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De Benneville Randolph Keim Papers

 Collection — Box: 4314.001
Identifier: MSS-4314

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of two bound manuscript volumes and approximately 70 loose manuscript letters dating from late 1870-early 1872 from De Benneville Randolph Keim who, as an envoy for President Ulysses Grant, reported on the condition of the United States consulates in Asia, Egypt, and South America. One bound manuscript collection consists of correspondence primarily between Keim and their mother, friends, government officials abroad and at home, and President Grant. The second bound manuscript is collected reports sent to the United States government departments detailing reports of the state of affairs at the consulates aboard.

The correspondence and reports written by Keim include evidence of the mismanagement of consulates regarding money, living conditions, and estates of Americans abroad. In Panama, Keim described subpar medical facilities for American soldiers. In Chile, American whalers were being charged higher fees by the consul which led Keim to believe fraud was being committed. In Peru, Keim arrived to find the consul drunk and surrounded by empty liquor bottles. Keim wrote to President Grant and the Treasury Department describing the encounters.


  • 1870 - 1872

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are responsible for using the materials in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright claimants in collection materials. Copyright for official University records is held by The University of Alabama. The library claims only physical ownership of many manuscript collections. Anyone wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of literary property rights or copyrights. Please contact Special Collections ( with questions regarding specific manuscript collections. For more information about copyright policy, please visit: Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal implications, for which the University of Alabama assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

De Benneville Randolph Keim was born in 1840 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Keim began a career in journalism in 1860 writing for theNew York Times as a correspondent in St. Louis. Then, during the Civil War, Keim became a correspondent for theNew York Herald following generals Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan during their war posts. Following the war, still as a correspondent for theHerald, Keim travelled through Europe, Asia, and Africa. In 1869, Keim served as an envoy for President Ulysess Grant to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and a year later accepted Grant’s charge to tour American consular offices around the world and report any findings. After finishing this post Keim resumed a career in journalism while also publishing several books until his death in 1914.


1 Linear Feet (1 archival box) : 2 bound manuscript books with 70 odd loose papers

Language of Materials


Guide to De Benneville Randolph Keim Papers
August 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266