Orrin W. June War of 1812 Collection

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Historical Sketch

Orrin W. June was born and raised in Lima, Ohio. He attended Wittenberg College in Springfield, OH and later Rutgers University, receiving his B.S. and M.S. degrees. He later moved to New York City and became the owner of the Wickersham Gallery in Manhattan (present day site of Solomon & Co Fine Art). Mr. June and his wife were substantial donors to various libraries, universities, and museums, including Oberlin College.

Mr. June's interest in the War of 1812 began in his hometown, which is located near the site of Fort Amanda, a small depot built on the Auglaize River in October, 1812. The fort was built during General Harrison's opening campaign against the Indians and British in Northwest Ohio. June's attention was first directed to the local campaigns of the War of 1812; later it was extended to those of the armies along the frontiers and into Canada. It was soon evident to him that since 1855, almost nothing had been written on the land actions of the war and that what was written was derived from contemporary printing and from interviews with combatants still living in the mid-nineteenth century. Mr. June's attentions were then directed towards the collection of these primary sources, a search that continued for many years.

The resulting collection is a thoroughly representative one, for it includes most of the standard works on the war, whether contemporary or of a more recent date. In his search for primary sources, Mr. June acquired many rarities in the form of books, letters, manuscripts, and maps.

Correspondence between Oberlin College Library and Mr. June indicates the collection was donated in installments between the years 1961 and 1965. The initial paper inventory was done by Julian S. Fowler, the former Library Director (1927-1955), and at the time a volunteer at the library. Fowler put together an exhibit of the collection that was displayed in the Carnegie Library in March of 1965 and published two articles on the collection; one for the Oberlin Alumni Magazine in March 1965 and the other for the summer 1965 issue of Ohioana. The collection also had a brief mention in College and Research Libraries in March 1965. Since this time, however, the collection has lain mainly dormant in Special Collections.

In 2003 an effort was organized to track down all parts of the original donation. The manuscripts and ephemera were known to exist in Special Collections and were quickly accounted for, as were Fowler's notes and correspondence. The oldest published materials had also never left Special Collections. Of the considerable number of books transferred to the circulating collection, a few were found to now be missing and may be gradually replaced. Those that remained have now rejoined the rest of the collection, as have the many uncataloged pamphlets (mostly government documents) and several monographs that were also discovered in Special Collections. There are now only a few items from Julian Fowler's original calendar that remain unaccounted for, but these are more than offset by an addition number of titles, also discovered to be from Mr. June, that were never mentioned in Julian Fowler's initial collection inventory. It is possible these were donated later. Furthermore, to June's original gift have now also been added numerous early titles relating to the War of 1812 that have been discovered in Oberlin College Library's vast 19th century holdings.

Scope and Contents

The Orrin W. June Collection on the War of 1812 now consists of over 100 letters, notes, certificates, broadsides and other ephemera. View Inventory. Most of the letters were written during the war period or shortly after. There are letters from three U.S. presidents represented. There is also correspondence from a historian, Benson J. Lossing , who researched the period in the 1850 and 1860s. There are also approximately 160 cataloged bound volumes and pamphlets now. Search OBIS.

Historical information from Julian Fowler; edited by Hannah Spencer and Ed Vermue, April 2004. Revised by Ed Vermue, Sept. 2005

Last updated:
August 28, 2018