Billy Graham Center

Papers of Benjamin Tappan - Collection 175

[Note: The BGC Archives does not have the original documents of this collection. What it does have is a microfilm edition of the papers, which it purchased from a publisher, as did many other archives and libraries.]

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent.]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Benjamin Tappan

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Microfilm in This Collection (Location Record)

Brief Description.
Microfilm copy of originals in the Library of Congress. Correspondence, speeches, business papers, genealogical material. Documents deal mostly with Tappan's career as jurist and U.S. Senator from Ohio. There is also information on the abolitionist movement, local and national politics, and Tappan's hobbies of mineralogy and conchology.

Collection 175 [April 2, 2001]
Tappan, Benjamin; 1773-1857
Papers; 1795-1900
11 Reels of Microfilm


According to the guide published by the Library of Congress from whom this microfilm was purchased, the status of the literary rights in the unpublished writings of Benjamin Tappan in these papers is unknown.


Full name: Benjamin Tappan

Birth date: May 23, 1773

Birth place: Northampton, Massachusetts

Father: Benjamin Tappan, Sr.

Brothers: Arthur, Lewis, Charles, John, and William

Marital Status: 1801: Married Nancy Wright (died, 1822)
1823: Married Betsy Ford Frazer (died, 1840)

Education: Educated in public elementary schools
Apprenticed to a copperplate printer and engraver
Made a voyage to the West Indies
Studied portrait painting briefly under Gilbert Stuart
Studied law under Gideon Granger
Admitted to the bar at Hartford, Connecticut

1799 Became first settler of what is now Portage County, Ohio
1801 Settled in Ravenna, Ohio
1803-1805 Member of Ohio State Senate
1809 Moved to Steubenville where he continued to practice law
1812 Served as an aide-de-camp to major general Elijah Wadsworth during the War of 1812
1816-1823 Presided as judge of the Fifth Circuit Court of Common Pleas
1823 Returned to private practice
ca.1823 Appointed as member of the Ohio Canal Commission
1826-1833 Served as Federal district judge
1831 Publication of Cases Decided in the Courts of Common, in the Fifth Circuit of ... Ohio (Steubenville, printed by J. Wilson, 300 pp., previously printed in parts, 1818-1819)
1832 Served as Democratic Presidential elector supporting Andrew Jackson and Martin van Buren
1839-1845 Member of U. S. Senate from Ohio
1856 Supported John C. Fremont for President
1857 Died April 20 in Steubenville, Ohio

[The preceding biographical information was taken directly from the guide published for the microfilm by the Library of Congress.]

Scope and Content

[The following Scope and Content note is taken directly from the guide published for the microfilm by the Library of Congress.]

The papers of Benjamin Tappan span the years 1795 to 1900 and consist of correspondence, notes, speeches, financial and legal papers, and miscellaneous material.

Correspondence, which constitutes the bulk of Benjamin Tappan's papers, relates to his law practice, his activities in the anti-slavery movement, and to Ohio and national politics, especially during the Jacksonian period. An extensive family correspondence includes letters from his several brothers (Arthur, Charles, John, Lewis, and William), from his father, Benjamin, Sr., wife, Nancy, and brother-in-law, John Crafts Wright.

Benjamin Tappan's interest in conchology and mineralogy is also well documented. A partial index to the correspondence is contained in the Miscellany series. Included among principal correspondents are William Allen, John Gould Anthony, M[athew?] Birchard, Ethan Allen Brown, John C. Bryan, William H. Cabell, David Clendenin, DeWitt Clinton, James D. Dana, David F. Disney, Joseph Drayton, Ogden E. Edwards, George H. Flood, Augustus A. Gould, Charles Hammond, John Hastings, Elijah Hayward, Joshua Leavitt, Samuel Medary, William Medill, Marcus Morton, Francis Joseph Nicholas Neef, Lucy W. Say, John Sloane, Edwin M. Stanton, and Elisha Whittlesey.

A small Subject File consists of additional correspondence, and notes, petitions, and printed matter, relating to slavery, conchology, and other matters. The remainder of the papers includes printed speeches, bills and receipts, indentures, plats, briefs, acts, a certificate, newspaper clippings, notes, and miscellaneous items.



The microfilm in this collection was purchased from the Library of Congress in April 1981.

Accession 81-35
No date

Accession 81-35
Type of Material: Microfilm
The following items are located in the CENTER LIBRARY MICROFILM ROOM:

All reels are 35mm, positive copy.

Reel 1 - 1795-1811
Reel 2 - 1811-1822
Reel 3 - 1819-1830
Reel 4 - 1827-1836
Reel 5 - 1834-1840
Reel 6 - 1840-1842
Reel 7 - 1842-1844
Reel 8 - 1844-1846
Reel 9 - 1846-1900, n.d.

Reel 10 Subject File
  • Abolition of slavery and slave trade and the recognition of the independence of Haiti, ca. 1840--Petitions from Ohio residents
  • Banking system; n.d.
  • Conchology and other scientific matters; 1831-1849, n.d.
  • Cumberland Road, Ohio; 1834-1835
  • Papers relating to Jeremiah H. Hallock's conduct as President Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit; ca. 1830
  • Lynde vs. Patten: notes on the case; ca. 1798
  • Tappan family genealogy chart; n.d.
  • Wheeling and Belmont suspension bridge: drawing showing elevation; n.d.
  • Letter of Joseph Drayton to the Joint Congressional Committee on the Library about Wilkes exploratory expedition; n.d.


  • Address Delivered by Benj. Tappan, Esq., on the Celebration of the Eighth of January, 1828, at Columbus, Ohio
  • Proceedings of the Democratic State Convention, Held in Columbus on the Eighth of January, 1836; With an Address to the People of Ohio
  • Remarks of Mr. Tappan, of Ohio, on Abolition Petitions, Delivered in Senate, February 4, 1840
  • Speech of Mr. B. Tappan, of Ohio, on the Permanent Prospective Pre-emption Law, Delivered in the Senate of the United States, January 29, 1841
  • Speech of Mr. Tappan of Ohio, on the Bill To Incorporate the Banks of the District of Columbia, Delivered in Senate, February 23, 1841
  • Speech of the Hon. Benjamin Tappan, of Ohio on the United States Fiscal Bank Bill: Delivered in the Senate of the United States, July 14, 1841
  • Speech of Mr. Tappan, of Ohio, on the Joint Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, so as to limit the Term of Office of the Judges of the Supreme and Inferior Courts: Delivered in the Senate of the United States, January 16, 1843
  • 1843, and summary of Tappan's remarks (handwritten)
  • Reply of Col Abert and Mr. Markoe to the Hon. Mr. Tappan, of the United States Senate; 1843
  • Notes on Benjamin Tappan's remarks concerning the inclusion of trading corporation within a bankrupt law (handwritten); n.d.

Financial and Legal Papers

  • Bills and Receipts; 1802-1839
Reel 11
  • Bills and Receipts; 1802-1839 (continued)
  • Indentures, plats, briefs, acts, certificate, and notes; 1806-1855, n.d.


  • Index (partial) to bound volumes and other lists of correspondence
  • Invitations to speak or attend meetings; 1839-1848, n.d.
  • Newspapers and newspaper clippings; 1798-1843, n.d.
  • Notes, fragments, and miscellaneous items; 1863, 1866, n.d.

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Last Revised: 4/2/01
Expiration: indefinite