Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Porter, David (1780-1843) to R. Smith

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02734 Author/Creator: Porter, David (1780-1843) Place Written: Vera Cruz, Mexico Type: Autograph letter signed Date: December 2, 1826 Pagination: 1 p. : address : docket ; 32.5 x 21.5 cm. + 1 engraving ; b&w ; 25.4 x 17.4 cm

Writing to a banker in Washington, D.C., arranges for his wife's finances after his defection to Mexico. Sends along with his letter eight hundred dollars, four hundred of which is to be given to his wife, the rest to be put in his bank account. Adds, "I hope my writing will have no cause to be ashamed of my conduct on any occasion." One full length seated engraving of David Porter included.

David Porter (1780-1843) became commander-in-chief of the Mexican navy in 1826. Just prior to this, he had commanded a U.S. naval attack on a town in Puerto Rico without sanction by the U.S. government. This caused him to be court-martialed, and he resigned his commission and defected to Mexico. He is the father of Union Civil War Admiral David Dixon Porter.

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