This collection contains two handwritten letters and one original print of a speech written by Elihu B. Washburne.
Washburne, a resident of Galena, Illinois, was elected to Congress in 1853 and served as a Representative until 1869. He served for only a few days as Secretary of State under Ulysses S. Grant before Grant was forced to restructure his cabinet. Washburne then became Minister to France, a position he held until 1877.
The two letters are both written to Thomas Gregg of Hamilton, Illinois. One letter written in 1856 addressed the "slave power" and political matters in the North. In the other, written in 1862, Washburne discussed troop movements in the Civil War's Peninsula Campaign. The collection also contains a print of Washburne's speech, given in Paris in 1866 in the House of Representatives. In his speech, Washburne opposed Congressional support of the United States' participation in the Paris Exposition of 1867.