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(Bradford Family)
Archive of material related to Daniel Dunscomb Bradford, of New York, New York, Consul at Paris, France, and a great-grandson of William Bradford, Pennsylvania’s first printer, 1824-1838

The archive includes: 16 letters, 45 manuscript pages, dated 1824-1838, with 11 manuscript pages of documents and papers, dated 1827-1836, plus 162 manuscript page genealogy book of the Bradford family, dated 1825; and a 76 page manuscript “Friendship Book” of Mary Ann Rodgers Bradford, c. 1828-1838.

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Daniel Dunscomb Bradford (1808-1837)

Daniel Dunscomb Bradford was born on 14 May 1808, the son of Jacob Bradford (1771-1816) and Elisa Dunscomb, of New York City. He was baptized at Trinity Church, New York City. Daniel was the second great grandson of William Bradford (1658-1752), the first printer in Pennsylvania, and also the printer of the first book and newspaper in New York City. Daniel’s father was first cousin to William Bradford (1755-1795), the second Attorney General of the United States (1794-1795). His grandfather Cornelius Bradford was the brother of the Revolutionary War printer William Bradford (1791-1791), the printer for the first Continental Congress. Daniel was one of five children, the other four being: Margaret D., Cornelius (died young), Cornelius (second of this name), and David Dickson.

At the age of 19, Daniel, or “Dunscomb” as he was called, commenced studying law and was admitted to the practice of law in 1831. He sailed for Europe after visiting England and proceeded to France, where he was appointed the American Vice-Consul at Paris, which office he held until his death, in Paris, on 5 December 1837 at the age of thirty years old.

While in Paris as Consul, Dunscomb was one of two non-family members present during the burial of General Lafayette in 1834. Bradford was also appointed the secretary of a committee of Americans in Paris who organized an appropriate expression of sorrow by the American people for Lafayette’s death.

David Dickson Bradford (1806-?), brother of Daniel Dunscomb, married Mary Ann Rogers, daughter of Dr. George Rogers of New York City, by whom he had at least three children: Margaret Gage, George Rogers, and Mary Elizabeth. David Dickson Bradford became a seaman, and eventually captain of his own vessel.


    11 letters (34 pp.) of Daniel Dunscomb Bradford, written to his brother, sea captain David Dickson Bradford, and his sister-in-law Mary Ann Bradford, dated New York and Paris, 29 October 1828 – 6 April 1836.

    One of the letters is incomplete, and two others are torn, with loss of text, with general browning, and wear. These letters mainly concern family matters, though bigger issues do intrude. In one letter (2 Jan. 1830), Dunscomb breaks the news of Cornelius Bradford’s death in Jerusalem, a later letter congratulates Dickson on his forthcoming marriage, another discusses the welfare of their mother, another writes of the family fortune, or rather the lack thereof, and their careers and aspirations such as sea-captain employment possibilities for Dickson, etc. Dunscomb Bradford enjoyed writing on such subjects as how to behave as a gentleman and how to be happy in love and marriage. Dunscomb Bradford took his brother Cornelius Bradford’s place as Consul in Paris on the latter’s death in August 1830. Dunscomb too died young, on 5 December 1837, and was buried in Pére Lachaise.

     5 miscellaneous letters (11 pp.) include:

    1 letter of Capt. E.M. Donaldson to David Dickson Bradford, dated Philadelphia 22 May 1824, discussing travel plans for “Mrs. Hall” and “the children.”

    1 letter copy of David Dickson Bradford to his brother Dunscomb Bradford, dated New York 24 February 1833;

    1 letter of David Dickson Bradford to his wife Mary dated 5 March 1834.

    2 letters of Robert Dumont to David Dickson Bradford, dated New York 3 Sept. 1836 and 16 Jan. 1838, the latter written at the request of Bradford’s mother, informing Dickson of the death of his brother Dunscomb in Paris.

     The correspondence generally soiled, browned, and worn. Some sheets torn at wax seals, etc. But it is in generally good legible condition.

     Genealogy Book:

    Bound album containing an interesting original manuscript written in ink, with a hand-lettered and hand-painted decorative title page reading:

     “A Key to the Genealogical Table. Being the lives of William Bradford and his descendants by Daneil D. Bradford 1825.”  [sic] small quarto, boards, old suede re-back, front cover detached; spine broken; several signatures separated, approximately 130 pages, plus blanks.

     The volume is compiled in two hands; the principal hand being that of Daniel Dunscomb Bradford. He lists approximately 34 members of the extensive family with biographical information such as births, marriages, deaths, as well as any notable achievements.  Some of the information is, by necessity, scant, but nevertheless there is much in the minutiae that would have research value to a scholar of the family’s history. In the case of the more eminent members of the family Bradford has researched their lives and achievements and compiled short biographical sketches. Much of this has apparently been gleaned (and transcribed) from printed sources such as newspaper obituaries and Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, but some appears to be based on family knowledge and oral history. In a number of instances another hand has added more information, most notably on the Quaker beliefs of William Bradford the First, quoting family tradition based on various anecdotes that “it is evident that Bradford did not immediately join the Quaker sect” on his arrival in America, “But ‘tis more than probable that after a few years residence among them his sentiments changed.” Other transcriptions include extracts from trials involving the Attorney General William Bradford and examples of works printed by members of the Bradford family. Mention is made of William and Andrew Bradford’s commercial rivalry with Benjamin Franklin. However, there was also apparently some friendly association between the printers, as the journal describes Franklin’s lodging for a time with Andrew Bradford on his first trip to Philadelphia in 1723. Also present are a few newspaper clippings, some loosely inserted leaves with more genealogical information, and the printed order of service on the occasion of the restoration of William Bradford’s tombstone in Trinity Church, Manhattan in 1863.

    Friendship Book:

     Friendship Book of Mary Ann Rogers Bradford, formerly a bound volume, now broken, small quarto, approximately 76 pages, dated circa 1828-1838, New York: Caleb Bartlett, hinge broken, upper cover nearly detached.

    The volume consists principally of poems written out and dedicated to Mary Ann Rogers Bradford, by her friends, many before her marriage, most of them either anonymous or signed with initials or a pseudonym. Mary Ann Rodgers married David Dickson Bradford in 1832.


    10 page autograph draft of Daniel Dunscomb Bradford, an analysis and account (with corrections), dated 11 February 1836.

     The Draft was written from Paris amidst political unrest over the crisis in France concerning President Jackson’s demands that monies owed to the U.S. for indemnities for the harm to U.S. commerce during the Napoleonic wars should be paid forthwith. At the time the crisis escalated almost to the point of war between the two countries with diplomatic relations being broken off and a French naval fleet being dispatched until Great Britain stepped in to act as a mediator. Dunscomb Bradford’s position as Consul in Paris gave him unique first-hand knowledge of the crisis.

1 manuscript document, consisting of a financial account of various transactions between David D. Bradford, and William McIntire, New York 16 October 1827.