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DAWES, Henry Laurens



DAWES, Henry Laurens, a Representative and a Senator from Massachusetts; born in Cummington, Mass., October 30, 1816; attended the common schools and received private instruction in preparatory studies; graduated from Yale College in 1839; became a teacher and edited the Greenfield Gazette and the North Adams Transcript; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1842 and commenced practice in North Adams, Mass.; member, State house of representatives 1848-1849, 1852; member, State senate 1850; member of the State constitutional convention in 1853; district attorney for the western district of Massachusetts 1853-1857; elected to the Thirty-fifth and to the eight succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1857-March 3, 1875); chairman, Committee on Elections (Thirty-seventh through Fortieth Congresses), Committee on Appropriations (Forty-first Congress), Committee on Ways and Means (Forty-second and Forty-third Congresses); declined to be a candidate for reelection in 1874; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1875; reelected in 1881 and again in 1887, and served from March 4, 1875, to March 3, 1893; declined to be a candidate for reelection in 1893; chairman, Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds (Forty-fifth Congress), Committee on Indian Affairs (Forty-seventh through Fifty-second Congresses); settled in Pittsfield, Mass.; chairman of the commission created to administer the tribal affairs of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians in the Indian Territory 1893-1903; died in Pittsfield, Mass., February 5, 1903; interment in Pittsfield Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Augustana College
Center for Western Studies

Sioux Falls, SD
Papers: Correspondence in William Hobart Hare papers, 1864-1909.

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 1 item.

Harvard University
Houghton Library

Cambridge, MA
Papers: Correspondence in William Warland Clapp papers, 1819-1891 (bulk 1840-1891). Details on access available at repository.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1833-1933. 30 feet. Correspondence, letter-books (1848-1887), diaries, reports, family papers, citations, scrapbooks, memoranda, notebooks, congressional commissions, speeches (1840-1901), biographical material, clippings, photographs, and printed matter, together with an incomplete biography by his daughter. Documents his service as U.S. representative and senator, as chairman of the Commission to Administer the Tribal Affairs of the Five Civilized Tribes, his connection with Oakes Ames and the Credit Mobilier, the Chorpenning claim case, the U.S. Weather Bureau, tariff issues, and Gallaudet College. Finding aid.
Additional Papers: Correspondence in Hubbard family papers, 1639-1925. Finding aid.

Massachusetts Historical Society

Boston, MA
Papers: Ca. 60 items (ca. 1855-1899) in various collections and photographs. Finding aid.

Massachusetts State Archives

Boston, MA
Papers: 29 letters to governors of Massachusetts.

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: 1881; 1882; May 4, 1889; July 29, 1893. 4 letters.

Oklahoma Historical Society

Oklahoma City, OK
Papers: 343 volumes and 21 drawers. Relate to the Dawes Commission enrollment and the Five Civilized Tribes.

Phillips Academy
Oliver Wendell Holmes Library

Andover, MA
Papers: In Dawes family papers, 1858-1935. 1,073 items. Includes letters received relating to personal and public affairs, congressional events, and legislation.

University of Oklahoma
Carl Albert Center Congressional Archives

Norman, OK
Papers: In Cherokee Nation papers, 1801-1982.

Yale University Libraries
Manuscripts and Archives

New Haven, CT
Papers: Correspondence in William Dwight Whitney family papers, 1778-1951; Carrington family papers, 1749-1929; and Samuel Bowles papers, 1853-1890.
Research Libraries Information Network In addition to the institutions listed above, items are also cataloged in collections at: University of Toledo Library, Toledo, OH.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Arcanti, Steven J. 'To Secure the Party: Henry L. Dawes and the Politics of Reconstruction.' Historical Journal of Western Massachusetts 5 (Spring 1977): 33-45.

Carter, Kent. "Deciding Who Can Be Cherokee: Enrollment Records of the Dawes Commission." Chronicles of Oklahoma 69 (Summer 1991): 174-205.

Mathes, Valerie Sherer and Richard Lowitt, eds. "'I Plead for Them': An 1882 Letter from Alice Cunningham Fletcher to Senator Henry Dawes." Nebraska History 84 (2003): 36-41.

Nicklason, Fred Herbert. "The Early Career of Henry L. Dawes, 1816-1871." Ph.D. dissertation, Yale University, 1967.

___. "The Shaping of Values in Nineteenth Century Massachusetts: The Case of Henry L. Dawes." Historical Journal of Massachusetts 11 (January 1983): 35-44.

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Committee Assignments

  • House Committee - Ways and Means - Chair
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