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Lewis H. Machen notebook

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS-0173

Scope and Contents

The notebook that forms this collection is a small, bound, holographic book containing mostly accounts and expenses of Lewis H. Machen. Many of the accounts are dated, 1819-1822, when Machen was erecting a home on Maryland Avenue in Washington, D.C. Travel expenses, household purchases, and monies paid to daily workmen are listed.

Of particular interest in the notebook is Machen's recording of a conversation between himself and Walter S. Lowrie, Secretary of the U.S. Senate in 1828. Machen believed the confrontation so serious that he wanted "to preserve an account of it." The discussion arose as a result of Machen's criticisms of Andrew Jackson printed in the National Intelligencer previous to the presidential election of 1928. Machen defended his opinions and suggested he would resign his Senate position rather than compromise his right to free expression.


  • Creation: 1817-1830


Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical Note

Lewis H. Machen was born in Maryland, February 22, 1790, but lived as a young child in Washington, D. C. In 1809, he began working as a clerk in the office of the Secretary of the U.S. Senate, a position he retained for nearly fifty years. He is credited with removing archives and secret documents of the Senate before the British advance on Washington in 1814. Machen married Cynthia Pease of Connecticut in 1812, and after her death three years later, he married Caroline Webster (died July 8, 1878) of New Hampshire. They were the parents of Arthur W. (1827-1915), James P. Machen (died 1913), and Emmeline Machen (died 1887).

In 1828, Machen published An Examination of the Civil Administration of Governor Jackson in Florida in which he criticized Andrew Jackson's career as territorial governor in 1821. He was anti-Jackson during the divisive presidential campaign of 1828 when Andrew Jackson defeated John Quincy Adams. During the campaign, Machen wrote a series of strong articles in support of the Whig candidate, Adams, for the National Intelligencer. Walter Lowrie, Secretary of the U.S. Senate, [and Machen's superior officer] objected to his partisan position. Machen was able to retain his position, and in 1836, was promoted to Principal Clerk of the Senate.

Lewis H. Machen died in Baltimore, August 11, 1863.


0.167 Cubic Feet (1 item)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The provenance of the collection is unknown. Most likely it was given by Rose Purves Machen, who was married to Arthur W. Machen, Jr., along with other Machen Family items.

Related Materials

Other materials related to the Machen Family:

Machen, Arthur Webster. Letters of Arthur W. Machen with Biographical Sketch. Privately printed. Baltimore, 1917. (Eisenhower Stacks CT 275 .M4 A3)

Machen, Lewis H. An Examination of the Civil Administration of Governor Jackson in Florida : The Acts of General Andrew Jackson as a Legislator. Washington, D.C., 1828. (Garrett Library E364 .C5 1825)

Account Books of Lewis H. and James P. Machen. (Ms. 78-1740) Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in December 1994.

Liz Beckman revised the immediate source of acquisition in this finding aid in December 2023 to bring it into compliance with Johns Hopkins guidelines for inclusive and conscientious description (2023). The previous version of the finding aid is available upon request.

Lewis H. Machen notebook
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA