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BYINGTON FAMILY PAPERS: PART 2

The Byington Family Papers: Part 2 contain postcards, letters, and printed material documenting the life and times of A. Homer Byington and other members of the Byington family. Of interest are postcards to and from A. Homer Byington from Naples, where he served as U.S. consul at the turn of the twentieth century. The postcards describe life in Naples, volcanic activity there, and even an occasion when the King off Italy took of his hat out of respect for an American flag flying over Byington's residence. In addition, material touches on nineteenth century American politics as the collection contains a pamphlet by James G. Blaine, an original pen-and-ink drawing of the exterior front, the exterior rear, and the stage of Ford's Theater and a carefully annotated drawing of the escape route taken by John Wilkes Booth immediately following the shooting of President Abraham Lincoln, engravings of Ulysses S. Grant, and black fringe from the funeral bier of Abraham Lincoln, among other items. Also, a typed manuscript about Homer Byington, Jr. and a typed manuscript about A. Homer Byington and his wife Harriet Sophia Richmond Byington are significant documents. The Byington Family Papers: Part 2 are stored in two archival boxes (0.75 linear feet).

The Byington Family Papers: Part 2 supplement the Byington Family Papers [Part 1] already preserved by the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Division.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH - Aaron Homer Byington was born in Herkimer, New York, on July 23, 1826. He was the son of Aaron Byington and Sarah Waterbury. In Byington's childhood, the family returned to Norwalk, Connecticut. He attended the Amos Smith Collegiate School for Boys in New Haven. His father died when he was nine. Byington went to work as an office boy for the "Norwalk Gazette." Next, he recorded proceedings of the General Assembly for the "New Haven Palladium." Then, he served as business manager for the "Journal" in New Haven. In 1848, he bought the "Norwalk Gazette." Byington interview Daniel Webster, and he became a favored acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln.

Before the Civil War, the "New York Tribune's" Horace Greeley hired Byington to be the winter Congressional correspondent in Washington. During the war he became head of the paper's corps of army correspondents. Byington was first to deliver the news of the outcomes of the battles of Bull Run and Gettysburg. Following the war, Byington founded the "New York Sun," a Republican newspaper, with Edmund C. Stedman and Charles A. Dana. After a dispute between Dana and Ulysses S. Grant, Byington sold his interest in the paper.

In 1858 and 1859, Byington represented Norwalk in the House of the General Assembly. In 1861 and 1862, he represented the Twelfth Senatorial District in the state senate.

In 1897, Byington received a Foreign Service commission from President William McKinley and was appointed U.S. consul to Naples. He suspended publication of the "Norwalk Gazette" to devote full attention to his new diplomatic duties. While in Italy, Byington learned of the conspiracy of members of a Neopolitan secret society to sail for the U.S. to assassinate President Theodore Roosevelt. Byington cabled authorities, and the would-be perpetrators were captured in quarantine shortly after arrival and returned to Italy.

Byington married Harriet Sophia Richmond on November 8, 1849. She died in Naples, and shortly thereafter, he retired from the foreign service (1907). Byington died on December 29, 1910, in Flushing, Long Island, New York. He was survived by three sons: William Homer, George Richmond, and Stuart Woodford. Another son, Henry Sumpter, died in 1887, and a daughter, Harriet Eloise, died in infancy.

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ACCESSION DATA:

Status: Open access.

Provenance: Gift of Edwin L. Horsley, 2002.

Processed by Scott S. Taylor, December 2004.

BULK DATES: 1860 - 1910
SPAN DATES: 1822 - 2001

EXTENT: 2 boxes (0.75 l.f.)



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