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William Gowans letter to Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan

 Collection — Box: BW 52, Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 16766


  • Creation: 1845-11-03

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

William Gowans (March 29, 1803 - November 27, 1870) was a prominent antiquarian bookseller in New York City. In 1821, he emigrated to the USA with his family. Around 1837, he stayed as a boarder in the house where Edgar Allen Poe also lived. He ran a bookstore for over 40 years, and for his last 10 years was the proprietor of a famously cluttered shop overflowing with volumes on Nassau Street in lower Manhattan.

Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan, born in Mallow, County Cork, Ireland, he studied medicine in Paris and immigrated to Lower Canada in 1823 where he became involved in the political reform movement of the Parti patriote. He was registered to practice medicine in Lower Canada on 16 October 1827.

On the death of Daniel Tracey, owner of the Montreal Vindicator newspaper, in 1832 O'Callaghan became the editor and brought in Thomas Storrow Brown to work on the paper. They proved to be an irreducible adversary of Lord Gosford and the status quo. In 1834, O'Callaghan was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada for Yamaska. In office, he was a close supporter of Louis Joseph Papineau.

In 1837, during the Lower Canada Rebellion, a mandate of arrest was issued against him, and he sought refuge at Saint-Denis, then crossed the United States border with his friend, Louis-Joseph Papineau. Later, O'Callaghan became secretary-archivist of the State of New York, and died there in 1880.

Sources "William Gowans" Wikipedia. Accessed 4/13/2023

"Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan" Wikipedia. Accessed 4/13/2023


0.03 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased from Peter Luke Americana by the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia Library on 10 August 2019.

William Gowans letter to E. B. O'Callaghan
Ellen Welch
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States