Discovering Joshua Lippincott: An Analysis of 19th Century Newspapers

My third foray into the world of historical research began with Horatio Collins King. He is one of the two big contenders for the subject of my final project, given that the Dickinson Archives has his entire journal documenting his four years at Dickinson, so I wanted to see what newspapers have written about him.

The first article I found [HC King campaign] was for King’s campaign for Secretary of State from the New York Times in 1895, and was a very obvious example of political bias in 19th century newspapers. It was fairly interesting and clearly biased- almost like an advertisement to vote for the Democrat H.C. King. The article had a fairly thorough biography of his life, and made him out to be extremely intelligent and heroic. There wasn’t too much in the article that I didn’t already know, but I was intrigued by the clear bias shown by the writers.[1]

Another article I found on Horatio Collins King-there were a lot-was from the Washington Times on March 4, 1914. The article’s title was “Gen. King, Orator and Author, Is Ill,” and the article the article (like the last one) mostly provided a short biography of his life. It’s starting to become apparent to me in this search how famous Horatio

The Washington Times Courtesy of Chronicling America
The Washington Times Courtesy of Chronicling America

Collins King became, for a fairly popular newspaper to feel the need to write an entire article just because he gets sick. I also noticed that the article states that King was “chiefly known to fame, however, as an author.”[2] I knew he wrote books, but I had no idea they became at all popular. King’s popularity and very interesting and diverse life would definitely give me a lot of material to study and work with, but for some reason I just don’t find him intriguing as other, less easy ideas that I have. I will have to keep looking into him as well, though, because I don’t want to limit myself to one subject of research just yet.

My biggest concern (I like to save the best for last) was to find something useful on my most interesting student, Joshua Allen Lippincott. I was hardly able to find anything of significance (other than a possible secret family) on him during my first two research attempts, but I would not accept defeat this time. I was really hoping to find a connection between Lippincott and the Carlisle Indian School, so after searching for King, I began to look for newspaper articles with that focus in mind.

My tenacity helped me devise a number of different research terms, including “Lippincott AND Carlisle,” “Lippincott AND Indian,” “Lippincott AND Pratt,” and of course including all of the 50 billion different ways one can spell the name Lippincott. I searched endlessly on multiple different newspaper databases, including 19th Century American Newspapers, Accessible Archives, and Historical Newspapers, but to no avail. However, this time, I did not give up my search.

From the LA Times Courtesy of Chronicling America

The first relevant document found was an obituary from the LA Times entitled “Noted Educator Passed Here,” found on ProQuest [LA Times Obituary]. At first I was disappointed, but then something peaked my interest at the bottom of the short article:

“The only surviving relative in this part of the country is his son, J. B. Lippincott.”[3] This is the second piece of evidence I have found in my research that proves that Joshua Lippincott did have a family, despite the fact that the Dickinson Archives’ biography of him states otherwise. It wasn’t the find I was looking for, but it’s definitely exciting.




My lucky search term was “Lippincott AND Carlisle,” in the Chronicling America database, as I found two relevant results. The first was from the Lancaster Daily Intelligencer:

Lippincott Indian School Friend

As seen above, the article states that Lippincott was “an active friend of the well-known Indian school at that place.”[4] FINALLY! It wasn’t much; in fact, it’s basically nothing, but I finally have documentary evidence beyond one single reference source that Lippincott was in fact involved with the Carlisle Indian School- even an “active friend.” Now, I can continue searching with confidence that there is some sort of impact he must have made on the institution for a newspaper for a town an away (by today’s standards) to specifically write about it.

The second article, from The Billings Herald, gives me even more insight into Lippincott’s connection to the Indian School:Lippincott rounding up NativesIn describing the addition of 56 new students to the Indian School, the article implies that Lippincott was the one who brought them from their homes. It also mentions a “commissioner of Indian Affairs,” and I am not sure if this is Lippincott or a different individual, but now I at least know that Lippincott brought (took? I am not entirely sure about the methods used to populate the school’s student body) the Native children to the Indian School on at least two occasions.[5] This is an amazing find, as I went from not even being completely sure that Lippincott even had any sort of meaningful connection with the Indian School to learning all of this information. My tenacity and army of search terms pulled through!


[1] “Gen. Horatio C. King: Democratic Candidate for Office of Secretary of State,” New York Times (New York, NY), Oct. 6, 1895, 21:1 [Proquest}.

[2] “Gen. King, Orator and Author, Is Ill,” Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 4, 1914, 14:1 [Chronicling America].

[3] “Noted Educator Passes Here,” Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA), Dec. 31, 1906, 17:5 [Proquest].

[4] “Personal,” Lancaster Daily Intelligencer (Lancaster, PA), Aug. 25, 1883, 2:2 [Chronicling America].

[5] “General News Summary,” Billings Herald (Billings, MT), Oct. 5, 1882, 2:3 [Chronicling America].

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