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Breckinridge family papers, 1784-1869

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Processed by: Archives Staff ; machine-readable finding aid created by:Eric Weig


Breckinridge family papers




University of Kentucky Special CollectionsLexington, Kentucky 40506


Arranged alphabetically by name, thereunder chronologically.

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item], Breckinridge family papers, 1784-1869, 1VF49W44, 1VF49W46, 1VF57W15, 1VF59W6, 1VF74W2, AAJ8497LM, Special Collections, University of Kentucky.


9 pieces.


The Breckinridges have been prominent in both state and national politics since Kentucky became a state in 1792. John Breckinridge (1769-1806), a young Virginia lawyer and U.S. Congressman, brought his family to Kentucky that year, and immediately entered into politics. He became, successively, state attorney general, member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, Speaker of that House, U.S. Senator, and U.S. Attorney General under Thomas Jefferson. His son, also named John Breckinridge (1797-1841), was a Presbyterian minister noted for his debates with Roman Catholic clergymen. A grandson, John Cabell Breckinridge (1821-1875), became the most famous member of the family. He was, in turn, a U.S. Congressman, Vice President under James Buchanan, Southern Democratic nominee for President in 1860, U.S. Senator, Confederate General and Confederate Secretary of War.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of some of the papers and letters of three generations of the Breckinridges, a prominent Kentucky family. Included are one letter of 1834 from John Breckinridge Jr. to a fellow clergyman, in which he deplores the lack of ministers in the face of great need, and one from John C. Breckinridge to Francis Preston Blair, written in 1853, in which he comments upon the possibility of his being named Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.


  • Breckinridge, John, 1760-1806.
  • Breckinridge, John C. (John Cabell), 1821-1875.
  • Blair, Francis Preston, 1791-1876.
  • Breckinridge, John, 1797-1841.
  • Presbyterian Church--Kentucky--Clergy--Correspondence.
  • Legislators--United States--Correspondence.
  • Clergy.

User Restrictions

Copyright has not been assigned to the University of Kentucky.