An early leader in the national Republican Party, Orville Hickman Browning helped Abraham Lincoln secure the 1860 presidential nomination. Browning served in the U.S. Senate from 1861 to 1863, and as Secretary of the Interior from 1866 to 1868.
The papers consist of 297 letters written by and to Orville Hickman Browning; notes; copies of speeches; memos on cabinet meetings; a photocopy of the address made before the Adams County Bar Association after his death; and photographs of Browning, his family, and Washington colleagues.
Correspondents include Presidents Lincoln and Johnson, as well as Charles Hardin, John A. McClernand, John Pope, William Seward, William T. Sherman, Joseph Smith, Edwin M. Stanton, Gideon Welles, and Richard Yates. The collection includes letters exchanged between Isaac N. Arnold and Browning in 1872 regarding Ward H. Lamon's The Life of Lincoln, in which Browning reviews his association with Lincoln.
The originals of the letters of which the Survey has transcripts and photocopies are in the Illinois State Historical Library, the Library of Congress, and in private hands. The publication of The Diary of Orville Hickman Browning brought the editors many letters of reminiscences, which are included in the collection.