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Masterson Family Papers

Identifier: MSN/CW 5109

Scope and Contents

The collection consists first and foremost of 54 personal letters written by Pvt. John W. Masterson during his military service, 13 October 1862 to 5 June 1865. Almost all are directed to his sister Rose Ellen Masterson, who lived for at least part of the war on Monroe Street on New York's Lower East Side. Rose married James McNabb on 16 May 1866. John had a second sister, Mary Masterson Fay, with whom he seldom corresponded. In addition to the Civil War letters the collection includes other family papers, most notably a group of 22 letters written by John Masterson's son, William (b. ca. 1875) to his older sister Ida (b. ca. 1870).


  • Creation: 1862-1923
  • Creation: Majority of material found within ( 1862-1865)


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

John William Masterson was born in New York City of Irish emigrant parents, around 1844. In September 1862 he was mustered in to Co. A of the 133rd New York Infantry. He served in this unit as a private for the duration of the war, on the defences of Washington, in Louisiana (1862-1864), and in the Shenandoah. After the war he worked as a painter and married a woman named Matilda Brady. He had two children who survived past infancy, Ida (b. ca. 1870) and William (b. ca. 1875). Masterson died in New York on 26 March 1880.


72 folders; (1 container;; .5 linear feet)

Language of Materials



The collection includes more than 50 manuscript letters written during the Civil War by Pvt. John William Masterson, Co. A, 133rd New York Infantry, as well as later papers relating to Masterson's service and to his son William and daughter Ida.


The collection is arranged in four series: 1. John W. Masterson Civil War Letters; 2. Other John W. Masterson Papers; 3. Miscellaneous Masterson Family Papers; 4. Photographs.

Masterson Family Papers
Selena Ponio
August 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556