Skip to main content

David Brydie Mitchell Papers

Identifier: VAULT-Ayer-MS-606

Scope and Content of the Collection

Incoming and outgoing correspondence, including 42 letters from prominent Georgia politician William H. Crawford, mainly related to Mitchell’s tenures as governor and as agent to the Creek Indians.

Other correspondents include William W. Bibb, William B. Bulloch, John C. Calhoun, John Floyd, Andrew Jackson, James Jackson, William McIntosh, James Monroe, George Troupe and Creek Indian Big Warrior. The miscellaneous items include Creek Agency material consisting of a few letters, including four from Creek Indian Big Warrior, accounts and receipts, two manuscript documents concerning the laws, usages and customs of the Creek nation, and a description of Seminole towns and warrior strength. Other material includes an 1802 account of a duel between Mitchell and William Hunter, and an affidavit relating to the accusation against Mitchell of slave smuggling.

Content of the collection concerns national and local politics, foreign affairs, military matters and the approaching War of 1812, the Yazoo land fraud, Florida history, attitudes and actions regarding African-Americans and Indians, and Mitchell’s attempts to defend his reputation against accusations of slave smuggling. Most items are accompanied by a typed transcription on acid-free paper.


  • 1777-1843
  • Majority of material found within 1805 - 1829



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The David Brydie Mitchell Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The David Brydie Mitchell 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 David Brydie Mitchell

American politician.

Mitchell was a three-time governor of Georgia during the early nineteenth century. He began his political career in Savannah in 1794, being elected to the Georgia House of Representatives (1794-1798), serving three years as a judge in the eastern division of the Supreme Court of Georgia (1798-1801) and then two years as mayor of Savannah. Following this, he served as U.S. attorney in 1803, had one term in the Georgia senate (1804-1805), became a member of the state militia with the rank of major general, and in 1809 was elected governor.

Mitchell was governor twice, with an interruption from 1812 to 1814. He was reelected in 1815, but resigned from office in 1817, when President James Madison appointed him to serve as U.S. agent to the Creek Indians. Mitchell had some success negotiating treaties between the federal government and the Creeks, but after being accused of smuggling African slaves into Georgia and transporting them to Alabama, he was dismissed from his post by President James Monroe in 1821. He spent most of the following years trying to clear his name and reputation.

Mitchell eventually returned to politics, serving as a judge of the inferior court of Baldwin County, and then once again as a state senator in 1836. He died in 1837 at his home in Milledgeville at the age of seventy-one.


0.8 Linear Feet (3 boxes)


Incoming and outgoing correspondence (including 42 letters from Georgia politician William H. Crawford, 1808-1822), mainly covering Mitchell’s two tenures as Georgia governor and during his appointment by President Madison as Creek Indian agent, 1817-1821. Content concerns national and local politics, foreign affairs, military matters and the approaching War of 1812, the Yazoo land fraud, Florida history, attitudes and actions towards African-Americans and Indians, and Mitchell’s attempts to deal with accusations of smuggling slaves to Alabama. Also, a miscellany of documents and correspondence mostly relating to the Creek Agency.


Papers are organized in the following series
Series 1: Correspondence, Outgoing, 1788-1829
Box 1
Series 2: Correspondence, Incoming, 1794-1826
Box 2
Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1777-1843
Box 3

Collection Stack Location

Vault 25 1


Gift, Edward E. Ayer, 1911.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2011.
Inventory of the David Brydie Mitchell Papers, 1777-1843, bulk 1805-1829
Virginia Hay Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States