has not yet come in."
March 12, 1864
Cpt. Robert C. Lamberton, (Co. G 84th Reg. Pennsylvania Volunteers)
A two page letter (signed "Robt. C. Lamberton") to the Hon. Jos[eph] Baily, Camp, Fort Bross, Va. Advising Baily of the results of the regimental election "today," the regiment voted about 2/3 Republican. All six votes cast by company G went to Baily. Lamberton describes of his new commission and news of the war.
October 11, 1864
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President
Partly printed document (signed "E. A. Sawnford {?} Assistant Adjutant General") to the Hon. Joseph Bailey, War Department, Washington [D.C.] Inviting Bailey to accompany "the remains of the late President, Abraham Lincoln, from the City of Washington to Springfield, Illinois with full transportation back."
April 20, 1865
William M. Porter
One page letter (signed "Wm. M. Porter") to the Hon. Jos[eph] Baily, Carlisle Penns[ylvani]a. Porter seeks Baily's "influence" in securing a clerkship in Washington, preferably in the House or Senate, but perhaps even in the "new Bureau of Rebel Archives" which is, or "about to be, established."
October 21, 1865
Joseph Baily
Two page unsigned letter from Joseph Baily to Thaddeus Stevens (1792-1868), lawyer, political leader; Newport, Pennsylvania. Stevens, a Congressman form Pennsylvania became chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee upon Lincoln's election, and exerted wide authority over measures dealing with the prosecution of the Civil War. After Lincoln's assassination, Stevens prepared to give battle with Andrew Johnson on the question of reducing the South to a "territorial condition." When Congress met in December 1865, a joint committee on Reconstruction was appointed on his motion; as chairman of the House group, Stevens was the dominant member of the committee. An intense partisan, his career was marred by a harsh and vindictive temper, which in his last years made him frankly vengeful towards the South. This letter condemning the rebellion and the rebels would appear to add fuel to Stevens' vindictiveness. Docketed in Baily's hand as "copy of a letter to Thaddeus Stevens".
November 13, 1865
Thaddeus Stevens
One page letter (signed "Thaddeus Stevens") to the Hon. Joseph Baily, Lancaster. Responding to Baily's letter of Nov. 13, 1865. "Your writings sound like gospel..."
November 16, 1865
David R[itterhouse?] Porter (1788-1867)
One page note (signed "David R. Porter") to the Hon. Joseph Baily, Harrisburg. Porter, an iron manufacturer, who after long service in the Pennsylvania legislature served as the State's Democratic governor between 1839 and 1845. In this note, Porter solicits Baily's testimony as to his qualifications for appointment as "Director of the mint at Phil[adelphia]."
February 4, 1867
John Covode (1808-1871)
One page letter (signed "John Covode") to Hon. Joseph Baily, Washington [D.C.] Regarding the impeachment of President Johnson in response to a letter from Baily. Covode served in the Pennsylvania legislature and as Congressman of the Whig party from 1854 to 1863 and again in 1867 though 1871. Covode introduced the House impeachment resolution against President Johnson.
May 4, 1868
Simon Cameron (1799-1789), businessman, politician
One page note (signed "Simon Cameron") to Joseph Baily Esq., Newport, Pa., Senate [Washington, D.C.] Simon's response to a letter from Baily requesting an increase in the salary of "the P[ost] M[aster] at New Bloomfield" and citing "the policy of retrenchment which now controls the PO Department."
March 1, 1870
Simon Cameron
One page note (signed "Simon Cameron") to the Hon. Jos[eph] Baily, Harrisburg. A request for Baily to supply Cameron with "Locust Posts."
June 1, 1873
James Donald Cameron (1833-1918), businessman, politician, son of Simon Cameron, whom he aided in security enterprises and in control of the Republican party in Pennsylvania. Sec. of War, 1876-1877; U.S. Senator, 1877-1897
One page letter signed (signed "J.D. Cameron") to an unidentified recipient, Washington D.C. Regarding increasing the circulation of the New York Tribune in Pennsylvania now that it is resuming "its old place as a steadfast supporter of the Republican Party."
May 25, [18]78

II:  Memoir Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Baily's autobiographical memoir
A 150 page leather bound pocket size daybook, which includes genealogical information and opinions concerning the Civil War, slavery and the South, his role as a political figure both in national and state politics, the Knights of the Golden Circle, etc.
January 1, 1855-188[?]
Folder with notation describing Baily's estate
Card of Abraham Lincoln, Real Estate, Deed Cemetary Lot, Dee[d] 160 Acres Land, Stevens County Home at 1302...

III:  Printed Documents Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
The Daily Globe, "The Official Paper of Congress"
Six page newspaper printed in Washington [D.C.] Also included is the envelope in which Baily kept this item. Baily's annotation indicates the envelope's contents: "The Globe containing the Confiscation and Emancipation bills and the yeas and nays on the same."
"Joseph Baily A Know- Nothing!"
One page broadside, [York County, Pennsylvania] An article written during Baily's campaign for Congress denouncing his involvement with the Know-Nothing Party.
M'Cellan Democrat "Democratic District Ticket for Congress Joseph Baily"
Two page broadsheet from Carlisle, Pa. Contains Baily's acceptance to run for a third term as Congressman on the Democratic Union ticket in response to his nomination by members of the 208th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, then at Camp Curtin, city of Harrisburg, Pa. Also Gen. George B. McCellan's letter of acceptance as the democratic presidential candidate.
Thursday, September 22, 1864
One page newspaper article by James [Shuck ?] Article about Joseph Baily, described as "honest Joe", "Renegade Joe" and socially "Sneak Joe."
"History of the Constitutional Amendment (from the Tribune Almanac of 1866)"
One page broadside, No. 2 History of the passage of the XIII Amendment through Congress in 1865 with voting records of senators and representatives.

IV:  Other Articles Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President
Black cloth crepe and cloth "badge" worn by Joseph Bailey to Springfield, Ill. May 1864 "as one of the escort to attend the remains of Abraham Lincoln..."
May 1865
Joseph Baily
One page note (signed "Joseph Baily") attesting to the facts about the crepe and badge, undoubtedly used as a wrapper for the articles. Also included is an envelope on which is written by Baily, "Badge of Crape worn at Lincoln's funeral at Springfield."
May 1865

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Broadsides -- United States -- 19th century.
  • Letters -- United States -- 19th century.
  • Memoirs -- United States -- 19th century.
  • Pennsylvania -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources.
  • Pennsylvania -- Politics and government -- 1845-1878 -- Sources.