Henry Eddy was born in Pittsfield, Vt., in 1798, attended school in Buffalo, N.Y., and served two months in the New York Militia. In 1818, after studying law and printing in Pittsburgh, Pa., Eddy moved to Shawneetown, Ill., where he established the second newspaper in the state. He became well known as a lawyer and served as a representative to the Illinois General Assembly in 1820 and 1846. Eddy's correspondents include Benjamin Bond, Shadrach Bond, Sidney Breese, Daniel Cook, Ninian Edwards, Alexander P. Field, and Elias K. Kane. In addition, the collection contains numerous papers for the General Assembly session of 1846.
The transcripts in the collection were made from some 900 manuscripts loaned to the University in 1912-16 by Eddy's grandson, Charles Carroll, of Shawneetown, Ill. Most of the originals were later donated by Charles Carroll III to the Illinois State Historical Library (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). Each collection contains unique items, including one original letter (Isaac Barger to Eddy, Jan. 27, 1834) in the University's collection. This collection is supplemented by name and chronological card indexes.