Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America

Archives related to: Davis, Erwin, approximately 1831-

titleAndrew Jackson and Erwin Davis papers, 1852-1904.
repositoryThe New-York Historical Society
collection titleCorrespondence and papers, 1852-1904, of brothers Erwin and Andrew Jackson Davis.

Papers include correspondence, bills, receipts, accounts, and various legal and financial records of Andrew Jackson Davis, 1852-1856, during the time Davis resided in Oregon as the operator of a coal mine in Coos Bay, including many letters from friends and family in Van Buren County, Iowa, and papers pertaining to his Coos Bay interests.

Papers of Erwin Davis include correspondence and business papers, 1856-1876, from his early years as a mine operator and speculator in California. Many of the letters are from friends and family, including brother Calvin P. Davis, sister Lizzie Bowdoin, Ira Smith, George G. Wright, F. R. Pease, and many others. Also included are recipes for distilling whiskey and preparation of medicinal tinctures; share certificates for various California gold, silver, and copper mines; six cartes-de-visite portraits of unidentified sitters; newsclippings concerning the contested will of Andrew J. Davis and the sale of Erwin Davis's art collection; account book of Erwin Davis containing his journal for his 1856 trip from New York to California via Panama; 2 paper effigies with knotted string around their necks sent as a threat to Erwin Davis following his foreclosure of a mortgage on property owned by the Miners Ditch Co.; 9 page typed letter, dated New York Oct. 17, 1904, written by Erwin Davis's friend George A. Treadwell to Louis Blanding, giving an account of Davis's foreclosure of the Ditch Mining Co. mortgage and his subsequent escape from a lynch mob, along with other reminiscences of Davis and his business exploits.

Historical Note:
Andrew Jackson Davis operated a coal mine in Coos Bay, Oregon; in 1864 he relocated to Butte, Montana, where he invested successfully in mines and mining properties in that region. Andrew Jackson's brother, Erwin Davis, was a mine operator and speculator in San Fransico, where he arrived in 1856. Erwin Davis was a noted collector of European paintings and later settled in New York City where he lived until his death ca. 1902.

New-York Historical Society

Mss Collection

Call Number
Andrew Jackson and Erwin Davis papers

extent1 box (ca. 385 items)
formatsCorrespondence Financial Records Legal Papers Business Papers Personal Papers
accessopen to qualified researchers at The New-York Historical Society
record link
record source
finding aidCorrespondence arranged chronologically.
updated03/16/2023 10:29:57

titleErwin Davis letterpress copybook and papers, 1859-1867
repositoryYale University Library
collection titleThe letterpress copybook (300 p.) consists of copies of letters from Erwin Davis to various recipients from 1859 to 1867. The letters document Davis's lawsuit with the Columbia and Stanislaus River Water Company as well as his many mining investments and land development contracts. Several are addressed to "Dorsey" and contain detailed instructions regarding stock transactions and Davis's business interests.

There are copies of letters to "Sedgewick" (John Sedgewick, Sheriff of Tuolumne County), and "Friend Fair" (James G. Fair, U.S. Senator). Additional papers include two letters, removed from the volume: ALS to Ch[arle]s L. Law from C. C. Thomas, Virginia, dated 1867 May 9, regarding the Chollar Potosi mine in Nevada; and a manuscript copy of an ALS to "Friend Fair" from [Charles L.] Law, dated 1867 May 8, describing the need to unload the stock of "Giant." Photocopies of biographical information relating to Erwin Davis are also present.

Biographical and Historical Note:
Erwin Davis was a banker and mining speculator in San Francisco in the 1850s and 1860s. A member of the banking firm Banks & Davis, Davis speculated in both real estate and mining properties in California and Nevada. In 1859, Davis was involved in litigation in Tuolumne County after foreclosing on a mortgage loan to the Columbia and Stanislaus River Water Company and selling one of the company's ditches.

Location: BEINECKE (Non-Circulating)
Call Number: WA MSS S-2569
extent0.21 linear ft. (1 box)
accessContact repository for restrictions and policies.
record link
record source
finding aidNone
acquisition informationGift of Michael D. Heaston, 2006.
updated11/12/2014 11:29:55