Henry Clay papers

Abstract

The Henry Clay papers (dated 1813-1852; 0.23 cubic feet; 1 box) consists of letters, financial notes, a print, campaign buttons, a ribbon, and a newspaper that all relate to Kentucky politician Henry Clay.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Henry Clay papers
Creator
Clay, Henry, 1777-1852
Extent
0.2 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Politicians -- Correspondence.
Presidential candidates -- United States.
Press and politics
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by format.
Finding Aid Author
Andrew McGraw
Preferred Citation
70m13: [identification of item], Henry Clay papers, 1813-1852, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Henry Clay (1777-1852), statesman, orator, and Secretary of State, was born to Baptist minister John Clay and Elizabeth Hudson Clay in Hanover County, Virginia, on April 12, 1777. Clay, with little formal education, entered the Virginia bar in 1797, shortly before relocating to Lexington, Kentucky, to open a law practice. First elected to public office in 1803, Clay's involvement in the politics of the United State lasted until his death in 1852. He served as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1811-1814, 1815-1820, 1823-1825), as Secretary of State for John Quincy Adams (1825-1829), and as a senator in the U.S. Senate (1806-1807, 1810-1811, 1831-1842, 1849-1852). Attempting to fulfill his ultimate dream, Clay ran unsuccessfully for president three times: in 1824 as a Democratic Republican, in 1832 as a National Republican, and in 1844 as a Whig. Dubbed the Great Compromiser for his efforts to preserve the Union, Clay helped negotiate compromises during several conflicts between the free and slave states, including the Missouri Compromise in 1820 and the Great Compromise in 1850. As well as being a skilled orator and politician, Henry Clay was also a progressive agrarian and stockman, who took great pleasure in managing his own affairs and improvements at his estate, Ashland. He brought donkeys from Spain and Malta to Ashland as well as Hereford cattle and Durham short horn cattle. Clay's stables produced several still prominent horse blood lines, including eleven descendants who won the Kentucky Derby. Furthermore, he regularly submitted articles to agricultural journals and sat on the committee of the Kentucky Society for Promoting Agriculture. Henry Clay married Lucretia Hart (1781-1864) on April 11, 1799, and had eleven children with her: Henrietta (1800-1801), Theodore Wyeth (1802-1870), Thomas Hart (1803-1871), Susan Hart (1805-1825), Anne Brown (1807-1835), Lucretia Hart (1809-1823), Henry, Jr. (1811-1847), Eliza (1813-1825), Laura (1815-1817), James Brown (1817-1864), and John Morrison (1821-1887).
Scope and Content
The Henry Clay papers (dated 1813-1852; 0.23 cubic feet; 1 box) consists of letters, financial notes, a print, campaign buttons, a ribbon, and a newspaper that all relate to Kentucky politician Henry Clay. The five letters written by Henry Clay concern a variety of issues and include responses to consituents, a thank you letter, a request for his autograph, and a letter to Philip Fendall while he worked as a clerk in the U.S. State Department. The letter to Fendall, marked private, is a formal request for Fendall to consult library resources regarding when a capture at sea is considered complete. The campaign buttons include buttons from each of Clay's presidential campaigns. Additionally, the collection contains a ribbon for the Henry Clay Festival Association and a newspaper tribute upon Clay's death published in the New York Daily Tribune on July 21, 1852.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Letters from Henry Clay, 1824-1945

  • Box MS-44, folder 1
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Financial notes, 1813-1829

  • Box MS-44, folder 2
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Henry Clay print, Likeness from a Portrait in the possession of his family, Johnson, Fry & Co. Publishers New York, 1861

  • Box MS-44, folder 3
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Henry Clay presidential campaign buttons, 1824, 1832, 1844

  • Box MS-44, folder 4
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Henry Clay Festival Association ribbon, after 1852

  • Box MS-44, folder 5
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Henry Clay tribute, New York Daily Tribune, 1852 July 21

  • Box OS-17, folder 1
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Researchers are encouraged to request collections at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Questions? Contact us at https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

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Researchers are encouraged to request collections at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Questions? Contact us at https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.