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John Rison Fordyce Papers


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Trailing DeSoto



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John Rison Fordyce Papers, 1856-1939 | MS Manuscripts

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Collection Overview

Title: John Rison Fordyce Papers, 1856-1939Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1856-1939

ID: MS/MS/ms047

Primary Creator: Fordyce, John R. (1869-1939)

Extent: 2.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 10/17/2003

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The John Rison Fordyce Papers consists primarily of material towards a history of the DeSoto expedition, entitled "Trailing DeSoto." In addition to chapter drafts, the collection contains typed and autograph notecards, various maps, and a scrapbook.

Collection Historical Note

John Rison Fordyce (November 7, 1869 - June 9, 1939) was an engineer, inventor, amateur historian and archaeologist, and candidate for U.S. Congress. Born in Huntsville, Alabama, Fordyce received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering at Washington University in St. Louis in 1892, later also studying at Harvard University. In 1894, he was a member of Dr. Frederick Cook’s expedition to the Arctic. In 1896, he moved to Little Rock, joining Thomas Manufacturing. In 1902, he became president of Thomas-Fordyce Manufacturing, which engaged in cotton-gin machinery manufacturing.

Fordyce was commissioned a major in the Engineers’ Reserve Corps of the U.S. Army on April 18, 1917 and was designated constructing engineer for camp. At the end of World War I, Fordyce was promoted to colonel, U.S. Army Reserve. Fordyce also served on U.S. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover’s Commission on Flood Control in 1939 and on the Arkansas Highway Commission.

Fordyce, whose Hot Springs property included Indian Mountain and a portion of Gulpha Gorge, was also an amateur archaeologist. He was assigned to the Smithsonian expedition led by John R. Swanton in search of Hernando de Soto’s route through the southeastern United States.

Administrative Information

Repository: MS Manuscripts

Access Restrictions: Open.

Use Restrictions:

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or spec@wumail.wustl.edu. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)

Acquisition Source: Gift

Acquisition Method:

Accession number 21659. Unknown, October 17, 2003.

Accession number 22936. Gift of Edward Fordyce, February 28, 2000.

Preferred Citation: Name of the Collection, Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Trailing DeSoto],
[Series 2: Maps],
[Series 3: Scrapbook],

Series 1: Trailing DeSotoAdd to your cart.
Manuscripts towards "Trailing DeSoto." Consist of manuscript drafts of chapters and index card notes. 3 items. Box 1-2
Sub-Series 1.1: Manuscript DraftsAdd to your cart.
Manuscript drafts of 19 chapters towards "Trailing DeSoto." Chapters I, II, III, and VI also have two drafts of each. 672 pages.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Chapter I: "The Beginning of the Trail"Add to your cart.
27 pages
Folder 1a: Alternate draft of Chapter I: "The Beginning of the Trail"Add to your cart.
19 pages
Folder 2: Chapter II: "The Trail in Central America"Add to your cart.
25 pages
Folder 2a : Alternate draft of Chapter IIAdd to your cart.
27 pages
Folder 3: Chapter III: "The Trail in Peru"Add to your cart.
30 pages
Folder 3a: Alternate draft of Chapter IIIAdd to your cart.
6 pages
Folder 4: Chapter IV: "The Trail Leads Back to Spain"Add to your cart.
31 pages
Folder 5: Chapter V: "Assembling the Personelle [sic]"Add to your cart.
15 pages
Folder 6: Chapter VI: "The Trail Leads Over the Sea to Cuba"Add to your cart.
16 pages
Folder 6a: Alternate draft of Chapter VI - autograph marked "Abandoned"Add to your cart.
17 pages
Folder 7: Chapter VII: "The Trail in Florida"Add to your cart.
28 pages
Folder 8: Chapter VIII: "The Spaniards Find the Trail into the Back Country"Add to your cart.
35 pages
Folder 9: Chapter IX: "The First Great Sight"Add to your cart.
32 pages
Folder 10: Chapter X: "The Trail Leads North Eastward From the Gulf to the Ocean"Add to your cart.
37 pages
Folder 11: Chapter XI: "The Trail Leads to the Northwest From the Ocean to the Mountains"Add to your cart.
35 pages
Folder 12: Chapter XII: "The Trail Leads Down the Tennessee River into Alabama"Add to your cart.
38 pages
Folder 13: Chapter XIII: "The Trail Leads to the Choctaws"Add to your cart.
38 pages
Folder 14: Chapter XIV: "The Trail Leads to the Chickasaws"Add to your cart.
40 pages
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Chapter XV: "The Trail From the Chickasaws to the Mississippi River"Add to your cart.
40 pages
Folder 16: Chapter XVI: "The Trail to Pacaha and Quiguate [?]"Add to your cart.
39 pages
Folder 17: Chapter XVII: "The Trail Leads to the Hills and Winterquarters"Add to your cart.
32 pages
Folder 18: Chapter XVIII: "DeSoto Comes to the End of the Trail"Add to your cart.
39 pages
Folder 19: Chapter XIX: "The Trail if Moscasa [?]"Add to your cart.
21 pages
Sub-Series 1.2: Miscellaneous Manuscript NotesAdd to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Miscellaneous manuscript notes toward "Trailing DeSoto"Add to your cart.
5 pages
Sub-Series 1.3: Typed and Autograph Index CardsAdd to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Typed and autograph index cards containing notes toward "Trailing DeSoto"Add to your cart.
Series 2: MapsAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 2.1: De Silver, CharlesAdd to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Edition of Charles De Silver's A New Map of Arkansas With Its Counties, Towns, Post Offices. Philadelphia: Charles De Silver, 1856Add to your cart.
Signed "J R Fordyce Washington D.C. 10/3 22"
Sub-Series 2.2: Leather BinderAdd to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Leather binder containing various topographical maps, some with autograph notationsAdd to your cart.
Series 3: ScrapbookAdd to your cart.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Item 1: Scrapbook of photographs taken by Fordyce during his recreation of Hernando de Soto, a Spanish explorer and conquistador, first European expedition into the territory of the modern-day Florida, Georgia, Alabama and most likely Arkansas, 1931-1936Add to your cart.
1 item

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Trailing DeSoto],
[Series 2: Maps],
[Series 3: Scrapbook],

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