Valley of the Shadow
The Eve of War
Fall 1859–Spring 1861

Letters & Diaries


Alexander K. McClure (1860-1861)

Alexander McClure portrait

Alexander Kelly McClure actively participated in state and national politics through his lifetime. Before the war, he served as a state senator. McClure supported Abraham Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860 and served as the head of the Republican State Committee. An opponent of slavery and a critic of Democratic corruption, McClure broadcast his views through his ownership and editorship of a Franklin County newspaper. During the war, McClure continued in his support of the Lincoln administration and Republican policies, despite his feud with Simon Cameron. After the war, McClure favored the Radical Republican pursuit of black civil rights. McClure did not envision a similar place for Indians in the reunited nation, advocating their forced relocation.

The following links provide access to the most likely matches in the Valley of the Shadow databases:

McClure Household

Alexander K. McClure’s Letters to Abraham Lincoln

Approximately 69 letters written by or concerning Alexander K. McClure are included in the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. In his prewar letters, McClure affirmed his support for Lincoln’s campaign for the presidency. He kept Lincoln informed of his election chances in Pennsylvania and other political developments.

The prewar letters of Alexander K. McClure demonstrate his passion for politics. McClure regularly discussed local, state, and national politics in his correspondence, as well as his support and distaste for several politicians. McClure actively supported Lincoln’s candidacy for president, and later attempted to influence the makeup of Lincoln’s cabinet. Most of the letters were addressed to Eli Slifer, who served as Secretary of the Commonwealth under Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin. McClure also wrote to Thaddeus Stevens, often about their shared hope that Simon Cameron would not be appointed to Lincoln’s cabinet.

Note: The files here represent the best transcription work available at the time of the Valley of the Shadow project’s completion. More extensive transcriptions, including color page images, are available from Dickinson College’s Their Own Words project.