Kane family papers

Kane family papers

Dates: 1690-1982

Contains the papers of the Kane family of Philadelphia and Kane, Pennsylvania. Includes papers created and collected by John K. Kane and his wife, Jane Duval Kane; and their children, specifically Thomas L. Kane and his wife, Elizabeth Kane. Contains letters to and from several important American political and historical figures, including Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, John Hancock, Andrew Jackson, Horace Greeley, and U.S. Grant. A large portion of the collection also deals with Thomas Kane's service in the American Civil War. The collection also includes Kane's correspondence with several Mormon leaders, including Brigham Young, and documentation of his relationship with the Mormons.

  • Extent: 40 microfilm reels (12 linear ft.). -- 80 boxes (40 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Kane (Family : Kane, Thomas L. (Thomas Leiper), 1822-1883)
  • Call Number: Vault MSS 792
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602; http://sc.lib.byu.edu/
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research.
Languages and Scripts
Arranged in twelve series: 1. John K. Kane papers. 2. Personal papers. 3. Papers on the Mormons. 4. Papers on the American West and politics. 5. Papers on the Civil War. 6. Elizabeth Wood Kane papers. 7. Kane family personal papers. 8. Kane family business papers. 9. E. Kent Kane papers. 10. Deeds, letters, and other material. 11. Kane family maps, sketches, and other material. 12. Kane family photographs.
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Acquired from Thomas L. Kane, great-grandson of Thomas & Elizabeth Kane, and Dorothy H. Kane, as brokered through Aquila Books 826 - 16 Avenue, NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Purchased December 11, 1996.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: Vault MSS 792; Thomas L. Kane papers; 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: Vault MSS 792, LTPSC.
Custodial History
This collection has come to the Brigham Young University Library from three main sources over about twenty years. The first installment came in 1978 and was acquired from Sybil Kane. The second came in November 1983 when the Library purchased Kane material from the E. Kent Kane estate. These two groups were integrated into one collection by 1995 under the direction of Dennis Rowley, then Curator of Manuscripts. He was also given a collection of typescripts of mostly Thomas L. Kane letters by Lyndon W. Cook. The Cook typescripts were integrated into the collection by 1995. These have since been removed and can be found as a separate collection (MSS 2221). Then, in 1996, BYU Library acquired its largest collection of Kane family manuscripts. These materials, including printed material and photographs, were purchased from Thomas L. Kane and his wife Dorothy through their representative, Cameron Treleaven, a rare book dealer in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This acquisition was passed down from Elizabeth Kane to her son Evan O'Neill Kane, to his son Elisha K. Kane III and to his wife Gladys S. Kane, who is the mother of Thomas L. Kane, the individual from whom BYU acquired the materials. In the same collection was Elisha Kent Kane (1820-1857) manuscripts, but these had been separated out of the collection and sold to another party prior to BYU's involvement. To-date, the Elisha Kent Kane materials remain in private hands. From 1997 until 2000 these three Kane Collections have been integrated into one collection. One the key people in the creation of these papers was Elizabeth W. Kane. She began keeping a journal at the urging of her husband Thomas, and served as his secretary for much of his life, keeping scrapbooks for him and seems to have made some initial organization of the material prior to her death. Since Thomas out-lived both his father (John K. Kane) and his famous brother (Elisha Kent Kane), papers belonging to both of them remained in their possession. Some of the groupings were still tied with string when BYU acquired them; some had her notes on them. But it is clear that later descendants also spent time with many of these manuscripts; some even have underlining and marginal notes that date from a later period. A copy of Elizabeth's will is in this collection (Box 25, Folder 3). On her death her instructions in the will were to divide the papers in her possession between her son Elisha Kent Kane, her daughter-in-law Lila R. Kane (wife of her son Evan O'Neill Kane) and her son Thomas L. Kane, Jr. No doubt most of the Kane manuscripts found in various repositories in the United States can be traced to this initial division.
Publications derived from manuscripts in the collection include Elizabeth W. Kane, Twelve Mormon Homes (1874); A Gentile Account of Life in Utah's Dixie, 1872-73: Elizabeth Kane's St. George Journal (1995); and John K. Kane Autobiography (privately published, 1949).
Other Finding Aids
File-level inventory available online. http://files.lib.byu.edu/ead/XML/VMSS792.xml
Related Material
See also the Thomas L. Kane autograph, 1846 (MSS 991), John Kintzing Kane letter, 1846 (MSS SC 2474), Brigham Young letter, 1873 (Vault MSS 144), Jesse C. Little letters received and pamphlets, 1844-1892 (MSS SC 1124), Samuel Allis statement, 1846 (MSS SC 187). See also Thomas L. and Elizabeth W. Kane Family Collection (MSS 3190)
Appraisal Information
19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts.
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Kane family papers
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Leslie Evens
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2014-05-19T16:58-0600
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

The Kane family was a prominent family of politicians, lawyers, and doctors in Pennsylvania. Thomas L. Kane (1822-1883) was born in Philadelphia to John K. Kane (1795-1858), judge and politician in the city. In 1853 he married Elizabeth Dennistown Wood (1836-1909), and they had four children. Following the Civil War, the Kane family moved to western Pennsylvania to found the town of Kane, Pennsylvania.

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Ryan Lee
Curator - 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts