Michigan Democratic congressman, 1847-1851, Republican governor, 1855-1858, and U.S. Senator, 1859-1861; correspondence and genealogical papers of the Bingham and Warden families of Livingston County, including letters from Kinsley, his wife Mary Warden, his son James (First Lieutenant, Sixteenth Michigan Infantry, who died in 1862), and Robert Warden, Jr.; correspondence concerning family affairs, political and legislative matters, Bingham's inauguration in Lansing, Michigan, in 1857, and the Civil War; letters to Warden from friends in Scotland and Camillus, New York including one from Henry S. Sinn about slavery and the Civil War; and diary, 1862-1863, kept by Mrs. Bingham.
The Bingham papers are comprised of two series, Correspondence and Other Materials, reproduced on four rolls of microfilm. The Correspondence series includes personal letters (originals and typescripts) between members of the Bingham and Warden families. There is extensive correspondence (1848-1861) between Bingham and his wife, Mary Warden Bingham, during his absences while serving in government offices in Lansing, Michigan and Washington, D.C. There is also a substantial correspondence from James W. Bingham, writing to his parents during his boarding school years at the Normal School in Ypsilanti, Michigan and one year while studying at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Later letters between James and his mother were written while James was serving with Co. H, 1st Michigan Infantry at Alexandria, Va., and then in Chicago and Peoria, Ill., as a recruiting officer in Co. B, 2nd Battalion, 16th U.S. Infantry (with which he was later on active duty in Kentucky). The letters concern the attitude of the citizens of Alexandria towards the Michigan troops, the assassination of Colonel Ellsworth, the Zouaves, social and camp life, marches and skirmishes, political news of the day and the towns in which he was encamped. Bingham died of disease at Bardstown, Ky., Nov. 9, 1862. The collection also includes three letters from Kinsley S. Bingham concerning the Battle of Bull Run. Also of interest are letters in 1850 referring to John, a nephew who participated in the California Gold Rush, where he died. The Other Materials series includes political speeches written by Kinsley S. Bingham, as well as newspaper clippings related to his death and memorial, and to the deaths of both of his sons. There is also genealogical notes made by family members for both the Bingham and Warden families, newspaper clippings about later family members, letters between extended family members, and miscellaneous and ephemeral materials.