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Richard Irving Dodge Papers

Identifier: VAULT folio Graff-1110

Scope and Content of the Collection

Papers consist of Dodge’s twenty pocket journals, correspondence, works, photographs, and military documents.

The journals are as follows: six, dated May-October, 1875, kept on a genealogical surveying expedition in the Black Hills of the Dakota Territory, four, dated October, 1876-January, 1877, while on the Powder River Expedition under General George Crook against Sioux and Northern Cheyenne Indians, eight, recording various activities of service chiefly in Indian Territory, written between September, 1878 and December, 1880, and two which describe his experiences in 1883 while on an inspection tour of western territories with General William T. Sherman. Journals have typed transcriptions of all but the earliest six,

Other material consists of correspondence, both to and from Dodge. Among correspondents are Julia P. Dodge, Frederick Paulding and a few other family members, Smithsonian Institution officials Spencer Baird, William T. Hornaday and Garrick Mallery, two official letters from General John Pope and two letters from Senator Henry L. Dawes, letters and documents relating to Dodge’s publisher Worthington and Co. of Hartford, CT, and twelve miscellaneous letters written to Dodge between 1887 and 1888.

Also, there are several articles and notes by Dodge including “Indian Boys and Girls” and “Rail Road Towns”, and “Itinerary of Trip in search of a site for New Post, 1879”, and a small collection of broadsides and military documents which appear in the Graff catalogue as Graff 1104, 1115, 1378, 4319, 4320, 4323 and 4324. A collection of photographs includes portraits of Richard I. Dodge, his wife Julia R. Paulding Dodge and her mother, and a small carte de visite of son Frederick. Also, numerous cartes de visite of military men, apparently collected in the 1860s, including an image of very young John Clem, noted “Drummer boy of Chickamauga”, circa 1863.

The journals of Richard I. Dodge have been edited and published by Dodge’s biographer Wayne R. Kime: in 1996 (Black Hills Journals), 1997 (Powder River Expedition), 2000 (The Indian Territory Journals) and 2002 (Sherman Tour Journals).


  • Creation: 1863-1905



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Richard Irving Dodge Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Richard Irving Dodge Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Richard Irving Dodge

American army officer and author.

Richard Irving Dodge was born in North Carolina in 1827, graduated from West Point in 1848, and spent forty-three years as a U.S. Army officer, retiring as colonel after a successful professional career, mainly on the American frontier. His military service was distinguished, but his literary output even more memorable. Dodge was a keen observer and a skillful, lively reporter. He was familiar with and knowledgeable about many tribes of the western plains and mountains– especially the Cheyenne - and his two major works, The Plains of the Great West and Their Inhabitants (1877) and Our Wild Indians (1882), are extensively authoritative regarding American Indian activities and culture, while they also contain his observations and criticisms of Federal Indian policy. Besides finding time to write for publication, Dodge kept journals while on various missions, such as his notes while on trip into the Black Hills of the Dakotas to check out rumors of gold, and his account of General Crook’s Powder River Expedition against the Sioux and Cheyenne in 1876. Having been selected as aide-de-camp by General William T. Sherman, during his final western posting as commanding officer at Fort Sully in the Dakota Territory, he accompanied Sherman on a western inspection tour in 1883. In 1887 Dodge and the Eleventh Infantry were transferred east to a comfortable post at Madison Barracks, New York, in the Division of the Atlantic. He retired from active service in 1891.

Dodge appears to have been efficient and gregarious, as well as being a thoughtful officer with the men under his command and with his military cohorts. His marriage to Julia Rhinelander Paulding was not a very happy one, for she was unwilling to reside at frontier army posts, but both were devoted to and extremely proud of their only child, Frederick, who had adopted the surname of Paulding for his successful acting career.

Richard Irving Dodge died of an apparent stroke in 1895, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Note: A full biography entitled Colonel Richard Irving Dodge, The Life and Times of a Career Army Officer by Wayne R. Kime, was published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2006.


1.2 Linear Feet (4 boxes)


Twenty pocket journals (all but six with transcriptions), 1875-1883, kept during Richard Irving Dodge’s active service as a United States Army colonel in the American West, plus correspondence, military documents, broadsides, miscellany and photographs relating to Dodge’s life and career.


Arranged by type of material.

Collection Stack Location

VAULT 40 4


Part of the Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana.

Existence and Location of Copies note

Collection has been digitized as part of “The American West”, an Adam Mathew collection available through subscription. For digital copies, contact Digital Imaging Services, Newberry Library (

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2013.

Inventory of the Richard Irving Dodge Papers, 1863-1905
Virginia Hay Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States