Scope and Content

The collection includes photographs, manuscripts, correspondence and newspaper clippings. The papers and photographs in this collection cover the period from circa1800 to 1891, and deal with the history of the Schenck family. There is a major focus on Robert C. Schenck and his career. From the photographs, one is autographed by him. This collection comprises 1 box of material, mainly correspondence, and is arranged into four series.

The collection covers the period 1800-1891. It includes most of the 19th century, from the founding of Dayton through the post-Civil War era. While the collection is focused on Robert C. Schenck, it includes material on his father, William C. Schenck. Born in New Jersey, the older Schenck came to Cincinnati in 1795 and worked as a surveyor to help open the Miami Valley to settlement. In 1796, he and Daniel C. Cooper acquired a large tract of land which eventually became the site of the city of Franklin, in Warren County. He bought out Daniel C. Cooper's holdings and laid out the town, building his home there in 1803. He likewise acquired a large tract in Licking County, east of Columbus, and laid out the city of Newark, and also had land holdings in Montgomery, Coshocton and Delaware counties.

In addition to the opening of the Miami Valley and other areas of Ohio to settlement, this collection touches on many events and developments in nineteenth century America on the local, state, national and international levels. This is largely due to the long and active life of Robert C. Schenck as a college student and instructor, lawyer, soldier, statesman and diplomat. It includes:

* Miami University's (Oxford, OH) first college class (1824);

* The study of law, the administration of his father's estate, and the Financial Panic of 1837 (1831-1840);

* The Ohio legislature and state redistricting (1841-1843);

* The House of Representatives and the issues of slavery and the Mexican War (1843-1851);

* Ministry to Brazil and the negotiation of special trade treaties with Paraguay and Uruguay (1851-1854);

* Construction of a railroad line linking Fort Wayne, Indiana with the Mississippi River (1854-1861);

* The Civil War, including the first and second Battles of Bull Run (1861-1862);

* The House of Representatives (again) including chair of the Ways and Neans Committee and the Committee on Military Affairs, the issue of bringing the war to a quick and successful conclusion, reconstruction, the national debt, and a complete revision of the internal revenue laws (1863-1871);

* Ministry to England and, early on, service on the Joint High Commission for the settlement of damages to American Commerce from vessels built in England during the Civil War and used by the Confederacy (1871-1876);

* Codification of international laws for the Department of State (after 1876).