ABOUT THE COLLECTION
John Hough James (1800-1881) was a native of Urbana, Ohio and a graduate of Cincinnati College. He was a lawyer, banker, railroad builder, scientific farmer and stockbreeder, legislator, politician, editor, lecturer and writer.
A friend of Henry Clay and William Henry Harrison, James utilized his work as a lawyer and legislator in advising Whig leaders in Congress and the General Assembly of Ohio. As a banker and railroad builder, James was a pioneer in the development of western banking and transportation. He was treasurer and president of the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad, building one of the earliest railroads of the country. He also pursued farming and stockbreeding. James founded Urbana University, the first Swedenborgian college in the world, giving the land for the campus and serving as a lifelong trustee for the institution.
The John H. James Collection: Diaries features the diaries of John H. James beginning in 1821 and concluding in 1881 and correspondence sent and received by members of the John H. James family from 1814-1863. The letters describe James’ life as a student, his experiences in the Ohio State Senate, the creation of the Urbana Banking Company, and finally, various trips and excursions taken by James and his family.
The John H. James Collection: General Correspondence, 1814-1836 and John H. James Collection: General Correspondence, 1837-1871 feature correspondence sent and received by John H. James, his business associates, friends, acquaintances, and clients.
The John H. James Collection: Business and Family Papers features correspondence, account books, photographs, and financial and legal documents belonging to John H. James and various James family members. John Hough James, Abigail Bailey James, Ellen Rachel James, Gertrude James, and John Henry James are featured. Much of the correspondence is related to James’s business interests in the Urbana Champaign Mutual Bank Co., the Urbana Banking Co, and the Mad River Railroad. Various bound manuscripts, including account books, ledgers, and journals, provide insight into James’ life as a student, his experiences in the Ohio State Senate, the creation of the Urbana Banking Company, and finally, various trips and excursions taken by James and his family. Also included are letters and documents related to James’ son John Henry James’s service in the Civil War.
John H. James Collection: Diaries and Family Correspondence Finding Aid (pdf)
John H. James Collection: General Correspondence, 1814-1836 Finding Aid (pdf)
John H. James Collection: General Correspondence, 1837-1871 Finding Aid (pdf)
John H. James Collection: Business and Family Papers Finding Aid (pdf)