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Howard C. Griswold papers

Identifier: 1979_187-UA

The Howard Clifton Griswold papers consists of two major components: material relating directly to Griswold himself, and material relating to his brother-in-law, Henry Clay Bretney. The first series includes printed materials from work-related subjects as well as memorabilia, oversized materials and a few items from his years as chief of the John P. Morton and Company. There is also printed material from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Iron and Steel Institute, and the American Railway Engineering Association, along with other material relating to engineering. The second series is mainly correspondence about Bretney's father, Captain Henry C. Bretney, during his tour of duty in the Dakota Territory from 1863 to 1865. Many of the letters are research-oriented and some of those written by Captain Bretney describe raids by Native Americans, stolen items, and the activities of other soldiers. Included is information about the death of a Lieutenant Collins. There is also a partial manuscript entitled “The Train That Won a Nation,” by University of Wyoming Professor Grace Raymond Hebard. This manuscript is apparently a revision of a book published in 1922 under the title The Bozeman Trail: Historical Accounts of the Blazing of Overland Routes into the Northwest and Fights with Red Cloud’s Warriors. The book was reissued again several years after Hebard’s death.

Items of particular interest include the Private Telegraphic Code of Hall & Co., Louisville, Kentucky (1887), a small book of code used in telegraphic communication, presumably to facilitate shorter telegrams and keep business information private; a copy of a diary kept by General Henry Freeman, officer in the Seventh Cavalry, United States Army, March 21 - October 5, 1876; and the abovementioned correspondence and documents of Captain Henry C. Bretney, 1863-1865.


  • 1889-1931



5.125 linear feet (2 RC, 4 mss boxes, 1 half-mss box, and 1 flat; 2 oversized items)

Biographical / Historical

Howard Clifton Griswold was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 28, 1866, to Howard Morton Griswold and Anna Clifton Grant Griswold, both Kentucky natives. Griswold attended Louisville public schools and after graduation, entered the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, where he obtained a degree in civil engineering.

In 1889 Griswold accepted his first position in the engineering department of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. He stayed with the L&N until 1895, first in Louisville and then in Lebanon, Kentucky. Griswold’s next post was with Illinois Steel Company as an assistant engineer in Chicago, Illinois, from 1895 to 1915. When his father died in 1915, he returned to Louisville to head the printing firm of John P. Morton and Company. This company was established by Griswold’s grandfather and his brother-in-law in 1826 and remained in the family until it closed in 1943.

Griswold was active in the Louisville community. He was devoted to the city as well as to its institutions and people. He participated in the Community Chest and many other local projects. He was a faithful member of Christ Church Cathedral, where he used the same pew as his grandfather, Solomon K. Grant, one of the original vestrymen. He was also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Transportation Club of Louisville, the Ben Franklin Club and the Audubon Country Club.

Griswold married Mec McIntyre Young of Thomasville, Georgia, on November 16, 1898, and she died in 1914. On January 10, 1925, he married Mary Rush Lewis of Nashville, Tennessee. Together, they had three children, Charlotte Lewis, Anna Grant and Mary Clifton, all of whom attended Louisville schools. Howard Clifton Griswold died on January 29, 1941, in Louisville.


Howard C. Griswold Papers
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections Repository

Ekstrom Library, Lower Level Room 17
Louisville KY 40292
502 852-6752